3 New Metrics To Waste 30 More Hours A Week On

I was chatting with Ann (she of the SEO Smarts) the other day about measuring social media efforts. What follows are a few ideas on how measure that, as well as a related metric that might help you identify linkerati who’ve visited your blog. If you like this post, I encourage you to subscribe. My other material is just like this.

1) Longtail searches to new deeplinks. Frequently, I’ll read something, find it interesting enough to link, but won’t necessarily bookmark it. Or perhaps I’m feeling lazy and it’s easier to search Google than my bookmarks. Whatever the case, traffic referrals that show longtail queries with hyper-specific intent are often a presage to getting a link. People look for something they already saw before they’re about to link.

By taking note of these searches and the IPs they’re coming from, then checking backlinks to that page in the subsequent days/weeks, you can likely find out who the IP belongs to. In the future, you can show that person your best content in the aims of getting more links, show them a “welcome you awesome linkerati” message and so on. I’m sure you guys can find other worthwhile uses for IDing visitors in this way – and if you do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

2) Number of unique visits by a given person (based on IP, ISP, geolocation, screen size, browser, resolution) prior to subscribing (RSS or email). It took me reading lots of Skelliewag’s guest posts around before I subscribed to his feed. The reason is that people usually need to be convinced of the consistent quality of a blog’s content before subscribing.

To measure this, you would use some click-tracking in combination with analytics.

On a related note, the plugin that shows new visitors a ‘you’re new, why don’t you subscribe’ message is likely not that effective for most people. That’s because the default setting is three visits, and imho, it takes more than three before someone is convinced enough to subscribe. I had to see about a dozen of Skellie’s posts before getting the feed! Then again, I tend to be a skeptic and thus a late-adopter, so for the average folk it’s likely to be a half-dozen – 10 times.

Another related point is considering the # of pageviews per visit, and especially the frequency of return visits (sometimes termed the loyalty of your visitors). As analytics expert (and recent email correspondent :D!) Avinash Kaushik can tell you, the “stickiness” of your content and its pull aren’t such great success metrics. However, they do measure how much of your content people consume. Usually, people will consume lots of it if it’s really good. Coincidentally, they also subscribe if it’s really good…

3) Frequency of Sphinn frontpaging/StumbleUpon orgies. (This latter colourful term is courtesy of my friend X). This relates to the speed of daily traffic and feed growth. SSS did 0 – 700 in only a few months. That was achieved, afaik,with near daily frontpaging for a month or more! And again, obviously, this was because he pumps out some seriously killer content.

This can be pretty good as a predictor of traffic and future subscriptions, assuming you keep it up.

Incidentally, I’m not sure this is entirely original, as Neil Patel has mentioned that you need to hit digg’s frontpage several times in a week to have maximal impact. While I think he was talking about it in a link-building context, he may also have meant it regarding subscribers, but I can’t find the reference unfortunately – please do post it in the comments if you have it. I’ll update this post and give some linky-love to whoever finds and posts it first, with whatever anchor text you want (just no pills, porn or poker)!

Come back tomorrow for my Top 20 Reasons to Brave RSSands. (aka: Won’t you please subscribe? Pretty please? With a cherry on top? I’ve got goodsome might even say influentialstuff, really and truly! )

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  1. Very interesting post Gabriel. You share three examples of segmenting your data and that will always yield interesting insights. I do recommend that igniting Sphinn or StumbleUpon orgies should not be a goal in of itself. The focus should be on producing remarkable unique content. Measure how much of that you produce. If you do then I am utterly convinced that orgies will follow. :) -Avinash.

    Comment by Avinash Kaushik - January 31, 2008 @ 8:13pm
  2. Hey Avinash, Thanks for dropping in and sharing your thoughts. I certainly agree with you that igniting Sphinn/SU is a means rather than a goal (the means to distribute remarkable, unique content). While Sphinn/SU aren't perfect barometers, they're reasonably good at letting you know when something you produced was high quality - if it's really good, chances are it'll go hot.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - January 31, 2008 @ 10:49pm
  3. You're right but one thing I fail to understand. You say that you need to read several good posts in order to subscribe to a feed. This means you visit that page (bookmark or typein) and read several times before you are sold. Wouldn't is be more convenient to subscribe to blogs with one cool article and the decided whether too keep it or not. You won't have to watch out for new content and if you feel 'let down' you opt-out. I'd say this method is much easier. PS: This article is not featured on homepage. If I just bumped into your blog (at your last post) and also have to judge several posts before deciding to subscribe, do you imagine I would guess you post articles only to feed? How would I see your posts in order to decide to subscribe. You could add something like: Some posts are for subscribers only so SUBSCRIBE ... so people know. ;)

    Comment by 5ubliminal - February 2, 2008 @ 4:36am
  4. I'm flattered you subscribed 5ub :D. Actually, it's just a problem with my blogging setup. I've got an opt-in for the frontpage but I don't like to use it as the opt-in is supposed to be for my best material. Lately I've broken that rule, but I'm trying to be more disciplined (not to mention get this site fixed!). The reason I want it fixed is for permalink structure. If I can get another KW in the url, it might boost the rank and/or get higher CTR. Anyways, subscribing then deciding whether you like it or not would work if you weren't concerned about reader-clutter. My guess is that most people who are serious about their feeds - and these are usually the readers you want most - are reluctant to add feeds because it adds to the clutter. Think a Darren Rowse with hundreds of feeds or a Maki with similar volume of reading... Thanks for sharing your 2 cents dude!

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - February 2, 2008 @ 11:26pm

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