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Network Analysis for SEO

on 16 May  Posted by Admin  Category: Internet Related  
by Charlotte Bourne
http://www.enquiro.com

Net­work analy­sis is defined, sim­ply, as the analy­sis of the rela­tion­ships between objects. It’s a field based on both graph the­ory (a branch of math­e­mat­ics) and soci­ol­ogy. The final out­put of net­work analy­sis is a net­work graph, which visu­ally maps the rela­tion­ships that exist between objects. These rela­tion­ships can then be expressed math­e­mat­i­cally based on an object’s posi­tion on the graph and the num­ber of rela­tion­ships they have.
When apply­ing net­work analy­sis to the field of SEO, the objects are web­sites and the rela­tion­ships between them are links. By graph­ing these rela­tion­ships, insights can be gained about how a web­site is linked to and exists on the web.

There’s a num­ber of ways that net­work analy­sis can be applied to SEO:

  • Visu­al­iz­ing inter­nal links on a website
  • Visu­al­iz­ing inter­link­ing between var­i­ous domains
  • Visu­al­iz­ing back­links to a domain or domains
  • Com­pet­i­tive analy­sis of backlinks

As an exam­ple of how net­work analy­sis can be used to find back­links, below is a net­work graph show­ing how six dif­fer­ent web­sites are linked to. The dots rep­re­sent web­sites and the lines rep­re­sent links. Our client’s site is high­lighted in blue, while five of their major com­peti­tors’ web­sites are high­lighted in red. Exter­nal sites that link to either our client or their com­peti­tors are rep­re­sented by black dots.

network-analysis-seo

When apply­ing net­work analy­sis to the field of SEO, the objects are web­sites and the rela­tion­ships between them are links. By graph­ing these rela­tion­ships, insights can be gained about how a web­site is linked to and exists on the web.

As you can see in the graph, each of the six core web­sites has their own par­tic­u­lar back­link pro­file – sites that link only to them. Some links are shared between the dif­fer­ent sites, and these lie at the cen­ter of the graph.

What we’ve high­lighted in this next net­work graph are web­sites that link to at least two of our client’s com­peti­tors, but who do not link to our client.

network-analysis-seo

These web­sites are prime link­ing tar­gets. As they link to at least two com­peti­tors, they demon­strate that they have an inter­est in that par­tic­u­lar indus­try and would be likely have an inter­est in our client’s website.

Net­work analy­sis can be applied broadly to the field of SEO in ana­lyz­ing how web­sites link to each other, and in con­duct­ing com­pet­i­tive analy­sis. The field also has obvi­ous appli­ca­tions for social media in under­stand­ing how users are con­nected to each other in online net­works. Any online social net­work – whether it be on Twit­ter, Face­book, Youtube, Flickr, etc. – can be eas­ily mod­eled using a net­work graph. A graph could focus on how one user is linked to other users, which is called an ego net­work. Or a social net­work graph can focus on a par­tic­u­lar topic – com­ments about a Youtube video, a Twit­ter hash­tag, or a Face­book group – and look at how that group of users is inter­con­nected. The search engines have stated that the social web has a small influ­ence on rank­ings so there is also an SEO impli­ca­tion for this type of analysis.

As an exam­ple of social net­work analy­sis, here is a net­work graph of the Twit­ter net­work of 4FRNT skis, a ski man­u­fac­turer. This graph has been ana­lyzed to 1.5 degrees, mean­ing that we’ve not just looked at who fol­lows 4FRNT on Twit­ter, but how those peo­ple are con­nected to each other as well.

network-analysis-social-media

While 4FRNT has about 1,200 fol­low­ers, those fol­low­ers are highly inter­con­nected with approx­i­mately 30,000 con­nec­tions between them. Whe