Sgt_Kickaxe - 2:10 am on Jul 3, 2011 (gmt 0)
re:actionable metrics::: unless you're actively chasing a potential metric it's best not to have it at all. Twitter accounts with no followers, facebook pages with no followers, a comment system with no comments, a ranking system with no votes etc... if you're not pushing hard for followers, rankings and comments consider removal of these and other non-promoted features. Even Google is getting rid of little used systems with their own properties.
Add to the list if you can...
- comments (disable if unused)
- sitemaps (pointless if already ranked)
- twitter account (disable if not popular)
- facebook account (disable if not promoted)
- page descriptions (remove if being ignored by Google)
- keywords (just remove them)
- rss feeds (provide email updates instead)
- voting systems (disable if it's only you who vote)
- widgets and plugins (disable if they do not get used)
- social networks (get out of them if you work hard at them for no return)
- ads (adsense - not clicked? get rid of units)
Start with a completely blank slate, as traffic picks up add a little at a time and adjust for best performance. Since Google is moving to MORE METRIC SIGNALS it's wise to offer FEWER NEGATIVE METRIC SIGNALS.
As Google says more more more it's probably best take the less is more approach. Everything is being ranked and rated, best get a no-score than a low score.
PageRank is still in use today, but it is now a part of a much larger system.
- comment rank
- voting rank
- facebook rank
- twitter rank
- widget quality rank
etc. etc. etc. You wouldn't leave a stain on your collar so why would you leave a stain on your website?
Observation: after Panda some scrapers did well, scrapers have no actionable stains on their sites because they don't want comments and would never create social accounts to promote their scraped content, they don't want to get caught. They take all of your goodness and don't clutter it with unused features!
P.S. The one metric that scares me: My personal history. Just writing this post might cause ME as a WEBMASTER to be given a rating adjustment even though it's not on my site. If you hang out in hacker forums Google knows. You get the idea where this is going... I don't hang out in hacker forums but perhaps if I don't garner enough personal accolades for previous works that can be held against my current and future sites? At the very least it means no bonus trust...
this is a long post already so I'll throw in some free advice about CTR. Google webmaster tools provides excellent reports on CTR on a page by page and keyword by keyword basis and tells you which page in the rankings that data came from. That's actionable data you can use to adjust page titles. USE SPARINGLY, it's not a first use tool, it's best to have the best title from the start, but as a fallback you can improve pages with extremely poor clickthrough ratios despite getting good exposure.