Most webmasters and website owners do not yet understand social bookmarking or how they can use it to increase their leads, their sales, their subscribers and even their repeat visitors. This is a primer that every webmaster and blogger should read.
Everyone knows that a bookmark is a piece of paper that marks a page so you can find it easily again. Most people know that a computer bookmark is a link on your computer that marks a web page so you can find it easily again.
A social bookmark is link that marks a web page so you can find it easily again, but also so you can share it with others, usually by posting it to one of several dozen social-bookmarking websites. For instance, I have accounts at del.icio.us, Simpy, Searchles and several others.
If I was to post a bookmark to your web page at one of these sites, something magical would happen.
First, other members of the bookmarking site could view the link. Then they could follow the link. Then they could subscribe, view more, buy or whatever can be done at that page. Then they could also bookmark the link. Since many bookmarking people participate in several bookmarking sites. They might bookmark your page several times. And they might even blog the link.
The next magic happens when all this is amplified by the magic of search engines who see these very naturally-created (real votes, not phony link exchanges!) building up over time across numerous domains and in varying contexts. The search engines are not stupid, and they are getting smarter every day at recognizing the difference between real and phony links.
The website which can attract social bookmarks has a clear advantage above those that don’t.
STOP THE PRESSES
Just last week, Google updated its algorithm, and webmasters should take note. It’s new “personal search” algorithm includes social bookmarking even more specifically than in the ways I mentioned above. Google can easily see which web pages have been bookmarked at — guess where? — Google Bookmarks!
So you as a website owner or blogger have a very special interest in finding ways to encourage people to social bookmark your pages at Google Bookmarks and at public bookmarking websites.
HOW TO HARNESS SOCIAL BOOKMARKING OF YOUR WEBSITE
Bloggers have been doing this manually for some time, posting little icons for del.icio.us and Digg and ma.gnolia and others at the end of each post. The idea is that users of each social bookmarking service will be prompted to bookmark the post, assuming the post has value.
But doing this manually leaves a lot to be desired, consuming time and effort to set it up and stay current, as well as limitations.
So a few clever people came out with scripts to help automate the process (not the bookmarking itself, just the bookmarking links on the website). The latest entry into this market is the free TheBookmarketer, which is better than the other “similar” scripts in five ways, as I outlined near the bottom of my previous blog post.
When you place a social bookmarking script on your website or blog, make sure to use it yourself. Ask friends and family to, as well. Ask your newsletter subscribers and satisfied customers to social bookmark your pages, too.
Remember, placing the simple snippet of code on your website might be an easy set-it-and-forget-it marketing tool, but it is not some automated “0 to 60 in 5.2″ magic wand. It is just one tool in your arsenal, and it works best when you have something worthwhile for your visitors to bookmark. It does not make your website great, but it does prompt your visitors to let other surfers, shoppers and the search engines know just how great your website is.
As ever day passes, social bookmarking becomes a more important factor in how people find the websites of interest to them. Social bookmarking is both replacing and enhancing typical search engine activity, and no webmaster can afford to lose out on the incredible amount of traffic that social bookmarking sends, both directly and through the search engines.