29th Sep

Google Sidewiki: A top tip for site owners

You may already know about this, but Google has rolled out “Sidewiki”, whereby Google Toolbar users can comment directly (and permanently) on webpages. The basic idea is that every page on your site now comes with a publicly accessible discussion board that cannot be moderated.

Google Sidewiki is a new browser plug-in that adds a universal commenting system to the web, allowing users to comment and read other people’s comments on any page on the internet. It’s not a new idea, but, well, it’s Google.

Immediate reactions

Jeff Jarvis from the Buzzmachine comments, concerns for blog owners:

Google is trying to take interactivity away from the source and centralize it. This isn’t like Disqus, which enables me to add comment functionality on my blog. It takes comments away from my blog and puts them on Google.

Sean Carton on what Google Sidewiki means to marketers:

There’s an algorithm that determines which comments are more relevant and moves them to the top of the sidebar. Of course, exactly how relevance is determined has yet to be explained (and probably never will be), leading to yet another SEO type battle, where “experts” duke it out over whether they can get your comments to the top of the heap.

Top tip: How to claim your website’s Google Sidewiki

An important aspect is that if you register a site as yours in your Google profile, you can leave a comment as the site owner which stays at the top. This would be good for your clients for pushing USPs and contact details etc.

1. Install the latest Google Toolbar with Google Sidewiki.

2. Once installed, you will need to restart your web browser, I use Firefox, so you will probably get a message telling you that you need to restart Firefox.

3. Visit your website, the website home page where you want to claim your Google Sidewiki.

4. Make sure that Google Sidewiki is turned on in the Google Toolbar. You may need to log in to your Google account and adjust your Google Toobar settings so that it’s turned on. While you browse the web, you will see the Google Wiki sidebar on the left side of your web browser, it will look like this:

5. Open up the Google Sidewiki. If you aren’t signed into your Google Account, you need to sign into your Google account first.

6. Once signed in, you will see the name of your site, as well as an area to “Edit your name” – Change the name of your website if necessary, you might want to include your company name and a few keywords if you feel so inclined to do so.

7. Add a title of the Entry, perhaps “Welcome to Vizion Interative”.

8. Add your entry:

Thanks for visiting The Floating Frog. If you’re reading this, then you most likely have the Google Sidewiki turned on.

The Floating Frog provides a daily dose of web, design, social, dev and current trends. If you’re interested in any of these issues, you might want to subscribe to my RSS Feed, which is at http://feeds.feedburner.com/thefloatingfrog

Thanks for visiting.

9. Once you’ve entered the text you want and the title of the entry, click the “Write as Owner” checkbox, and hit the “Publish” button.

Don’t forget to authenticate your site first!

What you’ll need to do first is verify your website in Google Webmaster Tools (http://www.google.com/webmasters). You’ll need a Google Account. Log into your Google Webmaster Tools account and add the site.

Then to verify the site you’ll need to add a file that Google specifies or an HTML Meta Tag to your site. Once one of those are added, then you log into Google Webmaster Tools and click on “verify”.

Once it’s verified in Google Webmaster Tools and you have the new Google Toolbar installed, you will need to go to your site’s home page. Click on the Sidewiki on the Toolbar and you should then see the “write as owner” area.

Found this article useful?

Let us know below in the comments.




Comments

Leave a reply below

  • October 14, 2009 at 9:29 pm // Reply

    Thanks Zoe, I did find the article useful because this one had passed me by. It’s really quite scary, don’t you think?

    It seems to me that the danger is that unmoderated content, and content that you have no control over, can appear to be associated with your site. At least in a normal wiki there is an opportunity for moderation or repair of vandalism by the community but not, as I understand it, with sidewiki.

    If this came from anyone but Google I think it would be easy to ignore it and watch it fade away. But, unfortunately, as it comes from Google there is a frighteningly good chance it may be with us for a while.

    It also means that site owners would feel the need to install the wretched Google toolbar just to monitor a sidewiki.

Leave a Comment