Why include share buttons? The theory? Users will rejoice your content so much they will want to share it with all of their friends, family or colleagues.Social networking buttons theoretically provide users with an seamless and quick way to easily share content in the click of a button.
Put your hands up if you would share the following websites with friends, family or colleagues?
An IPO share offer that has just been released that you want to share with your partner or family member as you are considering investing in it.
Would you share a snow holiday to Canada if you want get your friends interested in as you want someone to ski or board with?
An interesting UX article that you want to share with your peers?
A fantastic new game you have played that you want to tell your friends about?
A really great book you have read with excellent character development.
A funny image or joke that you found online that you want to share with your friends.
Facebook launched it “Send” button in April 2011. Facebook Share actually included in Survey results not Facebook Send. I imagine that the result would probably be consistent if I had included ‘Facebook Send’ option. One test participant recently indicated that she was not clear what would happen if she clicked on a Facebook Send button and was weary of posting something on her wall for all to see.
The search engines have freely admitted that social signals are being included in their ranking algorithm.This means that the more times a piece of content is shared/Tweeted/Liked/posted etc. the more value it has in the eyes of the search engines. If you don’t have social share buttons on your site, you’re not getting all the social signals you could be. A report by BrightEdge found that pages that show Twitter share buttons get 7 times the social media mentions than sites that don’t!http://www.searchengineoptimizationjournal.com/share-buttons/
Rand Fishkinhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/facebook-twitters-influence-google-search-rankingsA like of content will show up on your Wall and in Most recent but rarely shows up in Top News where most users can and click. www.seomoz.org.Facebook ‘Send’ button introduced in 2011 probably more valuable that Share as it is more targetted and personalised.Cause and effect diagram based on image from Dr. Peter J. Meyers http://www.seomoz.org/blog/do-social-signals-drive-traffic
I will always give UX more weighting. If people have a good UX, they are more likely to find a way to share the content.
Long URLs that wrap in emails (sometimes causing the link to break) don’t make it easy for less experienced users receiving the email. I would guess that URL shorteners such as bitly are not widely known about by the average user.Provide tools to allow users to easily email content (if that is what they want to do) or share any way they want e.g. Print and distribute, email, social networking.
Many novices or seniors would not necessarily know how to copy and paste a URL into an email and would probably not use social networking buttons to share content. Provide easy forms such as this to encourage novice users to share.
Don’t smatter your whole website with heaps of social networking buttons. Don’t include them below your H1 heading. Users haven’t even had a chance to read your content yet! Give them a chance to read it before they decide to share. Only include on pages with content that users want to share e.g. a specific product page Place below the content and ensure they don’t overpower the content and add too much visual noise. These social networking icons on Endless are subtle and not in the way of the content but are available for those that might look for them.
37 Signals http://37signals.com/svn/posts/93-its-the-content-not-the-icons“Social media buttons are not a social media strategy, even though they’re often sold that way. Excellent content, serious networking and constant human engagement is the way to build your profile. Adding those sleazy buttons won’t achieve anything. Social media is not easy — there is no simple trick.”Sweep the Sleaze BY OLIVER REICHENSTEIN http://informationarchitects.net/blog/sweep-the-sleaze/
Travel website test results 2012 8 / 12 may click ‘Like’ or ‘Send’ 12
Travel website bookers – past behaviour But only 4 / 12 had clicked a ‘Like’ or ‘Send’ button! 13
Survey data – how people share Insurance or financial Travel holiday deal Website selling clothing services website n=26 n=21 and shoes n=21 + URL EmailFor targetted, serious and commercial content, ‘Copy and paste URL’ a clear winner! 14
Survey data – how people share Interesting news or Funny picture or photo Free online games industry article n=14 n=12 n=16+ URL Email For knowledge, fun and entertainment sites it is a different story 15
Survey respondent quotes “I would email things I“For things that definitely want people towill likely only see, and share stuff ofbe of interest to general interest”one person, Iuse email.” “Facebook convenient, but their privacy sucks! Email button quick and easy.” 16
Yes but what about SEO? =Theory is social share buttons allow your readers to promote your content for you and improve SEO 17
Other thoughts on SEO • Facebook ‘Share’ might be more valuable that ‘Likes’ • Social metrics are well correlated with higher rankings • Correlation does not imply causation * What is causing what? Rand Fishkin – SEOmoz * Dr Peter Meyers– SEOmoz
So what am I saying…. You have to balance SEO and UX 20
Make it easy for users to share how they want
Make it easy for all users to share e.g. Seniors 22
Ensure share buttons are subtle and contextual 23
Focus on great content and UX“Think twice before badgering readers…thehectoring is tiresome, it results in extraneousvisual noise, it makes your site look cheap, andthe benefits are dubious at best. Instead, focuson delivering great content. If you do, people willfigure out how to spread the word just fine.” 37 Signals http://37signals.com/svn/posts/93-its-the-content-not-the-icons 24
ThanksTania Langwww.email@example.comBrisbane, Australia Twitter: @peakusabilityhttp://www.peakusability.com.au/resources/ 25