Social bookmarking might sound like a strange ritual that little Midwestern housewives do to one another’s copies of Tony Morrison’s Beloved or a strange Mormon ritual that has something to do with a Pearl of Great Price, but in this instance, we’re talking about SEO. Social bookmarking is a common enough activity for backlink building: you go to a site like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, or GoogleBuzz, and you create a backlink that points at your stuff.
Sounds quick, simple, and effective. Except that the effective part isn’t really all that effective. Google — and we have to talk about Google because they have an 80% market share of searches — Google, in it’s endless quest to thwart internet markers, has developed a few easy ways of eliminating 90% of internet marketers’ social bookmarking efforts.
The first method is to ignore any social bookmarking account that only points at material from one or two authors. Their algorithm automatically does a WhoIs query on every website they get linked to, so they’ll know that a given bookmarking account only points to your site unless you manage to come up with different identities for each of your sites. That alone eliminates almost every solo webmaster or outsourced backlinker in one go.
But beyond that, they also examine the timestamps on the various backlinks that point to your site — and if they see that your incoming links are coming in ‘bursts’ (like, nothing for 18 hours and then 170 links from 170 different sites over the course of 4 hours), they ignore that, too. That prevents all of the backlinkers who think they’re going to be clever and use software to build dozens of links at a time from getting anywhere.
So what is ‘Real’ social bookmarking? Simple: it means that you use social bookmarking the same way that you use blog posting — you do it often, you do it about different subjects, and you act like a real human being. The truth is that Google loves social bookmarks — as long as they look and feel like they’re from real people who are really interested in what they’re doing. If you can do that, you can make Social Bookmarking really work for your site.