Social Bookmarking Etiquette

Social Bookmarking Etiquette

Social Bookmarking Etiquette

Social Bookmarking websites are a great tool for sharing useful bookmarks, information and resources, and useful for webmasters to promote their site or information at no expense. Social Bookmarking is an excellent way to bring targeted traffic to your website with little effort, too. However, bookmarking sites are only as good as the people who use them, and they are also vulnerable to spammers, who often use them as a form of free classified advertising.

When people abuse them or use bad etiquette, not only does it get very annoying for the webmaster and the other users of the site, but it can actually cause the downfall of the entire site if not kept in check. How? Quite simply because most webmasters will eventually give up in despair – after all, would YOU like to spend many hours of your precious time every week deleting spam & maintaining a site, for absolutely nothing in return?. Is it any wonder why so many webmasters simply give up & close or sell their bookmarking website?.

Internet relations are just like face-to-face interactions, there are social norms and rules that go along with them. When they are followed, we all benefit.

But what exactly is good bookmarking etiquette?

Good bookmarking etiquette isn’t hard to guess really, it’s basically just common sense and good manners.  Here are a few of the main guidelines for good bookmarking etiquette:

  • You should only submit links to high quality content or information that other people will want to read. There are thousands, if not millions of useless, poorly written articles & websites on the internet. Why would anyone want to visit another one?…. When people post links to these types of articles on a bookmarking site, they alienate themselves from the other site users, and the webmaster of the site.
  • Play by the rules if you want to reap the rewards: It’s simple really –  if you want all the benefits of membership including receiving free back-links, free exposure and free advertising for your site, then it only reasonable for the management to expect that you will submit something worthwhile in return, will not spam our site and that you are abiding by our rules & will exhibit good manners at all times.
  • Don’t be lazy: If it is your own website(s) that you are bookmarking then you should not be lazy. A link to just your homepage or your “about us” page is being downright lazy – If you cannot be bothered writing any useful or relevant original articles in order to submit to our site, then chances are the rest of your site is not worth visiting either. Management,  moderators, members and visitors of this site don’t want their time wasted on reading rubbish any more than you do.  This includes mass automatic “spun” articles which are often in Pigeon English / Double-Dutch and usually make no sense. There is a good & valid reason why most reputable article directories & other websites won’t accept them…. We don’t expect your articles to be as well written & riveting as a Shakespeare  or Tennessee Williams play, but there is a level to which we will tolerate…..
  • Try to give something back: If it is your own website you are submitting then you should also give back something to the bookmarking website – don’t just join up, submit your link(s) & then leave, never to return. Spend a few minutes on the site to make a comment, or vote on some other bookmarks etc. And try to re-visit at least once a month & maybe interact on the site or post other useful links. Otherwise you risk being viewed as just being selfish, or a parasite.
  • Don’t just submit your own website: Another mistake that people often make on bookmarking sites is to only submit their own websites. It is considered especially rude if you’re only sharing links from a single website or blog which you personally own (or that you are being paid to submit). If people wanted to read all of the articles from a single website then they would simply follow the RSS feed for that site.
  • Share your much-loved bookmarks with others: Lets not forget that this is the reason that bookmarking websites were invented, after all. We all have many useful and great bookmarks that we personally use or have stored for later use  – so take the time to submit one or two great bookmarks you have collected & which are not your own sites, in order that other members and visitors of the website can benefit, too. In other words, don’t be selfish….
  • Don’t submit multiple links for the same website or URL: It’s regarded as bookmark spamming (….and even if you try to be sneaky & put different titles on them, it still doesn’t work….. then you are not only seen as a spammer, but also a sneaky one at that….). It’s very annoying when people post the same links again and again on social sharing sites without adding additional fresh content. One bookmark per webpage or URL will suffice…..
  • Make sure you submit your bookmark to the correct category. Nobody wants to head to a section on business only to find information about relationships, celebrities or other unrelated topics. And a webmaster just doesn’t have the time or patience to spend hours re-categorizing thousands of bookmarks. Remember, you are not paying the webmaster or bookmarking website to have your bookmark listed…… so don’t make their life any harder than it already is, and try to appreciate all the work they do for free just for you and the other members benefit.
  • Take the time to tag your bookmarks, (and tag them correctly…): It’s considered rude to improperly tag or categorize your links. Just the same as with incorrect categories, incorrect or missing tags will make it harder for others to find bookmarks. When someone searches the site it is often the tags which the website’s  software will use to find your bookmarks, among other things. Therefore without any tags your bookmarks may not be found during a site search,  so make sure that you are paying attention to these details when submitting & sharing links.
  • Don’t be rude!: Finally, pay attention to the manners that you use when interacting with others on the site  – you should use the same common sense and etiquette that you would use when interacting with someone in person. If you decide to add or follow a new person on the site, it is proper etiquette to send that person an email or message introducing yourself. If you vote an article down or leave a negative comment on it then it is proper etiquette to let the person who shared it know why you feel that way and what they could do differently the next time. When someone comments negatively on something that you’ve shared, try to take any criticism well and avoid lashing out at him or her. Don’t get into arguments, it’s just not worth it and it tends to make those concerned appear rude, petty, or like an internet troll….

If these simple etiquette guidelines are followed, then everyone benefits:  The webmaster benefits, the bookmarking website benefits (…and becomes far more useful & popular…. thus giving the bookmarks even greater exposure and or greater back-link value…) and of course the bookmarking website members & visitors also benefit.

Bookmarking and Social websites are all about sharing and supporting other people’s work (….or at least, they SHOULD be…). So you should try to make it a habit to vote & bookmark other articles or sites, not just your own. If possible, try to also include articles & links from a range of different topics and sources, too.


Karen Banting is a writer on a variety of topics, including SEO, Web Master topics, Joomla! & WordPress, Online Business, Online Marketing, Social Media  and Social Bookmarking.