Published: January 11, 2013
Traffic. Traffic. Traffic. Driving visitors to your site sounds easy in theory but remains a constant battle for those unequipped to navigate the constantly changing tide of search optimization, fresh content marketing, and ultimately, a well-trafficked site. Still, without visibility, reach, and interactive saturation you fail to capture investors, prospects, and market share – running the risk of falling short next to competition.
Though it is not the only option for increased visitors, peer to peer document sharing remains a popular, effective, and easy go-to opportunity for greater interactive reach. Document sharing sites have filled the void and offer a viable alternative to article directories which were devalued in recent Google algorithm updates.
A little over a year ago, we compared Scribd and Slideshare as the two key players in this space. After driving almost a quarter of our site visits, we thought it time to offer an updated analysis on the initial blog post – including additional key players and declaring a frontrunner going into 2013.
2013 Key Players
The four most popular document sharing sites are Scribd, Slideshare, Docstoc, and Google Drive. Scribd allows users to view, print, download and upload documents in a variety of formats including PDF and MS Word. Designed as more of an academic platform, Scribd is conducive to large document uploads, offering both free and paid versions including the opportunity to purchase or sell documents via the Scribd Store.
Slideshare bills itself as the “business media site” for document, presentation, and video sharing. It’s more professional layout makes for improved ease of use compared to its primary competition. Often labeled “YouTube for document sharing,” Slideshare was recently acquired by LinkedIn, yielding great amounts of traffic from its target audience – business professionals.
The latest player in the mix, Docstoc, keeps pace with its competition, while offering one unique caveat. DocStoc allows you to easily embed your uploaded documents right within your website.
While offering a slightly different approach to document sharing, Google Drive is our final key player going into 2013. Google Drive, a recent upgrade from Google Docs, is a free service that allows you to store, share, and collaborate on documents in the cloud. Although Google Drive does not have a traditional document library, it offers the unique option to share documents with specific people, offering an audience specific and flexible approach to content dissemination. And while there is no evidence yet, we are inclined to believe the connection with Google has some implication on search, or may in the future.
All except Google Drive include the option for Facebook authorization, an additional way to connect social media circles – reaching peers through the Facebook network. Scribd also allows you to connect and share through Twitter, while Slideshare the same with LinkedIn.
Aside from key functionality, our initial analysis weighted heavily on traffic to each. Without high levels of quality traffic there is decreased chance for successive traffic to your own site. In November 2012, the unique monthly traffic for each was:
Scribd.com – 4,246,420
Docstoc.com – 2,873,230
Slideshare.net – 2,839,047
Google Drive – 6,966,731
From a traffic and search perspective, Scribd still appeals to a larger audience, although that may not necessarily include the audience of your choice (Google Drive’s numbers are slightly skewed because of its Google account connection). Do you know where your audience is? Envano can help you figure that out.
Keep in mind that document sharing is but one tactical solution to web traffic and lead generation. A strategic approach encompasses a greater tool set and is often more effective. Our arsenal of experience in strategy around link building, search, content development, and site optimization are only few of many approaches to significantly increase your reach and hold your competitive edge.