With search marketing and social marketing changing from being a channel to send out your message through to channels that help you let others do the talking for you authors are playing a bigger role every day. And I am not talking about authors who write books, but those who write about specific niches, in some cases you could call them bloggers ;-).
With this change it is also becoming more important to get a grip on these and trying to get a hold of them. Some might call that good old fashioned PR. Finding specific bloggers in your niche can be hard, I’ve written about that before. But help is on the way. Linkdex developed a feature which will make the life of those trying to find and get in touch with these authors much easier. A feature also which got a special commendation at the UK Searchawards last week. And the lucky blogger I am, I had the opportunity to test it out for a period of time.
Importance of authorship
Authorship is becoming more and more important by the day. If you are a regular reader of State of Search you will have noticed that Google is putting quite the emphasis on authorship, to an extent that search results can be dominated by pictures of authors of articles. You will also have noticed we have been telling you for a while to look at an extra target audience: the influentials.
The fact that Google is putting so much emphasis on the authorship has everything to do with the changing way the web is looking at reccommendations. When Google started, the biggest reccommendation was a link going from one page to another, it actually was the basis of Pagerank. With the rise of Social Media things changed. But what many don’t realise is that things changed backwards.
When we were introduced to mass media marketing changed. It changed to shouting out your message as loud and often as possible, hoping that someone would hear it and based on that message would act the way the ‘marketer’ hoped: usually by buying the product. The strange thing is that all of this was in some ways against the nature of people. The nature of people being that in general we like to look at our surroundings and trust what we see and hear from the people around us. With mass media the circle of people we ‘trust’ became bigger, meaning that celebrities now also became part of the circle we trust. Marketers off course picked that up and started using these celebrities as ‘bait’. Once they were spreading a message people ‘wanted’ to believe it and would buy the products, simply because the celebrity told them to.
With the rise of Social Media we are now much more back at trusting the people around us. Yes, a brand can tell us they are the best brand, or they have the best product, but we tend to not believe them. If however people we trust, whether it is people around us or people who have built that trust in a certain niche (“niche celebrities”), are saying it, are saying something is worth looking at, our old habit comes back: we trust what they are saying, almost blindfolded.
Google knows this. They always have. The big difference between the Pagerank era and now is that where a site is an entity, an author is a person. Which makes it even more trustworthy. And that person might actually be writing for more than one site. So as marketers it is becoming more and more clear that if you want your product to stand out, it is not you who should be ‘shouting out’ how good you are, it should be someone else, someone the people who are going to buy your product trust. Preferably someone with an high authority.
But the question is: how to find them?
The above is something I often explain in my training sessions. It seems like a fairly long introduction but it is very important to realise how important authority is. And when the message has come across there is always one question from the students which keeps coming back: how do we find that authority?
Especially in the smaller niches this is a solid question and not always easy to answer. In most cases the authorities are much closer to your business than you would expect. There are some free tools you can use to filter potential authorities, use Twitter, use Google, use aggregation tools like Social Mention or Google itself. I’ve writen
But when Matt Roberts from Linkdex showed me several months ago what he had up his sleeve I instantly knew that he was giving the answer to that question. Linkdex’ new feature is all about discovering that authority.
What has Linkdex built?
First of all, what you are going to see below is only available ‘on demand’. You will need a Linkdex account off course, but from what I understand it is not automatically turned on for everyone. To get that turned on you need to talk to Linkdex. But what is it? Simply put it’s the answer to the question my students ask. But it is much more than that. With this functionality you can discover not only which site is writing about you, you can discover which author is writing about you, and even better: your niche.
If the functionality is turned on you will see two new tabs called ‘Social’ and ‘Contacts’. If you go to Social you can fill in your site, some competitors domains and describe the topics of which you want to know who is writing about that. After that Linkdex goes and search the authors for you and will return a list of authors writing about the topic and linking to the domains you search for.
Whats important to note here if you look at my screenshots is that the test I’ve run in this case is on the domain stateofdigital.com together with SEOMoz on just a few topics: Google, SEO and tools. If you want to get the full experience you should put in much more domains from your competitors and start comparing. Linkdex for example showed me how specific authors were writing a lot about their competitors, but not about them. That is an indication that author either doesn’t like the product or, more likely, doesn’t know of your product. And that means it’s time to get to work :).
If you go to the Social tab after you have set up everything this is what you will see:
Real name database
If you take a good look at the names you will notice that some of the names don’t look all to real. This is because in Social Media people are used to be using different names than their real names. Even though you do see a trend in which people are going back to their actual names still a lot use these aliasses. Take Rand Fishkin for example who uses ‘randfish’ on Twitter, or Barry Schwartz, who uses ‘Rustybrick’. Linkdex has a database of aliasses. And they can connect these to the real names. So if an alias is used you can see the ‘real’ name below that alias. Which off course makes it easier to get in touch with them.
There are a few columns in the overview which give you an impression of the importance of the author.
This column shows you the social profiles which were found from the author, something which is expanded in the right pane.
The Domain Reach shows the number of domains the author is writing on, about the topics you chose. So the actual number shown does not even reflect the actual domains the author writes on but just those where he writes about the specific topic.
The content tab is even more interesting, because you off course do not just want to know which domains he or she writes for, you also want to know the exact articles so you can take a look at them.
This column is interesting, especially when you research amongst multiple domains. It shows the number of domains the author is linking to. So for example here we see that Barry Schwartz links to one other of my researched domains (SEOMoz). The “me” also shows he is linking to my site as well. Again, this would look much better if I would have researched more domains.
The “me” is interesting because if it turns out he is linking to a lot of domains, but not mine, again there is work to do!
In the right pane you can see more specific information about a specific author you highlighted. The domains and content are there again, now with actual links to the domains and the articles about the topic. Next to that you get as much information about an author as Linkdex could find, which means social profiles, but also e-mail and even Klout score is there (something which for me should not be there but I understand that many people do use it as a reference).
See what Linkdex tells me about Rand Fishkin:
And here is the social information they are giving me about Barry Schwartz
Looking at these links there another useful benefit for this tool: you can instantly see how popular an author is for syndication. Google would love this themselves, you get handed on a silver platter all the sites that syndicate an author. Or as Matt Roberts puts it: you can see easily who is interesting enough to be syndicated.
Important to note is that if you look at the author and its social profiles, you can see that some have a logo connected and others don’t. If it has a logo they are associated with it themselves, if it doesn’t there could be some syndication going on.
If you have aditional information about an author you can also add that information and you can add specific authors to your contacts. So what Linkdex is doing here is something which when they just launched drew my attention even back when Linkdex started: they have implemented a bit of project management into it. Making that you have a nice overview of what you should do and who you are in connection with and who you need to connect to.
Data is interesting, but the problem with data is that you have to figure out which data is important to you: you have to analyse it. And that can be difficult for some people or just a lot of work. Linkdex also offers some interesting filtering offers:
Here you can filter in your author list by choosing specific social networks or by excluding those already linking to you for example or the ones linking to one specific competitor. And you can also surpress specific authors you feel you don’t need to see anymore.
A nice feature here is the ‘domain influence’, which is calculated using Majestic data and Linkdex data, sort of like Pagerank, which will give you an idea of who links to important domains and who doesn’t.
Personally I see many uses for this feature, but the most important one to me is that you can find the influential authors within your niche much easier.
I couldn’t have putten it better than Matt Roberts did in a conversation we had about this feature: you are building your black book for your industry.
But the feature from Linkdex serves multiple purposes. For me the most important part is that they are answering the question that my students keep asking me: where do I find these authors and how will I know if they are important or not?
Secondly this off course benefits the ‘good old’ linkbuilding purposes. Finding out who is someone that links a lot is something each linkbuilder wants to know.
Another purpose is closely related to that: guestpost opportunities. By using the filtering options (they also have functions like ‘intitle’) that Linkdex offers you can easily find new guestpost opportunities.
And finally there is the use of finding out more content about you, I have found articles about State of Search I missed before.
But most importantly: this truly is the black book you want to build when it comes to finding influentials.
As you may notice I am quite enthusiastic about this feature. That is because it does answer the question my students ask, or at least it’s a start. Off course there can be more features added, like for example not just a link to their social profiles but also analysis on what they are sharing there. I’m sure Linkdex will add more of these features in the future, but for now it again shows the importance of authority and now we have something to work with.