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How Readership, Timing and Social Shares Affect SEO and Earned Media Value

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Earlier this year, MSR Communications, San Francisco-based PR and communications firm, announced the release of its trend report: “How Readership, Timing and Social Shares Affect SEO and Earned Media Value.”

The goal of the report was to discover correlations and patterns that might be helpful in predicting and influencing the kind of impact that an article will have. Two specific areas that are generally agreed upon to be representative of the true value of earned media are social media shares and SEO impact. The report explored how several common metrics for evaluating earned media may influence social sharing and SEO. The hope is that the report helps the reader shape best practices for maximizing these elements and gaining the most value from earned media placements.

MSR leveraged data on more than 400 articles from TrendKite, which is now a part of Cision, using the media monitoring platform to obtain a rich variety of metrics on earned media, such as readership, social shares and SEO impact through a standard known as the MOZ score (Lustig, 2015). Since there is great variance in the readership behaviors seen in various types of media (people read consumer publications for entirely different reasons than business publications and display very different habits), MSR narrowed the focus to earned media coverage within enterprise technology for this report, examining data on articles mentioning about 20 different companies in the data management industry. (None of the findings, therefore, are predictive of consumer earned media or other industries.)

Key findings include:

  • Most enterprise tech articles are shared infrequently through social channels — about 275 of the 419 articles looked at received eight or fewer social shares, and tactics that boost social shares for earned media may provide an opportunity for differentiation.
  • The report found that contrary to popular belief, when it comes to the volume of social shares that an article typically receives, it may not matter what day of the week the article posts.
  • Articles in publications with huge circulations do not get substantially more social shares. MSR saw an increase of less than one social share per every additional 10,000 readers a publication has. In short, very large increases in readership may be required to produce noticeable increases in social shares. While this may be a factor in choosing between targeting a large international outlet, such as The New York Times, or a small trade publication, it wouldn’t be a factor in selecting between two publications that have readerships that are within a few hundred thousand of each other.
  • While the impact of social presence on SEO is still a bit of a mystery, the report does acknowledge a correlation between the number of social shares an article receives and search engine ranking. Social shares, in very high volumes, may boost SEO impact. On average, an additional 100 social shares could boost the Trendkite Social Impact score by 3 to 7 points (on a 0-100 scale).

For the complete report, download here.

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