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The SEO community was the victim of an interesting hoax this week when a blogger claimed that Google was about to punish sites that relied on social bookmarking to build links.

Matt Cutts and other Google employees quickly explained that the rumours were false but the issue raised some interesting points.

John Mu, a Google employee, stated that:

"I would not worry too much about a blog post that doesn't seem to exist. That said, keep in mind that PageRank is roughly based on the quantity and quality of the links pointing to a page. Traffic from self-created bookmarks does not really play a role in that, at least not directly.

"If you have great, unique and compelling content then chances are that people will want to refer their friends to it, no matter if they originally found the link to your site on a social bookmarking site or through word of mouth."

The key is that Google wants to count natural links that are editorially given. It doesn't want to count links that site owners create themselves.

If you bookmark your site on Digg or del.icio.us and you are the only person that votes for it then there is no reason the link should help you.

Ideally Google would only count links that became popular or even discount all social bookmarking links altogether.

My takeaway from this is that social bookmarking is a means to get links from blogs - you shouldn't be relying on links from the bookmarking sites themselves.

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Published 19 March, 2008 by Patrick Altoft

55 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

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bristol web design

If Google actually do buy Digg... I'm sure they will make use of Digg's Algo and utilize it for crowd-sourcing site content and integrate it into their own search results...Spam sites haven't got a chance to get past the Digg Bury Brigade!

over 8 years ago

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os9user

Why on earth would they want to do that ?

It would be the most "Stupidist" thing Google has ever done.

Digg is worthless to Google. Thank God.

As far as having their own "Algo" , they are doing quite well without it.

over 8 years ago

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Pocket SEO

Google could just scrape the number of diggs or bookmarks from the page to see if the content is good.

"This URL was bookmarked by 255 people"

They don't have to own Digg or Del.icio.us for that. Though they also have their own data from Feedburner, Google Analytics, Google Adsense, Google Toolbar, Google Reader, etc. All they have to do is connect the dots.

over 8 years ago

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sara

Actually this is VERY true. I use to get good results from social bookmarking, but noticed that after about an hour, my page rank dropped after submitting my webiste to social bookmarking sites. Obviously, Google are finding these links and discounting them. I use to write articles at article directories with links to my website...then I would build backlinks to the articles....this works like a charm....buuuuuut, the traffic is VERY temporary.

Google won't find these links instantly, but it takes them about a day or two, and then you page rank drops again. You will ave to start all over! I don't mind this, as long as I can get some traffic to my site and make some sales to my landing pages.

Google is really starting to become a pain. They don't want you building backlinks to your own site, but if you don't get traffic to your content/website (which is made by building backlinks), how the hell are you going to get any visitors so people can know about your site? Your almost stuck in a catch 22 position. There is no winning at all.

over 7 years ago

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