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Promotion in Motion: No Follow / Do Follow

May 4, 2011


Social bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and serve a dual purpose – they act as an on-line archive for your list of bookmark links as well as a place where users can share their bookmarks with friends, vote on their favorites, and leave comments.

How does this help you promote your greeting cards at Greeting Card Universe?

First, you might be able to create a profile when you register as a user that allows you to include a link to a website (such as your GCU storefront, hint, hint!). Second, it gets your site out there to be seen by readers interested in your site’s content, hopefully increasing your traffic.  Third, by voting and commenting on your friends’ posts, you can invite friends to vote and leave comments on your posts. One hand washes the other, as they say. You might even make friends who have websites or blogs relevant to you, and you can exchange reciprocal links.

What social bookmarking probably won’t do is give you much of what’s known as “link juice.” Let me explain: search engines use very complex formulas to figure out what page rank to assign websites. Page rank means how close to the #1 spot your site will be in results returned for a search. Got it? Okay, so inbound links, sometimes known as “backlinks,” are one part of the formula. What search engines look at with inbound links is 1) how many other high quality (ie, not spam) sites link to your site; and 2) the relevance of those links to your site.

Want to know more about how Google determines page rank? Cruise over to the Wiki.

These days, we’ve got the complication that many sites (such as many of the popular social bookmarking sites) use a little HTML trick known as “no follow.” That means while your links get indexed, search engines will not use those links when determining a website’s page rank. You can learn more about this phenomena here: Do Follow: Increase Your Backlinks with Do Follow Sites. Blame the spammers – they spoiled it for everybody. But that’s okay… no follow links just affect page rank in search results. They can still drive traffic to your site if they’re relevant, so they aren’t totally useless.

It must be said that some controversy exists when it comes to no follow links. A famous search engine (which shall not be named) has been shown to be unpredictable on this issue. Some folks say they serve no purpose, others insist they’re an important part of increasing traffic to your site. What’s known for sure is that search engines are smarter than you think. They look for a mix of high quality sources with original content that link to your website (like blogs, etc… spam-rich sites like link farms carry no weight with them), and they know when somebody’s cheating. Check out this informative blog post:   NoFollow vs. DoFollow: Should You Care?

So when you blog or write a Squidoo lens promoting your greeting cards, you’ll want to also use social bookmarking sites to help build traffic, which is the whole reason you’re putting your content out there, right? The whole point of this SEO (search engine optimization) stuff is to get shoppers into your store and buying your cards.

If you haven’t already, go ahead and register at Reddit,, Digg, StumbleUpon, and RedGage, and use their bookmarking systems (careful – submit no more than two links at a time or you might be tagged as a spammer). Be sincere if you decide to make friends – don’t try to befriend everybody in sight. Be relevant. Be respectful.

And don’t forget to bookmark your blog! This can be an oblique way of promoting your cards, by the way. As we’ve talked in Time to Blog in our newsletter, the best way to promote your greeting cards at GCU is to write blog posts that are not about greeting cards. Instead, write about what inspires you, your passion, your hobby, or pick a subject you know something about, and make informative or educational posts. Then tie relevant greeting cards into your posts (you can use the Sell This Card tool to make it easy).

Here’s something you can do right now: if you already have an account with Google services like Gmail, AdSense, or Analytics, you can fill out a Google public profile. When you set up your profile, you’ll be allowed to list links (and link names to serve as anchor text). While these links are “no follow” – thanks a lot, spammers! – and therefore don’t affect page rank, they can still get you traffic to your site. This should be done in addition to any other promotion you’re doing to get your store or artist’s name out there.
Get started with Google profiles here.
Go here for more information on how to add links to your Google profile.

Some Social Bookmarking Sites


3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2011 10:31 am

    Informative as ever, in that inimitable style we cherish, Corrie … Thank you for everything you bring to this remarkable endeavor.

  2. May 4, 2011 2:15 pm

    Good information and not too overwhelming! Thank you, Corrie.

  3. May 6, 2011 12:28 am

    WOW – I’m really loving “Promotion in Motion” ! So many fantastic ideas plus instructions for implementing the ideas. – Now that really is Motion to be Acted upon.

    Gotta Go and Promote Now – Thank YOU !

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