Non-Google search engines are a beautiful thing—and no, I'm not talking about Yahoo or Bing.
I'm talking about other search engines that you can use to discover a ton of valuable information about the niche you're in.
I guarantee that you've heard of these search engines before, although you probably never thought of them primarily as search engines:
Let's go one-by-one through each to discover how we can utilize these search engines to enhance our own websites, blogs and brands.
YouTube as a Search Engine
YouTube is a GIANT search engine, which just so happens to be owned by Google, but instead of websites, we get videos.
The first thing I like to do is just simply type in keywords related to my niches into YouTube's search field, and see what comes up.
Right away, you'll be able to notice a few things:
- What people are talking about when it comes to your niche. This is especially useful if you're just starting out, because you can immediately get inspiration and ideas for content.
- Who else is in your niche. You might be able to find some major players that are using YouTube as their primary media outlet. If so, you may want to get to know them a little better, or even find a way to contact them for future collaboration. If they've got subscribers, you've got the potential to grab them for your own by posting video responses or comments to their videos, or possibly getting mentioned in a future upload.
- What's missing from your niche on YouTube. Websites are easy to create, but videos are another story. Many topics and subjects are only lightly touched upon in YouTube videos, so if you find a hole in your niche, fill it. When I first heard the term “Facebook Landing Page”, I immediately looked it up on YouTube to see if there were any good tutorial videos about how to make a Facebook Landing Page. There were none, so I created my own. My video about Facebook Landing Pages is my most popular, and it even shows up twice in the SERPS for “Facebook Landing Page”—the top spot, and another one below. This drives a ton of traffic back to SPI.
Tip: When you're searching for various terms, you can change the “search options” after you get your results to view which ones are the most viewed, most recent and/or which ones have the highest rating, to help you explore your niche even further.
Twitter as a Search Engine
This microblogging platform is indeed a search engine, and what's really cool about it is that you can search for things in real time. In other words, you can see how people are talking about the term you search for at the very moment you click search.
I don't think Twitter even knew how powerful their platform would be for searching for this kind of real time information, because when they first launched the only search bar was in the sidebar of each profile. Now, the homepage of Twitter is a giant real-time search hub, with the hottest/latest tweets and trends right there next to a very obvious search bar.
Apparently, the show Jersey Shore is a trending topic today.
Anyways, the obvious thing we can do is put in our primary keywords, and see what comes up. Because this is a general search for your term, you'll get a number of different kinds of tweets from people. You'll get people who are asking questions, giving answers, posting links and resources, ranting, raving, conversing, etc.
Some of that may be useful to you, but if you want to get some targeted real time information about your keyword, you can try adding additional terms such as:
- “keyword” “need help” to see what people need help with
- “keyword” “what is” to see what people are trying to find answers for
- “keyword” “i hate” to see what people hate about the keyword
- “keyword” “i love” to see what people love about the keyword
- “keyword” “can't” to see what people can't do related to your keyword
- “keyword” “bit.ly” to see what links people have been posting related to your keyword
- “keyword” “twitpic.com” to see what pictures people have been posting up related to your niche
…and the list goes on and on. I'm sure you can think of hundreds of additional terms to use to hone in on important information about your niche—and especially your target audience and exactly how they think.
Facebook as a Search Engine
Facebook. It's where we hang out and play, and stalk people all day.
Joking aside, beyond a Business Page on Facebook for your website, we can utilize Facebook by using the search engine located at the top of the page.
Simply type in your keywords, and see what comes up. Actually, before you even press enter to perform the search, you'll see a slew of pages, groups and activities that relate to your niche.
These are all fantastic places to meet new people, exchange ideas and get inspiration for content.
I've also used many of the groups and pages I've found on Facebook to help promote some of my LEED products. I usually include a special discount just for people from Facebook (using a unique coupon code), so I know exactly how many customers actually came from these postings of mine. To be honest with you, a lot of my customers came from Facebook.
iTunes as a Search Engine
Finally, we have Apple's iTunes.
iTunes isn't just for finding cool music or television. We can use it to find relevant podcasts that we should definitely be paying attention to. I've just discovered this world of podcasting, it's potential, and just how massive some podcasters' audiences are on iTunes, and how much influence and authority they've earned as well.
Some podcasts have tens of thousands of subscribers, so if you could somehow land a guest spot on a top show in your niche, or simply get mentioned—you could potentially drive a lot of direct traffic to your site. If not, you'd at least know who the top players are, and you can use them for inspiration for content creation, or even contact them through their website (listed in iTunes), or a message line and network with them or find a potential JV partner or new advertiser.
Additionally, you can find holes to fill if you're up to starting a podcast yourself.
I hope you've enjoyed this post, just as much as I hope you enjoy your weekend!
Stay tuned for the 2nd Session of the Smart Passive Income Podcast this coming Monday.