Back in 2010 when I started my career in SEO, I realized that this topic became of high interest to me because I couldn’t stop reading about it online. I find it fascinating that everyone deploys their own methods, tactics, and strategies; and that became the art of the game. There is no one set of link building methods. There is no rule for how you write your title tag. Rather, it’s a blend of the basics and your creativity that will set you apart from any other person doing the same things you are doing.
A lot of my ideas come from things that I see and read. But like anything in life, it’s hard to start out. I’m here today to talk about the different methods that I’ve employed that has helped me find relevant blogs to follow, and hopefully these approaches will help you identify those high quality ones to follow as well. Bare in mind; you can find all the “most popular blogs” to your niche by using any of the methods I’m about to outline here, but don’t be afraid to connect with those that aren’t deemed as “popular” right off the bat. I’ve found that even the newer, and maybe less trafficked sites, do well in providing out-of -the-box idea and perspectives.
Use Google’s Advanced Search Operators
I recall back in my elementary school days, my teachers taught me how to use search operators on Windows 95 machines. Good ‘ol days. Much of what I learnt back then, I can’t apply or have forgotten those functions. But it brought to light the power of search operators that can help pinpoint the specific traits in a web page to weed out all the irrelevant pages. If you go to google.com/advanced_search, you will find the following options further down in the page:
- anywhere in the page = none
- in the title of the page = allintitle:
- in the text of the page = allintext:
- in the url of the page = allinurl:
- in links to the page = allinanchor:
For example, if we were looking for SEO blogs to follow, our operator might look like this:
where inurl is the directory of blog pages and ‘seo’ is the term I’m trying to find content around. The query will likely to return the best results for any sites with the directory /blog/ in and have the word “SEO” in their content. Here’s another example you could use the operators for, if you wanted content around social media strategies (I’m using exact matching of the keyword phrase):
- “social media strategies”
- allintitle: ”social media strategies”
- allintext: ”social media strategies”
- allinurl: ”social media strategies”
- allinanchor: ”social media strategies”
Companies and bloggers who are savvy with their SEO practice will likely have the title tag and URL optimized for their target keyword. At least that gives me a sense they know what they’re talking about. Try it out for yourself.
Blogs by Popularity
Popular blogs will likely have a high readership. So how might you look for this data? Look at the actual subscribers to their feed.
Go to your Google Reader and click on the Subscribe button. Enter a search term of your choice that you want content around. Here is an example of one where I’m looking for content around photography tips:
Then you might get a results looking like this:
One feature I would like to see Google implement here is a sort feature, but unfortunately with the millions of blogs out there on “photography tips”, I don’t think that is feasible. But maybe they could work around it with something clever…
But right away, Digital Photography School is one that seem popular based on readership. Not only do they have a high subscriber count, but they are fresh in content; 14.5 posts per week!
Use Twitter Advanced Search
If you are a savvy Twitter user, or not, you can still leverage their Advanced Search feature to scope out blogs to follow. For example, let’s say we want to look for an SEO blog that has content around “seo strategies”. We might come across a tweet like like:
SEO Strategies and Inbound Marketing Best Practices for 2012- qtwt.us/c499
— David Wells (@DavidWells) March 1, 2012
Awesome article by David Wells here… but what else do we know about him and his blog? If we go back to our Google Reader and search “kaiserthesage” we find that he’s got 518 subscribers! Quite a popular blog!
I would also recommend installing the Klout Chrome extension if you haven’t done so already. This tool is great for getting an initial quick snapshot of how influential they are. Of course, I always recommend clicking through to see their profile and what topics they might be influential about before making any conclusions from a single metric like a Klout score. But use this as an initial guide to determine who you might want to investigate first, second, third, etc. This is what you would see in your feed then:
Use Google+ Search
I think we’re starting to see impact from +1′s for rankings… so it might be worthwhile to get yourself on the Google+ platform (you and your business). You can use Google+ to begin pinning down those influential bloggers to follow in your industry. For example, if I were looking for other SEO’s to follow, I might query “seo strategies” and look at only People and Pages:
Here I see that I’m already following four Google+ users that fit my query, but there are others that are appearing on the front page like John Shehata whom I haven’t connected with yet, and maybe I should. “Hi John! ” Start by looking at their profiles, then identify which one of your Circles you want to add those people to. Each person will likely have a blog of their own, or their company’s that you can follow.
There you have it; 4 ways to discover popular blogs to follow in your niche. Can you think of any other methods for this discovery process? Are there any that you’ve tried that I haven’t covered here? Leave your comments below!