Use Specialized Search to Find Influencers that Other Engines Miss

Search engines do an excellent job of mining the Web as a whole, but if you want to focus on social media, you need to tap into one of the specialized search engines mentioned in the first issue of this newsletter series. You can find all the back issues here.

For blogs, the two most popular engines are Technorati and BlogPulse.You can perform searches with these sites the same way you would with Google or Yahoo, but the results will look very different.For one thing, both sites make an effort to index only social media sources, which they do with reasonable success. Both also take a stab at assessing the authority level of the blogs that they index.

Authority figures

Technorati does this with an authority ranking based upon the number of blogs linking to a web site in the last six months.There’s also a ranking metric that assesses the relative authority of a blog relative to all of the two million-plus blogs in Technorati’s database.

BlogPulse links to a profile page that lists a blogger’s recent activity, links from other blogs, posting activity and other bloggers that have similar interests.You can also track conversation threads for posts that generate a lot of activity.BlogPulse’s “Neighborhood” feature is one of its most interesting services.It attempts to identify authors who have similar interests based upon the words they use and where they link.Click the “Tools Overview” link to learn about these distinctive features.

Technorati indexes many more blogs then BlogPulse and includes photo and video results.Many bloggers also register themselves on Technorati and provide profiles and photos (BlogPulse doesn’t have this capability).This makes it easier to put a name with a face, which is useful information to have at hand when making contact with an influencer.

Technorati also offers the option of viewing search results by authority level. Use this option to screen out spam and occasionally updated blogs. This can save you time. Going back to our example of the Quebec resort looking for travel-related influencers, we search on Quebec travel and find over 10,000 mentions on sites that Technorati says have “any authority.” However, there are less than 4,000 results on sites that are classified as having “a lot of authority.” Both services also offer the option of tracking mentions over time, which is useful in identifying topics that generate swirls of activity.

Tags add human element

Many blog search engines also track tags, which are keywords that authors associate with their content. Tags are useful to marketers because they are a sort of human-powered description engine. This can greatly narrow the list of results. For example, searching on Québec travel in Technorati delivers nearly 4,000 results. However, searching on Québec travel in blogs that describe themselves as being about travel turns up just 111 results. We’ll take a closer look at tags in a future issue.

As noted in the first article in this series, Technorati and BlogPulse aren’t your only options. There are dozens of blog-specific search engines that each have unique features. Subscriber Ed Vielmetti just introduced a new one to me this week, in fact. BoardReader indexes only message boards and discussion groups, which other search engines sometimes miss. Using Boardreader, I actually found a review of my book that I had never seen before!
Why not make it a goal to learn one new search engine every week? It won’t be a big time investment, and you’ll be amazed at the capabilities you’ll unlock.
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *