With social media becoming a leading venue for so many of marketing activities, the need for better, faster and more sophisticated tools is constantly increasing. While search engines are trying to find novel and better ways of measuring relevancy and engagement of content, size of the engagement your content garners on social media channels is probably already playing an important part in estimating for which queries and how high your content will rank in the organic SERPs. Even if search engines decide that the social signals are not a good estimate of social importance of content they want to rank, thanks to the sheer size of the ecosystem and the ability to personally target people who will then promote your content to their audience, social media is one of the best ways to market your content, which in turn increases the amount of links to it, a factor which will probably always play an important role in ranking algorithms.
One of the metrics we at RankAbove are looking into is the way to measure the number of shares of different pages on a per-domain or per-SERP basis in order to identify potential link building opportunities. In a recent research we have done, it was clear that social media exposure can be a strong driver of links and the ability to pair social media exposure to personas whose preferences can be analyzed, brings the content targeting possibilities to new levels of resolution. Therefore, we were very excited when we found out about the latest social media analysis tool Social Crawlytics.
Social Crawlytics was created by Yousaf Sekander from the UK SEO Agency ElevateLocal. Among his previous creations, one can find a WP Plugin SEO Crawlytics which adds a robot tracking capabilities to your WP control panel. Now they’ve come out with the Social Media Analytics standalone tool, which has attracted our attention and we decided to review it.
Social Crawlytics is currently free and you can gain access to it by connecting it to your Twitter account, although I am sure that this will change and a subscription version, allowing deeper and faster crawl of websites will be available at some point.
The first screen is the Dashboard, where you get to input the URL of the site you want to crawl:
After you input a URL, you are taken to the Create a Report screen where you get to define the depth of the crawl, way to notify you that the report is finished (Twitter or Email) and the checkbox to mark whether you own the site that you want crawled. If you own the site, you can upload the file with a confirmation code, which will then enable you to bypass the crawl speed limitations, feature which could be useful for when you need big sites to be crawled.
On the left hand sidebar of the Dashboard screen, you can see the link to the Report section; this is where a list of all your past reports can be found.
Notice the Credit count at the top, this is equivalent to the number of URLs you can crawl per site. The credits are reset at the beginning of each week and 800 more credits can be added in the meantime by paying with a tweet:
Main Report Screen
Here is the snapshot of the main report screen, divided into different sections so it is easier to describe the functionality of each part:
- Summary – this section contains the general information about the report you are looking at. It tells you how many pages of a domain it crawled, how many total shares in social media were found and other technical data. Theoretically, if your report does not contain all the data you think it should, this is where you can see whether all the pages are actually being crawled. This section also includes the Export To CSV button.
- Social Media Share Summary – this part contains the summary of all the numbers of social media shares found on the domain, broken down by the Social Media channel – Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Linkedin, StumbleUpon, Digg, Google+ and Pinterest. This is where you can, at one glance see what is the site’s major Social Media sharing channel.
- Page Shares per Network – this section presents a stacked column chart of shares on each social network. If you rollover on each column section, you can see the URL of the shared page and the number of shares. In this section you can easily see what URLs have the largest number of shares in each network (largest sections of the stacked columns) which can be a good representation of a total social media strategy of a site.
- Shares by content type – this doughnut pie chart shows the breakdown of the shares by the type of content (HTML, images, videos etc.). Again, this is very useful when you are trying to analyze what kind of content is the most shared one on a domain, in order to plan your own social media campaign based on a competition analysis.
- The Sunburst chart – this is one of the most interesting reports featured here and a representation of the data one rarely encounters in tools like this. Since this report is resource intensive, it is shown on a separate page and you have to click through to see it.
The chart represents the amount of shares from the site architecture point of view – each segment represents a URL and closer the page to the center of the circle, closer it is to the homepage in terms of on-site linking structure. The size of the segment represents the amount of shares across all the social channels. This is quite useful for link building planning campaigns because ideally we would want to get a link from page that is both well shared on social media channels as well as close as possible to the homepage (thus enjoying the largest amount of authority/link equity from the homepage). Another interesting thing that can be learned from this chart is that the small segments on the outskirts of the circle are actually URLs with different parameters, usually related to different social media campaigns, so this report can be a good place to find out about potential spreading of your social shares and canonicalizing them all to a central URL.
- Results – Finally, the chart summarizing all the social shares over all the URLs found on the domain, broken down by a social network. This is the raw results part of the data which can be conveniently exported to a CSV file for further analysis.
Social Crawlytics is a first tool we see that offers such a thorough analysis of a whole domain from the social media perspective. Each report offers a lot of information that can be used in many different ways. As mentioned above, our perspective is link building, so we found a lot of interesting information that can be useful when identifying the best link prospects on a site. As we understand from the developer, Yousaf, there are plans to add more features to the tool, such as information about changes in social share numbers over time – information which can add additional level of analysis of the social campaigns undertaken by the competitors – not only which types of content get shared the most but also which content gathers social shares faster than the others on different channels.
There are some features of the tool we would love to see in future releases:
- Being able to drill down each social channel for lists of users that have shared the analyzed piece of content
- As an extension of the previous point – list of most users that share the content of the analyzed site the most.
- Correlation of shares with links – the Results chart could include the number of incoming links and linking domains from MajesticSEO or Ahrefs. This data would be useful for the linkbuilders among us that want to analyze the correlation between the social shares and links on specific domains.
- Correlation between the rate of change of social shares/backlinks – while we understand this is not a backlink analysis tool, it can be interesting to see whether content that gathers social shares faster also attracts links faster.
- Minor design remark – some of the charts are quite hard to read, the colors are very weak.
All in all, this is very interesting tool and I hope a lot of people use it and think of additional ways it can be useful or be improved. Yousaf is a great guy and very welcoming to all remarks and suggestions and I am sure that with community input, Social Crawlytics can grow into an even more amazing tool and help a lot of online marketers.