Although Google Sidewiki has been active for quite a while now, having been released by Google late last year, many website owners are not aware of its presence. Given that it’s a tool that presents browsers with comments and reviews while actually on your site, it’s an important area to keep an eye on. What’s more, by taking ownership of your site’s Sidewiki area you can take the opportunity to direct readers to the most important aspects of your website and business.
The first step to keeping track of your site’s Sidewiki entries is installing the Google Toolbar, you can get it here: http://toolbar.google.com
Once installed, you can click on the Sidewiki button when viewing any page to read entries.
By claiming your website within Sidewiki you can post an entry that will stay above all the others, so it’s important to claim this space and grab the chance to get the first word in with your potential customers. In order to claim your website you first have to verify your site with Google Webmaster Tools. You will need a Google Account and the ability to alter the code of your site or access it via FTP. We can help with this, and if you are an SEO client this will already have been done for you.
Once verified with Google, upon clicking the Sidewiki button on your site you will be given the opportunity to write an entry for your page:
You may want the take the opportunity to direct browsers to the more important areas of your site, or point out that they can follow your news posts with an RSS feed or through Twitter or Facebook:
Hit publish when you are happy – you can edit the entry whenever you like. Once your entry is done, checking Sidewiki every now and then to keep an eye on what people are saying about your site is a must. You may also wish to ask a few happy customers with Google Accounts to post a testimonial on your site Sidewiki – an evidently self-authored testimonial can build more trust than a quote posted on your website.
To learn more about how you can use Sidewiki to your advantage, go here: http://www.google.com/sidewiki/intl/en_GB/index.html (Google Sidewiki was discontinued in December 2011).
It remains to be seen whether this resource is used to a great extent (especially as the web is becoming so saturated with social media), but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it and it can only ever do your search engine listings good to show Google that your site is proactive and being maintained in things like Sidewiki.
Camilla Todd manages Search Engine Optimisation, social media campaigns and brand awareness for WNW Design SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 01395 542569