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Widget Marketing Tips: Transforming Lives (and SEO) with a Social Sustainability Widget

Widget Marketing & Social Sustainability

This week we sat with Lavall Chichester to discuss widget marketing tips. As part of our inbound marketing SEO Insider Tips, Lavall shares his views on how widget marketing can engage people online and evolve in the future through leveraging social media and technology for greater good.

spread loveSpreadLove.org is the genius brainchild of Lavall Chichester, senior SEO Analyst at Profero and founder of SocialSearchDigest.com. In an age where social media has enabled greater comprehensive global connectivity, SpreadLove.org is pushing to do one better; foster positive change. SpreadLove.org is a digital rarity – it’s not in the market to make a profit attempting to sell something to consumers and even takes a noted stand against advertising and selling email addresses. Instead, SpreadLove.org takes the approach of nurturing and increasing people’s inherent value by empowering them to utilize technology in a purely positive way.

love-choice1-e1361669382871-1024x764Although SpreadLove.org is a recent development, its roots run deep, back to when Chichester was a teenage boy. After having a physical altercation with his best friend’s cousin, Chichester almost died from deep stab wounds on his back. While he physically survived, it was thanks to a wise man named John Duda who spoke to him during that time that spiritually saved him. Instead of turning to violence, Chichester saw his horrific experience as a means of powerful positive transformation for himself and others. While Chichester has climbed the corporate ladder he never forgot about that turning point in his life and how one act of kindness could make such a difference. In addition, being proficient at SEO for small business, Chichester came to find that he was not alone in his viewpoint as the word “Love” was searched 1,830,000 and “Inspiration” 165,000 times on Google in the span of just one month. Hence, SpreadLove.org was born.


Social Sustainability Widget Wins the Shorty Award

While SpreadLove.org uses its website to help people bring about their own positive mind, body, and soul transformation, it’s the site’s Social Sustainability widget that truly proves SpreadLove.org is a vehicle for change. The beauty of his widget marketing strategy is that it can be easily embedded into any blog or website to enable users to spread love in an easily accessible way unlike ever before. Through the Social Sustainability widget users can send anonymous emails of love to others, taking the ego and (self-conscious) pressure out of the equation and providing people with the opportunity to focus on the profound power of the act itself. The widget also shows how much love has been sent from the embedded site, as well as all widgets combined, with a love-tracking map that ranks all sites that feature the Social Sustainability Widget. Having won the Shorty Award for the Best Sustainability in Social Media, the SpreadLove.org seems to be on its way to show the true healing power of social media. Below we included the video which was made for the Shorty Award.

Widget Marketing Tips

Lavall Chichester was kind enough to impart some words of wisdom and widget marketing tips, delving deeper into how the widget works, the power of widgets for companies, and the transformative force that technology can harness:

1)  Where did the idea of the Social Sustainability Widget come from?

I built the Social Sustainability Widget to help people turn their website into a force for social good. The Social Sustainability widget allows people to send hope and inspiration via anonymous emails. A lot of people want to help and make a difference in the world but they don’t know where to start or have the tools. This gives them a very effective way to do so.

2) What are your goals for the Social Sustainability Widget?

I want people to use the Social Sustainability Widget to spread hope and inspiration daily. Words have power and they say life and death are in the tongue. A simple email can save someone’s life and make a really major impact in their life. When I was younger I got stabbed a couple of times and if someone did not step in and mediate the situation through words I would be in jail. I chose love over hate and spreadlove.org and the Social Sustainability widget is my way of scaling that act of love and paying it forward. This widget is going to empower people to save lives the way someone saved mine.

3) What are the basics people should know about widget marketing?

A widget is a way to add dynamic functionality to your website. For example, Widgetbox helps you make all kinds of widgets. The Social Sustainability widget is a custom widget so if you have a coder you can just build your own. Widgets are great for SEO and link building. They are also great for quizzes, lead generation and more. They are an excellent marketing tool and I highly recommend them.

4) How can companies leverage widgets to their maximum benefit?

It depends on your website monetization strategy. Most of the time widgets are used for lead generation and for making it easy for others to use your content on their site. Widgets are great for SEO because when someone embeds the widget on their website they usually have a backlink attached. This helps your SEO and it gives you direct traffic. Also, when you build a widget you should make sure it is easy to install and that there is only one or two links back to your website. I’ve seen people build widgets that have a bunch of links but that can be seen as link manipulation by search engines so you have to be careful not be perceived by Google as a spammer.

5) What differentiating factors shape a widget to better fit a company (e.g. widgets for more local, small businesses rather than large corporations)?

Any company can build a widget. For example if you have restaurant you can build a widget to make it easy for people to leave reviews, and that is a great local SEO for small business. That’s one of the biggest issues that local businesses have. So, if you build a widget and put your reviews all in one place that is easy to find on your website you can get customers to leave more reviews. Bright Local is a Local SEO company that makes amazing widgets for Local Businesses.

6) What void do widgets fill in the digital marketing sphere?

A really good widget is a great way to increase traffic, build leads and get backlinks. Also, it’s the type of thing that gets built once and then provides tons of value for a long period of time. I plan on building a few more widgets and tools for spreadlove.org. The widget marketing strategy we have in place has worked for us.

7) How can businesses gauge when a widget is successful rather than is a flap?

It really depends what their goals are. If their goal is lead generation, they will have to see if the number of leads increase after installing the widget If it is back links, they have to track how many people have installed it on their site. Building a widget is one thing, but you also have to promote your widget through content marketing, social listening and SEO. No one is just going to put it on their website. Also some widgets are built to perform a function on your website and that’s it. Other times they are created for other people to add to their sites. The Social Sustainability widget was created for both.

Is widget marketing right for you?

As noted by Chichester, while widgets provide substantial SEO value, because it is such an open and malleable platform, companies often find themselves in a precarious situation of having too many choices. As Tom McCracken from Level Ten Design says:

The challenge with widgets is they are almost too easy to use. Well-connected websites use a lot of them. Since they are developed by a range of developers, there are no real standards. Widgets have also gotten more advanced offering varying degrees of personalization. Implementing more than just a trivial number of widgets, particularly customizable ones, on a site can be tedious and challenging to keep organized.

While the broad applicability of widget marketing that Chichester mentions is empowering, it can also be overwhelming for marketing newbies. Search Engine Watch recommends three general rules of thumb that companies should keep in mind when it comes to the physical widget construction:

1) That the link embedded in the widget is easily visible;

2) The link provided by the widget is relevant to both the creator and the content with the appropriate anchor text;

3) The widget link displayed incorporates the primary keyword and brand name in its composition.

By thinking about what the widget will convey, the developer must hone in on what the company wishes to accomplish with the widget, narrowing down the infinite prospects Chichester mentioned.

Below we embedded the Social Sustainability Widget via SpreadLove.org. Use it to spread love and happiness – one email at a time. It is a good cause!

amanda wintersAmanda Winters (@AWinters9) is currently an Integrated Marketing graduate student at NYU. A caffeine-loving, New Yorker, with a passion for all things social media, and is currently focused on achieving her degree with a digital concentration. You can find more about her here
3 replies
  1. Matthew Capala
    Matthew Capala says:

    Great insights – I thinks widgets are very effective engagement tools that not only help build inbound links but also make websites more sticky – In the post-penguin landscape I would advice that the link is not hidden using CSS or Javascript and rather left it in plain view so that users can remove it and search engines don’t consider it ‘masked’ from the spiders – also if you decide to use anchor text, perhaps change it up over time so that you don’t build too many heavily anchored links in a short period of time when you promote your widget

  2. Amanda Winters
    Amanda Winters says:

    I think you make some great points, especially in regards to how anchor text should be incorporated in the process. I think that changing the anchor text displayed in the link, while keeping it relevant to the widget and what it is supposed to accomplish, can promote user generation. In addition, it might be interesting to see how different anchor text effects engagement to hone in on possible ways to further optimize widget usage and foster growth.


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