Every once in awhile I will hop in Google Webmaster Tools to see which websites are linking to my clients and websites. This is not something I do all that often as I do not like to obsess over small SEO factors that likely do not matter too much in search rankings. That said, I do understand the value of online marketing and promotion. After scouring through some of my more linked to resources I noticed several links from flip.it. There are hundreds of URL shorteners these days so I had no idea what this could be. I clicked the link and it brought me to a website called Flipboard. Little did I know how powerful this magazine creation website could be. Here is what I know so far:
How to Get Started on Flipboard
Flipboard is very unique in that you cannot sign up simply with an email address. This is great! More on that later. To sign up you must sign up through Facebook or Google login. If you have a Gmail account or a Facebook account you are good to go. You can also sign up by downloading the app for iTunes or Android. I am more of a desktop kinda guy when it comes to these article, photo and gif sharing websites and apps. Use this link to get started. Here is what the login will look like:
After signing in you will be able to create a magazine. This is as easy as clicking the “create magazine” option under your username. After clicking the “create magazine” hyperlink you will be directed to the following popup screen:
You have the opportunity to name the magazine whatever you so desire. Think for a few minutes before making the title. Think of making your own magazine that will be published for the world to read. Maybe you want to name it Drummond Golf Tips or Danielle’s Fitness and Nutrition. Pick something that will entice readers to pick up your newsstand copy today! You are truly creating your own magazine with articles of your choice.
After creating the name of the magazine you have an “optional description”. This is your elevator pitch. If you wanted to sell your magazine in one quick paragraph what would you say? It doesn’t have to be the second coming of a Shakespeare poem. You don’t have to be F. Scott Fitzgerald. Write the way you would talk. It really is that easy. Then select the appropriate category and you have your own magazine. Cost – $0.00.
After you have created your magazine, or as many magazines as you desire, go grab the Flipboard Bookmarklet tool for Chrome. This is very similar to the Pinterest Pin button. Anytime you are on an article, photo or gif you can press the little red F button beside the url bar and it will prompt you to “pick a magazine” and add. It will look like this:
Notice there is a thumbnail that has been autogenerated. You can hover over that photo and the word “select” will appear. This allows you to select one of the photos or gifs from that particular website; much like Pinterest. Here is what it will look like:
You will likely want to select the image that is most attractive to the reader. Once again, think about a magazine. If you were flipping through a magazine, which image would make you want to stop and read the story. On this particular page, the author and staff photos have generated. Unless you want to illustrate a huge photo of the author it would be best to select one of the photos from the top row. Ultimately, you have the choice as to which photo will show up as the main photo for the magazine article.
One of the best features of Flipboard is the autoplay gifs. If you have a moving photo or a gif on your Flipboard it will play automatically.
I would strongly suggest trying it out. Even if you mess up and post the wrong article or wrong photo you can always go back to editor.flipboard.com and fix your magazine. Make your magazine as attractive as possible as you will want readers to come back for more. If you can build up a reader base this will allow you to reach an audience much quicker than trying to get them to jump from Twitter to Facebook to Pinterest to Google Plus to a website. They can get all your valuable information in one magazine that comes at no cost!
Flipboard Magazines Are Indexed in Google Search
As stated at the beginning of this article, I found flip.it or Flipboard through Google Webmaster Tools. This means Google crawls, indexes and ranks articles that are in Flipboard magazines. Before getting too excited about the SEO benefits it is very important to understand that Google recognizes the difference in user generated content websites and business specific websites. If anyone can generate content it is highly likely that “claimed” SEO gurus, agencies and companies are going to be all over these websites getting links for their clients; likely unnatural links.
What I absolutely love about Flipboard is the fact that you must have a Google Plus or Facebook account to sign up. You cannot sign up with a random email. In fact, most people think you must sign up by downloading the app with an iPhone or Android. This immediately causes many of those wanting to cut corners to run away because it actually entails a little bit of work. Heaven forbid! Yes, a human being has to sign up for the account and a human being has to click the F button on a browser to submit content. This is more work than most are willing to put in. That is great news for you and I.
For the common Internet user, what this means is Flipboard is a website that Google will continue to value because the users are going to provide useful articles to their magazine readers. As you continue to grow your magazines recognize that each article and resource is telling both Flipboard and Google that you are committed to growing your readership. As time goes on your Flipboard magazines will have more readers, get more page flips and rank better in search.
The SEO Value of Flipboard
From an SEO standpoint, Flipboard is gold. The fact that humans must physically post articles to their magazines will keep most of the riff raff on article marketing websites and autogenerated content websites like Paper.li and Rebel Mouse. Any website that will automatically allow you to set up an RSS Feed worries me. If a website takes nothing more than signing up with an email and typing in a website address to auto generate your blog posts, how valuable can it truly be? I have a list of websites that have come and gone because they allowed everyone to the party. Websites like eZine Articles, Amazines, Go Articles, Hub Pages, Squidoo, Gather, Article Dashboard, Isnare, Infobarrel and plenty more.
The general rule of thumb is to look for exclusivity. If a website, blog or directory allows anyone to submit websites the links are not going to be as valuable. If you have to put forth effort, build a presence and physically share amazing content Google is going to value that resource much more. I can only hope that Flipboard continues to stay true to their method for signing up. If they force users to sign up through the smartphone apps or through Facebook and Google Plus it will be a much cleaner space. If they open the magazine website to any email it is time to start looking for other ways to promote resources.
Something important to remember is that all the previously mentioned “open to all” websites still have some value. Users that were on article marketing websites in 2007 and 2008 grew a large audience and their eZine and Go Articles have some value. The same will be true for Flipboard, if the Flipboard web designers decide to open the resource to all. The early adopters will continue to reap the benefits of being early and growing a presence. This is why you should get started sharing content on Flipboard today. Feel free to tell me about your magazine(s) in the comments below.
I have plenty of other strategies in terms of SEO and Flipboard but that doesn’t come free. If you would like to discuss SEO or internet marketing for your business website please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.