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 Propeller.com 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 Propeller.com 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.