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Tools

Google Trends (#24)

Let’s take a road trip! Google Trends lets us see what people are searching for by region, over time, and comparative searches.

Let’s see how people are searching for the term “road trip” across America.

When viewed over time, people stopped search for “road trip” right aroudn the end of March when the quarnatine for the COVID pandemic came across America.

We can also see “road trip” searches by state, and interestingly, based on this data can conclude that people from the Northwestern part of America (Washington state, Oregon, Montana) take more road trips (or at least search on Google more times than people from the Southeast.)

The top state for searches for “Road trip” is Oregon, followed by Colorado, Wyoming, Washington state, and Utah.

Google trends suggests related search terms to “road trip” helpfully giving us insights into other things we can explore.

Comparive

Google Trends also has powerful comparative analytics. Take a look at these two search terms; “beach trip” (shown in red) vs. “bike trip” (shown in blue)

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Tools

Facebook Audience Insights (#23)

Today I want to explore New York State, so I enter “New York” in this region selector.

This chart tells me that of all the New Yorkers Facebook can advertise to, the largest cohort is 25-34-year-olds. It also tells me that advertises to 54% women and 46% men in New York state, which is off by just 1 percentage point as compared to the whole nation.

This powerfull tool is uniquely valuable when buying Facebook ads, but has even more implications for market research and understanding target markets.

Take a look at this chart of the top categories of interest for New Yorkers:


Finally, look at this side-by-side chart of New Yorker’s relationship status and education level, and notice that Facebook has also included the change in these things.

According to this chart, people are currently getting divorced relatively a lot (the number of individuals who marked themselves as married changed by negative 13% and the number of people who are single is up by 19%). Education level also appears to be rapily changing, with a 29% uptick in people who are going to grad school.

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Tools

Facebook Page Insights (#22)

If you have a Facebook Page, did you know that Facebook offers you a sophisticated set of tools to gain insights into your page?

Here’s a quick summary of the Facebook page associated with this blog, which you can find at https://www.facebook.com/jfbblog (Incidentally, if you could head over there and give the page a ‘Like’ I would be most grateful.)

Some vocabulary:

Actions – are when someone interacts with the post, either by liking, commenting or sharing

Pageviews refers to how many times people saw the page.

Page previews refer to how many times someone saw a preview of the page (like in the newsfeed).

Likes refers to how many times people it the “like” (or another of the reaction options on Facebook) button.

Reach refers to how many people saw this at least momentarily, in passing, or at all. (that is, the “total reach” of your post or story.)

Recommendations refers to someone recommending your page when a 3rd party asks for recommendations in a post.

Engagements refer to any kind of interaction with your post. Videos show you how many people watched at least 3 seconds of your videos. Followers show a chart of how many new followers you accrue over time. And finally, Orders shows you how many orders were placed through this page (for example, for a Facebook-supported service.) Note that if you are advertising an external website, you’ll want to use the Facebook Pixel to correctly configure the tracking to capture the order and associate it back to the ad that Facebook shows to your customer.

Installing the Facebook Pixel on your website requires a developer, so it is beyond the scope of this introduction.

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Tools

Mention (#20)

Another tool for Social Media & Trend Analysis: Mention.

Moreso than other’s I’ve explored in this series, Mention’s selling point is that it proactive monitors your interests (by specific topic, celebrity, a political issue, cause, etc).

Mention.com

Its first few steps require a bit of up-front knowledge about what you’re looking for, as it asks you this right away:

In the Feed view, we can see a mailbox-like view of all the places where this topic is picked up across the internet.

We add a filter by source and language

Specifically for a brand, we can tell mention our social media pages and profiles. Mention will create a feed showing any time someone mentions these social media accounts in their own timeline.

Insights

A “last 7 days” view gives us a trend over time view of how this topic changes.

Mention is the "be the first in the know" tool to get alerts and insights into how your topic of interest is being talked about online. This early warning system can give you braod overview into where your topic is mentioned online and on social media.

All-in-all, Mention seems like a slick tool for a specific brand to use but leaves some features to be desired for competative research.

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Tools

Google Search Console (#16)

Switchings a little to tools you can use to analyze your own website, today we start with a free tool to help you understand how Google is crawling and indexing your website.

Today’s tool is Google Search Console.

To use GSC, you’ll need to go through verification. This makes sure that you actually own the website or domain in question. There are two strategies for verificiatin: Domain and URL-based.

If you want to claim the entire domain and your website has subdomains associated with that domain, then using Domain authentication is easiest but requires access to your DNS records.

Start here by entering your domain name.

Next you’ll need access to your DNS or Domain Name Server settings.

Once you are verified, your GSC will begin to collect data.

Here is the overview screen where I can see how many people clicked from Google searches to my website in the last 4 months

As well, the “Coverage” area is telling me that when Google crawls my website, it finds 448 pages with successful responses and 15 that are unsuccessful.

This is so useful for finding broken pages, because you can drill down into the broken pages and see exactly which pages are returning non-successful results. It shows this to you in a chart over time, which can, in my case, help me catch problems in my WordPress blog.

In my case, I can see that some pages recently (in June & July) started showing broken links. Here I can see what my broken URLs are so that I can go fix them. (Be right back!)

On the Performance tab I can see my impressions (that is, the number of times my site came up in search results) as compared to clicks.

Down below, it even shows you what people were searching for that led them to your website.

While many of the other tools featured in this series have been helping you do competitive research, this tool provides you with the insight only available to the person who owns the website. And these aren’t approximations like some of the other tools featured— Google is actually showing you true results from its massive search infrastructure that powers Google searches.

Removals

Sometimes you put something up that’s a mistake. Sometimes you write something on your blog that you regret. Many savvy observers know there is a “Google cache” that will hang on to some content that allows removed content to still be visible to the internet “in the cache.”

For the most part, most web operators will let Google re-crawl their site and make updates as necessary. Often this is fine: Google is smart enough to crawl you site more often if it changes more often, and less often if it changes less often, thus the time that the old content lingers in the cache typically is not a problem.

With GCS are two powerful tools: Removing a URL or clearing out the cache of its content (forcing Google to do a re-crawl). You need this if you accidentally put up embarrassing content.

First of all, know that the first step is to actually take the content off of your website. (Like, really remove it.) If you want to remove an entire page (URL), you would remove the content from that page, make the page either return nothing or an error and then use the GCS remove tool to remove the URL. Alternatively, you can use a standard robots.txt file to tell Google not to index a URL (be sure to do this in addition to blocking the URL in the GCS interface as shown here)

If for some reason you want to leave the content up but not have it show up on Google (for example, it is semi-private), you would use a robots.txt file instead of removing the content to instruct Google not to index the URL. If you had accidentally forgotten to do this —that is, something you intended to be semi-private shows up on Google search — you would fix your robots.txt file first and then use the GCS interface here to “temporarily” (they say “for about six months”) tell Google to block that URL from showing up in search results.

Cache Flushing

If you have content that you have changed but for some reason Google’s cache doesn’t seem to be keeping up with your changes, you can also use the GCS to tell Google to clear out the cache and re-index your page, shown here.

Google Search Console has even more features than I’ve been able to cover today, including web vitals, mobile usability, and a way to see your internal and external lnks, and a basic security audit too.

Being a free tool GCS is an absolute no-brainer for any site owner who wants to understand better their organic and search-based reach on the internet.

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Tools

Answer The Public (#15)

Continuing the theme of SEO, Keywords, and Market Research analysis tools, today’s tool is called Answer The Public.

https://answerthepublic.com/

Answer The Public is a unique graphical tool with a sophisticated user interface. Its primary sell is that you can explore what people are searching for. As they explain on their homepage:

There are 3 billion Google searches every day, and 20% of those have never been seen before. They’re like a direct line to your customers’ thoughts…

Sometimes that’s ‘How do I remove paper jam’. Other times it’s the wrenching fears and secret hankerings they’d only ever dare share with Google.

— answerthepublic.com 7/15/2020 (marketing material)

This is a somewhat profound statement if you stop to consider its implications: 1 out of 5 searches on Google is for something “never been seen before.” It’s unclear to me precisely what they mean by that (I find it doubtful they mean 20% of the searches are unique.) I assume it means are for topics that are new, for example, for any given day. That is, four out of 5 times people search on Google it is for something Google has already amassed years of knowledge on. One out of five (or 20%) are for keywords or trends that happened today, or very recently. When you search for today’s news, as everyone who uses search engines knows, you get results from recent content, which typically gives you insight into the current conversation of what you are researching.

Despite starting with this video of a slightly creepy guy nodding at you suspiciously playing on a loop (it’s really rather creepy if you keep looking at it), the tool is much more interesting once you leave the home page.

As you can see, what they are suggesting is that people will share things with Google that they wouldn’t share otherwise. From this, you can gain a deeper understanding of your market and its trends.

Here’s what happens when I search for their example word “chocolate”

It breaks your response down into questions, prepositions, comparrisons, and search terms begin with a given word.

Here we see the “questions” section, which shows me related searches broken out into why, when, who, which, where inquisition categorization (interestingly, in addition to the Five Ws and How, they also contain “are”, “will” and “can” which also categorize questions in the tool)

Here’s a view of the “preposition” for chocolate:

The “comparissons” section compares this search term with similiar or contrasting search terms.

And finally the “Alphabeticals” section which shows you all related keywords that begin with “chocolate”

Categories
Tools

SimilarWeb (#14)

SimiliarWeb is another tool for site analysis. Like Alexa, it shows you rankings of web traffic. SimilarWeb also has powerful tools to let you compare web traffic between websites.

Also, going farther than Alexa, it shows you traffic numbers too.

You start by making an “arena”

Here I will compare wsj.com to other similiar news websites.

SimiliarWeb is a pricey tool with its cheapest plan at $199/month.

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Tools

BuzzSumo (#13)

Another trend analysis tool for today that is focused on comparative social media analysis.

Today’s tool is BuzzSumu.com and it is a fantastic tool for analyzing keywords and searches. BuzzSumo is like a search engine. However, it shows you timely content (that is, published with a date) related to your keywords. It also shows you how many people on different platforms are sharing the content.

Social View

Take a look at the BuzzSumo results for “content marketing.”

The top result is “How to Create 64 Pieces of Content Per Day” by current marketing and TikTok sensation Gary Vaynerchuk.

For this link hit from in Nov 2019, BuzzSumo tells me:

•  8000 people have engaged with it on Facebook (liked, shared or commented)

• this article got 14000+ Twitter shares,

• only 72 shares on Pinterest,

• how many people shared it on Reddit (0), and

• how many other links to this article were made across the internet (74).

Evergreen Score

Furthermore, it also shows an “Evergreen” score: This measures how much engagement it gets after 30 days in an ongoing way.

This is a measurement of how relevant it is in a long-term way, rather than temporarily relevant for a short duration.

As well, when searching for keywords, you can filter by language or country. This feature makes BuzzSumo an incredibly powerful tool for drilling into seeing who is publishing content related to your topic of interest.

This is just a small summary of a very powerful tool.

After that, other sections, like the “Discover” section, you can browse through trends (that is “buzz”) in a viewer that is more card-like. This view automatically updates in realtime!

All the Web

The content searcher lets you search by Web, YouTube, Facebook, or Backlinks.

The short pitch for BuzzSumo is:

When you want to get yourself into the conversation you need to see what people are saying. BuzzSumo is like a macro bird’s eye view into what is happening across social media channels and real-time content publishers (like blogs, media sites, etc) with sophisticated tools to let you discover trends and see what kinds of messages your market is receptive to.

It’s an invaluable tool for market research and has great potential for doing trend analysis and understanding social media.

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Tools

Social Blade (#12)

Today we switch gears into a segment covering trend analysis in the context of social media.

Today’s tool is called https://socialblade.com/

Social Blade is used to analyze specific social media accounts, their followers, and see how people gaining and lose followers.

Let’s take a look at TikTok sensation Charlie D’Emelio, who has danced her way all the way to 73 MILLION followers on TikTok.

We can see that her TikTok rating A++ (she is the most famous TikToker of all time), with a whopping 8.1 million followers in the last 30 days (up 13%).

We see a chart of her weekly gain & loss of followers. We see also here how many likes her videos garner and how many videos she posts.

During this period in July, we can see that Charlie D’Emelio posts videos to TikTok approximately 1-4/times per day, taking a day off here or there.

Social Blade can be a very powerful tool to analyze not only other people’s social media but also your own brand’s: See how you’re doing across social media channels, where you are rising and falling.

Social Blade is a free tool that comes with advertising. You can get a basic premium membership for just $3.99/month to eliminate the ads. Even higher premium membership gives you access to more data, like being able to look back 365 days when doing social media analysis.

Social Blade is absolutely indispensable when doing social media analysis and market research.