Social Bookmarking for Traffic

Social Bookmarking for Traffic

by Mark Daoust


A while back I wrote an article commenting on Yahoo's public declaration that
they were effectively
conceding to Google in the search market. The point of the article was that Yahoo was not
necessarily giving
up as a business, but rather focusing its efforts on more modern forms of search.
And what are these more modern forms of search? In a word, social networks which includes social bookmarking
and variants on social
bookmarking
.




What is Social Bookmarking




Social bookmarking is one of the flagships of Web 2.0. The basic
concept behind social
bookmarking
is
that when thousands of people get together, bookmark their favorite
pages, and
apply descriptive tags to each page that they bookmark, certain
websites will
rise to the top as being more popular. The result of this is that
surfers will
be able to see what websites are currently popular among users.




The
idea of social
bookmarking
seems to have been originated by Del.icio.us
back in 2003. Just by visiting the front page
of Del.icio.us you can see the social
bookmarking
in
practice. On the right hand side of the page there is a column labeled
'Popular'. These are websites that currently are receiving a lot of attention from
users under specific
keywords and phrases. These websites are listed under common 'tags'
that users have
given.




Article
Tip:


Wikipedia gives a fairly good explanation of social
bookmarking
. You
can find that explanation at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_bookmarking.
You can also goto
Del.icio.us
and try out the
service which is a great way to learn about social
bookmarking




Digging
for the News




Del.icio.us is not the
only
Web 2.0 flagship that relies on the power of the collective people.
Arguably
one of the most successful Web 2.0 enterprises is Digg.
Digg is a news website which presents headlines from
across the Internet. Unlike practically every other news website to
date,
however, Digg does not rely on editors to determine which news stories
are
worthy of their front page and which news stories they should ignore.
Rather,
Digg relies on the input of their users.




The
system behind Digg is simple. Registered users can navigate
their way to "Digg
for Stories"
. Here everyone can see all of the stories
submitted to Digg.
If a user likes one of the stories, they simply clïck on the
"Digg
It" link. If they do not like the story they can either ignore the
story
or report it as being lame, a duplicate story, or outright sp@m. If a
story
receives enough Diggs in a fast enough amount of time, it gets promoted
to the
front page.




The
system seems to work fairly well. Digg has been smart enough
to put into place anti-cheating devices which do a fairly good job of
catching
manipulators of their system. And if someone does break through these
barriers,
Digg users (often referred to as Diggnation) are usually pretty quick
to point
out the offending users.




Why
Should I Care About These Services?




This
is all fine and interesting, but you might be wondering why
you should spend your precious time reading more of this article. The
answer is
simple: websites like Digg and Del.icio.us
represent the opportunïty to get a lot of new
traffïc
as well as
quality links to your website.




Digg
and Del.icio.us
offer the
absolute best type of web
traffïc
: viral
traffïc
. Business owners know that the most reliable
prospects are the
prospects that come from the referral of someone else, and Digg and Del.icio.us offer just
that. In order to get
seen on a large scale from any of these websites that rely on a
community of
users, your content must be good enough to meet the approval of enough
people
to warrant the elevation of your site to the front page. This, in
effect, is
like one great recommendation for your website.




So
how much traffïc
are we talking about? Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net noted that when a
post of
his reached the front page of Del.icio.us,
he
saw around 8,000 visitors that day from Del.icio.us
alone. This does not take into account all the bloggers
and website owners who
discovered his site from Del.icio.us,
posted
a link to it on their site or in a forum, which would in turn generate
more traffïc
to
his site.




Tech-Recipes,
a relatively common website on the front page of Digg, wrote a great
post on
what the digg
effect is like
. The traffïc
numbers
they post are quite astounding. From being featured
in Digg, they
regularly see 5,000 – 10,000 visitors per day. This is not
unusual either –
websites that are featured in Digg are often subject to what has been
dubbed
the "Digg Effect". It is quite common, unfortunately, for a dug
website to receive
so much
traffïc
that it brings down the server.




Nöw
both Del.icio.us
and Digg
users do not tend to be very active users. This has been pointed out by
more
than one person. Typically they do not clïck on ads, they do
not comment on blogs,
and they do not register
for an account with you. But the name of the website marketing game is
always
going to be frëe exposure, and social
bookmarking services

like these are great ways to get a lot of frëe exposure for
your website. In
addition, these sites will often have secondary and tertiary effects
which you
may not be able to link back directly to your initial exposure on them.




I'm
Sold – Where Do I Sign Up?




So
you are nöw sold on just how great it can
be to be featured on sites like Del.icio.us
and Digg. The natural question to ask here is how do you get featured
on these
sites. I am pretty sure the answer I am about to give is going to be
one that
you do not like as it is a tired phrase:




You
need good, unique content.




Sound
familiar? If you follow SEO at all, you undoubtedly have
been told that good, unique content is the best way to get to the top
of the
rankings. The same thing holds true, but even more so, for social
bookmarking websites
.




In
order to be featured on these sites, your website does not
have to meet the approval of an automated bot that is scouring the web
for
information. Instead, your website needs to meet the approval of actual
human
beings who are going to look at your website, determine whether they
like it or
not, and then tell you the honest truth.




In
the past, web pages that have been successful in being
featured may have had the following traits:




-
They are usually unique

- They often have useful content, such as a tutorial

- They may contain breaking news or an exclusive report

- They are sometimes particularly humorous

- It may be frëe content for downloading (frëe
wallpapers have done well with
Digg)

- It will rise to the top naturally – without manipulation




After
I wrote the article on Yahoo
I received an email asking how one would optimize their site for social
bookmarking services
.
The response to that would have to be simple: optimize your site by
offering
some great, frëe
content
that anyone can
access.




A
Word to the Wise – Don't Cheat




As
a quick sidebar, it is important to note that those who try
to cheat the systems usually find themselves worse off than they were
to begin
with. It is very tempting when dealing with a system like Del.icio.us and Digg to
try and manipulate the
system to artificially get your website to the top.




The
problem with this is simple: if you do succeed in manipulating
the system, but do not have the content to really deserve a featured
placement,
you will undoubtedly turn off more visitors than attract. If your
content is
deserving of a featured placement, it should rise there naturally.




Social
Bookmarking – The Future of Search
?




The
point of the article which I referenced above was not to
state that Yahoo was washed up, but rather that Yahoo was on the cusp
of a new
Internet and a new
förm of
search
. They recognized that Google would not be beat in the search
market
; however, this does not mean that they can not beat
Google by
creating a
market more
effective than search
.




Social
bookmarking
is already becoming a very effective way for experienced
web surfers

to find the latest information on a particular subject. Do you want to
see some
of the latest videos to become popular? Just goto http://del.icio.us/tags/video
and you can see what others are discovering and bookmarking
as valuable.
Want to find some rather obscure guide on Ruby on Rails? Lookup the
common tags
for Ruby on Rails and search through these resources.




Social
bookmarking
has the great ability to reach where search
engines
cannot: by using viral
marketing
and
popular opinion, social
bookmarking
has the ability to discover what is important
before any bot
can spider the site and rank it among the thousands of sites available.
Granted, social
bookmarking
will nevër replace search
completely, but as it grows in popularity, web users are quickly
discovering a
whole new way to discover
web pages
that they would nevër discover otherwise.




So
take the time today to examine Digg and Del.icio.us. Take a
little more time to find new
social websites
like
Digg and Del.icio.us
(they are popping up all
over the place) and learn what seems to make users on these sites
clïck. Social
technologies
are
here to stay, and they are only going to grow in popularity. Right
nöw is a golden
opportunïty

for you to gain great exposure for your website if you simply learn
how to use these
services
.






About
The Author


Mark Daoust is the owner of Site Reference.




This
article may be reprinted as long as all links are active,
including a link to the article's original location which can be found
at Site Reference.







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