Social sharing and bookmarking have taken a back seat to Facebook and Twitter. For most of us, using sites like Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, or Reddit rarely comes to mind.
Still, these and other services can provide a number of benefits to your e-commerce site, and here’s why. In today’s web economy, content must be both “findable” via search engines and “shareable” via social media. In this article, we’ll look at the benefits, from both perspectives, of using social bookmarks and sharing.
Benefits of SEO
Social bookmarking sites provide a way to organize, collect, and categorize the web using a classification structure called “tags.”
Tags are little more than labels applied to a given bookmarked resource. Markup is a user-generated form of bottom-up categorization that allows users to use vocabulary that is useful to them. Although it may seem a bit chaotic and messy, it has become a common method for annotating and categorizing content on the web.
Although tags are useful as a means of classification, they also provide value in search engine optimization, as these tags are also keywords, indexable by engines.
According Search Engine JournalA popular SEO resource, social bookmarking services like Delicious and StumbleUpon can help search engines in a number of ways:
- Faster indexing of sites. Humans mark sites started by their friends or colleagues before a search engine can find them.
- Deeper indexing of sites. Many bookmarked pages reside deep within the framework of a site and are sometimes not as easily linked to by others, or as easily crawled by search engines.
- Increased quality. If more users sign a page, the more authority, quality, and relevance the site is perceived to have.
- External metadata. Users who sign sites tag them with keywords and descriptions, which add honest and unbiased definitions.
- Number of votes. Similar to the number of bookmarks, the more votes a page receives on Digg or Reddit, the more useful that information is generally. If the same page receives multiple votes on social news voting sites, search engines will perceive it as higher quality.
- Categorization. Using tags, categorization can help define what a site is about, helping the engine meet searcher intent and provide more relevant feedback.
Benefits of Social Media
Not only does social bookmarking and sharing provide SEO benefits, but it’s also a quick method for social networks to spread information about your products to their friends online. I like to think of social bookmarking and sharing as a serendipity that encourages the viral spread of your site content.
For example, suppose a consumer has landed on the product description page and wants to share product information with their friends. One option for doing this is the “Email a Friend” feature. But now, social sharing is another option that reaches consumer friends, and more.
A consumer who lands on a product page that doesn’t offer social sharing is unlikely to copy and paste the page’s URL onto their Facebook wall or bother to recommend it to friends. Providing an easy way for social sharing encourages activity. If it’s easy to do, consumers will probably do it.
“Share This” is an application that facilitates sharing on many social bookmark sharing sites. Note that we use it here (see above) at Practical eCommmerce, and we reviewed it in “The PEC Review: Share This Makes Adding Social Media a Breeze”. It was created as a plugin for WordPress, but has been redeveloped to be used by virtually any site.
Share This not only includes links to all of the sites mentioned above, but also to many others, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, StumbleUpon and over 50 more.
Share This also allows content to be posted to blogs and includes a forward-to-a-friend feature. You simply place the Share This button on any web page you want to make shareable. Another similar service is Add This.
Example of a shopping cart using the Add this button:
Facebook like button
A new form of sharing that has become increasingly popular is the Facebook “Like” button.
The Like button allows users to share content with their friends on Facebook. When the user clicks on your site button, a story appears in the user’s friends’ newsfeed with a link to your website. The user remains on your site throughout the process.
The Like button has become the new way to index the web entirely based on user choices. Considering Facebook’s huge popularity across the globe – 500 million users worldwide and 150 million in the US alone – having the Like button on your e-commerce site can be very useful.
A number of eCommerce shopping cart providers easily allow the use of the Like button on their platforms. This includes Magneto, BigCommerce, 3dcart, and Zen Cart, to name a few.
Facebook recommendations button
Another option provided by Facebook is the Recommendations plugin, which displays personalized recommendations to your users.
Since Facebook hosts the content, the plugin can show personalized recommendations whether or not the user has logged into your site. For a logged in Facebook user, the plugin will prioritize and highlight objects their friends have interacted with.
Facebook provides resources to help understand and implement the Likes and Recommendations buttons, as well as an overview of each of its social plugins, in its Dev Center.
Examples of online stores
Here are examples of stores using sharing and social bookmarking:
Instead of visitors bookmarking your site through their browser’s bookmark functions, integrate social sharing. In most cases, it is easy to implement and costs nothing to use. This will benefit your business from both a search engine optimization and social media perspective, resulting in better search results, more traffic to your e-commerce site, and increased sales. .