Lately there’s been renewed interest in building links via social media monitoring. To build links this way, a link builder creates a monitoring search in their favorite social media tool and waits for it to find news stories, blog posts, tweets, comments, and other social content. Each new post is an opportunity to find a relevant influencer and build a relationship.
Unfortunately, in some niches or with some very narrowly-targeted searches, the amount of new content being posted may be one or two items per week, which wouldn’t exactly fill the link builder’s schedule. It’s important to start your social media link building with a thorough review of the amassed social content that already exists. So here are a few tips to find bloggers faster with highly-targeted, relevant searches.
1. Get Your Search Phrases Right
Think about your ultimate audience and the language that bloggers writing for that audience will tend to use. Let’s say you’re building links to an apartment hunting site for a linkable asset of interest to landlords. You would create a set of phrases that are likely to appear in posts speaking to landlords.
For example, bloggers writing for a landlord audience would tend to use phrases such as “my tenants,” “your tenants,” or “resident satisfaction.” Because these phrases are so specific and identify with their audience, the chance of these searches returning junk posts is greatly reduced. Of course, with searches this narrow, you’ll find precious little new content published on a daily basis, which leads to the next tip.
2. Start with a Google Blog Search
Now with that super-targeted list of can’t-miss search terms, head over to Google Blog Search and start reviewing the archives. Use Google’s time-based searches to restrict your results to posts within the past month or year. Use this step to build a list of good prospective blogs.
3. Search Google News Archive
OK, this is a little bit of cheating, but a search of newspaper archives is an excellent supplement to a blog search. As the line between blogger and traditional journalist fades, any journalist who has recently written for your audience is likely to also blog on similar topics.
The main challenge is tracking down their blog. One way to do this is to search Google for their name in quotes and remove their newspaper from the search results — e.g., [“david pogue” -site:nytimes.com”.
4. Blog Directory + Google Custom Search = A Wee Bit o’ Awesome
Whereas the last two tips focus on finding blogs by searching blog and news archives, this tip involves using blog directories to find a broad list of blogs, then dumping them into a Google Custom Search, and searching it with your narrow keyword searches.
To do this, first browse AllTop, PostRank, and Scribnia to find blogs that are generally-related to your topic. For example, to target bloggers writing for landlords, you should include all blogs categorized as real estate.
It’s OK to include more general blogs at this step because you’ll be narrowing it down later with your searches. Once you have the list, create a Google Custom Search engine by entering each blog in this format:
Once your custom search engine is populated, you can start running searches for your target keywords. You’ll discover some high quality, highly relevant content this way, which can help you find relevant influencers.
5. Save Time by Combining Monitoring with Influence Metrics
There are many quality paid social media monitoring tools that will automatically look up a blog’s influence for you, allowing you to sort your results by mozRank, PageRank, etc. But there is also a free method to do this. Create Google Alerts or Social Mention searches, grab the RSS feeds (if there are multiple feeds, you can merge and filter them with FeedRinse), and add them to Google Reader.
But the key tool that will really save you time though is the PostRank Extension for Google Reader, which is available for both Chrome and Firefox. This extension automatically scores the importance of your monitoring results as you view them in Google Reader. You’ll save time each day by filtering out the lower authority blogs and spam, enabling you to spend more time on the higher quality publications.
So there are five tips to help you quickly ramp up link building via social media monitoring. Before you go, here’s one bonus tip: track your blog prospects in a link management tool, a spreadsheet, or a social bookmarking tool.
Ideally, you should record relevant metrics and your own scoring criteria (such as those discussed in “6 Metrics You Need to Manage Link Building“). However, if you don’t have tool or filling out a spreadsheet is too time-consuming, then you can manage your findings with a private social bookmarking tool like Diigo, which enables everyone on your team to track and tag bookmarks (don’t overlook the power of tags — you can capture a lot of metrics with them).
With your new list of relevant bloggers, it’s time to start building relationships, which is a great way to use your time while you wait for your daily social media monitoring searches to start sending new stuff your way.