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Social Bookmarking: Is It Still Worth It?

Social bookmarking was once the rage of the SEO community — sites like del.ici.ous, Digg, and Reddit attracted a considerable amount of attention because they combined the three things that linkbuilders love: dofollow links, controllable anchor text, and the ability to share your links with others.

Then, as the social bookmarking sites realized that they were getting abused by internet markers looking to give their own sites some love, the vast majority of them switched to nofollow links, and the party pretty much died off. Or did it?

(For those of you who aren’t following — forgive the pun — the difference between a dofollow link and a nofollow link is that the Google spiders that crawl the web looking at pages won’t acknowledge a nofollow link, meaning that even if you get a link from a PR 8 webpage, if it’s nofollow, the Google spider won’t give your website the credit for that banklink.)

There are three big reasons why social bookmarking is still a critical part of every organic SEO campaign. First of all, the nofollow/dofollow distinction only applies to Google. If you want to rank on Bing, Yahoo, AllTheWeb, Blekko, or other up-and-coming search engines, each and every social bookmark you post has value.

social bookmarkingSecondly, there are still social bookmarking sites that retain their dofollow nature. The two biggest are Digg and, perhaps ironically, Google Buzz — but there are several dozen others that are worth your time. Even if Google is your sole target, social bookmarking on these sites will still have profound SEO benefits.

Finally, there is the simple fact that the third factor that made social bookmarks so amazing in the first place is still firmly in place — perhaps moreso now than ever. Social bookmarking pages have become communities, much like forums, and participating regularly on these community pages will get you the same kind of benefits in terms of readership and authority.

There is an easy way to prove this: grab a PR-checker and go to the profile pages of some of the most profligate posters on Digg and Reddit — and you’ll find that their profile page is often, by itself, a PR 4 or 5 page. That’s huge, and if you can get there, you can easily drop a high-PR backlink on any page you desire at any time. That is worth it.

PPC Management Is The Quickest Route to First Page Placement

When you’re just starting out online, you need one thing more than anything else: first page placement. As millions of failed Inter-preneurs can attest to, getting to the top of page 2 just doesn’t pay the bills — and when you’re just starting, you’re nowhere near even that laudable goal.

Enter the idea of pay-per-click marketing. This sounds like a dream come true for novice webmasters — you bid on some keywords, the search engines put your link up under the “Sponsored Placement” section whenever someone searches for those keywords, and they see your link! You pay a few cents, and one in every hundred or so people who searched for the keyword will actually follow your link to your site, and some of them will buy your product or service. Sounds simple enough.

The problem is that it’s not all that simple. There are dozens of potential pitfalls, most of them revolving around picking the right keywords, that can turn pay-per-click (PPC) into a black hole from which your money will never return. The PPC game is one that takes a very special skill set that most business owners quite simply don’t have time to learn. That’s why many SEO companies hire a few people who specialize in the vagaries of PPC — so that they can offer their clients a talented crew for PPC management.

PPC managementPPC managers add to the total cost of a PPC marketing campaign — but they virtually always add to the return as well. They’ve put in their ten thousand hours of PPC labor, and their expertise in their craft shows instantly in the results. They choose keywords that people use when they already want to buy something. They craft advertisements that show those people exactly how easy it is to buy what they’re looking for. They keep your cost-per-click low and your conversions high. All you have to do is make sure that your website converts as well as their advertisements do.

Given the relatively low cost of most PPC management today, it’s practically a no-brainer. PPC management equals instant first page placement — with results.

Going Viral with a Press Release Service

Let’s start by getting one thing very clear: not every use of a press release service results in a massive boost in traffic. Press releases can be insanely effective, but most of them are just backlinks like any other blog comment or one-off article submission. In fact, many experts will tell you not to put a lot of effort into your press releases — just hire a service and get one put out there about your latest product, service, or idea.

They’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

You see, a press release isn’t like an article you write and then put on a directory where someone might search for it and might read it. A press release goes out on a variety of websites that gather such releases, and the nation’s newspapers, news radio stations, televisions, and other press agencies actually comb through those looking for great stories. If they find one, they’ll take it to their editor, and if it’s approved, it gets printed (and/or airtime.)

organic SEOWhat’s more, if a news agency puts it out there, it’s likely to be picked up by one of the hundreds of secondary news blogs out there that are racing to get a few thousand hits by being on top of Google News for a few precious hours. That increases your potential audience by another order of magnitude — just about the most effective organic SEO you can imagine.

Of course, all of this depends strictly on having a press release writer who can craft something that doesn’t vanish into the massive pile of press releases that come out every day announcing thousands of new businesses’ concepts and products. To that end, you might want to consider asking whomever you hire as your press release service what their track record is. You might even consider offering to pay a little extra to get their best man on the job.

Again, it’s a gamble — but the sheer power of getting literally hundreds of permanent backlinks from all of the secondary (and a few primary) websites is so enormous, especially for a new business, that the extra cost is essentially like a lottery ticket that you’re much more likely to win from.