Friday, July 25, 2008

A Great Tool: Touchgraph

Here's a dazzling, if imperfect, tool for visualizing your site's connections to other sites. It's called TouchGraph.

Don't misunderstand it as showing links. It shows your connections to other terms found in your search results.

Look at the diagram (click to enlarge). In the real program you can click to add connections and move things around, as you'll discover. But why is my comic Li'l Nyet connected to the comic White Ninja? Just when you think you've found a secret fan, it turns out to be something dumb, like you both joined Buzz Comix on the same day and appeared on the newbie list next to each other.

Real link image software, which I've been chasing for a while, remains elusive. It's so simple even I could make it, so it must be out there.

Meanwhile, ToughGraph has taught me a lot about obvious places to hang or trade links, our fan base on MySpace and the fact that many bona fide links are given less weight than coincidental juxtapositions. It also startled the hell out of me, indicating the existence of a few giant comic sites unfamiliar to me, but when I visited them I found abandoned hulks, sprayed with spam, and I recalled seeing them in the past.

Regardless, this is a fast way to see how Google is thinking about your site. It seems like an essential tool for your promotion strategy.