Del.icio.us: An Underrated Link Building Tool

On the subject of social media, Digg and StumbleUpon seem to get almost all of the attention right now. While the traffic potential for these two is considerably higher than other social media sites, Del.icio.us can be one of the most powerful resources for your link building efforts.

Quick Overview of Del.icio.us

Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site that really focuses more on the bookmarking than on the social aspect. There is not as much interaction from user to user like there is on a lot of social media sites. Del.icio.us users find a page that they think would be worth bookmarking, and they can use the Del.icio.us toolbar to bookmark the page and tag it with whatever keywords they choose. Anytime you want to find something in your bookmarks you simply go to Del.icio.us and browse through your tagged pages. The front page of Del.icio.us shows pages that are being bookmarked by a lot of people, and of course being on the front pages leads to exponential growth in the number of bookmarks.

From a website owner or blogger’s perspective, having your pages and posts bookmarked by your readers has a few benefits: 1) it increases the chances that they’ll come back to the page in the future, 2) if enough people bookmark your page it can move to the front page of Del.icio.us, and 3) Del.icio.us has a network system that will allow other users to see the pages bookmarked by someone in their network.

What Makes Del.icio.us A Great Resource?

Del.icio.us uses nofollow tags on its links, so you will not be getting search engine benefits simply from having a bookmark that links to your page. However, pages that are popular on Del.icio.us repeatedly gain a significant number of inbound links as a result of the exposure that Del.icio.us provides. Here are some things to consider:

1. Tech-focused audience – A lot of the pages that are popular on Del.icio.us are tech related, and a relatively high percentage of Del.icio.us users are website owners and bloggers themselves. This is important because you are getting exposure to people that have the ability to give you a link from their own website or blog. Plenty of non-tech pages make it to the front page, but it may be a little bit more difficult.

2. Some users post their bookmarks on their blogs – Del.icio.us offers a feature that automatically publishes your bookmarks to your blog at the end of the day. If you’re looking to gain links, this is something you will love. Anytime one of these people bookmarks one of your pages you’ll get a link. If you make it to the front page you’ll almost certainly get several of these links.

3. Easier than Digg – Getting to the Del.icio.us front page is a little bit easier than getting to the Digg front page. Because the traffic volume is lower there’s not as many people competing to get there. StumbleUpon, however, is probably even easier for getting significant traffic, but not necessarily for link building.


4. Long-term traffic – Those people who bookmark your pages are now more likely to return at some point down the road. As more and more people bookmark your pages your long-term traffic potential from Del.icio.us will increase.

5. Not as easily swayed by “friends” – Digg’s system strongly favors users who have more friends than other users. While Del.icio.us has a networking feature, it doesn’t impact the amount of success nearly as much as with Digg.

6. More mature audience – I like Digg for the traffic potential it brings, but the audience has certainly developed a reputation of being negative and immature. Del.icio.us doesn’t have a comment system, so I’ve never had a Del.icio.us user tell me how much of a loser I am, unlike Digg.

My Experiences with Del.icio.us

In the last 4 or 5 months I’ve had 8 blog posts reach the front page. Together those 8 posts have drawn 566 inbound links (according to Technorati) for an average of 71 links per post. Some of these posts have also had success with other social media sites, so of course not all of these links are a result of Del.icio.us. Of these 8 posts, 4 were on the Digg front page and 4 were not. Even the 4 that were not dugg still average 62 inbound links.

After my second time on the Del.icio.us front page I wrote a post titled 10 Tips for Making Your Blog Posts More Del.icio.us. This is the same strategy I have used since then to make it to the front page. If you’re interested in gaining more links I recommend you take a look at that post. I don’t want to repeat it here, but I do want to focus on a few of the points in that article that have really become even more evident since the time it was originally published.

  • Use other social media sites to increase your chances with Del.icio.us – In order to get to the front page you’ll obviously need to get a lot of bookmarks (most of my pages have made it to the front page with around 100 bookmarks, but it depends also on how quickly they come). Part of getting people to bookmark your page is getting as many people as possible to visit the page. For my web design related posts I like to use DZone, a decent-sized niche social media site. Of the 8 posts that have made the Del.icio.us front page, 7 have made the DZone front page first. DZone then sends a few hundred visitors which has been enough to rack up some bookmarks and put these pages on the front page of Del.icio.us. You can read more about this is in How to Set Up a Domino Effect of Traffic.
  • Show somewhere on the blog post how many people have already bookmarked it – When visitors come to a page and see that 50 other people have bookmarked it they may also be reminded and encouraged to bookmark it themselves. Del.icio.us offers a Tagometer Badge that shows how many bookmarks a page has drawn (You can see it at the bottom of my posts). FeedBurner‘s Feed Flare also provides a similar option that you can embed in your posts.

Also remember that timing is important with Del.icio.us. Getting 100 bookmarks in a day might get you to the front page, but 100 over the course of a few weeks almost certainly will not. This means that you’ll want to try to send as much traffic as you can at the same time. If you’re going to promote the page at other social media sites, do it simultaneously so the bookmarks can add up faster.

What results have you had with Del.icio.us and how has it compared with your results from other social media sites?

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35 Responses

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  • Mark Dykeman, November 19, 2007

    Interesting article. I haven’t put much time and effort into Del.icio.us because I really didn’t have any idea how to approach it. This article is making me reconsider. Thanks for the insight.

  • Fred @ Newest on the Net, November 20, 2007

    Great post as usual. I have not been able to make it on delicious yet. I hope to do so soon.

  • Mohsin, November 20, 2007

    I’ve made it to del.icio.us front page once (about two weeks ago) and I am still getting hundreds of visitors from the links that followed.

  • Matthew Griffin, November 20, 2007

    The first point in the “What Makes Del.icio.us A Great Resource?” section about the nature of the Del.icio.us audience is probably the most important aspect of Del.icio.us links. It’s a much more niche audience than we may realize so it provides a great opportunity for technology and internet related bloggers. Great article!

  • Atlanta Business Law, November 20, 2007

    Great post, Ive never made it on the front page delicious. Thats a great link though if you do get on the front page.

  • Ruchir, November 20, 2007

    Yeah, I agree that if someone bookmarks you on delicious then they’re more likely to mention your blog post or come back to your site. Unlike other types of social media, bookmarking sites perhaps help to give the most backlinks. If I bookmark something, i generally go back to the article once in a while and if it’s good enough then I post the link on my blog’s speedlinking posts…

  • Vandelay Design, November 20, 2007

    Mark,
    I’m glad this article is helpful for you.

    Fred,
    I’m sure with your growing audience you could do some damage with Delicious, it’s just a matter of time.

    Mohsin,
    Yes, I think that’s one of the best things about Delicious (or other bookmarks). It will be interesting to see over the course of 6 months or a year how many visitors come to a popular page through Delicious.

    Matthew,
    I think you’re right. Even though Del.icio.us is more of a general site its users tend to fall in the tech category (at least at this point). Over time as more people start to becoming familiar with social bookmarking maybe that will change.

    Ruchir,
    I’ve definitely found Delicious to be better for link building than other social media sites.

  • pelf, November 21, 2007

    I have not thought of using Delicious as a link building tool, but I have found it to be a very good social + bookmarking tool :) My bookmarks can be found easily because I tagged them, and I can always see what people in my network has bookmarked (busybody, heehe). They may have found something worthy of a bookmark that I haven’t, so I think Delicious is also a very good learning tool :)

  • Web Design in Canada, November 21, 2007

    I mostly agree with your points, although one thing of note you do get a bit of Link Juice from nofollow tags. They may not pass on weight, but they pass on Anchor text. If you have a high enough ranked website already then you can use the nofollows to achieve better rankings if you use relevant inbound text :)

  • Acne, November 21, 2007

    Its not as good as it seems. But it does have some power to get good SERP results, which is what were after in the end.

    Andy

  • Web menu maker, November 23, 2007

    Good article. If you want to find something interesting in a particular subject area Del.icio.us is the best place. To find a funny and unexpected web content the StumbleUpon is beyond comparison.

  • Judd Pickett, November 23, 2007

    So your feedburner feed counter is just a mock up used to trick visitors into subscribing ;) JK. Thanks for all the links to related articles, sites and tools.

  • Vandelay Design, November 24, 2007

    Judd,
    FeedBurner’s FeedFlare and the feed count are 2 different things. I wasn’t referring to the subscriber count. The FeedFlare option that I was talking about lets you show how many people have bookmarked the page with Delicious. It’s pretty similar to the official Delicious badge that I use on my blog posts.

  • Reverse Funnel System Blog, November 26, 2007

    Delicious site looks very simple and dont have many useful options and tools that have digg or stumbleupon. Didnt try it yet fot link builiding.

  • chloe, December 1, 2007

    i havent got any traffic yet from delicious but i got some good traffic from stumble

  • Indian Bookmarking site, December 15, 2007

    Thsi bookmarking and social networking stuff is going hot on the web. I do like your approach, would you please write a review about http://www.Tagza.com – Its young, funky new bookmarking web site.

    Cheers

    Raaj

  • Utah SEO, December 16, 2007

    what’s the target demographic on delicious?

  • jan, April 9, 2008

    This article is making me reconsider.

  • Timothy Carter, May 5, 2008

    Hmmm…I’ve used delicious very sporadically thusfar in my social bookmarking. After reading this post, I think I might add a toolbar to make it easier for me to utilize. Thanks for the post.

  • Heike, June 27, 2008

    social bookmarking sites are great for getting cheap traffic without using SE.

  • Tripti, January 21, 2009

    I have been bookmarking my website blog pages from last 3 moths over 20 bookmarking sites including Digg,stumbleupon,delicious but till now I didn’t get any traffic from there.Then how could it be fruitful for me?

    • Vandelay Design, January 21, 2009

      Tripti,
      Bookmarking your own pages isn’t going to do anything significant. You have to get others to do the same thing. The most important thing is to develop high-quality content that will appeal to social media users. You could also work on developing a network of other social media users who are interested in voting for each other.

  • anupama, May 20, 2009

    i posted my links (http://www.asa.edu) to social book marking site. But I get less to our site from delicious why?? and how can i come to first Page in delicious.

  • inyourgrill, June 2, 2010

    How are the links from Delicious compared to Digg as far as Google is concerned. Which is more valuable or given greater weight?

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