There are some SEO opportunities out there that are being missed by the general SEO population. An example of one of these is the Google Co-Op program. What if I told you that you could get a PR8 link (that does not have a Nofollow on it) from Google.com? Well its true, and the SEO world is passing it by.
First, there is a problem. I have talked to many SEOs and webmasters about Google Co-Op. There is a great deal of misunderstanding about what the program is about. Most people think about the Google Co-Op Topics portion of the program, which allows subject matter experts to label web sites. Their reaction is that this is Google trying to get people to work for them for free. I think that this is not a fair characterization of this part of the program, but discussing that is not the point of this post.
To me, the juice of Google Co-Op is in the Subscribed Links portion of the program. Before we even take a look at how you get a PR8 link from Google.com, let’s talk about basic program structure and how it can work for you. Let me show you search result nirvana:
Yep, that green area above the organic search results is us (sorry for the poor quality image, we are working on our technique for that just yet). How did we do that? Simple, we implemented Subscribed Links from the Google Co-Op program. Granted, these preferential search placements only show up for people who have subscribed to our feed. But wouldn’t you like to turn your visitors into repeat visitors. Subscribed Links are an excellent way to do that.
In addition, if you build such a feed, and it becomes sufficiently popular, it will get included in the Google Co-Op directory. Here is the URL where your feed will land, the Latest Page in the Google Co-Op Directory.
Getting into the directory does require that you do put together a decent quality feed that your users appreciate and use. This is not a place for Spam (obviously). You need to create a feed, promote it, and get users to sign up and use it. If their is sufficient interest, Google editors review the site and include it in the directory if it’s of sufficient quality.
In our view the Subscribed Links portion of the Google Co-Op program is worth much more than the value of the link itself. Its really about building trust with your users, and cashing in on that trust to create repeat visitors and earn advantaged placements from Google as a result.
At the recent Search Engine Strategies in San Jose, Google made it clear that in addition to getting in to the Google Co-Op directory, highly successful feeds would potentially be made available for users who did not subscribe to your feed. This means getting placed above the organic search results for all users. Wow. These seem like stakes worth playing for.
We have already succeeded in getting a feed in the Google Co-Op Directory. It is the CityTownInfo feed on this page. Success requires high quality content and a feed that adds value, but it can be done. And the upside is tremendous.