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Sometimes, it can be really useful to find out the popular pages on another site from your own. You can use this to your own advantage in a couple of ways. Firstly, you may want to concentrate on requesting links on powerful pages, and those which are already popular around the web. Secondly, you may however want to use the ideas to provide content on your own site which has the potential to outrank those particular pages.
Personally, I’ve used some of the below techniques to generate and research linkbait ideas, and to curate new content from popular content. For example, lets say you want to find what the popular pages are on something like Twitpic – yep, you can do that. Content such as ’50 of the funniest pictures found on Twitter’ would undoubtedly do well.
What follows is a breakdown of some of the ways that you can figure out the popular pages on a site, using social services, and help you work out where and how people have already generated links with great content. What you choose to do with it, is entirely up to you.
Unsurprisingly Google is one of my favourite places to find popular pages. They offer a number of ways to see this at a glance – but the one query that turns up trumps most of the time is a brand search site wide.
Google search phrase: site:GigaOm.com GigaOm – returns a number of pages which have high tweet counts, and high Facebook shares – indicative of content which has performed well in gaining links as well.
You can of course try this search out in real time, by using Google’s advanced search tools to find out what pages are popular right now – with Google using Facebook and Twitter data to find results based on a brand name. Select updates – and then a time period to see peaks and troughs in the dataset. Moving the selectors to that point shows the large volumes of tweets which are traditionally centered around a particular piece of content which has been shared across social platforms.
Don’t forget that Google also group tweets to easily let you see the top links for a time period on the right hand side of the page.
Blekko, whilst a relatively new kid on the block is becoming an increasingly useful website in the marketers toolkit. Now in public beta they are a new search engine developed with collaboration, and curation at the core of their product offering. One of the most interesting aspects of the site, is the seo data that they provide, which indicates where they have discovered links, and what score they have given to them.
The seo URL for Blekko can be obtained on every single search result, by clicking on ‘seo‘ where a wealth of data is available for you to look at and analyse. Notice the correlation between the Google listing above, and the blekko results, ordered by strength.
Delicious, being the web’s online bookmarking website of choice provides data on what is popular at any one time around the web, categorising and ordering them with their own ranking algorithm. One feature not commonly know, is that they also allow you to see popular URL’s by URL, and help you see what has been received attention on competitors websites in the past.
The secret to this hack using the site: operator within Delicious, thus returning all the bookmarks from a particular website, along with the save count. Although you can’t order them at the minute (by the number of saves) you can still page through the site to see what was popular.
Tip: (Designer folks – Not only can you find and save popular stuff. You can also save colour schemes as well – try saving this for example: color:FE9600,FFC501,FFEE4A,77477E,03001C)
Digg works primarily on social voting to get stories to the home page, and to find popular articles on Digg for particular domains easily, they have an advanced search which lets you quickly see the popular pages on a site.
In the same way that Delicious and other search engines do domain based searches, Digg also follows with the “site:” operator. In addition to that function, you can also append “&digg_count=500” etc. to return results with a minimum Digg count.
Reddit can be searched by domain as well, but with bells on. Due to the way Reddit posts are categorised, you can drill down into domain searches by popularity, and time – which can highlight new content making its way onto the web that is popular within this particular social network. It takes a bit of clicking around to get domain searches, so if you follow the URL structure shown that can save you some hassle.
Stumbleupon unfortunately only provides a way to find popular pages on a few chosen sites via their ‘Stumble through’ feature. This can be a great way to discover new content on these sites that has been given a thumbs-up ranking – thereby making it easier to find the popular content. I really hope that they open up the data to allow you to specify the domain of choice to stumble, as this would be a great addition for anyone curating content on the web. You can see from the screengrab below that the current publishers of choice is increasing all the time, and can help uncover the popular on (popular) sites. There are however a number of other advanced ways to stumble through topics alone, which should get the pistons firing when coming up with new content ideas for your site.
Tweetmeme aggregates and correlates URL’s found on twitter to find out the count of the number of tweets, and indeed the popular content which is currently being shared on Twitter. It doesn’t provide a way for you to find all the links being shared on a particular domain, but it does allow you to see popular content being shared by particular users, and for you to see popular content in certain categories. In some cases, particular for those websites which just feed into Twitter without doing much else, this gives a indication of what is popular within that users stream, and by definition, what is popular on the owners website. Here’s hoping that Datasift incorporates some more advanced domain based search capabilities.
Where Tweetmeme wins out in comparison with deep tweet searching, TwittUrly provides better data when searching by domain. You can see from the sample URL that I’ve provided that it is a trivial process to include anyone’s website address in that URL and figure out what is being shared from it. That said, there’s still a lot of room for competitors to capitalise on this space, as no one seems to be able to get completely accurate counts back.
Whilst not exactly scientific, Twitter search is useful for finding what is being retweeted right here and now for a particular domain. Simply stick the main site URL in the search box and away you go. There are some advanced operators available, that you should be able to get creative with – but as yet none exist for querying on a domain, hopefully something that they will have to improve upon to truly be considered a search engine. Right now, the best we’ve got is finding when a URL has been tweeted.
One of the easiest ways to find popular content being shared through the Facebook network is to use their social widgets. I’ve hinted before at this in a previous post, and it is a great little tip to see what popular content is being shared on your competitors website.
YouTube – Going viral
There are a couple of ways to find the most popular content on Youtube. One of my personal favourites is the viral video chart at Unruly Media, which gives Facebook, Twitter and blog buzz stats, as well as a chart of sharing over time. You can easily spot rising videos by checking in with this site on a daily basis, and in some cases ride off the back of a meme. YouTube themselves also provide a number of RSS feeds on the popular videos of the day. Great for finding the rising content easily.
Postrank – Google reader widget
Postrank do a stellar job at datamining, crawling and analysing what blog posts are popular, and which ones aren’t on thousands of websites. Their Postrank connect service is entirely free to join, and offers insight on your own posts – helping publishers to understand their audience that bit more. One brilliant way at finding the data on other people’s sites, is through their chrome extension, which hooks directly into Google reader, giving access to popular content on all of the blogs that you currently subscribe to. Commercial offerings are available to gain insight into the web as a whole. Some of the publishers already signed up include the likes of Techcrunch and Mashable – and you can quickly see what is hot and what is not with them.
Any social service I’ve missed here folks? What way do you guys figure out the popular content on different websites? Let me know in the comments.