Content curation is not just collecting, it’s also sharing. And whatever our motivation, we curate content to have an impact so understanding where our traffic comes from is important. During our first 2 years of existence, the Scoop.it users have published more than 50M pieces of content attracting more than 100M unique visitors so we’ve been in a great position to observe not only where this traffic came from but also what best practices had the strongest influence on it. So we’ve analyzed all the content curated, published and shared through Scoop.it. This post is about sharing these data and learnings so you can be more effective with your content curation.
Content Curation traffic: SEO vs Social Media
First, let’s look at the general distribution of traffic sources to Scoop.it topics:
The 2 major sources are naturally social networks and search engines – a not-so-surprising trend for those who have looked at how social became the new SEO these past couple of years. With an equal split between them, search engines and social networks account for about 80% of visits. This is not surprising considering the fact curation is about sharing and the fact Google has repeatedly mentioned they were looking at surfacing good quality content above poorly created one: surfacing the best, most relevant content is clearly picked up by Google Search.
While this breakdown of traffic sources has been stable over the past 12 months (after having increased through Google’s Panda and Penguin updates), It’s interesting to note that we’re also seeing an evolving pattern here: newly created topics generally start with most of their traffic from social networks as search traffic takes a few weeks to catch on. Then they also get traffic from the Scoop.it site itself as their topic pages rank higher in our own search engines, our interest channels and of course through social notifications.
Content Curation and mobile devices
Another important trend of these past few years has been the rise of mobile and tablets:
While we’ve emphasized the need to curate on the go early on – something we made possible through the use of our iPad, iPhone and Android Apps, it’s important to note that readers are also mobile. Mobile and tablets now account for close to 30% of traffic to Scoop.it topic pages that are optimized for smartphone browsing and reading.
It’s also interesting to note that the share of mobile is rising fast: it jumped to 27% from 17% in the past 12 months.
So traffic to curated content on Scoop.it comes from Search and Social Networks and is growingly mobile. Now, let’s look at how it differs and what we can learn from that. An interesting way to look at visitors is to split them between new and returning: that can tell you which channel brings you new people who discover your content for the first time vs loyal people who come back to your site. Both are important by the way: without the former you don’t grow outside of a certain circle but if you don’t retain them, you probably won’t have enough interaction to make an impact.
Traffic from the Interest Graph vs the Social Graph
The difference by traffic sources is pretty striking: while social networks bring a majority of returning visitors, Search and intra-Scoop.it traffic (traffic from the Scoop.it site to Scoop.it pages) bring a vast majority of new visitors.
This is in essence the difference between the social graph and the interest graph. By sharing content on social networks, you reach your existing social graph, ie people who know you already. Social networks are a great way to make these people come back to you through the content you publish. But it’s not as effective as a way to be discovered by new people than search or interest-based platforms such as Scoop.it: the interest graph consists in the people who are interested in your content but don’t know about you until they discover it.
Which social networks bring the most traffic?
Looking at social traffic, it’s interesting to analyze how strong the correlation is between sharing actions and visits: of course we expect the more content is shared, the more clicks it gets but how does it differ from one social platform to the other?
Scoopiters share the most often to Twitter but they get more bang from their buck when sharing to Facebook. LinkedIn is for now still a challenger but it’s share of visits has been growing the fastest of the three in the past 12 months and it’s been accelerating as we launched our integrations with LinkedIn groups and company pages.
How often should you publish content? Does publishing quality content matter?
By categorizing our user base in percentile groups, we’ve been able to compare the performance related to the average across the Scoop.it user base of:
– users who publish the most content (Top 20% percentile);
– users who publish the best content (this is of course subjective but we’ve used the Scoop.it score system which is highly based on how much reactions content gets from readers – again Top 20% percentile based on score);
– users who are in both categories.
There’s clearly a bonus for both frequency and quality but the interesting part is that it more than adds up when you do both.
So, how can I increase traffic through content curation?
All of this is very nice, but now what? To make this practical and actionable here are 4 take-aways anyone can implement:
1. Publish your curated content to a content hub before sharing it on social media: if you share it to social media only, you only get less than half the traffic and you lose a lot of the new visitors who are in your interest graph but not your social graph and that would come from Google Search.
2. Use a mobile-friendly content hub: content consumption is growingly mobile so if your WordPress template is not responsive, it’s time to change it. Of course if you’re using Scoop.it as your main hub, it’s all taken care of.
3. Use services like Buffer to republish multiple times throughout the day on Twitter: yes, Facebook generates higher clicks but as smart curators have found, the perk of Twitter is it’s ok to repeat a post several times because of it’s real-time nature. So just like a TV Channel will broadcast several times their main shows, you can decided to tweet the same piece of content for your morning audience, your afteroon one and your evening one.
4. Automate content monitoring to achieve both quality and quantity: use tools like Scoop.it suggestion engine to be in the top publishers both from a quality and quantity point of view. This can generate 10x more traffic than average.
We’d also love to hear from you: what else have you found useful to generate traffic to your curated content?