In the age of social media, user generated content you can’t rely solely on bots and other automatically gathered numbers to collect data on your website success. You have to find out what your users like and what they actually say about you, or at least how often. There ale plenty of ways to find out, these are the most obvious:
While it is not that hard to pay some “SEO India” service to submit you to Delicious etc. It’s still far more likely that a site is a good one if it’s only popular on Delicious but also has bookmarks elsewhere. I’m sometimes surprised how many people bookmark my articles on sites do not even know of.
social news submissions
Do really thinks getting tens of thousands people visit your site is the ultimate proof of being popular? Well, it isn’t, it just proves you’re main stream, political correct and have the best girls on your site while using Apple. Everything else gets buried. If Digg front page popularity reflects real popularity then why is McCain the republican candidate and not Ron Paul? In contrast the number of submissions tend to allow a better assessment unless of course the “SEO India” service is at work. When not, you can see that popular pages get submitted all over the place. Every SEO knows that. You can submit the best SEO relates resource and it won’t get on Digg frontpage due to the “bury brigade” there, the it will get submitted to Digg, Reddit, Propeller, Mixx. My own SEO blog has been submitted to Mixx over 70 times in 10 months and I did it only a few times myself.
tweets (Twitter mentions)
Being mentioned or recommended on Twitter is truly a success because here people communicate with their peers and fans and only links pages their truly recommend. Being linked more then 2 or 3 times means you are huge. It means 2 or 3 people telling 200 or maybe 200 other people that you rock. TweetBeep will send you email each time.
niche social site sites votes
In marketing circles and for SEO blogs it is a widely known fact that the search marketing social news site Sphinn is the destination to submit your work. Being successful here means recognition by experts and a few hundred highly targeted visitors. Each niche has by now it’s own niche social news site, be it Hugg for “green” news, YCombinator for startups and tech, Design Float andDesign Bump for, you guessed it design or DZone for web development and programming. Here you get visitors and readers who really care and their opinion really counts.
number of “thumbs up” on StumbleUpon
Other than the almost US only elitist crowds at Digg or Reddit social browsing sites like StumbleUpon are populated by the general public from all over the world. People voting for you on StumbleUpon “like you” if you can offer something for the John Does out there. Other than that you only get a limited number of votes. Whether you have “mass appeal” in the positive sense of it you will find out here, not on Digg.
StumbleUpon reviews feedback
People who review you StumbleUpon really care for you, the StumbleUpon community or the subject. So listen closely. getting 10 or more “awesome” reviews on StumbleUpon means a lot if you want to determine the overall popularity of your website or particular page.
Technorati Blog mentions
A page often mentioned on Technorati is truly popular in the blogosphere. You are part of the conversation if you get linked often by other blogs. The Technorati authority is not reliable though as a metric. It’s based largely on Technorati bookmarks which bloggers can game easily.
Google BlogSearch Links
While the main Google search doe not show you many links the Google blog search is good at it. It’ll show you the legit links by other blogs, not the scraper blogs. Watch out for these, the simplest way to monitor them is by using AideRSS.
Some of you might assume now that all this is far too complex for them but it isn’t. Freely available tools like Google Analytics allow every webmaster to find out much more about a website than just a few years ago where we were the obvious numbers of PageRank, rankings and traffic had to suffice. The real web metrics experts will laugh this list off probably as advanced SEO and web analytics starts in most cases beyond the ways mentioned here.