Everyone know the pain in having to search back through hundreds of past tweets trying to find exactly what was that link URL that you ReTweeted that you need to use right now or want to help out friend request on Twitter as someone looking for that exact URL. Well Trunk.ly has created what I term as a “Link Engine” where you are able to make all the links you have shared socially to be search-able. Most people freely admit that Twitter’s search functionality is fairly limited and and most platforms don’t allow for searching across multiple data sources from a single search window but Trunk.ly appears to have solved that issue.
It was highlighted today in a Tweet via Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz who made the bold prediction that this platform could get big. I would have to agree with his statement as I was able to create an account, follow a few suitable friends it suggested and add in my RSS feed from my blog and all my previous tweets in less than 5 minutes. The point is that the website got the usability down to a fine art and my account is created and progressively expanding my history of links. It was covered by RWW back in December last year but didn’t seem to make that much press elsewhere until more recently when a number of members in the SEO and Marketing industry such as Rand started promoting their use of the tool. While Trunk.ly was first created to deal with the pending death of Delicious it also emails you to start to manage the ever growing mountain of links shared via social media in a personal link engine.
You can see below a partial screenshot of the interface with the ability to tab between your own links or those friends you chose to follow with a enhanced search as you type module to find links via keyword. Their search platform is very powerful and allows you to conduct a search via keywords, phrases, partial domains extensions, link urls, link title, text of the tweet and even text on the linked page. That’s right if you share a link but can only remember what is the content on the page you can now discover this using Trunk.ly along with who else shared the link, total number of shares, ability to delete the link or edit the link details.
The downside is that at this stage you can only view Friends links and cannot search through them as a whole group but can click on a user and you can quickly search through any of their links from all the sources they have connected to Trunk.ly. You can see in the screenshot below you can see you bio, one web link, location and the total number of your links that are now searchable via Trunk.ly and anyone you are following or following you. The image is powered by Gravatar.com which makes it easy to ensure you have a consistent profile picture across a number of web 2.0 properties, but it is slow to update and may require a click on the “check this gravatar” to speed up the refresh.
What about no results?
It’s kinda cool that Trunk.ly thought outside the box when it provided the zero results screen as it encourages users that if they just connected it may take several hours to process your initial links but you should also connect to some social networks. The more data they have the better your results will be and the more data they will have to refine their search algorithms and suggested users you should consider following, but it would be great if it then could allow you to click and search the links of those friends you are following.
Who else shared the Links?
Trunk.ly offers a far more advanced understanding of who has shared a particular link, but is limited to those who are Trunk.ly users. But you can start to see the potential of the platform as you can start to see how the value of the link stats will grow with more users joining Trunk.ly, including how many people shared the links, when it was first shared and who first shared it. This can be useful to complement platforms like Bit.ly for measuring your social media campaigns as many users may select to share links generated by other shortners such as TinyURL or FB.me or via a standard link and the sharing data could not be captured.
Edit Trunk.ly Links
It is possible to retro-actively edit links stored within your Trunk.ly platform to fix incorrect titles, update URLs, descriptions or add tags to improve the search results. It’s important to note that any #Hashtags used in a tweet will be automatically added as a tag for the link saving you time, but also making it possible to search based on Hashtag later to see what related links you shared. While it may not be used much it is useful as often a link URL Title might not be accurate or the note/text related to the tweet might be incorrect or scrapped from a site’s meta description providing no real value on what the link relates to.
Trunk.ly supports what platforms?
It’s great that one of the key benefits of the platform is the ability to connect multiple social platforms, book marks and even RSS feeds. Trunk.ly makes it easy to import your blog URLs for a searchable record of what links you included and when you added those links and has tested it with WordPress, Posterous, Tumblr & Instapaper. It is likely that other platforms such as Reddit, Digg, Linkedin and email might be added in the future as the platform expands it’s userbase and demand for alternative platforms rises. Most websites these days do provide a public RSS so it’s easy to add these to your Trunk.ly connections and you could potentially add your favourite RSS feeds to monitor what links are being shared/promoted without having to read the article.
- RSS Feeds
You can easily load your links from 5 main networks within just a few minutes via their authorisation page but at peak times Trunk.ly advises you might have to wait a few hours. I found that this was not the case and unlike a number of other web 2.0 platforms within just minutes I had access to both everyone link I have ever included in this blog and also every link I have tweeted via @TheLostAgency. This was a great start to using a new platform and now that I have authorised these 2 accounts Trunk.ly will continue to check these services for new links every few hours.
You can see above that as part of the transparency of the Trunk.ly model it lists what connections you have linked to your account, when it was last updated, when it was last checked and the type of connection it is. This is useful in your search results as you can see what platforms that you might have shared that link by including Facebook, Delicious, Twitter or Pinboard.
Trunk.ly Limitations & Privacy Warnings
When you first connect Trunk.ly to Twitter they can store your last 3,200 tweets but you are unable to search any links prior to this due to Twitter limitations but can capture everything from that point forward. If you delete or unfavour a tweet once it is in Trunk.ly this will not automatically remove it. You cannot currently extract with the Facebook API any links that you just selected to Like but did not comment on, also no privacy settings are followed so any links you share will be stored and available to all Trunk.ly users. If you don’t wish to have your links that you share public you can set your Trunk.ly profile to private. The advice from the developers is that Trunk.ly will continue to grow and look at privacy features but you can read about it in more detail here.
Discover my Shared Links
If you find that you want to see what links I have shared on this blog or via Twitter you can see my Trunk.ly links here, and don’t forget to signup and test the platform for yourself.