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Google’s John Mueller on Social Bookmarking for Links

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Google’s John Mueller on Social Bookmarking for Links

Google’s John Mueller on a Webmaster Hangouts answered a question about social bookmarking for links tactic. Google’s Mueller offered insight into how Google treats low quality link building.

What is Social Bookmarking for Links?

Social Bookmarking is a variation of forum spamming. The idea behind is that social media websites contain “authority” and that by creating links on social media sites, a new site could obtain some of this “authority” from those sites and begin ranking.

The problem with that tactic is that there is no “authority” signal. There is no such thing.

A web page can acquire multiple links from relevant websites and become authoritative for a topic. But there is no actual “authority” signal or metric.

Diagram showing the difference between a strong and a weak web pageThere is no such thing as an authority metric. While links can be a measure of authoritativeness, there is no actual authority metric and the effect links can be limited or enhanced by factors like relevance.

In the above diagram, most SEOs would prefer the Strong Web Page for a link. But the Weak Web Page can be more desirable if it’s on topic. The “strong web page” could be less desirable if it’s not relevant.

A page with inbound links relevant for Topic A, will make that page relevant for Topic A. But if your page is about Topic Z, that link is probably not going to be useful to you in terms obtaining a ranking benefit.

A web page does not inherit authority, it only inherits links and those links only matter when they are also relevant.

So obtaining links from social media or social bookmarking sites does not confer any particular benefit because they are inherently irrelevant and any inbound links are also irrelevant.

When looked at in terms of how links are analyzed and ranked in a modern search engine, the idea of obtaining a ranking benefit from bookmarking sites is easily seen as not possible.

For more information about link analysis read:

Does Social Bookmarking for Links Affect Rankings?

This is the question that the webmaster asked:

“I social bookmarked my site. After one week I noticed that the site which I bookmarked has been marked as spam.

Do the pages have any effect on my ranking?”

This is what John Mueller had to say about using social bookmarking sites for link building:

“I don’t think those pages would have any effect on your ranking because probably we’re also ignoring those social bookmark sites, the links from there.

That’s a really, really old SEO strategy and we have a lot of practice in recognizing those kind of links and just ignoring them.”

The strategy of using “social bookmarking” for links in order to improve rankings is not recommended because it is ineffective. Using social bookmarking sites for links does not work to improve rankings. Google ignores those links.

Watch the Webmaster Hangout here.

Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author
Screenshots by Author, Modified by Author

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Roger Montti

Roger Montti is an SEO consultant & web publisher with nearly 20 years experience. He offers Site Audits for ranking ... [Read full bio]

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