What is social bookmarking?
A social bookmarking site is basically a website where you bookmark a page, a video, or an image rather than just adding them to your Favorites in your browser. Think of it as online favorites.
You create a profile on the site and when you read something on the web that you like, you bookmark it under your profile. There are also a range of browser plugins that allow you to just click on a button to add the link to your collection. On the most famous social bookmarking site, Digg, this is commonly referred to as digging a site.
The power behind social bookmarking comes into effect when other people visit the page which you have bookmarked and they “dig” it too. Now it has two votes to its favor. The more votes/bookmarks it gets, the higher it shows in the social bookmarking website.
Essentially, social bookmarking sites are a kind of search engine where the most voted for/popular pages get the highest rankings.
So how does this help you when you don’t consider your content to be life changing enough to get lots of votes from other social bookmarkers?
Google and the other search engines love fresh content so they are constantly trawling sites like Digg.com for the latest submissions so that they can add them to their own search engine results. This is even more important since the Google Caffeine update.
Because you bookmark your page, your URL or web address is stored as a link. Google sees this link and counts it thereby adding another link to your incoming link total, which as we know, is part of Google's page ranking formula. You get a free incoming link.
Also, when I have added a link to Digg.com, I have seen upwards of 180 unique visitors come to a site, that same day, direct from Digg itself. So you can get actual traffic from Digg.com when people see the link you've added. Now, it doesn't always happen that way but can you afford to miss a 180 free visitors?
Obviously Digg.com is only one of hundreds of social bookmarking sites. In fact, there is an endless supply of social bookmarking sites that you can add your link to. Not all of them are of the highest quality, but if you look at the list below, create a profile on each and add your pages to each of them, you will have the most powerful sites covered.
The NoFollow issue
When you’re building links, you have to consider whether the site is using NoFollow on outgoing links. This strips the “link juice” off the link so it doesn’t do a lot to help you from a search engine point of view. There is a comprehensive list of sites and whether they have NoFollow at DirectoryList that you can use to check sites against.
In some cases, sites like Digg use nofollow to some links on their site. In their words:
“We’ve added rel=”nofollow” to any external link that we’re not sure we can vouch for. This includes all external links from comments, user profiles and story pages below a certain threshold of popularity.”
I suggest that you make yourself a list of the ones that work and use them but keep an eye on any changes.
Where do most people fail?
Like most businesses owners, affiliate marketers don't often take the time to develop systems that can be implemented regularly or automatically. When you add a new page to your site, you should go and bookmark it on the top 10 social bookmarking sites as a standard process. This should become part of your system for promoting any new content.
If you get promoted on someone else's website, or you write an article for an article site, then you should also go on bookmark those URLs as well. This will get Google to index those links quickly and add them into your total. It may also get traffic to that article which will promote you and your website.
Can you automate it?
Depending on whether your site has an RSS feed or not, you can automate this function to a certain degree. Sites such as Ping.FM allow you to automatically send out any new content and a link to a range of social bookmarking sites. If you are using a WordPress blog to promote your affiliate programs, there is a plug-in that can help you do this. If you're using any other content management system and you have an RSS feed, you can use twitterfeed.com to forward your RSS feed to Ping.FM.
So is it worth the trouble?
My opinion is that it is worth the time… if you can automate it or pay someone else to do it for you. It does help increase your website traffic over time and it can also improve your rankings in the search engines.
Next week I will look at basic list building as a way to increase traffic.