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Tracking the effect of Social Media with Google

Track Facebook Likes, Sends, Twitter Retweets and Google +1’s

Google’s +1 initiative has been labelled as their response to Facebook’s Like button and a last ditch attempt to get in on the social media game but the depth to what Google is delivering in the world of social media has gone to a different league with their new social media tracking features.

Both Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics now present website owners with the ability to track +1’s and their effect on website performance. Of course not everybody uses +1 in Australia, and Google Profiles are nowhere near as popular as Facebook and Twitter accounts but Google has that angle covered too as website owners can now track Facebook and Twitter interaction through Google Analytics (after adding a snippet of code to your site).

Google’s aim is to deliver relevant search results so +1’s from friends and contacts are interpreted by Google as something that may be relevant to you. This won’t always be the case of course – there is nothing to suggest that friends or other contacts will like the same ‘Italian restaurant in Melbourne’ or whatever other common search is performed. In the early days, +1 usage won’t be widespread but where none of a searchers friends have +1’d a page, the SERP result may instead display the combined number of +1’s you website or web page has received.

Social media can now be compared to SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) in terms of effectiveness

Google insists that +1 and other social media interactions are just a small number of the factors used in determining relevance of search results and they say they will be monitoring the early stages of the impact of +1 on search results very carefully.

From a business perspective, evaluating the impact of social media in detail facilitates a big step forward. Google +1 and social media presents an opportunity for Australian businesses to push ahead of competition who may not act on +1 immediately.

Social media is one of those ranking factors that businesses can influence and isn’t necessarily as competitive as SEO, Google Places or pay-per-click (PPC). Installing the +1 snippet on your site and actively encouraging customers to +1 your website will ensure that you site appears more often in ‘personalised’ search results of friends and contacts of your existing customers.

Looking at the whole social media picture, the ability to track social media interaction across your site and through external sites such as Google search engine results pages (SERPs) effectively allows businesses to compare the impact of social media to pay-per-click and SEO efforts to determine which is the most effective avenue of online marketing.

+1 Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and Mobile Web

+1 and other social interactions on your website such as Facebook Likes, Facebook Sends, and Twitter Retweets can be examined in detail through you Google Analytics account. This allows you to evaluate the strength of your website from a social media standpoint. Google +1 is tracked by default but to add the likes of Twitter and Facebook tracking, there is a need to add further coding to you site. This can be found here.

In Webmaster Tools, +1 is reported in three separate reports: Search Impact; Activity and Audience. These reports will not show insights for small numbers of impressions due to privacy issues and will only display for ‘significant’ numbers of +1’s.

Search Impact Report

This allows you to see how +1’s impact your organic search traffic including seeing the difference in CTR between pages with +1’d content (depending on no. of impressions).

Activity Report

This will show the number of +1’s across your site and from third party sites including Google SERPs.

Audience Report

This report displays the type of user who +1 your site based on demographic and geographic status.

Mobile web searchers will not see the +1 button appearing in SERPs but it’s likely that Google will extend the reach of +1 after it has established a successful foothold on standard web search.

Get your business social media enabled with roi.com.au

Social media is a vital part of any modern marketing strategy and plays an important part in delivering a better return on your online investment. Contact roi.com.au today on 1300 650 274 to find out more about social media optimisation, SEO and a comprehensive search engine marketing solution for your business.