Social bookmarking offers many benefits to site owners looking to enhance their search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM) efforts. When a visitor to your site wants to bookmark it, rather than save it to their web browser, they save the link online to another site’s server. Popular social bookmarking sites include Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, and Pinterest among others. Once sites are tagged, they can be easily shared with friends and colleagues because they can be accessed from anywhere since they are no longer connected to your computer.
If you want your content to “go viral”, social bookmarking is one of the best tools available. Users can share your content with their friends who share with their friends. In a short period of time your content could be shared with hundreds or thousands of users. Tags create backlinks to your site which helps get your site listed higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Social bookmarking is an excellent way to attract targeted traffic to your site. Users who bookmark your site are already interested in your content. You now have the opportunity to present your call to action to convert them into customers. There are specific steps you should take to properly integrate social bookmarking into your SEM strategy.
Select Social Bookmarking Sites
Decide which social bookmarking sites are most likely to have users who will become your customers. Only choose a handful of sites to target. You will not have sufficient time to handle more. Most social bookmarking sites are language-specific so use those that use your language. Popular sites are in English so be sure all of your content is also in English if you plan to register with them. Many sites allow you to conduct searches without having an account. Search your keywords to see what type of content is already on the site. Use this information to select the sites that best meet your needs.
Establish a Profile
This is where you get to begin your branding. Incorporate your business logo and mission statement on your profile. Add relevant photos and marketing language to help define your products and services. Include how long you have been in business. Add links to your website, other social bookmarking sites, social networks, and RSS feeds. Carefully construct your profile to present your business in the most favorable light possible. Your profile should reflect the image you are trying to present so don’t include silly photos if you want followers to take you seriously. Your profile becomes your first impression – make sure it is an impression you want to make. Be sure your profile is optimized with keywords. Depending on the social bookmarking site, profiles may be included on SERPs.
Top profiles have credibility with other users. You create authority by offering other users links to interesting content. You will not create a top profile if you only submit links to your own site. Diversify your links to include other sites that have great content on them that your followers will find of interest. These should be relevant but not competitive sites. When your site is featured on social bookmarking sites, your content can easily go viral. And this drives more traffic to your site. If your site gets posted on the front page of a social bookmarking site, you could get tens of thousands new visitors. Content from many social bookmarking sites are also included on SERPs which is yet another source of traffic. It is possible that once you are on one social bookmarking site, your site can get tagged on other such sites. To get featured on the front page, you need to have sufficient “votes” which means you should submit content when you know readers are most likely to see it.
Publish High Quality Content
If you want your users to bookmark your web pages, you need to produce content that is sharable. This requires you to write engaging articles and blog entries, create high quality videos, and develop apps or other products to attract users. Social bookmarking sites can ban you if you submit poor quality content. Your content should be current and provide new information to readers. If you have nothing new to say, consider revamping evergreen content such as how-to articles that remain relevant for a long time. Always double check to make sure you have no spelling or grammar errors. Fact-checking is also recommended. Remember that readers will vote on your content so don’t give them ammunition to give you poor ratings. Carefully select the category to which you plan to submit your content. This is important. Submitting to the wrong category can cause your content to be overlooked by readers. Try not to submit to General, Everything Else, or Miscellaneous categories.
Write Compelling Headlines
All good marketing efforts begin with an engaging headline. It needs to be interesting enough that a reader will want to click on it to learn more. Headlines are the hook for readers. Your headlines need to be short and catchy. Since social bookmarking sites are searchable, content can easily be found by other users. Include a keyword or keyword phrase in headlines to make sure followers can find it. With the exception of “keywords”, online marketing and advertising follows the same guidelines as traditional advertising. You can improve your social bookmarking efforts by learning more about these tactics. And as you get more tags, you are optimizing your content for search engines.
Include Meaningful Descriptions
Descriptions follow headlines and need to be equally engaging. To maintain reader interest, descriptions should be provocative but true. It should be an honest summary of what they can expect to read. You will lose support if the description is not relevant to the linked content. Nothing is more frustrating for a reader than to be presented with content that has no relation to what they expected. You will likely get few votes when you use this ploy. And you risk losing your profile if the social bookmarking site suspends your account for violating posting guidelines.
Add Social Bookmarking Buttons
You can encourage visitors to your website to bookmark you by strategically placing social bookmarking buttons on your own site. Use links in content such as blog postings to make it easier for readers to bookmark and share your content. Blogs that are separate from web sites should also include social bookmarking buttons. If you submit articles to other publishing sites, include social bookmarking buttons at the end of the articles when permitted.
Avoid Automated Submitters
It is always tempting to use automated systems in today’s tech-savvy environment. However, this is not recommended for social bookmarking sites. It is common for these programs to have malware or be created for illicit purposes such as password theft. You risk being banned if you use an automated submitter that has malware. If you decide to hire an SEO company to help you with your social bookmarking SEO, be sure they only submit content manually to social bookmarking sites.
To get a top profile you need to stay engaged. You do this by answering comments other users leave in response to your articles. You can also post your own comments in response to other articles. This can help you establish your profile faster. As you build your profile, you stand a better chance of getting your stories and articles read, tagged, and shared. You can also keep traffic engaged once they reach your site by providing related articles that keeps their attention. Allow them to leave comments and other opportunities for conversations so you can begin a new discussion thread.
Prepare for Traffic
When you get social bookmarking traffic to your site, your landing pages need to be user-friendly with a clear call to action. If you have an RSS feed or other resource they can subscribe to, be sure those buttons are prominently displayed. Have analytics in place to track where your traffic comes from so you can see which social bookmarking profiles are performing well and which need to be improved. Also, because you can get a large amount of traffic from social bookmarking, you should verify your server can handle the increase. Don’t just assume your server can handle the influx of traffic.
Although a lot of site owners now use social media to help with online marketing efforts, the importance of social bookmarking for SEO is often overlooked when it should be an integral part of your social media and search engine marketing strategies. Adding bookmarks can substantially increase your target customer base. Bookmarks provide links that are valuable to SEO. The more people who tag your site, the more backlinks you earn which can increase your PageRank and SERP rankings. Social bookmarking is another opportunity to get your content in front of Internet users.
Increasing social signals is critical for today’s SEO strategies because so many Internet users are social media and bookmarking users. They become your ambassadors by sharing your content with their friends. This type of viral marketing is invaluable. Online marketing is no longer a one-way operation but an interactive activity that you can leverage to increase site visibility and increase traffic.