A New Way to Measure Blog Influence: Search Term Alignment
Hey PR people! Want to get bloggers to write about you or your products? Please, please, for all concerned — tear up your Technorati Top 100 list and start over. For most companies, 99 percent of overtures made to the “A” list bloggers will at best be ignored, and at worst could result in negative coverage.
We believe the best bet is to find approachable bloggers with the right topical alignment. The nice thing is that if you are topically aligned to a significant degree, even a relatively popular blogger can find your message of interest.
The key thing is to create a win-win scenario where the blogger being approached is actually glad to hear from you, and you know that if they write about you, someone will actually read it. We think a good way to do this is to find bloggers who are writing about things your customers are interested in, and have aligned posts that are prominent in search.
The main thing to recognize is that significant and growing numbers of shoppers begin their buying process in a search engine. Anyone with a retail site can attest to the fact that their server logs show the bulk of their traffic is coming from search. Blog posts are featured prominently in results your customers are finding, and these are the bloggers to engage. Robert Scoble wrote recently that despite Twitter and Facebook it’s still “a Google world” and we couldn’t agree more.
Here’s an example of how search term analysis can provide a numerical index of alignment with a company.
Let’s look at two bloggers that are not on the Technorati 100 and how they align with two very different companies.
Jeremiah places highly (in the top 20) in Google for 7,900 unique search terms. The top 10 individual words used are: media, marketing, web, social, myspace, strategy, community, facebook, companies, and corporate.
Thomas Hawk places highly with 8,200 terms, the top ten being: camera, media, digital, windows, player, mce, store, center, connection, photo, and slr.
Do these blogs overlap at all? A little. They share 8 popular search terms between them:
That’s an alignment of about .1 percent.
Let’s look at a couple vendors who are buying Adwords search terms.
Awareness Networks provides social networks to the enterprise. They’ve purchased 1,270 search terms. How many align with Thomas Hawk’s organic keywords? Zero. How many align with Jeremiah? 64. That’s an alignment of 5.04% Here those terms are:
Digital SLR Guide teaches consumers how to buy and use digital SLR cameras. They’ve bought 708 search terms. How many align with Jeremiah? Zero. How many align with Thomas Hawk? 50. That’s an alignment of 7.06%. Here are the overlapping terms:
Our sense is that the terms we see here are compelling, and that alignment numbers (purchased terms/blogger organic terms) indicates both strength of “influence” (highly ranked organic terms) and topicality (shared terms).
We’re now starting to use search term analysis in an organized way to both measure influence and to do the needed “matchmaking” between clients and bloggers. Eager to hear what readers think.