Just over a decade ago, people discovered the magic that was del.icio.us, the website that popularized the now-defunct term “social bookmarking” and also the incredibly-popular term “tagging.” Social bookmarking was hyped as a revolutionary way to share sites with other people and allow the crowd to decide what was awesome and what was weaksauce. (There was an earlier generation of social bookmarking sites, but they literally all died in the dotcom crash in early 2000.)
It didn’t take long for the SEO crowd to latch onto the idea of social bookmarking as a great way to snag a killer backlink for almost no effort. Sites like Digg and Reddit were authoritative, ‘nofollow’ wasn’t a thing, and it took all of 12 seconds to whip out an entry on one of these sites. Along with techniques like “submit your site to every directory on the Internet” and “comment on random blogs,” social bookmarking’s easy-linkbuilding value has died an ignoble death with Google’s aggression against SEO spam.
This, of course, means that Social Bookmarking is completely dead and no SEO company would ever use it…or, you know the exact opposite of that.
Putting the ‘Social’ in Social Bookmarking
See, at the same time that Google killed easy linkbuilding, they also did this other thing where they amped up the importance of social media mentions and social links for fresh content — which means higher placement, which means a better chance to earn longer-term, more authoritative backlinks from relevant sites.
So nowadays, social bookmarking on authoritative sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg (and industry-specific sites like Technorati and Slashdot) is done regularly by plenty of mid-sized players across almost every industry. It’s just not part of the “Content Creation” department — it’s part of the “Social Media” department. And even though for most of these companies, that means John does it in the afternoon instead of first thing in the morning, it’s still an important part of the overall SEO process.
If a company tries to tell you otherwise, ask them in detail about their social media plan — you’ll probably find out that their social media savvy is a bit behind the curve.