An Introduction to Social Bookmarking
This week I was going to do a little more on selecting effective keywords but I’ve had a couple of requests from people who are after information on social bookmarking. So this week I’ve decided to ramble on a bit about that.
So What is Social Bookmarking?
From a Search Engine Optimisation perspective (SEO), social bookmarking is a way to get the link for your website out there on the web so you can increase your search engine ranking. Basically, social bookmarking “is a method for internet users to share, organise, search, and manage bookmarks of web resources. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves aren’t shared, merely bookmarks that reference them.”1
On your web browser, you bookmark sites that you like so you can access them later. It saves you having to remember them an it’s easier than losing lots of scraps of paper. The downside of bookmarking on your computer is that when you go to another computer you don’t have any of your bookmarks with you. It can be a pain when you’re over at a friend’s house and you’re trying to remember a really great site but can’t remember the address or even what you were searching for when you came across it.
Enter social bookmarking. Now you have the ability to store your bookmarks on-line so you can access them from any computer anywhere in the world.
OK, so what on earth does this have to do with improving my search engine ranking?
Why Should I Use Social Bookmarking?
Apart from the benefit of being able to access your favourite websites from any computer there is a very good reason to bookmark. Before I let you in on the secret, there is something you need to know about search engines. Search engines rate your site on a number of factors in order to determine where you fit into the search results. There are the obvious ranking factors such as site content and keywords (we’ll be covering these in other posts) but search engines also look at how popular your site is. One way of doing this is they look at how many links there are back to your site. Social Bookmarking is one way to increase the number of links to your site.
Now you are probably wondering how creating an online bookmark can make any significant difference to your ranking. Well it can’t. What can make a difference is creating a lot of bookmarks on different social bookmarking sites.
Just throwing out a lot of bookmarks around the web can be time consuming and reap very little rewards if you don’t approach it the right way.
So what is the right way?
A little more on how search engines like Google looks at links. They don’t just look at the quantity of the links but also the quality of the links. Now, Google “trusts” some sites more than others. The more trusted a site is, the more value it places on the links it contains, so the trick is to place quality links on trusted sites.
Don’t worry, it’s actually not as complicated as it sounds.
So How Do I Do It?
The first thing you need is a decent description of your site. If you read my post on keywords2 you should have created a decent description for your site by now. If not, write a description that contains your main keywords whilst still sounding like real english.
Next, you need to access some of the more “trusted” social bookmarking sites. These are the ones with a higher Page rank. Page rank is what Google uses to rank a sites level of importance. It is a scale from 0-10 with 10 being the highest. Anything 2 or more is considered good. I’ve compiled a list of well ranked sites3. There are 100’s of others and more springing up every day.
What do I do once I get there? Well each site has it’s own rules and regulations so you need to check them out on a site by site basis. What you will need to do though is to create an account for each site. Now on many sites when you create your account they will offer to send you newletters, digests and some will want to install toolbars. There is no need for any of them so don’t bother unless you are actually considering using them to bookmark other sites.
Once you have an account you will have the option to create bookmarks. Many sites give you the option to make your bookmarks either public or private. Choose to make them public so other people can find them and click on them. You never know, they may add your bookmark to their links.
Depending on the site you will have a few options. Some sites will only let you add the link and then get the description, some will let you enter your own description and some will let you add extra information such as keywords and categories.
A Couple of Points to Remember
- Some sites are only after news stories. If you come across one, leave it alone. If you try to concoct a news story for your site, you may get your site marked as spam.
- Getting a good ranking isn’t achieved overnight so don’t try to create huge numbers of bookmarks straight off the bat. Try to put up 5-10 a day for a couple of weeks and pretty soon you’ll have over 100 links from trusted sites back to your site.
- Social bookmarking is just one of a number of factors that can affect your search engine ranking. It will not help if your website is poorly constructed and hard to navigate.