If you write about social media often, you might find yourself needing a few statistics. The following sources will give you the most current data available about social networking usage.
The following sites are a good place to start for statistics about most of your favorite social networks.
Wikipedia is a good first stop to get the latest stats about social networks. Their pages usually have each social networks launch date, current number of users, founders, revenue, traffic, and other information as applicable. You can see what I mean on Wikipedia pages for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and so forth. Be sure to click on the number next to each stat to see the official source for more information.
If you’re looking for traffic and demographics, Quantcast is a great source. See some interesting information about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, and so forth. Use the search box to find even more domains.
The Top 10
All About Facebook
Facebook seems to have the most data out and about on the web. Here are some great sources.
Facebook Fact Sheet
Facebook itself offers some basic statistics about their network on their company info fact sheet. it includes the current number of employees, number of monthly and daily active users, board member names, and locations of Facebook offices worldwide.
Inside Facebook Gold
Need some in-depth statistics about Facebook? Inside Facebook has a gold membership that allows you access to the latest demographics about Facebook usage. While their membership is currently closed to new enrollment, you can still get some interesting stats for free on their membership page including the number of users in the top 25 countries on Facebook and global audience demographics.
Facebook Pages Leaderboard
All About Twitter
Not quite as detailed as the information on Facebook, but the following are stats about Twitter.
What is Twitter
There aren’t too many interesting stats on the What is Twitter page, but the ones that might catch your eye are the number of tweets per day and active users!
Top Twitter Users
TwitterCounter has a page for the most followed Twitter accounts. The top 20, with exception to Barack Obama, YouTube, and Twitter en espanol, are mostly celebrities.
All About LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s About Us page covers the latest LinkedIn facts including overall membership plus breakdowns of the number of members in 14 different countries.
YouTube’s Statistic page has tons of neat information including how many hours of video content is uploaded every minute, how many videos are viewed per day, unique users per month, user demographics, and more. There is even a section about social usage of YouTube such as the number of people connecting their accounts to other services (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), how many people auto share, and more.
What sites do you use to check social media statistics? Please share your resources in the comments!
Popups are certainly a very efficient way to communicate your message (and to nag your users, too) and almost any marketer knows this. Conventional popups that display when a user lands on a page (or after some delay, or at specified events, if you are using a more sophisticated tool, such as a WordPress popup plugin) might be the first thing that comes to your mind but since they are also the most used and many users will leave your site right after they see a popup, you might want to experiment with something different. How about exit popups?
What Are Exit Popups?
Exit popups, as the name implies, are those popups you show when the user is about to leave (i.e. exit) your site. Actually, exit popups aren’t that rare and I can bet that more or less every Web-savvy user has encountered them but you probably didn’t know them by name. Well, now you know how these popups that scream, “Wait! Don’t leave!” are called.
When Exit Popups Are the Better Option
The best thing about exit popups is that they are less annoying. Additionally, since you display them when the user is about to leave your site anyway, you are not losing visitors. With conventional popups displayed at startup, many users might get irritated and instead of reading what’s in the popup, they will leave your site altogether. This way you are losing a visitor and this is bad.
With exit popups this doesn’t happen – since the user has already made his or her mind he or she is leaving, you’ve got nothing to lose. What is more, if your message in the exit popup is convincing, you could even get the user back to your site to see more.
Well, with exit popups you have only one chance to show them. With standard popups in theory you can display them at every page refresh or every 30 secs or so but in practice this isn’t a good idea because such a high display frequency is very irritating to the user. Anyway, the fact you are using exit popups doesn’t mean you have to ditch standard popups completely, so in fact you can use on your site both standard and exit popups. You can make these popups with the same message, or use different messages – just decide what your needs are.
What is more, usually it is a question of quality not quantity, so don’t regret the fact you can show an exit plugin only once. Just make your farewell message convincing enough and you might be lucky to make a sale, get a new subscriber, or make the user do whatever you are asking him or her to do.
How to Use Exit Popups
As I already mentioned, WordPress popup plugins with an exit popup option are the best way to display an exit popup, especially if you are already using WordPress as your platform. The simplest way to display an exit popup is with some code you put in your theme (i.e. without a dedicated plugin) but this approach generally limits you a lot. For instance, you will be depriving yourself of all the configuration options that come with the plugin, which in turn will make your message less effective. This is why the best you can do is get a WordPress popup plugin, install it, and think of a cute message your readers will love.
Jeffrey Davis recently reported a 30%- 40% drop in his site’s referral traffic from StumbleUpon. There’s absolutely no doubt that SU is one of the most potential sources for getting a good amount of referral traffic. In fact, many blogs receive as much as 60%-80% of their overall traffic from SU.
After SU rolled out their redesign last year, users felt quite happy to know that the site was paying some careful attention to its on-topic features. But, as soon as, SU bid adieu to direct links recently, everyone was taken aback. Earlier, you could easily ‘x’ out a page and visit the original URL from inside the site. Now, while logged in, you can’t get out so easily.
There’s one way, though somewhat clumsy. If you want to visit the original source, you need to copy-paste the URL above, while leaving the SU part of the URL out.
Here’s what the URL looks like.
Well, SU is trying to confine users within its own eco-system. Funny, isn’t it?
On the other hand, Pinterest (a visual bookmarking site) is attracting eyeballs from many sides. Though it’s a new entrant in the social arena, it’s fast turning into a potential sources of traffic for a wide range of businesses. According to a recent report by Shareaholic, Pinterest is now rivaling Twitter in terms of driving referral traffic to a website or blog.
What’s more, Pinterest is generating more referral traffic than its elder social brothers like Google+, LinkedIn and Youtube are doing together. Though a lot of businesses are still quite unaware of the traffic opportunities that a social bookmarking site as young as Pinterest can bring, others are flocking to this Pinboard in large numbers.
Though Facebook still rules when it comes to driving referral traffic, Pinterest is fast picking up steam. The growth of this visual pinboard has been phenomenal over the last couple of months. Shareaholic recent findings (after analyzing data from as many as 200,000 publishers) reveal that Pinterest drove around 3.6% referral traffic in January this year, shooting up from merely 17% in July and 2.5% December last year.
Many have been reported to ditch SU as well.
So, Do You Need a Shift in Your Referral Traffic Strategy?
Absolutely! If you don’t evaluate your site’s referral traffic statistics now, it may be too late. You really need to know about the sources that drive the maximum traffic to your website or blog.
Log into your Google analytics account and click ‘Referring Sites’ under the Traffic Sources tab on the dashboard right away. Find out what those referring sources stats look like. When you know what sources work most in your favor, you can adjust your traffic generation strategy effectively.
Did you notice a sudden drop in your site’s referral traffic from SU? Which social platforms drive most of this traffic to your site? Please feel free to talk back in comments.
I’ve heard some people say they got into their online business, be it SEO or copywriting, so they could work from home and not have to interact with people. And every time I hear that, I can’t help but take a step back and think, “That’s stupid.” I mean, sure you may not be dealing face to face with people on a daily basis, but a large part of what you do involves client interaction. You absolutely must know how to work with people in order to succeed in any sort of business venture.
Now having said that, I fully realize that some people who “retreats” to an online job in order to avoid social duties may require a little extra help in respect to client relations. If that describes you, here are a few tips to help you out. Follow them and you’ll be retaining clients and getting referrals in no time.
1. Go the extra mile to fix your mistakes—I’m writing this post today because quite frankly, it’s fresh on my mind. See, I did another post for this blog that I was supposed to schedule for 9 A.M. this morning. But I screwed up and it published overnight. Well, after thinking about it, I decided that it just wasn’t right for me to say “OOPS!” and move on. So instead, I decided to supply the blog with an extra post. And it just so happened to be fitting material. Would Gerald have let me keep posting to his blog if I had simply said “Sorry,” and moved on to next week? More than likely. But hey—I want to make sure I keep my business relationships moving in the right direction. I plan on working with him for a long time. So why not scratch his back?
Update: Gerald ended up not using this post last Monday so it’s getting used this week. That said, I’m still glad I went the extra step and I’m sure he took note. Make a habit of doing business the right way!
2. Deliver as promised (and don’t promise if you can’t deliver)—Sometimes I’m lucky and acquire a project that has a flexible deadline. But more often than not, if a client contacts me then they needed the piece written yesterday. So they ask when is the soonest I can finish for them. I’m always tempted to overcommit in order to secure the project. However, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to give them an honest answer than to promise and not deliver. Nothing makes a client unhappier than having to wait for work that should have already been completed.
3. Keep communication lines open—Again, sometimes you get the low maintenance client that just wants you to send them the finished product and shut the hell up. But always go into a new relationship assuming your client needs his hand held. In other words, give him frequent updates. And ask him if he has any questions (and be ready to answer them). Bottom line—make him feel important.
Have you run into client issues before? What have you done to go the extra mile?
Did you know there is more to the Referral Traffic Sources in your Google Analytics than just the referral domains themselves? Here are a few things you can learn by clicking on some of the domains listed under your Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals.
What Twitter User Really Sends You Traffic & Your Most Popular Posts on Twitter
Want to find out who is really sending the most traffic to your website via Twitter? Look no further than the t.co domain in your Traffic Sources. When you click on this, you will see the specific t.co links that have led visitors to your website.
Copy the Referral Path listed, then paste it into your browser after http://t.co so you can go to the post or page that it references. In another tab (if you don’t have this already), install the Topsy Trackbacks bookmarklet on your bookmarks toolbar. Then go to the tab with your post and click on the Topsy bookmarklet. You will now see most of the tweets for your page in Topsy.
When you get to the All posts about this link section, scroll to the bottom and click on the more link until you’ve pulled most of the tweets for your post (which could take a while, depending on how many times the page has been tweeted). Then use your browser’s Find on Page (CTRL + F) and paste in the Referral Path again. It should take you to one (or more) tweets with the t.co link that you pulled from Google Analytics. The first person who tweeted it is the source of your Twitter traffic!
Going back to your Referral Paths from t.co, you can also use this to see which posts on your site get the most Twitter traffic. Simply click on the Secondary dimension dropdown and select Landing Page under Traffic Sources.
This will show you the posts each t.co link references.
Pages with Traffic from Image Search
Curious what posts or pages on your website get the most traffic from Google Images search? Find out by clicking on the google.com domain in your traffic sources and then click on the /imgres Referral Path. Next, use the Secondary dimension dropdown and, again, select Landing Page under Traffic Sources.
Be sure to check out the images on those pages to see if you can use similar images for future posts / pages on your site for more image related traffic!
Guest Posts, Comments, or Crowdsourcing
When you’re looking at your Traffic Sources, it’s easy to tell which source is related to your guest posting, commenting, or sites you contribute answers to for crowdsourced posts. If you do multiple activities on one site, then you need to click on that site’s domain and drill down to the Referral Paths to see which activity gets the best results from that site.
By drilling down on my own referral traffic from Social Media Examiner, I could see that it comes from a variety of things, including one guest post, making their top blog list, a crowdsourced post, and a link left to one of my posts in the forums.
LinkedIn Shares, Groups, Answers, or Company Pages
If you are active on LinkedIn and take advantage of different things such as sharing your posts on your profile, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn Answers, or on your company page, then you will probably want to know which of those activities bring the most traffic to your website. Click on linkedin.com in your Traffic Sources to see the following.
Here, I can see that the most traffic comes from shares within groups (/news), followed by status updates (/home, /profile/view, and /share), more group shares (/groupItem), and Answers (/groupAnswers).
Most Popular Posts on StumbleUpon
It’s tough to find things on StumbleUpon sometimes, including which posts from your own sites are the most popular on their network. If you want to see which posts on your site get the most StumbleUpon traffic, click on stumbleupon.com in your Traffic Sources, then click on the refer.php Referral Path. Next, use the Secondary dimension dropdown and, again, select Landing Page under Traffic Sources.
Now you can see which posts have driven the most StumbleUpon traffic over the last year. This is great to reference when you are determining what new content you want to create and how it will fare on the SU network. Going forward, with the latest changes to the SU networks, you will just look at any links starting with /su/ in the Referral Paths.
If you enjoyed this post be sure to check out basic Google analytics tips.
Do you go deeper into your Google Analytics Traffic Sources? What other discoveries have you found about your referral traffic?
Have you heard the buzz in the SEO community? Bruce Clay announced on Facebook, later followed up by this Search Engine Watch post, the launch of a new service that guarantees top listings in local search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. The service works to promote your business listing for a nominal fee, guaranteeing a top position – in organic listings! It also boasts to be a cheaper option than PPC. UBL, the backend partner of Clay’s in this venture, verifies that they are still in the beta phase and are currently testing the system (now being vehemently denied).
When I first heard about this news I had to look at the calendar – April 1st? Seriously, this seems a bit far fetched. Within a very short time the SEO community reacted with amazement; it’s common sense that this type of service would be looked down upon. Miranda Miller’s Search Engine Watch post did a good job of sharing her investigative research and the comment section is a worthwhile read. Additionally, friend of SEM-Group.net, Dave Harry wrote a summary post with some good reactions in the comments as well.
Bruce announced on Twitter that they’d have a statement this morning regarding the local paid inclusion fiasco. Google, Bing and UBL all deny involvement in lpi as reported in Danny Sullivan’s post. More reactions include thoughts that this is just some clever marketing plan or package done by Clay’s team – but gone awry maybe? I was intrigued by a comment on the SEW post by Bob Bigellow, he stated:
“I bet I know exactly what this is.
It probably requires each individual to install a plugin or extension or script or to otherwise implement some sort of service which will insert these “results” into the organic results area. Google has a service similar to this for a while where you could subscribe to certain feeds and, as a result, certain searches would trigger a special result on the page which was artificially put there by a third-party.
So, this likely won’t be anything new and won’t be very significant in that it will require opt-in, which means it will never reach the full breadth of Google.”
So what’s your take on the whole thing? Hoax, bad PR fiasco for a new service, or an April Fools Day joke 2 months early? Who knows, the whole thing could just be a ploy to get links or some elaborate SEO experiment….
I’ve written several articles on the benefits of blog commenting. And I couldn’t resist writing one more. Recently, a lot of debate has been going on as to whether it’s worthwhile to allow commenting on one’s blog.
There are some who think of comments as mere ‘bullshit’. There are others who support commenting as a ‘form of democracy’. Let’s have a look at what MG Siegler (a columnist for TechCrunch) has to say.
“Here’s the thing: while some try to paint comments as a form of democracy, that’s bullshit. 99.9% of comments are bile. I’ve heard the counter arguments about how you need to curate and manage your comments — okay, I’m doing that by not allowing any.”
From the readers’ point of view, commenting provides them with a great feeling of participation. It also creates a sense of belonging, around which the entire concept of blogosphere revolves. On the other hand, listening to people’s views via comments motivates the blogger to work even harder so as to deliver what the former are actually looking for. That’s exactly the reason blog comments are seen as a ‘form of democracy’.
Still, many people would call blog commenting to be nothing more than a waste of time. Let them have their own opinions. Supporters, however, don’t see comments as something worthless or vile. Though, at times, commenting tends to get noisy, you will certainly miss out on a rich experience by turning off comments or not allowing people to share those ‘little tendrils of thought’.
I think permitting readers to comment on your blog is as much democratic as it is for you to freely share your own views by publishing posts.
If Commenting is a ‘Form of Democracy’, It can be Misused
It’s obvious. ‘Power to People’ can be misused. But that’s what rules and policies are made for. Instead of shutting out people from commenting, a serious blogger should find ways to optimize the discourse so that it adds value to the conversation (which is the soul of a blog) that strikes up after a post is published.
It’s simply unacceptable or immoral to deny democratic freedom to others while you’re enjoying it yourself. If you’ve got the freedom to express your opinions publicly by publishing blog posts, you have no right to prevent others from sharing what they think about a particular topic. Not giving people the right to comment is like ‘ruling as a dictator’.
Not Allowing People to Comment is Highly ‘Unsocial’
How can you afford to be unsocial when the entire world is fast turning into a global village? Video chats are creating global classrooms. A new era of interactive advertising is about to begin. Searches are getting social. Regardless of their size, businesses are focusing more on the ‘listening’ part of the customer acquisition process. A blog is one of the best social media tools that you can use. You can never imagine to use a social media tool without being social yourself, can you?
Do you support or detest blog comments? Let us know by casting your vote in the tweet poll below and commenting.
Around the start of the New Year I wrote an article detailing my new years’ resolutions as an Internet marketer. One of the resolutions was to read more, to dive ever farther into our industry to learn all of the secrets I could. What I found instead was a lot of disgruntled SEO’s about all of the changes with Google. Google Personal Search, the Https cloaking, and the absolutely Genius “Don’t be Evil” plugin are making huge waves across the SEO world.
Https Cloaking of Google Analytics:
Around October 2011, Google implemented a protocol to hide keyword and traffic information for visitors to your website if they were logged in to their Google account. What essentially happened was a sophisticated version of cloaking, whereas if a person was logged into Google, their search was completed under https protocol.
Https is a combination of classic hypertext transfer protocol, and SSL/TLS protocol. This combination of protocol allows for secure identification of a server or network from the browser, and opens an encrypted line of communication between your computer and the website that you are trying to connect to. This information is usually very sensitive, and different modifiers can be placed on the information that is traveling down this secure pipe. It is the system most commonly in use for corporate information transfer over an internal intranet, or for payment information for a shopping cart.
What this means for SEO’s is the information that is normally passed along to Google analytics is being encrypted in this SSL protocol, and it will show up as (not provided) when you search for incoming keywords.
The small issue I have with this change is not with Google, but with us “professionals”. Now, I understand that I use the term “SEO” loosely, if I were to describe my position more accurately, I would at least be performing SEM, most likely a full blown internet marketer. I do link building, on-site tag optimization, site architecture optimization, goal funnel creation, content creation, and PPC management.
The only professionals that were really affected by the keyword cloaking were only those that concentrated solely on SEO. The landscape of our positions are changing so rapidly, I would argue that someone that purely specializes in on-site optimization and keyword research had better have an amazing track record, because they are all but obsolete. Yoast, SEOMoz, MySEOCommunity, SEM-Group, SEOJournal and a huge list of others have free guides to on-site optimization easily accessible to everyone. They rank extremely well for their relevant SEO terms, and are written in plain English, with screenshots so anyone can learn.
PPC management alongside good organic SEO and link building is what I would say is the BARE MINIMUM for someone calling himself or herself an Internet Marketer to know. The only thing the cloaking issue did was force pure SEO’s to become well rounded, and you should thank Google; they are doing you a favor.
“Search Plus Your World” – Google’s New Search Function:
Over the past couple of months, it was pretty clear that Google was going to be focusing on the proliferation of Google+. With the constant updates, the use of your Google+ profile in the implementation of author attribution, and the syndication qualities of sharing with your circles made it obvious that Google would concentrate on it.
Furthermore, if you paid attention to https cloaking, you knew that for Adwords campaigns keyword information was still available, regardless of whether that user was signed into Google or not. It made perfect sense that Google was going to integrate Google+ into search and have their profiles show up over more relevant social profiles. So it was a huge surprise to see all of the negative feedback about “search plus your world”.
It seems like we are treating Google like our best friend’s garage band that just signed a record deal; we’re complaining about the fact that they are selling out. Sure, the first incarnation of Google had pure intentions; they wanted to give the people the very best possible way to search for what they needed on the Internet. Their algorithm was almost alive in the way it updated, and they protected our rights by refusing to bend to government subpoena.
We all seem to forget that Google went public in August of 2004. This means that they have been accountable to their shareholders, the public, for almost a decade. To convince Google to go back to their old ways would be to convince the hundreds of thousands of shareholders to change their minds. The loyalties of Google are now with their investors, and since we just make money off of it all, we really have no leverage to justify our frustrations.
People hate “Search Plus Your World” so much that a bookmarklet effectively disabling it was created. The “Don’t Be Evil” bookmarklet is actually an amazing piece of code, and I absolutely think you should all go check it out. However, I don’t see this being used by anyone except SEO professionals. Search plus your world is just going to be a reality for a portion of all Google users from here on out, and instead of convincing them to use a bookmarklet, I was surprised at the resistance to use this new content syndication system.
If it is a lot of work to post to Google+, there are solutions for you. There are a number of browser plugins you can use that posts to twitter, Google+ and Facebook all at the same time. Unless we see a slide from Google+ and it loses popularity, (not likely, since they just broke 90 Million users), I embrace this new medium, and the integration into search, as another way to get my clients seen for keywords they might take months to optimize otherwise.
Lets review: August 2011 was Panda 2.0; link farms died, keyword stuffing was made obsolete, SEO complained. October 2011 was Google+ and Https cloaking; yet another social network to optimize, people are forced to start actually marketing their sites, SEO complained. January 2012 is Search Plus your World; Google+ is now integrated into searches instead of more relevant social signals, SEO complained. Does anyone else see a pattern?
I have a question to the Internet Marketing community as a whole, why do you think our industry is so hard to sell? Is it because there are dishonest SEO’s? Is it because of article spinning? Is it because there is a lot of misinformation out there? Is there too many tools and not enough proven data about them? Or is it that we sometimes spend more time complaining about certain new features of the search landscape than learning them?
My answer is simple, and its inspiration comes from my father. My father is a man that embodies the essence of never giving up. He never went to college, got a library card to learn what he needed to, and worked 14 hour days just so he could eat more than a can of tuna fish a day. He built a business with my mother, overcoming the problems of mixing work with pleasure, to become successful.
We make money off of Google. Everything change they make is just another way for us to specialize, to add to our resume, to learn, and charge more for our services. Every hour spent complaining is an hour that people that refuse to give up; get ahead. His advice to me is the same advice that I want to share with you:
Step Up, or Step Aside.
It’s not being harsh, its the reality of our business. I love what we do, and the more we just step up, the more Internet Marketing will gain credibility.
I’m excited to announce that everyone who’s already signed up for my Ask Gerald newsletter should now have the inaugural edition in their inbox. If you haven’t had a chance to sign up yet, it’s not too late to become part of my free newsletter.
The point of the Ask Gerald newsletter is to make it as easy as possible for you to directly ask me questions. While you will continue to see great content on the blog, I wanted to create a place where people feel comfortable asking direct SEO questions. After evaluating several options, I decided a newsletter was by far the best. Not only does this format allow me to answer individual questions, but it makes it possible to share that information with an entire community of people who truly care about SEO.
Once you sign up, don’t forget to send in your SEO questions. Whether you’ve got a question about building links, increasing your social media presence or dominating a local business niche, I want to provide you with answers. So, be sure to send your questions to askgerald at sem-group.net so I can start answering them in the next newsletter!
Sign up now so you don’t miss out on the next Ask Gerald newsletter:
I’ve heard some people say they got into their online business, be it SEO or copywriting, so they could work from home and not have to interact with people. And every time I hear that, I can’t help but take a step back and think, “That’s stupid.” I mean, sure you may not be dealing face to face with people on a daily basis, but a large part of what you do involves client interaction. You absolutely have to know how to work with people in order to succeed.
Now having said that, I fully realize that some people who “retreat” to an online job in order to avoid social duties may require a little extra help in respect to client relations. If that describes you, here are a few tips on how to help you out. Follow them and you’ll be retaining clients and getting referrals in no time.
- Go the extra mile to fix your mistakes—I’m writing this post today because quite frankly it’s fresh on my mind. See, I did another post for this blog that I was supposed to schedule for 9 A.M. this morning. But I screwed up and it published overnight. Well, after thinking about it, I decided that it just wasn’t right for me to say “OOPS!” and move on. So instead, I decided to supply the blog with an extra post. And it just so happened to be fitting material. Would Gerald have let me keep posting to his blog if I had simply said “Sorry,” and moved on to next week? More than likely. But hey—I want to make sure I keep my business relationships moving in the right direction. I plan on working with him for a long time. So why not scratch his back?
- Deliver as promised (and don’t promise if you can’t deliver)—Sometimes I’m lucky and acquire a project that has a flexible deadline. But more often than not, if a client contacts me then they needed the piece written yesterday. So they ask when is the soonest I can finish for them. I’m always tempted to overcommit in order to secure the project. However, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to give them an honest answer than to promise and not deliver. Nothing makes a client unhappier than having to wait for work that should have already been completed.
- Keep communication lines open—Again, sometimes you get the low maintenance client that just wants you to send them the finished product and shut the hell up. But always go into a new relationship assuming your client needs his hand held. In other words, give him frequent updates. And ask him if he has any questions (and be ready to answer them). Bottom line—make him feel important.
Have you run into client issues before? What have you done to go the extra mile?nbsp;