Monthly Archives: December 2013

Social Bookmarking Site Networks Slapped by Google

google slapGoogle has been very busy updating its algorithm over the last year or so and many of the updates have hit certain social bookmarking sites. Note the operative word here – ‘certain’ sites, not all of them! There are most definitely some social bookmark sites that stand the test of time and enjoy high page rank and lots of traffic year after year.

IMAutomator allows you to submit to many of these high profile social bookmarking sites such as Delicious, Bibsonomy, Diigo, Bitly, FolkD and many others in just a few moments of your site. One of our goals is to ensure that our list of supported sites is always closely monitored and kept fresh. To that end we run a PageRank report daily which checks the PR of every site in the system.

Over the weekend just gone we noticed that around 8 sites in the system all dropped to 0 at the same time; they got Google slapped!

What was also significant is that all of these sites appeared to belong to some kind of network. They linked to each other which is in fact how we found them in the first place. We found one of the sites in the network, and then found the others through that initial site.

It’s easy to put up a social bookmarking site

Templates such as Pligg make it incredibly easy and quick to put up a social bookmarking site. Add to that the ease with which you can buy expired or soon-to-expire domains with PR for just a few dollars means that it’s very easy for someone to make a social bookmark network by buying up a few domains, putting Pligg or a similar template on them and then inter-linking them to keep the PR juice flowing.

We even tried such an experiment a couple of years ago. However, from our own experiments we found that this network idea for social bookmark sites was NOT a good idea. Within a few weeks, all the sites in the network had their Pagerank removed – they ended up at either 0 or unranked. With the purpose of social bookmarking in bulk being to get backlinks – have a bunch of PR0 backlinks isn’t going to do you much good! We removed that network.

Poor quality social bookmarking networks are short lived

poor quality social bookmark sites are short lived

However, because of this easy barrier to entry, new networks of social bookmark sites are popping up all the time. On the surface this seems like a good thing as there’s always fresh new sites for us to add to the system but in the long term it’s only good if those networks survive the Google algorithm changes. When a site drops to PR0 we deem it as too low value to be of benefit and so it’s is free of charge; and we remove them from the IMAutomator system pretty quickly 🙂

But there’s also another negative point that may not be apparent at first glance. Imagine you are the owner of one of these networks. You’re not creating it for fun; you’ll be monetizing that network in some way. Indeed we often find such sites are plastered with ads and some of them in a particularly intrusive way – full page ads that cover the whole screen, tons of pop ups etc.

For us, this is not actually a problem because once that site is plugged into the IMAutomator system, the members never see those ads – our submission engine sees them and our engine doesn’t care 🙂 However, coming back to the owners of these bookmark networks… if you have a large (or small) network of sites and overnight there’s a shift in the Google algorithm and all of those sites drop to 0 what is going to happen? They will almost certainly not be getting the traffic they used to.

There are thousands of social bookmark sites to submit and whether you submit to them manually or use an automated submission service such as ours or pay for a manual submission service – either way that is going to cost you in either time, money or both. So, anyone who uses social bookmarking as part of their link building strategy is most certainly going to want to get the best value for their time and money so all those PR0 sites drop to the bottom of the priority list.

Less submissions to the sites means less traffic for the site owners which translates to less eyeballs on ads and ultimately less income. What will happen to that bookmark site network that just got slapped by Google? The site owner will undoubtedly take those sites down before long and replace them with something else.

High PR links provide the best long term value

So if you are a link builder and you have put your time and money into building links on those sites only for them to disappear just a few months later – your investment is not as solid. What can you do about it. To our IMAutomator members what we suggest is to be sure that you bookmark your best content and the best sites. These are obvious – they’re the ones with the highest page rank that are in the system month after month after month,

We still suggest diversifying your link profile by including a wide range of sites so by all means throw in some of the more ‘throwaway’ sites into the mix but just be aware that these links may not stick around for as long as the high PR ones.

IMAutomator works with a credit system where the credit value for a site is equal to its Pagerank which means that a PR7 site costs 7 credits to submit to where as a PR2 only costs 2 credits. It can be tempting to avoid to the high PR sites and select just the lower PR ones as you’ll get a lot more individual backlinks for your money but if you are interested in the quality and longevity of those backlinks then its worth spending those few extra credits for your best content.

What’s the future of social bookmarking?

prepare for the future

My personal opinion from looking at what Google has been doing over the last few updates is that they will continue to penalize the kinds of cookie-cutter sites that are put up in minutes and not developed in any way. What makes the big sites like Digg, Delicious, Reddit etc so popular? These are high quality sites; they do so much more than just slap up a bunch of links. They monitor and filter submissions to keep the content high quality, they encourage user interaction etc. In other words they are building the kind of site that people want to use and this is exactly the kind of site that Google is pushing to the top of its rankings.

On the other hand, those people that use templates such as Pligg and do nothing other than leave the site as-is, may find their sites losing PR over time. That’s my prediction anyway. I’m not bashing Pligg as a platform – I think it’s great. But like with any website, it should be used just as a base; a building block and not as the whole package.

If you’re a blog owner, you’d most likely use WordPress to build your blog. But would you just install the base software, keep the standard template and then just leave it alone? No, not if you cared about your blog! You’d install a custom theme that matches your content, you’d install some plugins that are useful for you and your visitors and you’d keep on top of comment spam to ensure that your blog remains high quality.

I think in this day and age if somebody wants to create a new social bookmarking site that is going to hold its ranking with Google, then it needs to do more than just upload a cookie-cutter template site. It may even be that Google does indeed target Pligg itself as a platform! I certainly hope that’s not the case because for us, we’ve developed our software to work seamlessly with Pligg sites so we can add them into our system pretty quickly.

As always, time will tell!

Link Building with Misspellings

A little while ago I came across a blog post which is targeted towards big brands, but presents a technique for building links via misspellings. I had put it on my todo list and put it to one side; IMAutomator doesn’t really qualify as being ‘big brand’.

Link Building with Misspellings Technique

The basic technique can be broken down into a few steps:

  1. Take your brand name and use a tool such as the SEO Book typo tool to identify potential misspellings
  2. Construct the .com URL out of all of those misspelled words
  3. Use a backlink checker to find backlinks to those domains
  4. Identify possible link opportunities and perform outreach

I didn’t actually do step 1. What actually happened is that yesterday I was looking at the IMAutomator analytics and I was looking at some of the data over a long period of time. I spotted some misspellings which had sent me fairly decent amounts of traffic and when I had a closer look I found a lot of misspellings.

I exported them all and ended up with 223 misspelled versions of ‘imautomator’! And here I am thinking that I’d created a catchy, easy-to-spell brand name! Oh well 🙂 Actually I have to admit, I mis-type it myself sometimes!

Should you optimize for misspelled words?

Years ago some SEO’s would actually build targeted pages around their top misspelled words in a bid to get more traffic. It’s not really a good idea as if a potential customer was actually to land on one of these pages it wouldn’t really give a great impression if it looked like you had misspelled your own brand name on your own website!

But these days its entirely unnecessary anyway. Google is getting far more intelligent and will now automatically show you search results for the word that it thinks you had actually intended to type in. Indeed, I went through a handful of my misspelled words and plugged them into google and sure enough it said “Showing results for imautomator” and showed this website in the top spot. This makes sense, as these keywords are already sending traffic.

So back to the link building…

The purpose of this technique is actually  to build backlinks using these misspellings so I decided to put it to the test and see how well it worked. The second step is to put a .com on the end of each word. Many of my keywords actually had spaces in them such as ‘im automator’ and my absolute favourite, ‘i am automator’!

Incidentally, in case you have ever wondered, yes IMAutomator is all one word, and the IM stands for Internet Marketing.

So I removed all the words with spaces and other invalid characters and I trimmed the list down to 156 URL’s. Next I went to the bulk backlink checker of Majestic’s tools to see which of these had any backlinks.


Using Majestic SEO to find domains with backlinks

The first one that popped up was for It looks like this used to be a site that did something very similar to IMAutomator, but is now dead. This has potential because any live site linking to that company could potentially link to mine as they offer pretty much the same thing. It had 68 backlinks according to Majestic and Ahrefs but as I only have a free plan on both those I looked at the handful of backlinks shown and then I used a crappy little backlink checker for the rest. It was a bit more effort but showed the data I needed.

build backlinks with misspellings

Using Ahrefs to look at the actual backlinks pointing to the domain

This tool doesn’t filter out internal links and it also shows entries for whois sites, ranking sites and all of that garbage. However, it did show the PR of the linking page which was handy. I only looked at ones PR2 or higher, as nothing less is worth the time. I actually found a couple of live resource pages, and contacted the webmasters and asked them to change the links. While I was at it I also used a broken link checker to identify some broken links on the page for them as a nice gesture.

The next domain of interest was which redirected to some guy claiming to be an Internet Marketing expert. However I couldn’t find any decent backlinks for that one.

Unfortunately that was it; none of the other domains showed any backlinks.

Conclusion: Linkbuilding with Misspellings Worth it?

This whole process took maybe a couple of hours and I ended up with only 1 solid link on which to perform outreach and of course there’s no guarantee that the website will even get the email, let along act on it. So, for me, it was not worth the effort.

However, I would suggest that you at least have a look in your analytics for misspellings. If you see some that are sending through a lot of traffic and you’re also the kind of site that gets lots of links then its very possible that some of those links are actually pointing to a mis-typed URL that should be pointing at your site and then it might well be worth doing the rest of the steps.


Remove Dead Links From IMAutomator (Free Broken Link Checker Tool)

Many IMAutomator members have submitted thousands of bookmarks to the system over the years and many of the older links may be pointing towards sites that no longer exist. These just clog up your account (and our database!) and get in the way when trawling through your existing jobs when you want to re-submit them for additional backlinks.

Remove dead links in bulk

There are two features which help you remove dead links in bulk plus a neat little plugin for Chrome called Check My Links. First of all, if you know that you have many bookmarks for a particular website which no longer exists, you can use the job search functionality to find them all at once.

Secondly, you now have the bulk job deletion feature which allows you to just click all the jobs you want to select and then click a button to delete the selected jobs. Of course, please do be careful with this feature!

Now what the chrome plugin does is quickly analyze all the links on a page and look for broken ones. Onces which are ok are highlighted in green and broken links are highlighted in red so its easy to see at a glance which jobs are pointing to dead links.

So all you need to do is use the search to pull up jobs from a site that is gone, click the ‘Check My Links’ button, click the checkmark next to any job that has a red broken link, and then delete all of those jobs. This technique will only take a few moments and you can easily remove dead links from IMAutomator in bulk.

SolveMedia CAPTCHA Support Added

You may have noticed that over the last few months a new type of CAPTCHA has been popping up all over the web by a company called SolveMedia. These captcha’s vary – sometimes you just type in the words you see (pretty standard) but other times you need to solve a puzzle, identify a brand and other strange things.

Many social bookmarking sites have started using this new style of captcha in their submission pages and until now we have been unable to support it and had to put those sites to one side. Today we have managed to get support for SolveMedia working which means that the range of social bookmark sites that we can incorporate into IMAutomator has just grown.

We’ve put 8 new sites on trial today – all PR3 & PR4 and as usual we shall monitor their performance over the next few days and add them into the live system if they work well. We have quite a large list of sites to look at so hopefully we can grow the list of our social bookmarking sites over the coming months.

I know I say that a lot and the list often stays hovering around 30 sites but now that we’re winding down the Article & RSS submitter tools more time can be dedicated to the social bookmark submitter. As always, we never know how long a new site will last so time will tell how well these new sites work out!

Social Bookmarking Sites Watch: December 2013

This is a new blog post idea I am experimenting with – doing a monthly post about the current social bookmarking sites supported by the IMAutomator social bookmark submitter, listing a new ones, any significant changes and so on. Hopefully it will prove insightful.

Social Bookmarking Sites for December 2013

As this is the first post of this kind, there’s no changes to report so here is the current list sorted by PR:

  1. Delicious [PR 8] –
  2. Bibsonomy [PR 7] –
  3. Diigo [PR 7] –
  4. Link Arena [PR 7] –
  5. bitly [PR 7] –
  6. folkd [PR 6] –
  7. BuddyMarks [PR 5] –
  8. Dropjack [PR 5] –
  9. LinkaGoGo [PR 5] –
  10. News Me Back [PR 5] –
  11. Yemle [PR 5] –
  12. Boxwood Products [PR 4] –
  13. MURL [PR 4] –
  14. You Doze [PR 4] –
  15. Legal Mentoring [PR 4] –
  16. Science Skills Match [PR 4] –
  17. Diggma [PR 3] –
  18. IndoFeed [PR 3] –
  19. Auto Anttila [PR 3] –
  20. Drjwg-mn [PR 3] –
  21. Hang-Bag [PR 3] –
  22. Webdet [PR 3] –
  23. Traverso [PR 3] –
  24. Acymca [PR 2] –
  25. Startaid [PR 2] –
  26. 1 Look 4 [PR 1] –
  27. Alplist [PR 1] –
  28. Clickets [PR 1] –
  29. Easy Info [PR 1] –
  30. Aradigin [PR 1] –

Whilst we’re pleased with the number of high PR sites in this list, we’d still like to have more sites to choose from – we’ve always aimed at around 50 social bookmarking sites but with the rate at which sites come and go on the Internet it can be difficult to maintain that many at once.

Earlier in the year we added in CAPTCHA support which allowed us to include sites that use one of these captchas on the submission form. This has been very useful as these days it is almost impossible to find a working social bookmark site that doesn’t use some kind of captcha system. However, there’s a new type of captcha out there which so far, is not solveable by the captcha solving service that we use.

We currently have a list of about a dozen social bookmarking sites that look like they could be viable additions to IMAutomator but they all use this new captcha. If we can find a way to solve these captchas then this will once again open up the amount of sites that we can offer. I’ll post a news on that front in next months post.

Credit Codes: Free credits for all members!

We have implemented a small new feature called Credit Codes to make it easier for us to give away free credits, which we like to do 🙂 You will find this on the Members page when you first login to IMAutomator.

How to enter credit codes

Scroll down a bit, to the ‘Submission Credits’ section and in there you will find a box where you may enter a credit code. This box is cunningly labelled ‘Enter a Credit Code’. Paste your code in the box and hit the submit button. After your code is accepted you can click the Members icon at the top of the site to go back to the Members page.

Your credit balance will have been updated with the credit value of the code (they vary) and it will also show up in the credit transaction report that you may also generate from this page to see a history of all credits going in and out of your account.

Your first free code!

Well here you go…. TS4EXT6ZANYH This code is worth 25 credits and also has an expiry date (most do not). It expires on December 31st 2013.

Free codes in EVERY email

We will be giving codes away all over the place – on our Facebook page, possibly Twitter (though we don’t really use our Twitter account), in blog posts like this one but most importantly – in EVERY email that we send out. When you sign up to the IMAutomator system we send out a series of tips emails approximately once per week and we also send out the occasional newsletter.

Email can be annoying; there’s too much of it these days and frankly, nobody has much time to read many emails so we want to provide a little incentive… Today we have modified all of those emails and have hidden a credit code in every one of them! This is just a little bit of fun and also a thank you for taking the time to read our correspondence which we hope you also find helpful and informative! We shall continue to do this for all emails we send out in the future!

Enjoy the free credits 🙂

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