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    I was interested to note over the weekend that Google had downloaded a new version of its toolbar onto my computer. Not that important in itself, but it had added an option to install a button which gives instant access to Googles Blog Search engine – pity that they decided to use the Blogger.com insignia which is bound to cause confusion. Nevertheless, an positive step to take.

    This was not the only new publicity for Googles Blog Search. Techcrunch also pointed out something I had not noticed which is that a link to Googles Blog Search had also been added to the Google News homepage. Not exactly prominent at the moment (look at the top right hand corner) but a step in the right direction.

    While neither of these actions by Google is in any way groundbreaking, it is nevertheless a clear indication that they are taking their Blog Search engine and blogs in general very seriously.

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    Joshua Schachter over at Del.icio.us announced this week that they had registered their 1 millionth user while TechCrunch in their own summary also reminded us that Digg recently reported they had just passed the half million mark.

    While the numbers arent enormous in internet terms, they are by no means insignificant and they are growing. So, along with the other social bookmarking (and indeed social networking) sites, they are certainly worth paying attention to as we look to promote our blogs and raise the visibility and profile of the information we provide.

    Why in particular? Because social bookmarking provides an additional way for your readers to save your site or an individual post as one of their favourites which allows them to share it with others – this creates an additional route for people to find and potentially write about your site. In this sense, you could look at it as a sort of online version of refer a friend on steroids. Not forgetting that, as with all networking, even if the person they tell is not directly interested, they may well pass it on to others who are.

    So, who might use this as a promotional tool? Effectively anyone with something (preferably interesting!) to say or share. It could be an article or a set of useful hints and tips, it could be a drawing, photo or picture (using Flickr for example) or perhaps a podcast or video clip. Whatever the content is, the key element is the sharing and the community aspect if someone has it in their favourites then they are effectively endorsing it and recommending it to others. Best type of recommendation – from a friend or colleague. And by extension, best type of business – referral business.

    For this reason, I have added social bookmarking to my list of Marketing and Promotional techniques, in particular for blogs though it should also be considered for websites. It is an added way to gain additional exposure which in turn translates into additional visitors which you can then turn into additional revenue. Definitely worthwhile.

    So what do I have to do to take advantage of this? Well, ideally it should be as easy as possible for visitors to save your content to the social bookmarking sites and the best way to do this is with a simple link or icon which does this automatically. If you are using WordPress, then there are a number of plug-ins which will help you to do just this. Two that you might like to look at are Sociable and Social Bookmark Bar, both of which achieve it well.

    People talk about social bookmarking as the way that Search Engines in general will need to go in the future, relying less on mathematical calculations and more on individual and personal recommendations. While this may or may not come to fruition, there is no doubt that it is a developing area and one that as Business blog owners we should both be aware of and catering to.

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