October 12, 2007

Link In. Link Out. Shake it All About.

If you watched the A-List banter over the last week or so, it would be easy to believe many are more concerned about fighting for total visitors and determining where their links come from than they are about creating new content, breaking news, communicating and learning from those around them. We see debates over whether the TechMeme Leaderboard is accurate or valid, whether TechMeme itself can drive traffic, or if it has no juice. We see Robert Scoble open the proverbial kimono and reveal his own statistics, and in another direction, we have another excellent analysis by Yuvi Panda, dissecting the linking habits of TechCrunch.

When it comes to obsessing over blog statistics, sources and linking habits, I'm among the top stataholics. I love seeing the data, and looking for trends. We've talked about it a lot here. In fact, much of what's being discovered and debated in the last week should be old news to longtime louisgray.com visitors. Take a look...

I agree 100%. In Tech Blog Link Power: Spiky Visitors or Sticky Visitors?, I placed TechMeme at the highest levels of driving visitors to the site. TechMeme delivers hundreds of visitors if a story is a lead story, and can be a few dozen if you are following someone else. Digg can deliver thousands, as I saw back in April.

For me, TechMeme has driven more traffic in the last six months than almost any other Web site, behind only Google, MacSurfer, Digg and Athletics Nation.

    2. Yuvi writes, in his StatBot: TechCrunch Data Analysis, "TechCrunch links the most to itself. At least 14 times more than the nearest content contributor."

That's huge. As we noticed with Internal Linking On Some Tech Blogs Is Out of Control, "some of the most popular blogs... prefer to lead readers deep into their archives." Comments on the post quickly called out TechCrunch as an offender, citing the site's CrunchBase.

    3. Steve Rubel of MicroPersuasion calls BS on the whole thing, saying in On the Devaluation of Traffic, that the whole idea of tracking total visits and external links is bunk. He writes, "Most of my traffic is from Google and they are largely passerbys. The same holds true for anyone who visits my site from Techmeme, Digg or even big blogs."

That is exactly right. I wrote in Google Is 95% Of My Search Traffic that Google owns the search game. We also noted in the above links that Google visitors aren't sticky. I even mentioned in September in Why My Technorati Ranking Is Slip-Sliding Away that "the rise of microblogging with Twitter, moves to Facebook, and reliance on bookmark harvesters like del.icio.us or Google Reader shared links will drive down the amount of external linkings from the general blogosphere," trends Rubel notes as well.

For me, it all comes down to Why Do I Blog? If it's for getting traffic, ads and links, then this is of utmost importance. If it's about talking and sharing ideas and learning about new things, then the move away from total page views and external links won't be all that important in the end. Technology moves. In the blogosphere, we should embrace being the fastest moving.

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