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twURL 3: Top Links from the Past Week

by jody on June 20, 2011

Social and Search

  • Tracking Social Conversions – if you only click on one link this week, make it this one. It’s a detailed post instructing you how to use callback events to create events in your analytics package.  This segmentation, testing and of course, goal tracking.
  • How to make Facebook Comments Indexable – Make those great comments from Facebook indexable by search engines.  Requires some API programming but oh so worth the effort.
  • Introducing Google Instant Pages – Google rolled out several enhancements this week during their Inside Search event.  Google Instant Pages pre-renders the top search result in the background so your load time is reduced.  Currently only available for Chrome developers and beta.
  • Yahoo App Search – Yahoo rolled out an app search for the desktop plus an app for use on mobile.  A nice addition for anyone who’s tried to find that perfect app in the app store.
  • SMX Advanced Key Takeaways – A nice summary of what went on at SMX Advanced – PPC Analytics, Social, Local and Mobile Search Converge, and a Q&A with Matt Cutts.


  • YouTube Updates – Lots of change in the YouTube camp this week.  You Tube added an option to *not* include the logo in the player and an “As Seen On” channel that’s great for blogger use.
  • YouTube adds a Creative Commons option and joins to 21st century.  Content creators can grant a use license and users can legally use them.

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topsyNew search engines.  You gotta love ‘em.  Even Matt Cutts loves them.

Whenever a new search engine hits the market I start by checking out their functionality.  Once I get a good sense of what they do – and what they don’t do – I try to find ways that it can help me do my job better/faster/smarter.

First, a bit about Topsy:

  • Founded in May 2009
  • Focuses on real time search, most notably Twitter
  • Topsy claims its advantage is its speed. The engine is capable of indexing 1 million documents per second, and they served half a billion queries in January (mostly via their API).
  • In a market where real time search engines are dropping like flies, Topsy remains bullish on the real time search opportunity.
  • The engine is still relatively new – just over 2 years – and continues to add features, functionality and widgets.  That last one – widgets – is an important one for Topsy brand awareness.  I gave one of their widgets a test drive on my blog this weekend and you can see it on the right hand side of every page of the blog.

Here are a few ways Topsy can help you work better, faster and smarter:

  1. Monitor buzz around your brand or site. Topsy supports the familiar “site:” directive, but in this case it returns tweets linking to your site.  You may be thinking “big deal” my analytics tells me who’s linking to me.  With Topsy you get a more complete picture of the Buzz – Jane said X, and then Bob and Sandy told their friends, and then their friends shared it with their friends…Topsy SiteYou can choose a time frame and can even view a chart of mentions on the right.
    You may be thinking “I can just get this from my analytics” but Topsy will give you a different dimension.  Two things Topsy gives you that your analytics can’t:

    • The actual source of the link.  Referrer data only shows you the URL that the link came from.  On Twitter this is often just “” or “”, or even the URL shortener.
    • Instances when the link didn’t create any clicks.  Even if they didn’t create clicks you may want to engage with the person who shared the link.

    If we look at the above screenshot again we see another great feature – alerts and rss.  Alerts will send you an email with the query (somewhat like Google Alerts) and rss is an rss feed of the query.
    You can monitor what people are saying when they link to your site as well as identify influencers.

  2. Monitor buzz around your competitors. Let’s say you’re SEOmoz and you want to monitor activity around both SearchEngineLand and SearchEngineWatch.  Easy.  Topsy makes it easy to re-run search queries by inserting everything right on the query string.  Take a look at the query comparing the SEOmoz, SearchEngineLand and SearchEngineWatch.topsy competitors analytics
    Once you’re on the screen you’ll be able to see trends.  For the most part, all three sites follow the same pattern but there are a couple of notable exceptions. Since it’s very unusual for SearchEngineWatch to have more mentions than SearchEngineLand, I was curious to see what caused the spike on June 9th.  Rolling over that dot showed something interesting.  SearchEngineWatch’s hot story was the release of the 2011 Search Ranking Factors by SEOmoz.  In other words, SearchEngineWatch had a significant impact on SEOmoz news. Very interesting.
  3. Identify hot topics in the past 24 hours. If you scroll down on the anlytics page in #2 you’ll see a listing of the 15 most tweeted posts for that past day.  While you presumably know what they were on your own site, it’s much harder to get at that information for competitors.  Keep in mind this is real time search – not visitors or unique users – but it does show interest and intent to read.  While it’s likely that you’ll already know if your competitors are getting big buzz, this is particularly helpful with the low to medium buzz and can help you identify when something is gaining traction before it hits prime time.
  4. Monitor what people are saying about a specific topic. Let’s look further into the announcement of the SEOmoz release of the 2011 ranking factors report.topsy all tweetsViewing the tweets that linked to the page you can see what people are saying about the report.  Since they’re limited to 140 characters what they say can indicate their key takeaways.  In the case above, we see “Social signals will have the biggest impact” as this user’s summary of the report.
    This can also be helpful if you’re doing research – a way to get the Cliff’s Notes version of a post.  Browse through a dozen tweets and see if any patterns emerge.
  5. Deliver more relevant, interesting content to your audience. By watching what people are tweeting about and what they’re saying you can get a handle on hot topics and what people think of them.  It’s not uncommon for people to tweet things like “Good post, but curious about the impact on [something]“.  That’s an invitation for you to get working on a post, page, eBook or white paper on the topic.  Let your audience’s needs guide you.

As I mentioned above, I installed the Topsy social plugin on my blog.  I’ve had mixed results. The plugin did better on the posts with a narrower focus – e.g. Mobile and Email Integration. However, posts with broader content – e.g. Website Launch Checklist – had off-topic results and displayed searches for “pages”, “credit card type” and “version numbers”.  All words in the post, but not core to the page.  I like the idea of the plugin, but they need to do some work on how they determine what the page is really about.  Not a big surprise though since real time search is more literal and less about semantic nuance.
One other place where Topsy provided some unexpected results – one good and one not-so-good – was when searching for a video.  I searched for the CloudFlare intro video made by Robert Scoble a couple weeks back.  Topsy brought back several tweets linking to the video on YouTube.  Clicking on one of the tweets brought up this page:

topsy video searchI love how Topsy embedded the video – no need to leave the page and go to YouTube to watch it!  Two points for user experience.  A nice to have would be if it listed the name of the person who uploaded the video.  Although YouTube doesn’t enforce it, attribution is critical so why not?  They must be using the YouTube API for the embed so they could easily get the publisher.

On the not-so-good front, the “mentions of” analytics chart on the right is not correct.  It shows June 9th as the first day for mentions but even Topsy lists tweets as early as May 25th.  So, something isn’t quite right with their analytics.  Not a show stopper, but certainly something to keep in mind.

So there you are – five ways I’ve been using Topsy.  I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch though.  Have you been using Topsy?  What ways can you see using Topsy?

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twurl 2: Top Links from the Past Week

June 13, 2011

PPC, Media and Social Advertising Social Ad Startup Taykey Lands $9 Million – In a privacy-aware culture, Taykey promises a “privacy safe” ad solution powered by semantic technology and not by behavioral profiles. Half of Mobile Campaigns Drive Consumers to Sites – With 49% of mobile campaigns driving users to a mobile site, “this…demonstrates how [...]

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twurl 1: Top Links from the Past Week

May 31, 2011

I’m starting a new weekly post here called twurl – this week’s URLs.  I’ll be sharing the top posts, articles and web pages that I found throughout the week.  Most will have been links I shared via Twitter but if you’re like me you don’t keep up with *everything* shared by your community.  Here is [...]

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Mobile and Email Integration – Trends and Best Practices

February 1, 2011

We’ve all heard the stats – mobile will again see significant growth in 2011.  As digital marketers and technologists we certainly don’t need to be convinced.  Just observe the plethora of smart phones at use during meetings, at lunch, in line at a store and (gasp!) behind the wheel. Given all this data, it’s a [...]

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Toyota, Ford, BMW and Audi Lead Mobile Auto Innovation

January 7, 2011

It’s an exciting time to for car and tech enthusiasts.  Car manufacturers are adding mobile and bluetooth to their models to answer consumers’ demands for more.  Some of the latest innovations include… Toyota Unveils Entune At the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Toyota announced the Entune Multimedia System.  Entune is similar to Ford’s Sync but [...]

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