March 2, 2009

Monitoring blog conversations

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How to track what they’re saying about you in the blogosphere

Guest post by Josh Bancroft

With millions of blogs out there, it can be hard to keep up on all the latest postings about topics you’re interested in. Traditional search engines, such as Google, can take days to index all the blogs on the Web. But with blogs, we talk about news, events and everything else in almost real-time.

This led to the birth of blog search engines. These services try to crawl/index as many blogs as they can, to provide more timely search results than other search engines. Also, these services target blogs specifically, rather than trying to index every single site on the internet, so they’re much more focused on what people are saying.

Since blog readers usually prefer to read in a news reader (or aggregator), rather than in a browser, these blog search services all provide RSS/XML feeds for the results. This means that you can search once, then subscribe to the results feed, and from then on, new posts that match your search criteria automatically show up in your aggregator.

Some bloggers (myself included) create “ego feeds” – search feeds for their own name, URL, and other keywords that can help find out when other people are talking about you, to you, or linking to you. This is like having feelers all over the blogospherethat will let you know when someone is talking about you.

Prolific blogger Robert Scoble uses this as the preferred method of getting his attention, rather than sending him email, or posting a comment. He encourages people to post on their own blogs, and link to him. With the blog search feeds he has set up, he’ll see what gets posted. Some have said that this method of back and forth communication via blogs is an effective replacement for email.

Search services

Here are some services and sites that provide blog searching services. Each service has pluses and minuses. Try them out, and see which ones you like best and best fit your needs.

This article originally appeared on Josh Bancroft’s Blogging Academy blog. Republished with permission.

Note: Feel free to add additional resources in the Comments below.

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