As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. A recurring dish you have probably noticed is “social.” Social is a buzzword that inevitably comes up when people talk about company goals or plans for future growth. But when we hear or use the word “social,” what are we talking about? Social networks, social sites, social marketing, social media, social bookmarking, or even social security? In this post, I will talk specifically about social bookmarking, a link building action for SEO.

Social Bookmarking vs. Social Networking

Let me start by disbanding a myth. Social bookmarking and social networking are not the same thing just because “social” is in both phrases.

Focus on the second part of the word: “bookmarking” vs. “networking.” On a social networking site like Facebook, a person or a business usually creates a profile with a description and then interacts and networks with a community. Social bookmarking is simply the action of saving or favoriting a website to visit later.

Social bookmarking is much more like a “backlink.” This action measures the popularity of a website and can positively affect and improve ranking when done correctly. Social bookmarking sites such as Tumblr, Digg, and StumbleUpon are very different from social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. These sites work like an archive or a directory of websites. However, with social bookmarks, the directory of websites is catered and saved based on an individual’s personal interest.

As users search the Internet, they save, star, favorite, and add websites that they would like to revisit at another time. Wouldn’t it be nice if your website was in a person’s “revisit list”?

Does My Website Need Social Bookmarks?

Many believe Google uses social bookmarking data compiled through Chrome to measure the “buzz” of a website. The most popular companies and websites understandably have a lot of “buzz” and people wanting to revisit the website. Social bookmarks signal to Google that a business is credible, talked about, and liked.

As a link building tactic, social bookmarking isn’t the golden ticket—but it does add to, and is part of, a website’s authority. Most websites on the first page will have social bookmark links. As a small business owner, you, of course, want to do everything possible to also show up on the first page. Creating social bookmarking links is a small yet important part of improving your search visibility.

However, don’t go out and only create social bookmarks for your website. While social bookmarks contribute to higher rankings, you should receive links from a variety of sources.

To summarize, social bookmarking, or the process of saving a website to a list of your favorites, is one element of a well-ranking website. Your website should have at least some social bookmarking links because it is natural and adds value. (Not all or 100% of your links should be social bookmarking links). Hopefully, this article clears up some confusion while adding one more link building action to your SEO tool belt.