This is not a post about social bookmarking for hobbyists. This is how to do social bookmarking for SEO.
There are three main SEO related goals you might have for social bookmarking:
1. Getting lots of links on the social bookmarking site
2. Getting DoFollow links on the social bookmarking site
3.Getting members to post links to your content on their own sites
What do all three goals have in common? They generally require "popping" your content to the front page of the social bookmarking website. Without further ado, here is the ultimate guide on how to pop your content...
Before you start, make sure your content pages are ready for social bookmarking. Include a script so that people can easily submit to their favourite social bookmarking website. Here is a list of some such scripts/widgets:
Pick one or two sites to focus on, and give those voting buttons prominence, including a current vote count if possible. For instance, on this blog you'll a Sphinn button with vote count. On my Happiness blog I have a Digg button with vote count. I know many personal finance bloggers with the Tipd button.
Be a social bookmarking hobbyist. That's right, this is not social bookmarking for hobbyists, but you had best be one if you wish to succeed as a marketer. Let me explain. If you are just there to market or drop links, nobody will like you and you won't succeed. If you are a genuine community participant, no reasonable person will object if you occasionally promote your own content, too.
OK, some people might object to you promoting your own content. In fact, there are places like Digg and Reddit and Plime where any sniff of "marketing" or self-promotion is enough to bury the most awesome story ever deep underground. On Digg, SEO is a four-letter word (Yeah, I know, spelling is not something SEO-haters are very good at).
Watch your language. If you submit something in Spanish, few people at an English social bookmarking website will understand it. If you submit something in English, few people at an Spanish social bookmarking website will understand it. If the moderators don't remove it, the community will surely vote it down.
I said... "Watch your language". Or more to the point, your tone. If you are rude to people, expect them to be rude to you, down-voting your submissions and killing you most cherished illusions of social bookmarking glory. People are like that.
Vote for other people's submissions. Why would they vote for your submissions if you consistently ignore theirs?
Don't vote only for your friends' submissions. That's not very community minded. People see through this so easily. Remember what I said about being a social bookmarking hobbyist?
Leave comments. This is a great way to get noticed by other community members. More people will check out your submissions.
Submit real content. Home pages do not count; that would just be spamming. Product pages do not count, either (yeah, spam too). Stories and articles are good. Interesting pictures and videos are good.
Submit only your best content. I have seen some people submitting every single blog post, even those that are strictly for administrative purposes [shakes head in frustration].
Social bookmarking is a joke. Well, it's like a joke, in that timing is critical. At most sites you have 24 hours to "pop" to the front page. Some places give you 48 hours. Once the time has run out, your submission heads for the proverbial dustheap. It gets archived, and there once again go those illustrious cherished illusions of social bookmarking glory.
Make the title pull them in. If you write awesome titles for your content, you might not have to change it. But sometimes it is worth adjusting the post title for the specific social bookmarking community. This is like any other writing; if you want it to get noticed, the title is crucial.
Make sure your description tells enough. You need to appeal to lazy people. Many people vote just based on the description. Many people will ignore your submission if they have to click through to the content to read it. Sorry, people are like that.
The right category. It goes without saying that you should submit to the right category. There, I said it.
Submit more than just your own content. If more than 10% of your submissions are self-interest, chances are that even the reasonable people will object to your narcissistic participation.
Submit other members' content. They will appreciate it and be more likely to check out your submissions, and you will be rewarded with fabulous prizes...or at least with a better chance of popping your own content.
Have others sometimes submit your content. Don't be the only one to express an interest in your material. That pretty much tells everyone just how [yawn] interesting they should view your submissions.
Reciprocate immediately. As soon as you submit something, take a moment to check out other recent submissions. Don't be a hit and run submitter.
Warning. Whatever you do, do not use automated submitters. Do it carefully by hand.
Respond to comments on your submissions. Keep the thread alive and active, and show an interest in people who have taken the time to comment.
Build relationships and ask for help ("Check this submission out." ... "Would this be something you might be interested in submitting?" ... "Got anything you might like me to submit for you?") That is why, on the eight day, God created Twitter.
Share other people's posts. Share them with your network on the social bookmarking website (You can do this on Mixx, but not on Digg) and also with your friends on Twitter and FaceBook.
Don't overshare. You don't want people to unfriend you for bombarding them with suggestions. Don't be a pest like me.
Make yourself easy to find. If the social bookmarking website lets you, make it easy for people to find you on Twitter, so that you can communicate and share each others' submissions with your respective networks.
Avatars count. Make sure you have a custom avatar so that people recognize you easily. Many people just gloss over the spam-filled rows of submissions from default-avatar accounts.
Ideally use the same avatar on all your social networks. You might be surprised how easy it is to run into the same people on multiple platforms, and a common avatar makes it more likely that people will recognize a friend and ally when they see you. (Note, if you've been a hot headed, loud mouthed, sharp tongued fiend in the past, maybe keeping the same avatar would be a counterproductive strategy.)
OK, I'm running out of energy, but I know I have not run out of tips. There are plenty more, so please share yours with us in the comments section below.