The Pirate Bay – the world’s largest peer-to-peer site, which focuses on torrent technology – lets you view what people are searching for (Not Safe For Work (NSFW)) as well as its tag cloud (NSFW), which I presume is what people are sharing, in the most literal sense.
At the risk of stating what may be obvious to most SEOs, when pirates share their booty, keyword research is a lot easier.
My first affiliate marketing campaign back in 2006 broke even despite my Azoogle AM (hi Fraser!) never installing my tracking code so I couldn’t optimize the campaign. I succeeded because my CPC remained low, thanks to keyword research I did by reading niche forums with an eye to the jargon they used.
If you’re just relying on the engines and various tool providers for data, you’re shortchanging yourself and your clients – through it’s OK in the latter case if they’re short on change, themselves.
If you look at the language people are using – gasp! shock! – you can also get an idea of what they
might be are searching for.
Perhaps more obviously, if you see it in tag clouds on social media sharing sites, your topic is likely a good topic for linkbait. Because people are already looking to share material in that area, which – like getting them to accept new ideas – is easier if it appears related to their current thoughts/activities than contrary to them.
Some starting points:
Mixx won’t let you see its whole tag cloud, but if you have the SEO digger extension for firefox, you can reorder the results of this search by Pagerank, and get an idea of what are the 100 hottest tags – http://www.google.ca/search?q=site%3Amixx.com%2Ftags&pws=0&hl=nl&num=100 .
This query will help you find more tag clouds as well:
If you google ‘list of social media sites’ you can expand on this minilist of social media sites with pretty significant depth. (Yay bloggers writing list posts!) JoeWhyte claims to have them all, Andy Hagans’ got a neatly formatted list, Ben at SEO Discovery threw 44 together himself, Vlad has 100 of his own, Arsenal Marketing has them annotated by PR for your inner spammer, Traffikd has probably another 200, and on it goes. All told I’ve shared over 500 resources for you to hit up, so get cracking mining those clouds! (First programmer to write a niche/industry-categorized
scraper aggregator wins a prize ;).)
Caveat: Be sure you only use communities’ tag clouds – individual bloggers’ clouds are too narrow and metaaggregators like Technorati cover everyone, and therefore no community in particular. Ideas spread in hives, so it’s useless trying to spread ideas by throwing them at the general public.
Thoughts? Hate it? Love it? Is this way behind the pack? Am I just rehashing Marty’s point or elaborating on it in a useful way? Is this stating the obvious?