Social bookmarking really does work for promoting your articles. I learned this from a sharp eHow member “Write Now,” (Robin) several months ago, and have seen it consistently prove true over time.
I use Traffic Travis (a free download) to find out which social bookmarking sites, and which user-generated content sites rank highest for any given keywords, and then focus on promoting my articles using those sites.
For example, articles submitted to Stumble Upon often get more traffic than articles that were not “Stumbled,” and if I search for a long-tail keyword phrase in Traffic Travis, Stumbled articles frequently appear in the top 10 or 20 results (though not in this particular example). This example does tell me that adding articles with my long-tail keyword to some of these sites, and adding links to my blog (or to my higher paying articles, like HubPages), may boost my traffic.
This also shows why watching Yahoo! Answers for questions in your niche and then answering them with a link to your site can pay off. But you should answer a few questions without adding links for every one answer that you do add a link to to avoid appearing spammy and having your account banned.
But what is true today may not hold true tomorrow in SEO land. So watch the trends.
Lately, I have been seeing more Mixx results in my Traffic Travis searches, which tells me I may want to start “Mixxing” my articles.
IMPORTANT: Use social bookmarking in a “social” manner. If you give the appearance of being a spammer by submitting only your own sites, most of these sites will suspend or delete your account. Try to bookmark at least five of other people’s sites and articles for every one of your own that you submit.
Obviously, broad keywords are more competitive, and larger, more established websites will usually rank in the top 20 for those. For example, pet food companies such as, “Purina” will usually own most of the top spots for the broad term, “cat food.” But if you search for “which cat food is healthiest for my cat,” at least 7 of the top 20 search results are for user-generated content sites. (Above is an example of using Traffic Travis to determine this.)
So if I write about “healthy cat food,” and I find that my long-tail keywords consistently show up in these sites, in this order, I’ll know that I should publish on some of these sites to rank higher. I’ll find questions at Yahoo answers to respond to, make a HubPage, etc. If I have a cat food site, I’ll point most of my articles to my own site, where possible.
You can see these same results in Google without using Traffic Travis, just not as clearly. And BE CAREFUL to not use Traffic Travis more than 3-5 times in one day, or Google starts banning your IP address from being able to use cache view. Google doesn’t like Traffic Travis, because automated search programs like Traffic Travis tie up their servers.
Bottom line: monitor your search results over time to see which social bookmarking and user-generated content sites are ranking highest for long-tail keywords, then use those sites to promote your content.
P.S. Read this very interesting article on the “Stumble Effect” by Crystal Williams…I think she’s on to somethng here…