SEO Q&A : Do Social Bookmarks Still Hold Link Value?

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Over the weekend I was asked twice about social bookmarking and links, and whether or not those social links have SEO value.

I find that the answer to this question is detemined on how one values SEO and linking. Sure, some of the links from bookmarking sites do not use nofollow, and this may help with your search rankings and inbound linking. I’m a big fan of the verticalization of linking, so I believe that if a niche social media site links to a site which shares its same vertical niche and target, the link is worth more.

The Power of the Profile

Futhermore, social media profile pages can still send some nice juice to the website linked to from that page. If the profile is REAL and active, chances are the link will be worth more. Setting up social media profiles across social sharing and video sites is always good for branding, as an image can be uploaded to the profile and sometimes those profiles will rank well for a brand name, especially Twitter profiles. I highly suggest registering your brand across social media sites for the brand-value, and before your competition does. Try using Check User Names for this, it’s a tool for checking your brand or keywords across nearly 100 social media sites to see if your branded profile is still available.

Listings and Links

About a year or so ago, links in social bookmarking sites and social media sites had decent value. Listings in for example not only had great natural SEO value, but also were known to be ranked highly on Google and Yahoo for search terms themselves, meaning that the listing would rank, get trafiic, and then send that traffic to the site which was listed.

The social account holder also have a lot of value. Is the account user organic? Do they have friends? Do they do more than litter their bookmarks with obvious paid spamming? The mad rush in social bookmarking however led to spamming of the bookmarking sites and a lot of phony accounts. Still, there are members at some forums charging $100 a pop to spam bookmark from worthless accounts; this is money wasted.

Currently, Search Engine Journal still gets a lot of traffic from Digg listings, which are archived on Digg and indexed in Google, since Digg is an authority site. Most of the traffic comes from Digg listings which hit the homepage, or had a different anchor text and description than the target SEJ post.

In conclusion, soley from a link building / spamming perspective, I’d say no, the bookmarks are not the most powerful aspect of link building. But for overall SEO, brand building (and remember that Google is loving brands), traffic and connecting, then yes, social bookmarks and profiles hold a great deal of value.

Your thoughts?

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • jamiekeaney

    I agree that they have an SEO value in terms of brand building. I doubt they hold any real link value, but who knows, maybe Google has insight into how many times pages are bookmarked. I think that may play a small role in their algo.

  • John

    I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect that people don’t use social bookmark sites when searching for something.

    However, from a content perspective, finding your stuff bookmarked means that people find your stuff helpful/useful – and that’s a good thing. You may not see it help in SEO (because I imagine that 9 times out of 10 only the user that saved your link is the one visiting your page from that referring site), but you do know that that page is helpful to others.

    That could probably be leveraged into metrics someway, and determining why certain pages were saved could help one to improve their website and future posts.

  • James Stratford

    That’s a question that is on peoples minds with all of the spamming going on the weight if there was any may get reduced.

    I do not claim to be the expert, but for branding they can be very useful.
    “I’m a big fan of the verticalization of linking, so I believe that if a niche social media site links to a site which shares its same vertical niche and target, the link is worth more.” That is as concise as it gets and it definitely needs to be kept in mind as people are being strategical as to where they’d like to link to.

    I would expect that when google looks at those either now or in the future they’ll be looking at how complete, contextual and active the profiles are and adjust accordingly, but only time will tell and that’s speculative.

    FYI I’m probably the odd duck (I hate admitting that in public), but I am an avid user of social bookmarks since they are much richer than a search for niche content and you can tell where people in your target market are going and with polling you can find out what they are looking for. 🙂

  • Steen Ohman

    Some interesting points.

    I’m not so sure about link value anymore. Does a nofollow link ad value?.

    The problem now is all the link spammers who are starting to use Social Media. blogs and other sites with user generatet content. This has to be stopped, otherwise links will eventually lose the power.

  • Web Programming

    I still believe that Social Bookmarking is the best SEO avenue if you are after on tons of traffic and backlinks. This is also a good off-page factor for site’s popularity factor.

  • Terry Van Horne

    No one really knows what the value of a nofollowed link is. IMO, it’s likely more than nothing and more than what most SEOs believe the value is.

    I agree on the linking to verticles and raising Brand awareness, I disagree any SE can determine intent or profiles used for paid services. At some point I think the site can indicate that by the link profile as a whole, afterall if it is getting gamed it’s likely with a lot of low quality pages. If I’m gamin’ it I’m going to mix a lot of good with the low quality. That would liokely be contrary to what a person using the profile to game SEs would do.

  • anon

    Social bookmarking works great for me. In fact I use them as a large part of ranking any site. Granted though, I am dealing with fairly low competition keywords most of the time.

  • Brian Ratzker

    Brand building can indirectly lead to link building so I recommend that you get involved with it in some manner.

  • James Colt

    I think every online marketer should learn as much as they can about what the following entities and groups are looking for and what they favor; Google, social media (to include bookmarking sites), and their customers (including potential customers). In other words the more you learn to love Google, social media, and your target market – the better you will do.

  • David Leonhardt

    I agree pretty much on all that has been said here, but I also think that social bookmarking links hold real link juice (where the links are followable). I don’t think Google needs to be too concerned about spamming, because the $100 to submit to 100 social bookmarking sites does not compare to a site that gets several thousand links from social bookmarking sites over the course of a year (let’s say 50 posts, each with an average of 30 diggs – that’s over 1500 links from Digg alone). I don’t think Google and Yahoo can or would want to ignore those links, which implicitly demonstrate value.

  • Gerald Weber

    I think the real value of social book marketing is when something becomes popular on a site like delicious, reddit, digg etc. Then others will naturally link to the site/article. As far as the link itself from the social book mark site I think there may be some value but I wouldn’t count on it as your primary link building strategy.

  • David Camma

    I am with Terry on the nofollow tag. I have just seen too much increase in ;ow competition keywords that match the exact text of a couple “nofollow” links. I do think they still carry weight.

    I also agree that social bookmarking can still be a major part of linkbuilding, but it is not the only means of linkbuilding. It really depends on if you are looking for a quantity of links or quality of links. When I take on a new campaign I usually try for a quantity of links first. Build as many back to the site as I can for the first couple of months and then focus on quality. It seems to work pretty well, but again I am working mainly with local terms.

  • Sierra Night Tide

    Even though bookmarking has lost some value I still believe they hold an important value, especialy for new website owners who are just learning about marketing and SEO.

    I believe Branding is much more important but works better when used with bookmarking.

  • Paul R

    Any good articles on the linking value of social websites? Any chance Google will ignore those sites from rankings?

  • Jenny

    Social bookmarking I have found does still hold link value.
    I for one use social bookmarking sites not only for articles that I’ve written but to also look for other articles that a) are well written and b) to gain an insight in to others opinions.

  • sohbet

    Any good articles on the linking value of social websites? Any chance Google will ignore those sites from rankings?

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  • Tony

    I know its a bit off the subject – but has anyone got any views / advice re using the very low price Indian manual submission services to directories tc & other SEO work?? I am tempted to give it a try as saves a lot of leg work – but a bit nervous – any comments welcomed – thanx

  • nike dunk

    my answer is yes.

  • nike dunk

    how can bookmark affect the site rankings, sorry, i am just green hands

  • Sam

    How to actually do bookmarking in minimum possible time …..

  • Web Xperts

    hey even i want to know about book marking, will someone here help us in this

  • apollo

    I do a lot of social media marketing activities. Social bookmarking is one among them. However i dont know how exactly social bookmarking helps. I use stumbleupon, deliciuos, reddit. I do get traffic when i check the google analytics from social bookmarking. My Question is how do we measure the success of Social bookmarking?

  • Mark

    The marketing company I work for is getting more and more requests, not only about managing Social Media, but Social bookmarks. Sites such as, seem to be focusing on Social Links more, and they have a free checker. As this isn’t my personal specialist subject, I think it helps, but how much I think it varies on what you are after.