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Social Bookmarking Channels

Social bookmarking sites are useful tools for improving your SEO marketing strategy and online presence. By registering an account with a social bookmarking site, you can promote your own online content within a community of like-minded users. Most of the sites, described in further detail below, operate the same way. First, you save links to your web pages as bookmarks. Then you can tag your bookmarks with categories, such as "technology," or "business," to help direct the right users to the right content. Then your bookmarks become available for other users to view and vote on whether they like them or dislike them. The goal is to bookmark content that has the potential to become popular. Users are networked together with friends and if one user likes your bookmark, then there's a good chance their friends will too, and links can spread virally very quickly. That's how the social aspect of bookmarking sites works.

For businesses, social bookmarking sites are another way to increase traffic and develop a network of incoming links to your web site. If the leading search engines see that there is more traffic and more links to your content via social bookmarking, then your search engine rankings will correspondingly improve.

Every social bookmarking site has a different focus and a unique set of benefits. The best site for your product or service may depend on your industry and audience. Below are a list of some of the top social bookmarking channels and a description of their strengths.

1. is a social bookmarking site where you can bookmark online content and access it from any computer. The social component of is strong because users can find other people who share their interests and then follow the bookmarking actions of those users. If someone follows what you are doing on you can see their profile and choose to follow them as well. So networks of users with similar interests are created organically, if something catches on with a particular set of users, it will spread very quickly. If you can build up a community of like-minded users who watch what you bookmark, and vice-versa, you can influence traffic to your bookmarked content, which ideally leads them to your site.

2. Squidoo

Squidoo is an online community that allows users to promote their expertise on a subject. It is a really good website for posting links and promoting a product or service as well. Squidoo users can create "lenses" or pages devoted to a particular topic. So if, for example, you were a healthcare software provider, you might create a "lens" about making personal health records digital. You can then link from the Squidoo lens to your website, blog or any other online content on that topic.

Using your company's name in the lens is important in improving your search engine results. On a Squidoo lens, you can also include an RSS feed and as many outbound links to your site as you'd like. The more links to your site the better, because if someone is taking the time to read your lens, then they are probably also going to be interested enough to click through and see your site.

You can create as many lenses on as many topics as you'd like, and Squidoo ranks the top lenses using an algorithm. It's important to keep in mind that the lenses that make it to the top of the list tend to have a lot of text, links and pictures. Really visible lenses can make money from royalties on Squidoo--but with thousands of people using the service, it's tough to make any money and its best to use it for promotional purposes.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a network of seven million professionals in all areas of industry looking to make business connections. It's a great website to use for finding potential new clients or partners. A LinkedIn profile describes yourself as a business person and how you're connected to your business. You can also submit information about your company as well, such as its location, website, blog, number of employees, job opportunities, and other details.

A LinkedIn profile will increase your search results when someone searches for you or for your company name. One way to promote your business on Linkedin is to get a recommendation from another LinkedIn user who you've done business with, and this recommendation will show up on your LinkedIn profile page. It's easy to find people and clients you know because LinkedIn can tap into your e-mail account to find your contacts. LinkedIn is also extremely searchable by name, profession, school, skills, location and other categories. Another way to promote your business is to start a group on LinkedIn surrounding an event like a conference, a product or publication, or even a topic that you think would appeal to your market. Then you can start a discussion within the group. LinkedIn also allows users to ask interactive questions to the entire network, such as, "What do you look for in your office products supplier?" Then other users can supply candid answers, which opens the door for business connections.

4. Ma.gnolia

Ma.gnolia allows users to bookmark sites, just as you would in your web browser, but for each bookmark users can assign "tags", which basically make the bookmark easy to find later. So when you search the web for something using your Ma.gnolia toolbar, you are really searching by "tags". Your results will show you websites in that category that other Ma.gnolia users thought worthy of bookmarking. Ma.gnolia isn't going to elevate your traffic or search results as much as other sites will, but it is worthwhile for its "Roots" feature alone. The "Roots" feature on the Ma.gnolia toolbar allows you to browse the web and then see what Ma.gnolia users have said about websites. It's a good idea to keep an eye on what others have said about your site, and if your site has never been submitted to Ma.gnolia before, then you get to write the first visible Roots description yourself!

5. StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon involves downloading a special add-on to your browser's toolbar that lets you vote thumbs-up or thumbs-down on sites you've visited. There is also a "Stumble!" button on the toolbar, which directs you to a web site based on your specified interests, and what other users have recommended for your interests. To get started, you can submit your site to StumbleUpon by registering for an account and then clicking the thumbs-up button when you're viewing your homepage. If it's the first time your site is being bookmarked in StumbleUpon, you will be called on to give it a title, briefly review it and supply additional information about its content. StumbleUpon allows you to categorize a site with one topic, such as "photography", and several lesser tags, such as wedding, portraits, black and white, and so on. The tags and topics will influence traffic to your site by directing similar users on StumbleUpon to the content. The more thumbs-ups you get from StumbleUpon users, the more traffic the service will send to your site when users click "Stumble!"

Thumbs-downs will lower your status in the StumbleUpon Network and lower the chances that your site will appear when users click "Stumble!" There are also groups on the site where people can connect with like users, and a paid upgrade to membership where you gain extra features. The advantage of StumbleUpon is that it promises to deliver users content they'll like, so if your site pops up when a user clicks "Stumble!", then they will be predisposed to enjoy your content.

6. Flickr

Flickr is a photo sharing site that allows users to upload photos and tag them with categories or locations. Like-minded users can also form groups by topic and, most importantly, you can link back from your Flickr profile to your website. This is a great way to promote a business by placing product photos, events, or related items on Flickr.

Remember that tagging them appropriately and then linking back to your website are key. Before you tag your photos, do a search for the tag to see how many other profiles are competing for that traffic. For example, there might be a ton of tags for bicycle, but only a handful for tandem bicycle. Flickr photos do come up in Google image search results, and can improve your search rankings and traffic. Besides displaying your products or services on Flickr, you can also use the site as a PR tool to control how you like to be seen by potential clients. Include pictures that show your professional life or positive personal moments, such as running a marathon or volunteering, and then link back to your business' site.

7. Furl

Furl allows users to save a copy of any web page they've visited and recall it later by using a full-text search for a certain word or phrase. Furl will show the user any page they've saved that contains that word or phrase. Each user has the capacity to store tens of thousands of web pages on the site. Furl also has a ratings system for users to rate their own and other's saved pages, but the ratings system is not effective. For example, the featured 'most popular' sites only have ten furls each. This site has a tech-savvy audience, so if your content is about technology, then you should definitely take advantage of the Furl demographic and promote your web content using the service. Otherwise, Furl lags behind its competitors in terms of how much traffic it can send your site and how much it can improve your search results.