5 GA Social Media Metrics that Actually Affect SEO
May 30, 2013
Recently, Google has been shifting a lot of focus to social media stats and performance metrics. In a recent post I discussed that Google no longer needs to count total links, anchor text and other linking factors to determine the quality of your website. The new measure to test the legitimacy of your website is from what others are saying about you publicly, to each other, and how visitors perform on (or interact on) your website. As a result of this new measure, Google has merged their famous Google Analytics with the social media part of their algorithm. They now offer features to help you measure your site’s presence in the social sphere.
Below are 5 (relatively new) ways to measure your social analytics stats in Google Analytics:
1. Network Referrals
This is a simple feature much like the ‘Referral Traffic’ feature, but is exclusive to social sites only. It’s pretty much ‘Referral Traffic’ with a filter.
The goal here is to increase your total network referral traffic by increasing total visits from social networking sites and increasing the total network sites sending you traffic.
2. Data Hub Activity
This feature pretty much combines the Network Referrals by showing you how all the social referrals connect. For instance, say you write a blog post that gets tweeted, FB shared and G+ed, GA will combine them together. It will also tell you conversations. It will show you the content surrounding these posts and the actual link pointing to your site. This is important because you’ll start to see a correlation between content surrounding your social shares (conversations) and your rankings. It’s actually quite amazing.
The goal here is to increase your social presence on all of the social hubs, but to also make sure pages you create get shared on more than just Facebook (and with unique content surrounding those shares).
3. Landing Pages
So you’re getting all this traffic from various social media sites. You’re getting shared on Facebook, tweeted by fellow tweeters and your content is creating Google+ ripples. But where are these people landing when they come to your website? What pages are getting shared? And what do people see when they land on your website? This is another feature very similar to other GA features. The only difference again is the filter. What makes this tool unique is now you can see how all those visitors that came to your site via the social networks interact with your site. Do they just come to that specific page, or do they spend time on your site, visit other pages and best of all convert?
The goal here is to identify which networks send you valuable traffic (or conversions) and which shares in those networks brought that traffic. Once you figure that out, you’ll want to do whatever you did again and again (to get more conversions).
Trackbacks are actually a classic link building tactic. When you blog or write anything that publishes to an RSS feed, if others like the content they will link to it from their blogs, websites or social networks. Google simply counts all the “backlinks” your content obtains. Now you are able to go to a single page to see mentions of your content across the blogsphere. The more subscribers you have and places your feed can be found can increase these figures.
The goal here is to not only write content that will get mentioned and linked to, but to also get your site listed and found in networks that publish or share your feeds.
5. Visitors Flow
This is an extension of the ‘Landing Pages’ feature. You can visually study your visitors flow through your site. For instance, you see that a high percentage of your visitors came to your website via Facebook. You can then see what page(s) they all landed on. Then you can see what pages they went to from there, and so on. You’ll be able to see the actual figures as well. So you’ll be able to see what percent of people went to your about page, service page, etc., or even just didn’t go any further from where they landed.
The goal here is to produce content that will earn relevant shares. And when your website gets those visits, make sure you either convert those users or find a way to get them to spend time on your website and to share it (to keep the cycle going).
Visitors Flow is the most important feature, because here you (and Google) can determine if what people are sharing/saying about your site is relevant to what the users want. You’ll be able to see how your visitors perform on your website and if they led to conversions, Google in turn will be able to see if your site performs as well as the competition.
In conclusion as we move forward into the search engine rankings future, the social media stats and performance of your website are becoming increasingly important. Using the analytics Google provides can help ensure your success.