A widget is a standalone application that can be added to a third party website. A widget can be a simple tool such as a mortgage calculator or latest news article ‘alert’ to a social media application that shows your latest posts on Twitter or Facebook.
By creating a widget for the community, you are able to control the content that appears on their website. The only area of control you do not have is where the user wishes to position the widget on their website.
A widget should cost your company relatively little and have a low resource time. Without being too technical, you can make it extremely easy for users to add your widget to their website too by providing the preferred code or setting the widget up as a plug-in so users can download it to their blog.
Why Does Your Company Need A Widget?
As social media has become much more popular over the course of 2008 and 2009, users have changed the way they use the internet. They no longer begin their web experience at Google or Yahoo but instead start on Facebook, Twitter or their favourite social website. Users also have the option of viewing these websites on a mobile phone meaning that there is even more reason to package up your brand and expose it through as many channels as possible.
By creating an educational or entertaining application, a widget allows you to reach potential customers with similar interests, on websites where they spend most of their time. This will not only expose your brand to them, it will also give them a company to associate a certain product or service with, increasing the likelihood of them returning to you.
How Can Widgets Help With SEO?
By providing a link to your website within your widget, it can provide a form of link building and the more popular a widget, the better an effect it will have on your SEO. Take advantage of the widget’s link by adding a keyword term you are targeting as anchor text (the text used to link to your website).
It is very likely that your widget will be used by users that have a similar interest meaning your widget and link will be surrounded by relevant content, a factor that search engines look for.
Examples of Widgets
As an avid fantasy football fan, a widget that I find extremely useful is PhysioRoom’s Premier League Injury List. The widget can be imported to a website or blog and shows all the current player injuries and expected return dates for each team and can be changed for fan websites to show just one team.
From an SEO perspective, PhysioRoom add their own link at the bottom of the widget with specific keywords linking to their products. This tool has become so powerful that it now ranks above the homepage for the search ‘PhysioRoom’ proving the effects of a popular widget.
The PhysioRoom as found on Tottenham Hotspur Web Guide
iGoogle is an example of a page taking advantage of widgets. The page can incorporate the latest news through RSS feeds providing quick links to the articles and short description snippet. Other widgets can be added too such as a YouTube player, games and ‘To Do’ lists all on top of your everyday search functionality. There is no reason why your widget can’t appear on iGoogle either to increase your brand exposure.
Photo Credit: mil8