If you expect your content to go viral or at least get the traffic you want without doing anything apart from pressing the ‘Publish’ button, you’re wrong. There are many ways to help people find your content – social media is the preferred method, but bookmarking is still useful, if used correctly.
When it comes to content promotion, not only must you use a variety of channels, you need to have a strategy. As part of your strategy, as well as your promotional arsenal, social bookmarking sites should not be overlooked. For sure, you still need to engage on social media, as well as have a rigorous outreach strategy, but social bookmarking sites are still an effective way of putting your content in front of the people who are interested in your industry, products and services. Therefore, these should be implemented into your SEO and content promotion strategy.
Key Benefits Of Social Bookmarking and Content Curation Sites
Whilst times have changed and bookmarking is no longer considered a link building practice on a massive scale, there are still a lot of benefits this can generate for your website. These can include:
- More traffic – Many of the top social bookmarking sites can be a great referral source; for example StumbleUpon often appears as one of the top three referral sources
- Qualified visitors – If you operate in a specific industry, the use of highly targeted/niche bookmarking sites can help you gain qualified visitors
- More social signals – The more social signals your content receives across multiples sites the better, as it is believed this can have a positive effect on your rankings
- Faster indexing – Social bookmarking platforms are crawled almost constantly by search engines which can often result in your content being indexed much faster
However, given Google’s recent algorithm updates I believe you need to have a strategy when it comes to social bookmarking to avoid any pitfalls, or even worse, receiving a penalty from Google.
Bookmarking The Right Way
According to Google’s latest quality guidelines, links coming from low-quality directories and bookmarking sites can be seen us unnatural and therefore could have a negative effect on your rankings.
Years ago, social bookmarking was pretty much about getting your content bookmarked on every site, no matter the quality, out there in order to generate as many links as possible. Well, these days are gone so if you’re still doing it, STOP now!
The correct way to use social bookmarking and content curation sites is to use them on a regular basis. You need to be active, grow your followers (if possible) and most importantly engage with the audience, otherwise you won’t get the results you want and you can actually put your website at greater risk.
I would highly recommend applying the Pareto 80/20 rule where 80% of the content you bookmark/curate/submit is not from your website, but still relevant to your industry. The rest (20%) of submitted or shared articles should be from your website or blog.
6 Rules for Social Bookmarking In the Post-Penguin World
- Find quality bookmaking sites that are relevant to your industry, products and target audience
- Create complete profiles when setting up your profile/account as you would with Facebook, Twitter or Google+
- Quality over quantity – avoid bookmarking your content on as many sites as possible, relevancy is the key. Stop using automated Social Bookmarking tools
- Use the 80/20 rule – don’t just promote your own content
- Build a portfolio of good bookmarks that will help other users. This can help you build trust; in other words people will be more likely to share, like or vote up your bookmarked content
- Be active – re-share other’s content, engage with people, ask questions and post comments
Top Social Bookmarking and Content Curation Sites
It’s time to take your content beyond the usual social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. I’ve created a list of top social bookmarking sites which I have a good experience with and use on a regular basis.
Pearltrees is one of my favourite bookmarking sites as it’s very powerful and an easy-to-use platform. I use it as my number one personal bookmarking site and have already seen good results in terms of traffic, as well as likes within the platform itself. Below you can see how I structure the content I share.
- Pros – very easy to setup and use, simple yet powerful, paid options available
- Cons – you need to build up a good portfolio as sporadic activity won’t help you
StumbleUpon is a must-use site not only for those who want to share their articles, but also for people who want to find interesting articles, hence the nickname ‘discovery engine’. It can be a powerful traffic driver for many businesses, big as well as small. With a wide range of categories to choose from, you’ll be able to show your content to a relevant audience.
- Pros – great for finding interesting content, many topics/interests/categories which to submit content,
- Cons – Again, you need to be active first; make sure you submit other articles and have friends on it before you submit your own content.
Delicious is a very effective bookmarking site that enables you to easily bookmark sites you like and create personal collections based on tags/keywords. As a bonus, all of your bookmarks can be shown in a feed allowing others to follow/subscribe to your bookmarks.
- Pros – Extremely popular bookmarking site with a large base of users, it can be a powerful traffic driver
- Cons – A good and active account is required in order to see results
Digg together with Delicious are top bookmarking sites with a high authority. If your website/content is shared and voted up and makes the Digg Home page you can expect a lot of traffic.
The main pros and cons are similar to Delicious, so don’t expect much from your first submission.
Flipboard claims to be social magazine which collects news and other content and presents it in magazine-style format. With Flipboard you can create your own magazine on any topic you like. This way you can create visually appealing magazines on topics relevant to your industry and audience.
This SteamFeed article will show you how to use Flipboard to promote your business.
- Pros – stunning visual design, great way to showcase your best content or even image-based content, e.g. an online story book
- Cons – need to signup via phone (Web-based platform launched recently), being active is a must as no-one will have a look at your 3 page-only magazine
BizSugar is one of my favourite curation sites which I use on a regular basis. As the name suggest, BizSugar is a social bookmarking sites made for small and medium sized business to share useful content. If it’s good users can reward it with ‘sugars’ (votes); the more you get, the better. Plus your submitted content can become ‘hot’ and make the first page. Below is an example of one of my SEO posts that became hot, resulting in a traffic increase as well as additional comments:
- Pros – Easy to use platform, you can create your own Meta descriptions to make it more engaging for readers, instant user interactions (votes, comments)
- Cons – fully completed profile, as well as community engagement is a must, otherwise there are limitations on the number of posts you can submit in a day and you’ll only receive business news
Sharebloc is a very similar to BizSugar where you can curate useful content and get votes. It’s a quite new platform, but it has great potential to grow.
- Pros – simple and easy-to-use platform, as it’s still new you have a great opportunity to become an expert
- Cons – fairly new platform with a smaller user base than BizSugar
Bundlr is another site which is fairly new on the block. I’ve only explored it recently, however it’s a very simple and easy to use platform allowing you to add content about your favourite topics, photos, videos and more.
If done correctly social bookmarking can be still a very effective tactic at driving traffic in today’s post-Penguin world. However, don’t forget that relevancy and regular activity is the key.
How about you?
What experience do you have with social bookmarking? What other social bookmarking and content curation sites do you find useful and effective in the post-penguin era? I would love to hear your suggestions and thoughts.