Technorati is invaluable

I subscribe to the Marketing Voices podcast and finally listed to an episode titled "Technorati: The Focus Group for the Web" yesterday. The episode was an interview with Dave Sifry, the CEO of Technorati, a search engine that tracks roughly 69.4 million blogs as I write this. Technorati describes itself as the recognised authority on what is happening in the World Live Web. The World Live Web is the dynamic web that updates constantly. A bit part of that part of the overall World Wide Web is the blogosphere itself. It goes beyond blogs though and includes all forms of user generated content (videos, photos and other media).

What struck me as I listened to the episode (and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in Technorati) is that Technorati will, on average, index your new content within 60 seconds of it being published. This is in contrast to search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Windows Live Search that could take weeks to index your content. In this context, Technorati becomes the search engine to use to ascertain what is being said about you and how your content is valued on the Web. If you are concerned about how your business is perceived out on the Live Web then you have no excuse not to include Technorati in your list of services that you use on a daily basis.

One of the ways to use Technorati to keep an eye on what people are saying about your business or your products is to set up a watchlist on Technorati. A watchlist is a preconfigured search across Technorati’s catalogue that looks for the criteria you specify. So let’s set up a watchlist for chilibean because we would like to know what people are saying about chilibean in the marketplace. The first thing I am going to do is visit the Technorati page:

You need to sign up with Technorati before you can create a watchlist so click on the "Join" link in the top right corner. You’ll be taken to a page where you can fill in your details and create a free account with Technorati:

Once you have created an account, go back to the main page. If you look at the top left of the page you will see the following:

Click on "Watchlists" and you will be taken to a page which will have the following:

I am going to type in "chilibean" because I want to create a watchlist based on that keyword.

The watchlist that I create will list every mention of the term "chilibean". Some of the search results may be in foreign languages and if you use a generic search term, you may also have a few irrelevant search results.

You’ll note that one of the options in the watchlist is the option to subscribe to the watchlist. That link is the link you can insert into your feed reader so that updates to your watchlist (and the watchlist will update with each mention of the keyword somewhere on the Live Web) will automatically be downloaded to your feed reader. You can also refine the search results by clicking on the "More Search Results" link. When you click on that you will be taken to a page that gives you a few options for refining the search results.

The reason you may want to refine your search results is that not every mention of your keyword is necessarily going to be a meaningful mention. One of the options is to view search results based on degrees of authority. As Dave Sifry pointed out in his interview on Marketing Voices, blogs with more links to them are regarded as more influential and you may decide that you only really need to pay close attention to bloggers whose opinions are more influential in the marketplace because these are the people your customers may be more inclined to listen to. In this case I have decided to limit the search results to blogs that are regarded to have "some authority" and to English posts. This will refine my search results from 258 results to 76 results (at the time I write this).

You’ll note that not only can you see who has mentioned chilibean in their blog posts, but you can also see how influential those people are. One of the options now available to you is the option to subscribe to these more refined search results in your feed reader. In this screenshot you can see that Mike Stopforth has mentioned chilibean in his blog posts and that he has 165 blogs linking to him. You can visit the page dedicated to Mike’s blog where you can see who is talking about Mike Stopforth and his blog and get a pretty good idea who he could be channeling to chilibean, in this example, through his posts that mention chilibean.

I am sure you are beginning to see just how valuable Technorati can be. Just through this simple demonstration I have shown you how to monitor what people are saying about you or your product, how to refine those search results and how to find out more about the people who are talking about you.

There is something else which will probably interest you. You may have noticed that one of the options you have near the bottom of the registration page was to claim your own blog (you will also see an opportunity to claim your blog on the front page and elsewhere on Technorati). This enables you to claim your blog as your own blog on Technorati and when you visit the Technorati site in future, you will be able to see how your blog is positioned in the Live Web. For example, when I visit Technorati and I am signed in, I see this item:

If I then click on the name of my blog I will be taken to a page with more information about chilibean on Technorati:

This is really just the start. As Dave Sifry points out in his interview, Technorati can show you quite a bit of information about your blogs and it is worthwhile running a variety of searches based on blog posts, the blog directory and even tags to get a sense of what people are saying and linking to as it may be relevant to your blog or business.

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