While there have been SEO-assisting websites for years, most have focused solely on keyword research or link building. Few have ever provided tools primarily targeted towards developing quality content. BuzzSumo founder Henley Wing recently launched buzzsumo.com, a site that shows what users are sharing on social media sites like Google + or Facebook. jWeb Media sat down with Wing to ask him some questions about his new site and what he hopes to accomplish with it.
What is your background in content development, social media, and/or SEO?
I’ve actually been doing SEO since the late 90’s optimizing my DragonBall Z websites for Altavista. I’ve done freelancing for small clients since then, although my main background is in software engineering. I’ve been involved with affiliate marketing, promoting supplements 6-8 years ago, and actually made more than a good living from that. Eventually Google started to crack down on thin affiliate sites with their Panda/Penguin updates, and that income quickly evaporated.
After that, I started developing a few side projects. One was a product recommendation site that I put a lot of money and time into, but it never went anywhere. I eventually turned it into a content farm, and ironically it then started making some money.
Right now, I’m working on BuzzSumo, and it’s probably the only project that has received this much positive feedback and traction in such an early stage.
What inspired you to create Buzzsumo.com?
I used to own a diet/fitness site a few years back (one of those aforementioned side projects). I spent the majority of my time creating content, but one recurring problem I faced was how to find engaging content ideas. There are many sites and tools you can use, such as Google Trends, or Quora. But there really wasn’t an ideal way to discover what people wanted to share and read. Google Trends was more keyword based. Quora was popular, but was geared more towards technical subjects. You could follow all the major experts in a particular topic, but then how could you find those experts in the first place?
So I created BuzzSumo based on my own personal experience. I’m a fan of the Lean Startup methodology and am risk-averse, so I wanted to validate my idea. I interviewed maybe 50 or so people who worked in the SEO and content marketing industry. I didn’t ask them “What do you think of my idea?” but rather “If you had a magic wand, what aspect of SEO/content marketing did you wish was easier?” By far, the #1 and #2 answers were about creating engaging content and promoting that content. Thus, BuzzSumo was born.
How do you think your site will help content writers and link builders?
BuzzSumo shows you what types of content resonates the most with audiences for any topic or domain. You can use it to see what content is most popular in your own domain, and analyze which stories produce the most engagement. Likewise, you can do the same thing for your competitors.
As for link building, our influencer search lets you efficiently find influencers with high page authority sites. The popular content search is also useful in link building because you can find influential authors. So both our main features can be quite useful for link building.
What does your site offer people that other content-assisting sites do not?
There are other tools that show you how popular your content is, but when it comes to showing you what’s popular across the entire web, there are very few tools.
For finding influencers, a lot of other tools are focused on social analytics like number of followers, but few if any also combine that data with SEO metrics like page authority.
Who do you believe are your biggest competitors and why?
I’d say Moz, but they’re so broad I wouldn’t worry much about them. People have compared us to Followerwonk and Topsy, so I would say those are our competitors. There are obviously so many tools in the influencer research field, but not a lot when it comes to content research and showing you what has worked in the past.
How do you believe your site will improve the world of online content?
One of the things you can do with BuzzSumo is find a piece of content that has been successful in the past and try to improve upon it by expanding on it, offering your point of view, etc. By analyzing what has worked for you or your competitors, you can create more engaging content that garner more likes, tweets, +1’s, etc. In the past, most content marketers would just focus on high-value keywords. With BuzzSumo, you’ll see what stories/themes/content formats people love, and see if you can use that insight to produce a better piece of content of your own.
Why does your site put such an emphasis on social media?
Because everyone else puts more emphasis on links, and that market is saturated.
What new “pro features” can subscribers expect once you launch the non-beta site?
Location filters for influencer search, and more actionable reports. The ability to analyze your competitor followers is also another big one. If anyone is interested in testing these experimental features, just let us know via email: firstname.lastname@example.org