Do you still promote your blog on sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, or Delicious? Are you active on Reddit? Do you use the platform when sharing or promoting web pages you like?
This approach, known as social bookmarking, was a popular link-building strategy during the rise of social media between 2000 and 2010. “Bookmarks” were – and still are – one of the best ways for people to keep, classify, and manage their favorite web pages. Sites like the ones mentioned above offer a quick and easy way to retrieve your favorite links for sharing or personal use. These lists can be private or public (viewed by everyone), and categorized according to special interest.
Although it’s still being used today by most online users to store important links, a lot of digital marketing agencies have either limited their use of this strategy OR have stopped it entirely. Does this mean that social bookmarking is no longer relevant? What techniques are top online marketing firms implementing to replace this old tactic then?
Social Bookmarking Then and Now
Submitting links to social bookmarking sites not only increased traffic to web pages, it also provided faster indexing because search engines like Google, would regularly crawl those sites. Once your link has been successfully indexed, it should appear on search results. Another benefit to social bookmarking was getting qualified views for your link. This is especially true for niche bookmarking sites like Reddit, which has numerous sub-categories based on interest.
However, everything changed during the Penguin algorithm update in 2012. Before that, plenty of marketers would simple post a link and leave. After the update, links in low-quality directory or bookmark sites were marked as spam. Although social bookmarking sites are still being used today, the approach itself seems to have died down due to other techniques gaining momentum (and because online marketers are afraid of being penalized).
Content and social media marketing for instance, are two of the most talked-about strategies in recent years.
Social Media for Bookmarking
You may have read or heard that social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, are also considered as social bookmarking websites. Aside from these giants, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ are just a few of the best platforms to submit your links for traffic and engagement. These sites have high domain authority as well as a huge online following, increasing the chances that your links will get the attention they deserve.
Unlike past strategies though, you can’t just submit your link then go. You need to:
- interact with other members
- properly categorize your links
- use unique descriptions
- include links from other related websites – not just yours
Although social bookmarking is not as popular as it once was, it’s still a good way of bringing traffic to your web page. However, like search engine optimization (SEO), it has evolved to include a personalized approach. This means NO duplicate links, spam or overly promotional content.
Sustainable Alternatives to Social Bookmarking
It’s alright to use social bookmarking today – as long as you don’t violate search engine quality guidelines. But if you’re looking into the future, you want more sustainable techniques that would go past the life span of a digital campaign. If so, here are top three alternatives to try:
1. Content Curation
Whether you’re a digital marketer OR a travel blogger, content curation allows you to collect relevant information related to your interests while at the same time, build up your credibility on those topics. Think of it as being an industry expert. If people want recommendations about particular subjects, you’ll have a library of knowledge to share with them.
Flipboard and Paper.li are two of the best content curation sites. Choose Flipboard if you want a magazine-style layout, with stunning images and the capability of being mobile. Pick Paper.li if you’re more into a newspaper-style design that can be easily shared on top social media platforms.
2. Active Participation in Online Communities
Forums and/or Q&A sites are great if you’re building an online reputation. Reddit for example, has a HUGE amount of visitors who are active on a daily basis. If you are able to build good connections with them as well as provide high-quality, relevant information, your links have a high chance of gaining amazing traffic and even shares.
Q&A sites such as Quora on the other hand, are a good platform for answering specific queries relating to your industry or brand. They’re also a content syndicator, submitting quality, comprehensive answers to other authority websites like Slate.com. Content on this website appear on Google search results, so you’re sure to get more for your efforts.
3. Repurposing Content
This process means recycling existing content. For instance: say you wrote a great piece about guest blogging. It’s a 1,500-word article on your blog that received thousands of reads and shares on social media. That’s great – but now what?
Repurposing your content not only breathes new life into it, you can post it on other sites to get valuable links. Plus, other users who may not like your original content will get a chance to change their mind once they see your repurposed version.
There are plenty of websites to submit your repurposed content. A few of them include Slideshare (for presentations), Visual.ly (for visual content like infographics), and YouTube (for videos).
Remember: you can still do social bookmarking along with these strategies. The key is promoting content created by people, for people.
Links will remain as a valuable factor in Google’s search algorithm. However, you may want to relegate social bookmarking as a backup tactic instead of a main strategy. If you want to survive another year in digital marketing AND make your mark in the industry, it’s time to think about long-term techniques.
Don’t be afraid to experiment on new approaches and emerging platforms. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Add a human touch to your interactions. Slowly build your links; and over time, see how they build your name.
About the Author:
SEO consultant Al Gomez is the man behind SEOExpertPage.com and Dlinkers, a company dedicated to complete digital marketing services. With more than nine years of experience, he enjoys supporting smartpreneurs like himself achieve online success.