Blogging 102: Blog Search Engines

Blogs are great tools for news and conversations. So how do you find out what people are saying in blogs, so you can join the discussion?

If you want to monitor blog mentions of a topic (or your company’s name), you have numerous paid options. But I recommend that you start with the free ones, such as:

For any of these, it’s easy to get automatic, up-to-date alerts via RSS feeds or e-mail, so you can be aware of what is being said about topics that matter to you. Here are the steps, using Technorati as an example:

Go to Technorati.com and enter your term of interest into the search box. In my case, I’m interested in health policy reform, so I entered health reform in the search box.

reformbiggessearch.png

You can narrow the scope by taking advantage of what Technorati has defined as “authority.” In essence, this is a count of how many other blogs have linked to a given blog in the last six months. This tells you that some other people have found the information useful or interesting. The next two graphics show what happens when you search for posts with “some authority” or “a lot of authority” (and in the latter the search term was put in quotes, “health reform” to narrow further.)
healthreformbig1.png

hrlostsofauthority.png

Another way to narrow the scope is to search for posts that are tagged as being about your topic. (For background about tagging, read this post.) Here are the results for posts tagged “health reform”:

poststaggedhealthreform.png

Your next step should be to sign up for automatic alerts from Technorati about new posts that fit your search term or that are tagged with your term. Click this button…

picture-6.png

…and (provided you have completed Social Media 102: Intro to RSS or its equivalent) you will be taken to your RSS aggregator or feed reader, where you will have an opportunity to suscribe to a feed of this search.

After you’ve subscribed to the Technorati feed, your next step should be to visit some of the blogs that came up with “some authority” or “a lot of authority” in your original search. These blogs may write about your topic regularly. If so, you will want to become a regular reader. But instead of having to visit them each day, you can just subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed.

Also, in Technorati, you can search for blogs that are tagged as being about your topic, not just that have some posts relating to it. Here are the results for blogs about health reform:

blogsabouthealthreform.png

After you’re done with your Technorati search, you can follow much of the same process with BlogPulse and IceRocket.

Homework Assignments:

  1. Go to Technorati and search for key words that are of interest to you, such as your company name. Subscribe to the feeds for those terms.
  2. Find at least five blogs that are “about” your key terms, and subscribe to those blogs’ feeds in your RSS feed reader.
  3. Repeat the process using at least two other search engines, choosing from BlogPulse, IceRocket and Google News.

This post is part of the Blogging curriculum for Social Media University, Global (SMUG). For information about enrolling in SMUG, click here. 

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of seven, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

9 thoughts on “Blogging 102: Blog Search Engines”

  1. So I went to Technorati and, per your instructions, typed in a key term of interest to me: “ballroom dancing.” I wasn’t all that surprised to find that not much is being said about ballroom dancing in the blogosphere. At least not in the blogosphere that Technoarti cares about. Most of what I found centered on Dancing with the Stars: speculation about Bristol Palin and her famous mom, rumors about backstage hookups, who had most recently been eliminated… Not content terribly relevant to what I was hoping to find.

    I know the assignment said to subscribe to a few of these, but I just can’t bring myself to do so.

    There are LOTS of great ballroom dance blogs out there. I subscribe to a lot of them. Technorati is still in the dark about them, however.

    Now to try BlogPulse, IceRocket and Google News.

  2. Blogpulse worked a bit better, but again didn’t bring up much that I wanted to read.

    I have much more success in finding good ballroom blogs by exploring the blogrolls of other bloggers I admire. Saves me some winnowing.

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