Recent changes in Google Webmaster Guidelines force search engine optimization (SEO) agencies to change social media and link-building practices. Yet many SEO firms still recommend old practices. The rules of SEO are not black and white; success is in the execution.
SEO Tactics That Backfire
It’s important to understand Google’s objectives and stay centered within its zone of acceptance. SEO agencies and consultants that play near the edges, using tricks for quick results, later get burned. But as the internet evolves and search engines introduce new products to improve their offerings, new SEO tactics are born. There are many tactics that can be implemented to boost rankings and traffic, but without an understanding of Google’s intentions for ranking and penalties, these can go wrong. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when evaluating SEO tactics and determining if Social Bookmarking is a good fit for your business.
SEO is a Multi-Player Game
Similar to soccer, there are rules, penalties and techniques you can utilize to win in SEO. If you’re playing soccer with and against other players, it helps if you pass the ball more, but only in certain conditions:
- You need other players around you.
- They have to be receptive to your pass.
- They need to be trying to get ball down field, the same direction as you.
- They need to eventually kick the ball back to you, or at the goal.
Effective SEO Techniques for Social Bookmarking
Google’s latest published guidelines state: “…Here are a few common examples of unnatural links that violate our guidelines:…Low-quality directory or bookmark site links…”
After reviewing the guidelines, Google’s announcements, interviews and SEO industry buzz, you will realize this statement only refers to low-quality directories or bookmarking sites, not all of them. But before you ask what makes a quality bookmark site, realize that SEO is a race against other websites for rankings for your keywords. Therefore, your SEO metrics for ranking is relative to your competitors for those keywords. Case in point, in a competitive space where everyone is using spam for link-building, the algorithms have no way to award quality, requiring Google to tweak the algorithm for payday loan, gambling and other unmentionable industries. Quality in terms of links often means relevant.
In order to achieve success with social bookmarking, you will need to do some research on the available sites to determine what activity is happening in your niche. Using the machine gun approach and creating accounts and bookmarking your webpage or blog article in as many bookmark sites as possible will not be effective in the long term. Randomly posting links without being a contributing member to the communities is essentially considered spamming.
How to Identify Relevant Bookmarking Sites
Use your website analytics to determine if any social bookmarking sites are currently sending you organic traffic. Within Google Analytics, you can reference “Traffic Sources” > “Social” > “Network Referrals.”
Any sites sending significant traffic can help you with identifying people posting about your subject matter and reveal where you can find a relevant crowd.
Best Practices for Engaging on Social Bookmarking Sites
If you want to drop links in a social bookmark site, you’ve got to play ball with the other people there. Just like in soccer, you need other players around you who will be receptive to your pass and help you score. Keep these three tips in mind as you become active in social bookmarking sites.
1. Find people posting about your subject matter.
This can be as simple as searching the bookmark site for your keywords. You may discover an audience for your content or people in a vertical market whose audience intersects with yours. For example, if you do voice overs, you may find a group of animators, actors or studio musicians. These people are going down field the same direction as you.
2. Get involved in the conversations.
Ask questions, answer questions and contribute something people will appreciate or care to read. This establishes you in the community, making people more receptive to your passes.
3. Be helpful, not promotional.
Don’t just bookmark your own pages, but build a portfolio of bookmarks helpful to other active members. Share bookmarks in response to others, rather than just promoting yourself. This builds trust, making people more likely to help you score (in this case sharing, liking or voting up your bookmarks). Remember, no one likes a one-sided conversation.
In summary, social bookmarking can be an effective SEO tactic when used correctly. As long as you play by the rules and are a “team player,” you are sure to reap the benefits of social bookmarking.
Thank you Gregory Lee