As a search engine marketer you must stay up to date with the trends and what is going on in the "online community" ... Whats hot, whats not ... we all remember the dot bomb era of the late 90s right? Well I have been keeping my eye on a few companies that have been doing it right for the past few years (some newer) and I want to talk about them and how they can help your traffic, search engine rankings and possibly sales. In some cases they have launched other sites just by being members of the communities.
YUB -- a shopping community site. At Yub you can network with other people to find the reviews on products you always use, and find the best deals on those products thanks to the affiliate relationship that YUB has set up with the major companies. A great place to get a network of people and get them trusting the things you like and recommend. You can sell your products as well, and when you have a community of people surrounding you it makes it easier to use this site as a marketing tool.
CRAIGSLIST - Find anything you want on this site including a job. It is free to sell most products, or real estate. When you are tired of competing against the billions of people that use ebay, this is a great source to get your product to people in your area. If you are not selling the products you have on your website on craigslist then you are missing out on a big piece of the market.
FACEBOOK - More specific and targeted, as this is a college networking/socializing site. A great place to get a community of people that trust you and eventually get your products to them through word of mouth. Sites like YOUTUBE have got their jump start from communities like this. So if you have a website that fits with the college crowd it could be a good idea to get it in somehow.
WIKIPEDIA - Whatever you are looking for you will find it on Wikipedia. A great source for anyone looking to gain more internet rankings and traffic. You can write and submit articles to the community of Wikipedia. You need to make sure you are providing good neutral information that will be informative to most if not all reading. These kind of sites require that you be a good community member and do not spam with crap. If you become a good contributor it will help your website rankings, and traffic from the millions that use Wikipedia everyday.
MYSPACE - A great networking site for almost any reasons. You can also promote your own websites through your profile and give yourself anchor-text for the words that you need better rankings on. You can also promote things through your "community" of people. Everyone knows that recommendations work better when they come from people that you trust.
FLICKR - A great community to share photos with. Get your product photos on these sites and anchor tag them up with keywords leading to your site. Most people don't take advantage of image optimization, but you can get good traffic from people doing image searches. Also if you are hosting your images on a popular site like FLICKR, and reference them on your website it could be a good optimization tool since your images are being hosted on a high page rank site.
ITUNES - You may be saying to yourself, "How can a music store help me with search engines?" Something that has taken over lately with the digital world of I-pods and I-tunes, is pod-casting. You can record your own pod-casts and upload them to I-tunes and get more followers that way. You must have good information for this to really work, so don't think you can just put anything up and it will work.
There are many sites out there that could help, but these are a few of the ones that I feel need to be taken advantage of immediately. Not to mention they keep getting hotter, and could be a good stock to invest in! In any of these sites it is a must to be a good community member. The thing that gripes me the most about MySpace is all the spam that can come along with it. So in order for people to take you serious, you need to practice good community behavior and contribute any time you can.