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SEO experts in the industry have been testing social shares and how search engines may be handling these signals in their algorithms to rank pages for quite a while now. And Google has stated what most SEOs now believe. They do use social signals to determine rankings. Let's take a look at a few ways to measure how your content is being shared and identify the most shareable content on your website. Because social sharing has an impact on your rankings, it's important to look at what's worked in the past, so that we can make improvements in the future.
There are lots of tools out there to measure and manage social media these days, but one you should take a look at is called Social Crawlytics. You can use this tool to audit your pages and see how many shares from a variety of social channels are pointing to your site. Social Crawlytics covers eight social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Digg, Google+, and Pinterest. To start, you can log in with your Twitter account, and you'll just need to enter a website address in the dashboard screen to initiate the crawling process.
We'll use my own company's website, www.cardinalpath.com, as our example. Depending on how deep your site structure goes, you may need to adjust the Crawl depth from two to three or four. This tool will only crawl HTML content pages, so keep in mind that if you have other types of files on your site, they will be discarded from the report. When you're ready, click Submit and the tool will start crawling and processing the results for your domain. It may take up to 10 minutes for your report to finish.
The completed report will appear in the Reports tab, and you'll find a page filled with figures and charts. The Summary tells us how many times your website's pages were shared, up to the depth you specified for the crawl. Here, we can see around 1100 shares of the 148 pages of our website's content that was scanned. The Page shares per network bar chart breaks down all of the pages crawled, and shows you which channels were most active. In this case, we can see that Twitter and LinkedIn are very active channels for us, and this kind of information helps us understand where we have a strong presence we can take advantage of, as well as which networks we might want to work on.
Hovering over any of the slices of data will show us the actual content that was shared on that channel. Further down the page, you'll find a table with the results listed by page URL. Here is where you can see the raw number of shares from each channel, along with a count of all shares added up under the Total column. Having this data to look at, as you continue to create and promote content on your pages, can help you determine how useful and shareable your content is. By analyzing what kinds of pages tend to get shared and how effective your promotion strategies are, you'll be able to ensure that you're authoring the right kind of content, and promoting it in a way that will get it out there in the social networks, for both people and search engines to find.
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