One of the things analytics nuts love to obsess over is the effectiveness of our posts.
Which ones have the most clout, where did they get it from? Is it better to have more comments, or more tweets? Does traffic help?
The answer is yes; all of this helps. Comments, traffic, tweets, inbound links – there are a lot of things that give pages weight. But, as our sites get more traffic and tweets and so on – how do we tell, in an ongoing way, which of our pages is doing better than the others over all?
Here’s a trick; do a google search for the headline of your blog. In my case, it’s my name.so I searched, no-caps, no-quotes. Here’s what I got;
Interesting, yes? A post about Google Buzz (which happens to be riddled with musical references) that got a sidelong mention on an industry podcast, followed by one about Facebook which has seen a decent amount of mentions, followed by the most spam-addled article on my site.
What’s missing; the most mentioned post I’ve ever had, the most commented post I’ve ever hard, and the most linked-to post in my archive.
Then, I tried something different. Because we’re looking specifically for my site, rather than the various higher-powered social media sites carrying my name through my profile, I searched for my name – and added my domain behind it.
Notable: the layout is much the same, but now carries some additions; namely, the Screwdriver article which is still my top search driving piece, my most recent non-throw-away post (this review of the awesome Standard Theme 2), and a very thoroughly-commented on post about Google and China. All of these have seen strong authority signals – but none of them have had the same mix of reaction.
By searching your way through your Google Analytics (you DO use an analytics program, right? Don’t make Uncle Avinash angry), and your blog’s admin interface, you should be able to pick out the weight and mix of things lending authority to the top pages these kinds of searches return.
Verdict? The mysterious ether powering your page ranks relies on a clearly diverse mix of authority signals.
The things we bloggers think of as clear indications of “victorious posts” are not the same as what search considers a winning mix of authority. Taking advantage of easy metrics and hacking your analytics are both important to figure out what’s working from more angles than just the social media connection.
Now – grain of salt time. A one-off experiment like this tells is very little, other than that some unexpected pages have high authority metrics. What will prove more interesting is, in 2 months, I plan to repeat the experiment with some better recorded metrics about the posts I’ve written between now and then. If the same unexpected results appear again, then we’ll really have something to think about.