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Visualising the Link Footprint of your Content with Fusion Tables.
21 Jan 2013
You’ve done all the hard work; your content has been designed, created, launched and promoted. It’s (hopefully) been a huge success and the links and social coverage have flooded in.
Now comes the easy part: it’s time to bask in the glory of your link-building greatness and start gathering the data to analyse, feedback and - most importantly - demonstrate the value of the piece.
Here lies the problem; another spreadsheet with a list of URLs and metrics. It’s pretty dry stuff. Even the most successful creative content pieces can become terribly boring when results are presented like this.
Ideally, what you want is a visual representation of the reach and impact of your piece, and its footprint on the internet, in a way that would be engaging to not only SEO professionals but to your clients and key decision-makers.
Now, this is finally possible with the use of this dandy little tool from the good people at Google Labs: Fusion Tables.
Fusion Tables is basically a Google Doc app that allows you to generate interactive network graphs, but without the need for a PHD in mathematics or computer science. You can now turn your boring list of URLs into an interactive, filterable and weighted network graph.
Here’s how you do it.
Okay, so you still have to gather all the link data - this part is unavoidable. Do this in whatever way you usually would; for this example, I used AHREFS to get my list of all the sites that linked to my example piece of content – http://www.evanshalshaw.com/bondcars/.
I then ran the list of linking domains through the NETPEAK tool to gather all the metrics I wanted. In this instance, I used Domain Authority, Number of Tweets, Facebook Likes and Shares, and Google +1s, but you can use whatever metrics you desire. These values will be used to add weighting to the graph.
You now need to get all this data into Google Spreadsheet. You also need to add a column at the beginning that is filled with the URL of your piece of content.
Create the table
To do this you need to go back to the Google Drive page, select create and then select Fusion Table.
(If you don’t see this option, you may have to install the app from here)
On the next screen, selectGoogle Spreadsheets and then choose the spreadsheet you just created from the list, before clicking “next” one more time. On the following screen, it prompts you to enter which row the column names are in.
Finally, give your table a name and hit finish. You should now have the table visible as in the diagram below.
OK, that’s the end of the boring bit - now to create the network graph. Click on the tab with the + icon on it and select “Add Chart” from the drop-down.
From here, you can finally select the “Network Graph” option from the list of graph types. You will now have the basic, unfiltered version of your network graph – it should look something like the following: That’s basically it.
You’re probably already beginning to see the potential for visualising links, but I recommend you play around with the filters, colours and weighting, which are all fairly self-explanatory.
An excellent way of visually demonstrating the reach of your piece is to start the number of nodes on 2, and then keep clicking the up button until it reaches the maximum. Give it a go below.
Depending on what metrics you were targeting for your piece, you now have multiple ways of displaying these results, the above example being just the tip of the iceberg.
Here is another example:
For this chart I wanted to concentrate on the high authority links achieved that had received a lot of Twitter coverage. To do this I applied a filter to the domain authority column to show only URLs with a domain of above 70. I then weighted the results by number of tweets and applied a colour.
As you can see, the result is a network graph that only has linking sites of a domain authority of above 70, with those that received the most tweets appearing larger and gravitating closer to the centre