What Makes a Great Opportunity
First of all, what should you be looking for in another blog? Two key metrics I check include:
- Traffic – It’s hard to get exact numbers, but you can at least compare the traffic of another site to your own.
- Engagement – Are people just visiting the site, or are they actually interacting with it?
My SEO friends might notice I have left out one thing – PageRank. Why? Because it really doesn’t matter anymore. Maybe it will give you an idea of how many sites are linking to the blog, but it doesn’t help determine traffic, engagement or if Google even considers the blog an authority. Let’s face it – in the last major Google update, it slammed the rankings of sites with PageRank as high as 7, 8, and 9.
So when it comes to determining the worth of a blog, I would worry more about traffic and engagement, and less about PageRank. The former two will be more important when it comes to getting your guest post or advertisement exposure to the right kind of audience.
Free Research Tools
Here are some informative, free tools to find and research other blogs that will give you what you need in both of the above departments!
If you’ve been following my writing for a while, you will notice I always find a way to throw in a mention for PostRank, and for good reason. This can be a great place to start if you are looking for the best of the best in your niche. Simply search keywords in your industry, and PostRank will give you a list of the blogs with the top engagement on that topic.
Top 10 Blogs This Week on Blogging
You can use the down arrow (like I did with my own site above) to get a quick idea of what the most popular recent posts are on a site so you know what the readers of that blog are interested in. You can also click on a blog in the list or use the search box to find a particular blog by name or URL to get more detailed engagement metrics.
Engagement Details on PostRank
When you hover a post’s engagement score, you will see the number of comments, social shares, and social bookmarking for that individual post. Hovering over these stats for several recent posts will give you a good idea whether the blog is receiving more on-site engagement (comments) or off-site engagement (social media mentions).
Compete is a great tool for comparing one blog’s traffic with another’s. You can use it for free to compare up to three domains at a time, or register for a free account to compare up to five domains at a time.
Compete Compares Site Traffic
One interesting little tidbit about the traffic numbers themselves. I ran a little test of Compete’s unique visitors vs. Google Analytics unique visitors for three sites over the span of five months. Compete tends to have a higher number – anywhere from 1.2 to 3 times the number in Google Analytics.
Needless to say, I generally don’t use Compete to figure out exact traffic metrics. Instead, I use it to see a general trend of whether a site is gaining in popularity or has a lot of traffic during a specific time of year and to compare it to other sites.
Google Ad Planner
Google Ad Planner is an informative tool that you can use even if you do not have a Google account. Simply search for your domain of interest to begin.
Google Ad Planner Data
Ad Planner will show you traffic statistics for your website of choice, plus additional information such as the types of people interested in that site and similar sites. If you are specifically interested in advertising, some listings will include the blog’s advertising page and even details about their advertising options.
And if you’re a blog that offers advertising, you can update your listing (if you have a Google Account) to include additional details and a link to your advertising page. They even offer a badge you can add to your site that will link advertisers to your Google Ad Planner data. All for free!
Klout is not an entirely full-proof system for measuring a Twitter user’s engagement level in social media yet, but it is getting there. They are working to incorporate not only Twitter activity, but Facebook and LinkedIn activity as well.
Social Engagement Measurement with Klout
I find Klout will help you determine whether someone has a well-established and active social media presence, which is sometimes key when it comes to judging whether a blogger has built themselves (and their blog) as an authority in their niche. The more authoritative their site, the better the results you will have with your guest posting and advertising.
While you’re there, you should register yourself and link your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts together so you can ensure that when people search you, they get the best data possible.
Your Blog Research Tools
So those are some of the top tools I use when checking out other blogs for guest posting and advertising opportunities. What are your favorite free tools?