Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Market Research - Searching blogs

Google Blog Search enables searchers to sift through blog postings. Like typical search results, blog posts are ranked by relevance to your query. Like a regular web search, you may use Boolean commands. Advanced Blog Search lets you limit results to words in the blog title, posts at a certain URL, author name, dates written and language.

The order of results can also be changed by date and time — so you can see the newest postings first.

Caution: Google only indexes blog content from blog RSS feeds. That means Google Blog Search excludes blogs that do not generate a feed. What's more, some blogs only syndicate the title and first paragraph of their posts, further limiting your results.

Other tips: consider mining non-English data when exploring Google Blog Search. As of April 2007, 37 percent of all blog posts were written in Japanese. If you're willing to consider an outside vendor to manually track and translate non-English data on your behalf, Ogilvy PR and Edelman are two useful options.

Technorati Advanced Search. Since its launch in 2003, Technorati has focused on indexing blogs and other social media. Like Google, it has a proprietary ranking system: the perceived "authority" of a site is provided beside each result.

Advanced Search enables you to query for "all blogs" containing your search, "blogs about" your search or posts from a certain URL.

Technorati also enables Tag Search, which checks your query against the "tags" bloggers assign to their posts. Flickr photos and YouTube videos are also "tagged" by authors. Technorati searchers may terrace queries by blogs, photos, or videos.

If you query by tag, Technorati will also provide related tags that may be useful to you.

Do not overlook the Technorati Blog Directory. Instead of searching blog posts by the keywords they contain or by their tags, the blog directory lets you sift through blog descriptions, written by creators or authors.

Caution: Like Google Blog Search, Technorati only indexes some blogs, not all. And while searching by tag or directory description is useful, you are relying heavily on the ability of bloggers to honestly and accurately describe their own content.

Much of the information in this MarketingVOX How-To was gleaned from The Art of Strategic Listening by Robert Berkman, who specializes in culling market intelligence from social media resources.

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