Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit: these four names are the biggest names in social bookmarking, and are used by a combined total of over 300 million unique users. The biggest social bookmarking sites have become so successful that they've inspired thousands of imitators and a big new marketing industry. In a quest for social bookmark submission, some law firm marketers have started to use automated social bookmarking submission service software. But is this the right way to do social bookmarking submission, and are there alternatives that work better? Keep reading to find out.
A Brief History of Social Bookmark Submission
Social bookmarking submission started with the first social bookmarking websites, like Digg. Digg was the first truly open social bookmarking submission service, allowing anyone to submit a link of any type as long as it conformed to basic decency guidelines.
However, social bookmark submission has changed over the years. As people began to use a social bookmarking submission service in order to get more inbound links for SEO purposes, rather than just to share something new and cool with their friends, users got more aware of spam and marketing materials. Today, good social bookmarking submission is more difficult than it was in the past.
The sites that are most popular are changing as well. While Digg still has the highest number of users of the “traditional” social bookmarking submission service websites (Twitter is excluded as being primarily a social networking site),
Do We Need Social Bookmark Submission?
Although some marketers considered social bookmark submission to be much less important than using social networks, social bookmarkers are among the best brand ambassadors on the internet. They tend to be logged on more and have more connections to more people in more places—making social bookmarking submission much more valuable than it's often given credit for.
There's a reason that most of the time, viral content is started on these social bookmark submission websites and then picked up later by people using Facebook and Twitter. The members of social bookmarking websites view themselves as content curators, and are actively working to create the newest big viral sensation on the web. Facebook and Twitter users are more numerous, but they also tend to act like a herd, following viral trends that have already started and developed from a social bookmark submission. While it can be relatively easy to automate social networks, a social bookmarking submission service can start to run into trouble.
The Automation Question and How it Affects Social Bookmarking Submission
The most common reason for a law firm to hire a social bookmarking submission service is that they want for their submissions to be fully automated. However, there are some big problems with automating social bookmarking submission, and any law firm that is considering automation needs to take these issues into account.
If you're automating your content across many different social bookmark submission websites by using a social bookmarking submission service, what do the users of those websites think of you? You can actually tell by looking at whether, on the bigger social bookmark submission websites, you're actually getting upvoted or upmodded. If you're not—and if you're using automation, you won't be—you aren't actually getting links that people are following or even seeing.
Social bookmarking submission is tough to do effectively through automation because the people who use social bookmark submission websites are, for lack of a better term, internet nerds. Many of them have grown up using the internet, and know the telltale signs that a link came from a social bookmarking submission service rather than being submitted organically. They're very tough to fool, and getting tougher by the day.
Google Penguin Strikes Back at Automated Social Bookmark Submission
It's not just users of social bookmarking submission websites that are ticked off at automated social bookmarking submission services. Google has made its displeasure with automatic social bookmark submission known by penalizing links made with these services (an algorithm called Google Penguin). If you use a social bookmarking submission service, even if it works at first, it could stop producing any link juice with absolutely no warning.
One of the biggest ways that Google detects non-organic social bookmarking submission is by looking at your overall traffic and your number of inbound links. A brand new website would never naturally have 1000 different people with accounts on different social bookmark submission websites suddenly recommend it. This kind of unnatural behavior very clearly shows that you're using an automated social bookmarking submission service, and Google won't hesitate to “sandbox” your site (penalize its rankings so that it's no longer getting any benefit from the non-organic links).
Community Matters: Social Bookmarking Submission as Community Building
If automation isn't the answer for social bookmarking submission, what is? Keep in mind that if your goal is content virality (which will drive the highest number of new links to your website, and can be 99% organic after your initial “push”), you should consider social bookmark submission websites to be your #1 priority.
After a particular social bookmarking submission site has been around for a while, they consider themselves to be much more than a social bookmarking submission service. The members consider themselves part of a real community. On some social bookmark submission websites, members have banded together to give very real financial help to people in hard times, or have used their connections to get interviews with some of the most powerful and famous people in our time.
When you use an automated social bookmarking submission service, you disrespect that community by telling it that it's not worth spending real time or effort on. It's like sending a tape recorded message of your voice to a partners' meeting instead of coming on your own—unlikely to be received well, and likely to reflect very poorly on your level of commitment.
Instead, participate actively. Answer people's questions, build a real presence on several websites. Not only will this be a great deal more fun than social bookmark submission through a computer program, it's also likely to lead to better networking opportunities and more chances for your content to go viral.