Many times, online research for small business owners and busy executives simply involves who is saying something about me, my company, and my brand.
If you use a traditional search engine and ask that question, you’ll get four million results. Too much to sift through, if you ask me. For the most part, the goal in that type of search is to find out what people, bloggers, are saying about you.
For the do-it-yourselfer, you can go to Blogpulse, a service of Nielsen Buzzmetrics. Here you can do all sorts of specific searching.
As an example, I did a search for a client, Shiftboard, and searched for *online scheduling* and then *web-based scheduling* within quotes (to keep it focused on just that term). I do this because I get fewer results from my search, more focused results: 262 versus 8,100 in the first example. I also searched *contingent workforce* as that term covers part of their industry.
I can then go to those posts, to those sites, to the bloggers and learn more about what they write about. This sort of search often takes me to a competitor’s blog where there is much to be learned. What I also like to do from these sorts of services is turn the search results into an RSS feed so that it regularly updates my Google Reader app. This way, I don’t have to go to the Blogpulse page for each term, each week, for each client. Email me if you need help with this sort of thing.
There is a paid version of BlogPulse as well. There is also a competitor called BuzzLogic (with a shoutout to Greg Jarboe at SEO-PR.com for doing a case study at MarketingSherpa, I think, that was written about in one of the handbooks of theirs that I purchased long ago.). BuzzLogic offers a premium paid service and does not have a free version that I know of. But, the free stuff only goes so far so BuzzLogic is worth a look…