|Social Media Buttons on AdSense Sites Necessary?|
Not that every site can do it, but those that can need to maximize audience retention in order to thwart these greedy asses that don't want to share free traffic.
How do you retain audience attention?
- Newsletter signup
- Email notification of replies
- Bookmark this site buttons
- Add to Wishlist
The irony is that the social media sites hand out all those social media buttons which people put on their sites to get pages LIKED, which is free advertising PLUS gives the social media sites more traffic. However, that same social media doesn't want to return the favor for free.
If it becomes too lopsided in the future we can discuss removing those social media buttons as step #1 unless they want to pay *US*, or give us equal traffic in trade (LinkExchange anyone?), to keep them on our pages :)
Forget the SEO aspects of "link building", remember how the web was originally built as we directly linked to each other and used directories, especially well curated niche directories, were all the rage. Links are how you discovered good sites for that topic and those links are how the search engines originally discovered the web and decided which sites should rank first. The irony of how SE's are now penalizing links from the very sites that SEs used to discover the web. Sigh.
The real problem is Google is on the link warpath and people are running around disavowing links which is deliberately destroying the only legitimate free source of traffic left, people clicking links from site to site, just like the old days.
Think about it, when Google forces you to stop getting any link partners you want in effect they're limiting the sources of free traffic possible. Eventually they'll make the linking rules so restrictive people will be afraid to link (oops! already happened) and all your traffic will be paid traffic.
Search engines are NOT your friends.
Disavow is the DEATH of free traffic.
My $0.02, enjoy what's left of free traffic while it lasts.
[edited by: martinibuster at 11:17 pm (utc) on Dec 23, 2013]
Excellent post, Incredibill.
"Bookmark this site" buttons. Wow, I need to get on that. I don't have any of those up.
"The irony is that the social media sites hand out all those social media buttons which people put on their sites to get pages LIKED, which is free advertising PLUS gives the social media sites more traffic. However, that same social media doesn't want to return the favor for free. "
Bill, this is a REALLY important point. It's one of the reasons why I removed ALL of the social media buttons from my site.
I checked my reports, and social media sites provide a tiny portion of my traffic. Tiny. So why would I bother to promote their brands on my sites for free?
I also gave up tweeting on Twitter and posting content on Facebook. Neither site was worth the time or effort in terms of traffic. Google+ is worth having for the authorship benefits, but not the other two.
Plus, those social media buttons slow down page loads significantly. Who wants slow loading pages just for stupid "like" buttons and what not to load?
I always recommend that people remove the buttons. You'll still get some social sharing by people pasting the URL into other browser windows for social media sites, but you won't have slower page loads and you won't be giving the social media parasites free brand advertising.
[edited by: fumanchu at 10:56 pm (utc) on Dec 20, 2013]
By the way, I'm so sick of seeing the social media buttons on every site I visit that I've taken to installing browser plugins that block them from loading. I never used them anyway to share content, I just copied the URL and pasted it into the social media sites.
I suspect I'm not alone. Those buttons will increase the use of browser extensions to remove them, and probably ad blockers as well as more and more people get tired of seeing them everywhere.
I get what you're saying. I didn't have hardly any social media buttons on my sites, but then I just added some this weekend. I used a site taht provides small, nice little bar with all the buttons.
Does it slow down the page load? Yes, but not bad. My pages load fast anyway. I got 1,000 likes over the weekend.
I think you just have to have it -- but you're right that it barely drives traffic. What I DO like is that it spreads your Internet footprint around. I don't see how it can hurt you if your page load speed isn't effected.
I do agree with you in that I don't like the INTRUSIVE social media buttons, like the ones that persistently show up as a side bar that scrolls with the page. Those bug me and I've made sure I don't use them on my sites. Very distracting.
Nope, you don't have to have it at all littlecubpanda. You will still get shares. I temporarily installed a WordPress plugin that let me see how many likes, shares, etc. each story has gotten and they were doing quite well without the buttons being on my sites. People don't need the buttons to share your content, they can easily copy and paste the URL.
Remember that just because you got 1000 likes doesn't mean that anybody is seeing those likes on Facebook. Facebook has an algorithm that hides stuff from people's news feeds. This is part of Facebook's business model, they want you to pay for more "visibility" on their service.
Right now you are giving the Facebook brand free advertising on your site, and are probably getting very little in return. You have also degraded the user experience by slowing down the page loads, and you have cluttered up your interface with something that does not add real value to your content.
Those buttons may also distract from your ads, thus lowering the possibility of getting Adsense clicks. Is that what you really want? I'd rather have revenue from Adsense than Facebook "likes" any day.
Just my two cents, take it as you will. But there will never be social media buttons on my sites again. And I suspect that over time more and more sites will come to see them as being essentially worthless.
[edited by: fumanchu at 9:40 pm (utc) on Dec 23, 2013]
Mods, can you chop off this thread at my first message and then make it a new thread called "Social Media Buttons On Adsense Sites: Good or Bad?"
I think this issue needs to be explored more, thanks if you can do it.
I don't agree at all with fumanchu regarding social, but that's neither here nor there.
What I think is kicking Google's ass right now are invalid clicks and bots. Seriously.
|"Bookmark this site" buttons. |
While I am not opposed to a "bookmark" button, keep in mind that not many people actually use the bookmarking function on their browsers these days. It is kind of a pre-2005 relic. They now mostly use social media (think Pinterest) these days because it is easier to use, available from any device and has more features. Plus, they can show off to their friends what they found.
|Neither site was worth the time or effort in terms of traffic. |
Neither is Google when you first throw a website up. And yet people spend 100s of man hours try to catch Google's eye and eventually get free traffic from there. There is a tipping point to social media, same as everything else. You fake it till it makes it - and then all that time is suddenly worth it.
The social buttons serve as a reminder. Sure, people will still copy and paste to their favorite social site and never use the buttons. But when they see the button, they think "oh yeah, I should do that."
And then there are the counts. I search for a random bit of information on a search engine, how do I know if it is any good? Well, the fact that 300 people liked it on FB or tweeted it 45 times makes me feel a little more comfortable about the info. Yes, *I* as a knowledgeable web marketer knows those counts don't really mean much in terms of real credibility, but to your average searcher, this is how they think.
Then you have to be somewhat forward thinking. You really don't think FB is not going to come out with their own search engine at some point in time? What will you do when your pages aren't in there or not ranking well because you ignored them?
|While I am not opposed to a "bookmark" button, keep in mind that not many people actually use the bookmarking function on their browsers these days. It is kind of a pre-2005 relic. |
Sometimes it's just good design to tell people to do something they might overlook.
You need a call to action "BOOKMARK NOW!" just like the newsletter "SIGN UP NOW!" which you don't get from that little obscure bookmark icon on a toolbar.
I think the browsers have deliberately made bookmarking less significant because two of the browsers are also run but companies with SEARCH ENGINES, namely Chrome and Bing, who would prefer you use their ad riddled site instead of bookmarking anything.
|they can easily copy and paste the URL. |
Great assumption if they have been taught how to copy and paste but you'd be surprised how many older (like over 65 up into 90's) computer users don't know how to copy and paste...let alone what the URL is or where to find it. And how easy is it to copy and paste for the average user of a tablet or mobile?
Every site is different so if your site has knowledgeable computer users that know how to copy and paste it's probably not an issue to remove the social buttons.
Since several of my sites long precede social media buttons (and even Google in some cases) I have a pretty good idea how much my stuff was shared before and after I implemented them. I'm fine with keeping mine, and if my competitors decide to lose theirs, I'm even finer with that.
|Right now you are giving the Facebook brand free advertising on your site, and are probably getting very little in return |
Speaking for myself, I've always got much much more in return for such little amount of work required to (efficiently) place Social widgets/buttons. I gain so much out of giving them 'free' advertising! :)
To most of my human visitors (who the sites were originally built for), social media has ALWAYS been the REAL source to discover my sites. Long before Google helped the ambulance-chasing "SEO" industry hijack pure webmastering and webdev.
It was webrings/Guestbooks/TellAFriend/LinkExchange/Geocities/DMOZ etc then.
It is Facebook/Twitter/Reddit/Mobile Apps etc now...
That's where people are, and these are just wonderful (free!) tools for people to discover your content.
[edited by: zdgn at 5:18 pm (utc) on Dec 26, 2013]
Another consideration is that these social media buttons are almost certainly tracking and gather statistics about your traffic/users.
|social media buttons are almost certainly tracking and gather statistics about your traffic/users. |
My gawds, people. Do you think tracking of demographics and shopping is anything new? Direct Marketers have been doing it since before their were such things as home computers.
If you own a credit card, you are being tracked. If you pay bills, you are being tracked. If you have a bank account, you are being tracked. If you get magazine subscriptions, newspaper subscriptions or get catalogs, you are being tracked. If you have cable television, you are being tracked. In other words, if you (or your readers) live in the modern world, they are being tracked.
Unless they are someone who the NSA is worried about, this information is used to create a better user experience. Better user experience means more money.
Why do you think AdSense dominates in the publisher space? Because they can hone in with laser sharpness into what a person wants. Google has used just about every service they offer to help collect this information. Everybody complains that there is no good alternative to AdSense. The only way you will get a decent competitor is if someone can collect this kind of information. Frankly, FB is your best bet.
hannamyluv, if it's not a big deal to you. I have a script I'd like to install on your website so I can track your users.
|keep in mind that not many people actually use the bookmarking function on their browsers these days. It is kind of a pre-2005 relic. |
Ok, I'm a pre-1995 relic yet still teach people to use bookmarks properly, I have no idea what I'd do without them, most of the bookmarks I have would be unfindable by Google these days.
Are there any hard stats on this?
|I have a script I'd like to install on your website so I can track your users. |
How much will you pay me per thousand?
You are being na´ve if you think this has not been happening for decades. I would estimate that at least half the businesses in the US (and likely elsewhere but I can't speak for outside of the US) use some form of gathered demographic and statistical information. I cut my teeth at a direct marketing company. They bought and sold lists of people's buying habits, likes and interests like they were Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards. And had been since at least the 1950s.
Many companies make a HEALTHY side income off selling user lists to other companies. Your bank does it, your real estate company does it, catalogs do it, anyone who takes your name, address and/or phone number likely does it.
And if you have AdSense/Analytics on your site, you are already letting someone track your users. So why are you worried about FaceBook or Twitter doing it too?
On the grand scheme of things I worry about, tracking my users doesn't even make the radar.
My various Twitter presences exist because I enjoy them (I have a 140 character attention span as it is) and my Facebook presences exist because that's where my target demographic hangs out. It is incumbent upon me to go where my users are, and drag them screaming and kicking back to my web properties. While it may *look* like I'm sending traffic to Facebook, that's just part of my evil plan (particularly now that they have decided to shorten the "reach" on Facebook pages) As long as I engage with them (and I do) I get more reach. And while I'll still give space on my sites to my Facebook Like Boxes, it'll be reduced in size and prominence, in favor of a NEW box promoting my own email list. When I mentioned to my FB people that they might not see all my posts, they became very indignant indeed, and clamored for a mailing list. That makes them *mine*.
Like all tools, it's all in how you use them.
|Are there any hard stats on this? |
Not as far as I know. I am going more off anecdotal information. A large portion of my social media traffic comes from Pinterest. My demographic is woman, ages 55+. These two facts combine mean that women age 55+ are using Pinterest ALOT to bookmark. If women 55+ are doing this (which has to be the least tech savvy demographic), you can bet the rest of the (younger) population is as well - though likely not on Pinterest.
We just use too many machines to access the internet. People need bookmarks that can carry from their phone to their tablet to their work PC to their home laptop.
|We just use too many machines to access the internet. People need bookmarks that can carry from their phone to their tablet to their work PC to their home laptop. |
An excellent observation/point however, personally, I do not bookmark on phones and tablets, quite simply I don't want them filling-up with all the crap I have on my work machines .. I do like your insight about women and the Pininterest bookmarking...makes sense...blokes don't do that:-) .. Not the ones insofar as I know!
You've really made me rethink things.
What I'm going to do is just use a small Facebook like button and that is all toward the top of my page.
I agree with another poster -- when people see a page has "1.3k" likes it grants authority.
I also use bookmarking myself a lot -- and I think copy and paste on phones and tablets is a little cumbersome. I don't know why people wouldn't always use bookmarking, but I guess I'm a relic.
A couple of months ago I would have agreed, but over the course of the past few months i've added an asynchronous social sharing add-on to one of my sites and i've watched traffic grow by 75% even though the site itself is effectively dead (tons of traffic, no updated content.)
When i pop into analytics i see that the majority of the growth is coming from people sharing my content (twitter was the biggest surprisingly.) Sure, facebook, twitter, and the ilk are getting free advertising...but then again so am I. Along with the free advertising i'm receiving are also the convenience of having free dollars posted to my adsense account thanks to the free clicks my visitors are giving me.
Putting social media icons on your site may give the social media sites free advertising, but the thing that matters more is that it helps spread your content and brand to all those other sites. That eventually leads to referrals, direct traffic and brand recognition that can help pre-sell a customer on making a purchase after they come to your site.
At the end of the day, you can't use just one marketing method if you want to run a successful business.
@eek2121...would you mind sharing which Social Sharing Add On you're using? I can't recall seeing one that was asynchronous by default.
"hannamyluv, if it's not a big deal to you. I have a script I'd like to install on your website so I can track your users."
Why not just buy that data directly from the NSA?
"While it may *look* like I'm sending traffic to Facebook, that's just part of my evil plan..."
Never stop being "evil".
If you're on the fence about keeping or removing social widgets consider your audience. One of my sites is used mostly by older men. I took a look at the social activity and weighed it against losing traffic but especially the overhead. The social activity was almost nill so I removed everything social from my site. Here's a snapshot of the results:
1. Pages load twice as fast
2. Traffic is up
3. Earnings are up
4. Bounce rate down
This doesn't mean I'm about to yank social widgets from all of my sites, but I'm not going to leave them there if no one's using them.
I think there is some merit in retaining the "big 3". Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.
Google is probably using Google+ in their search algorithms as an authority signal, so even though it's not super popular it may be worth using for SEO.
I removed crap like Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Tumblr and other rubbish a while ago. Just not worth it.
I've never been on the fence about this. I will never have social widgets on my sites.
|If you're on the fence about keeping or removing social widgets consider your audience. |
The worse one to have is "share this" So many people think that you are allowing people to take your copyrighted work and use it elsewhere. No thanks.