Natasha asked me to cover OnlyWire. Though I've talked about it some on my blog, I find some people still aren't quite sure about it, so I'm happy to continue to spread the word.
SEO, search engine optimization, is that strange little acronym that pops up when people are researching internet marketing, but isn't always fully explained. The really short, simple version is: SEO is activities which improve the ranking of your website on search engines.
Not all websites are created equal. But there's so many more things than just the actual website which influences how search engines look at it. Another is the back links—websites which link to your site. The ones that count are called “dofollow”. Links on websites which don't use “dofollow” do not count toward your SEO.
This is why you'll see some blogs advertise that they're NOT a “dofollow”. It helps keep spammers at bay. It's also kind of not useful to their commenter, but all's fair in love and war, right?
So you're probably wondering what all this has to do with OnlyWire.
OnlyWire is a nifty little website and software combination which helps promote your link to multiple websites. Many of these are “dofollows”. Aha! It helps build back links, you think. And you would be right.
Some of the OnlyWire sites are directories, meaning you can happily plug your link and be on your merry way. Many are not. There are communities as well, such as Plurk and Friendster. These require participation, just like Facebook or Twitter. So don't think you'll get off scott free just plugging your link to all of them.
Some require communities.
The nice thing with OnlyWire is you can opt-in to which communities you wish to use. So if you don't like one, don't use it. The bad thing is, you do have to setup the accounts and fill out the information for the first time you make a connection to each community. Expect to dedicate the better part of a day, and a few cups of coffee, to the initial process.
Or, you can simply fill in the accounts you already use and ignore the others.
But the more, the merrier.
OnlyWire is not the only of its kind. There are many, and many more which offer a much larger list of networks. Here's the catch:
When you find one of these softwares with 100 or 200 or more, you have to stop and ask: how many of these are “dofollow”? Even then, how many have any serious weight? Not all “dofollows” are the same. A link on a “dofollow” which has been around for a month won't have nearly the same clout as one that's been around for ten years.
In fact, the whole SEO thing is rather cryptic because search engines simply don't want to reveal what makes them tick, exactly. Why? Then you can exploit it.
In my opinion, using a tool like OnlyWire is fair as long as it's a link you would have shared to a community you would have used if you had to do it by hand. It's also better, both technically and morally, if you strive to build a community on those networks too.
And no, OnlyWire isn't flawless, but it's pretty cool.
Have you used OnlyWire or any other such syndication program?