SEO and Social Key Performance Indicators:
We have recently seen a huge shift in the way search engine results are served up. Not only do we now see relevant social resources related to our search in-line with natural results, but we see which of our friends and connections have interacted around those topics as well. This indicates a huge paradigm shift for search in general, requiring social become not a tack-on to current tactics, but an integrate-in. Where we previously considered Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and Klout scores as innately separate from organic search results, with the evolution of social search and what I like to refer to as the social search “arms race,” the factors we must consider when implementing an SEO strategy have also changed.
Below, I’ve listed some key metrics to track when making social part of your search, content, and SEO strategy. Note, that these indicators/measurements on their own won’t necessarily directly impact your SEO efforts, but without monitoring and improving them, you CANNOT successfully incorporate social into your search engine optimization strategy.
Interactions Per Post – a clear indication of user engagement. Fans do nothing for you if you haven’t taken steps to “activate” your fan base. Word of mouth advertising doesn’t happen in person as often now as it happens on the Web. If you’re posting quality content and engaging your audience, you should see your average interactions per post rising pretty steadily, leading both to fan loyalty and increased traffic to the resources you share with them.
Note – interactions per post was a metric calculated by Facebook prior to rolling out recent updates. You now must export insight data and take your total number of interactions divided by your total number of posts during the same time period to calculate this metric.
Like Sources – See how people are finding your page. If your numbers for stream, messages, and user profile are low, work on boosting those numbers. Those are a direct measure of the willingness with which your current fans are sharing your content and promoting your brand.
Unlikes – After exporting your insight data, take a look at the days during which users most frequently “unliked” your page. Try to find commonalities between posts and behavior from those days and be mindful of how to reduce the number of unlike in the future.
Average Interactions Per Tweet – If your follower count and daily tweet volume is high, this can be a mountain of a metric to calculate. But if you’re just getting started in the social space, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Try taking one month to set a baseline for determining how many people are sharing and interacting around your contact. Look to improve that number over the course of several months. In doing so, you’ll get the hang of what type of content and what messaging is most resonating with your target audience.
Lists:Followers Ratio – If you’re followed by 2,000 people but listed only twice, chances are either your message is unfocused, your content isn’t valuable, or your follower niche isn’t properly targeted. When you create a follower base with a focus on quality and relevant content, your list:follower ratio should increase. Aim for a ratio of at least 5%. Meaning, if you’re followed by 2,000 people, you should aim to be listed by 100 different lists.
Unique Retweeters – You can use a tool like Klout Score (Klout.com) to keep track of the number of unique people who have Retweeted your content. The more value to your content and the farther your social reach spreads, this number should continue to grow, not plateau.
This list gives you three good measurements to start with for both Facebook and Twitter. As we move forward in documenting the social search arms race and steps you need to take to improve your social SEO strategy, we’ll begin to incorporate more sophisticated measurements, including sentiment, keyword clouds, and more.
Please don’t hesitate to leave questions or recommendations for more social KPIs to keep track of.
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