What is the biggest social network?
Facebook ? Myspace? Orkut? LinkedIn? No, in my opinion, the biggest, most important and influencer of all social networks is by far… the blogosphere.
Is the blogosphere a social network? Absolutely. A blog is the equivalent of a Facebook profile page but with an even greater level of engagement. What about the concept of friends or contacts? The blogroll and all the links that are usually inserted in blog posts do this work of interconnection between users very well. And those who leave comments and sign with their name and link also contribute to these interconnections between all the individuals who make up this social web.
THE BLOGOSPHERE IN FIGURES
If we look at the Comscore figures for certain months of 2008, we notice that 77 million American unique visitors visited blogs while Myspace had 75 million unique visitors worldwide and Facebook 40.1 million. If we add Canadian and European visitors, it is by far the blogosphere that represents the greatest reach as a social network.
And to get an idea in Canada, about 77% of active Internet users would consult blogs, consciously or not. On the other hand, if asked, only 26% of active Internet users will say that they consult blogs. Where is the problem ? Users don't know they're viewing blogs...because they just don't know what a blog is. For them it is just other web pages. The 77% therefore comes from actual and verified visits while the 26% comes from the perception of having or not having visited a blog, which, as you can see, can greatly vary the results.
PRESENCE IN ORGANIC RESULTS
But all those people who do not understand that they have visited blogs still have to go to the blogs they visit. Well, it's through search engines that they do it. Blogs now take up a large part of search results, especially for searches of 3 words or more (the majority of searches).
Why are blogs so good at showing up in prominent search results? For several reasons :
- They are technically made to be indexed. Clear links, no Flash or other blocking technologies and clean, rich URLs.
- They are updated regularly, which clashes with corporate sites that are not.
- They react to the news. Google detects search spikes triggered by news-related events and looks for answers to serve those spikes well, and it's often bloggers who provide those answers.
- They offer dozens of contexts to display the same content. The very concept of tags creates dozens of pages with a very strong theme, which reinforces the propensity of a page to be well referenced. The same content can therefore be used in more relevant contexts.
- Blog posts are linkbait. By being controversial, informative, or useful, they all represent opportunities to receive inbound links to your site, which is extremely beneficial to your SEO.
They have therefore surpassed the so-called traditional sites in the search engines. In addition, some social networks like Facebook only show Google a tiny part of their database, the rest being hidden behind a password.
Micro-blogging à la Twitter or photo-blogging à la Flickr are convincing examples of social networks affiliated with the blogosphere, because they are all complementary to each other. To link to a blog post via Twitter is to actively participate in the social network that is the blogosphere. It is to leave a trace that we have, one day, judged that a content was worth reading.
Companies, give yourself the means to be seen, heard and in a context that promotes flexibility, agility and your visibility, the blogosphere, the largest and most active social network that currently exists.