Social influence trumps SEO on leading blogging and marketing sites
See how social influence is vastly more important than SEO to leading bloggers and marketers. Gain insight into how popular bloggers became successful through their blogs and social marketing efforts.
While it is always important to focus on improving your own site's SEO and social media influence, one of the best ways to improve is to learn from the people who have already succeeded.
This article will analyze and compare a range of SEO metrics against the social influence of a number of well known marketers and bloggers to see what aspects of SEO, marketing, performance, content, social reach, trust, authority and... luck are required to be a success.
Before I continue with this SEO and social influence smackdown, it is important to note that the statistics and metrics used in this analysis are a "best guess" based on the available tools.
Bloggers & marketers and their social influence
The following bloggers and marketers were included in this comparative analysis because they are all well-known, popular and have a blog or website that is personally branded - as opposed to something like Pete Cashmore's Mashable:
- Darren Rowse: 157516 twitter followers; included in 73273 Google+ circles
- Chris Brogan: 204109 twitter followers; included in 86489 Google+ circles
- Brian Solis: 122688 twitter followers; included in 47705 Google+ circles
- John Jantsch: 60 977 twitter followers; included in 16412 Google+ circles
- Seth Godin: 146136 twitter followers; included in 90575 Google+ circles
In addition, each of these top bloggers/marketers have the following Klout scores:
- Darren Rowse: Klout score of 68
- Chris Brogan: Klout score of 86
- Brian Solis: Klout score of 70
- John Jantsch: Klout score of 65
- Seth Godin: Klout score of 68
While Klout offers interesting insight into social influence, Darren Rowse has some advice to offer on this in a comment on one of my previous articles. I discussed this in a follow up article entitled "How to properly calculate social media ROI ".
Performance SEO profiles of their blogs and websites
With a picture of how each of our leading bloggers and marketers are doing on the social scene, let's take a look at the more technical aspects of their sites' SEO.
In particular, I want to draw your attention to the amount of time and effort that almost everyone who has a website or blog puts into SEO. Since all of the influencers profiled in this article are successful by anyone's standards, their websites should all be SEO optimized to perfection, right?
Let's take a look:
- Darren Rowse (problogger.net): YSlow Grade D (67 score)
- Chris Brogan (chrisbrogan.com): YSlow Grade D (65 score)
- Brian Solis (briansolis.com): YSlow Grade D (69 score)
- John Jantsch (ducttapemarketing.com/): YSlow Grade D (65 score)
- Seth Godin (sethgodin.com): YSlow Grade B (82 score)
With the exception of Seth's website, the other leading bloggers and marketers have very little focus on performance related SEO. But what does that mean? There's so much said about the importance of SEO, but the people who are succeeding are barely taking it into consideration.
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Making sense of the SEO and social metrics
I think what the above analysis shows is that trust, authority and reach (collectively, social influence) far outweighs SEO in importance. Another way of looking at it is:
"Giving people what they want is more important than delivering it perfectly"
Is SEO important? Yes, but only to a degree. SEO guidelines are in place to try and ensure that every website is easily accessible and valuable to users. Google wants to return relevant results to make searchers happy. Searchers are happy when they find what they want. Google creates SEO guidelines so that webmasters can deliver what searchers want, so that everyone is happy.
Basically, what it comes down to is how well you want your website to perform in order to encourage organic search traffic. This needs to be traded-off against how much you want to offer people who are on your site. The more functions and features you include, the worse your performance SEO will be.
With that said, in almost all of these sites, there are plenty of very easy and quick fixes that could be implemented to give potentially vast improvements on organic search traffic. I say this from the perspective of WSM4B which has a Grade A YSlow rating with a near perfect SEO score of 96 out of 100.
It's important to note that while the bloggers and marketers compared in this article have not really optimized their homepages for performance SEO. I profiled a number of leading SEO sites to see how well they are optimized for SEO. The results are shown in the article entitled "Improve your SEO and compare the SEO of five leading SEO sites" - they will surprise you, without doubt.
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