Social Bookmarking and the New SEO

So last week, we wrote a bit about how SEO is all about content marketing and relationship building these days. One of the lines amounted to “hand-built links are useless these days.” Suffice it to say, a few sharp readers pointed out to us that we offer, among other things, a social bookmarking service, and they asked us: isn’t social bookmarking just a cheap, hand-built link that’s exactly like the kind you just said was useless?

The answer, of course, is “Not at all — if it were, we wouldn’t be offering that service.”

So What Does Social Bookmarking Do For Your SEO?

That isn’t to say that social bookmarking isn’t a cheap, hand-built link — it totally is. We own that. But by that logic, so is a link on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google Plus, and you certainly don’t see anyone decrying the value of social media.

The fact is that your content can’t earn backlinks if no one sees it in the first place — and for the first two or three weeks of the lifetime of any piece of content, its effect on social media is actually more important than many other more standard ‘ranking factors’ like backlinks. Which means that you have to get your new content that initial exposure that will start drawing in the social media mentions.

That’s where efforts like social bookmarking separate themselves from efforts like directory listings and Web 2.0 properties. Directories are relics of a bygone era; literally no one cares about them except the people who own them. Web 2.0 properties were clever for a little while, but Google has devalued them so extensively that they’re useless, and no one actually goes to Squidoo or HubPages to look anything up anyway.

Social bookmarking pages, however, are social by their very nature. People browse the likes of Reddit, they fall through the portals of StumbleUpon, and they scan their Tumblr dashboards for interesting tidbits. If you create a link on one of those sites in a way that gets attention, it actually gets attention, unlike most of the other kinds of hand-built backlink you could waste your time on.

So yes: social bookmarking is a service that we offer, and we offer it because it is valuable to your SEO efforts, even while almost all of the other services that used to be associated with it in bygone years have fallen by the wayside.