Social Bookmarking: The New Search Engine?

Search engines seem to be increasingly useless in producing relevant results when users search for something specific. Even Google – which used to solve all query problems – often produces mediocre results, giving users paid search results that aren’t quite what they’re looking for.

Social bookmarking often produces not only relevant but also better results, wasting much less of a user’s time. Searching on StumbleUpon for example, saves a user from going through pages of irrelevant Google results.  Other popular examples of social bookmarking websites are:

  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • Metafilter
  • Squidoo
  • Slashdot

…but there are a lot more out there for you to use.  Each one has its own feature set that enhances the user experience, but ultimately it just boils down to user preference when it comes to picking a favorite.

What’s your experience with social bookmarking?  Do you use it?

Freelance writer, translator and copyeditor currently living in Amsterdam. Former stressed-out marketing and public relations person in NYC. Likes languages but really doesn't like flowers. Contact through


  1. Sarah on the 29th June

    Eh, I disagree. Google won’t give you more than 2 sponsored results at the top of a page and they highlight and label them as sponsored.

    And even with sponsored search results, Google ranks them not only by highest bid but also by relevance and by keyword, encouraging advertisers to be specific and targeted.

    Search engines are not in the business of “tricking” the user – it doesn’t make business sense for website owners nor for users, and therefore a search engine like Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. would really only harm themselves by using the approach you are suggesting.

    SEO is one of the most stressed aspects in online marketing today. The “black hat” or “gray hat” techniques that you refer to in this article are a thing of the past. In fact, I think today’s search engines work better than ever.

    • Ana da Silva on the 29th June

      Thanks for your comment Sarah. Starting last November exactly, Google just started being increasingly a time-waster for me. When I search for a city name or a person’s name it’s usually not so bad but often I need to search for very specific information and all I get are pages from ehow, and other sites that aren’t all that reliable. In the end I have to go through many pages trying to find something I can rely on.

      I gave up on other search engines though lately I’ve been using Bing a bit more.

  2. Nope, I still use the search engines. I have not used Social Bookmarking.

    I did not understand what you meant by this:

    “often produces such results, giving users paid search results that aren’t quite what they’re looking for.”


    • Ana da Silva on the 29th June

      Lately I’ve been researching very specific technology for a business plan I’m writing and the top results are for products, not for the statistics and other specific information I’m looking for. I type in “statistics” and other terms in my query and all I get are “buy this product here” etc.

      Several people I know are going through the same frustration, getting “shop for this” results instead of the info they’re looking for.

  3. Rob on the 29th June

    I’ve tried to get into social bookmarking, but it’s not as applicable as Google. I still need to use my brain to sift through Google’s results, but it provides the start of the path. I use social bookmarking sites if I’m doing more market research, because of the inter-related content and sites, it’s much more useful to get the overall vibe on a specific topic…but that’s a whole other purpose than searching for general information.

  4. Susan Johnston on the 30th June

    I use StumbleUpon and Delicious, but it’s more for me to keep track of favorite links than to find things. For instance, I have a Delicious category I use to organize my research, my writing clips, and my ideas.

  5. MrSmith on the 7th March

    Agree with the premise of this article. Same thing occurred to me .. ironically though I found this post on google, lol. ( the irony ). 😀

    As mentioned though … totally agree. Keeping my fingers crossed for better resources than search engines to emerge. Nothing like digging through 14hrs of trash content. Day in and day out.

    Also think google and other search engines have too much influence over the net. Honestly believe the internet would be a much better place w/o the mighty Goog! and the other meganet corps. Their idea of relevant .. and actually relevancy can be drastically different things.

    Google’s concept of relevant … and good user experience etc. Is actually code for keep the money rolling in. With google constantly trying to change it’s algo’s and people constantly trying to figure out those algo’s to game them and get in the top spots. Leaving internet surfers trapped in the middle of a never ending battle.

  6. MrSmith on the 7th March

    Random babbling …

    Another good idea for poss speeding things along and filtering out a bunch of crap content. Either disable images and/or use a text based browser. Just the facts ma’am, lol. At least if I limit it only to the text info on a page … I can more quickly scan through and identify the bs content, sighs.

    Author there’s always DMOZ and other human edited web directories I guess. Old school net surfing. The age old struggle between good/evil and trash SERP’s results that make ya wanna pull out your hair. 😀

    Also get the nagging feeling that part of it’s me. There’s a right way to go about finding stuff online. Then there’s the way Im doing it evidently. 😀 Have come across many, many books over the years about the topic of how to intelligently and systematically go about finding info online and errrr, steadfastly ignored or skimmed through them.

    How people go about web search, there are tons of specialty search engines and one’s that search the “invisible web”, which google is now supposed to be able to index too and/or directories of online databases that are topic spec.

    More random babbling that may ( or not ) help improve search results. Thinking about starting to jump over the first several pages of the SERP’s. Many of the top sites, in the top spots are the work of SEO people with commercial intent. They want to get in those 1st page results cause they want to cash in on the web traffic. So just thinking top results doesn’t necessarily mean … most relevant one’s.

    I’ve gotten better at finding things online. But it’s still often a tedious experience. So I definitely feel your pain girl. Google luck ( everyone ) in your quest to find things on the net !!!

Add a Comment