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March 16, 2006

Let Your Bookmarks Define You

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This excites me in the geekiest of ways. Search Engine Journal has a post this morning about a revamped del.icio.us feature that I like, a lot – their new URL History tool. This ingenious creation tells you not only who bookmarked your site, but when they bookmarked it and what words they used to tag it. It also allows you to see what other sites, blogs, etc they have bookmarked, giving you a more complete profile of your target audience. Awesome!

del.icio.us is an open-ended social bookmarking site where users can tag their favorite sites, articles, blogs, music and more to store them and make them accessible from any computer. Users are also able to view information bookmarked by others.

The improved URL tool is extremely useful for analyzing how users associate or define your site, especially for companies just starting SEO campaigns. Doing a URL history search for BruceClay.com I can see that 47 del.icio.us users have bookmarked our site. Date information is presented on a per-month basis so sites can compare new bookmarks (three this month) against old lurkers. The tag cloud and tag descriptions show me what tags are used most often. For example, I can see that most users describe us using the tags ‘analysis’, ‘marketing tools’, ‘tips’, ‘SEO’, and ‘tutorial’. Knowing what words and phrases users associate with your site will give you a better idea of what they’re looking for and why they visit.

This tool is also handy for establishing keywords. According to SEJ, noting what words users themselves have chosen to describe your site may help you discover missed opportunities for optimizing or to identify terms that fall outside of industry jargon. For example, do users tag our site under search engine optimization, SEO or optimizing? It looks like most use the acronym SEO. Once you know what terms users view as being important you can customize your site and marketing campaigns accordingly.

Let’s not forget my favorite feature! del.icio.us also shows you what else users have bookmarked using the same tags and keywords they used for your site. What a great way to search out competition or just get a better feel for your audience. I can see that a user that bookmarked us under “SEO” also tagged GoogleRankings.com, Performance Metrics, various SEO blogs and a popular SEO design site bookmarked with the same term. Where else can you get such detailed, free targeted information?

I must say I am uniquely impressed with this new tool. There is an unlimited opportunity for users to research and analyze their site and audience to make improvements. Plus it has what every good tool needs – just a slight touch of evil. Excuse me while I go stalk research our competition.

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