InfluenceFinder is a new SEO tool (more precisely a link analysis tool), already reviewed and recommended by the most credible experts, including Aaron Wall, WordStream’s Ken Lyons, and others. Reviewing an SEO tool as a PR tool could appear inappropriate for those who don’t understand the nature of our jobs – the truth is that online, PR and SEO are playing for the same team. In fact, it’s safe to say that a PR campaign without SEO benefits is like going fishing and coming back empty-handed.
Remember that the main role of a PR is to tell a story about a company, product, brand and even individual. The scope is to help the customer build and maintain a positive relationship with the public. To do so, PR reps use a number of media, like publications, reports, images, video, social networks, and multimedia programs to influence the way the customer is seen by the public (which can include customers, business partners, legislators, shareholders and so on).
Online, the message is usually transited via niche-specific channels. For example, to tell the story of a travel company, the PR Reps will look for travel-related publications, social networks, etc. Identifying just the right channels is a time-consuming task. This is where InfluenceFinder helps PRs in their work, by cutting the research time to a minimum.
InflueceFinder is more than an SEO tool. As the name suggests, it helps users to find those sites that are the most influent in a certain niche. The tool can be used in a number of ways:
- Understanding Your Brand – an index of your own link profile
- Competitor Profiling – profiles of the competition
- Narrow Keyword Targets – identify sites that are ranking for a broader keyword associated with your targeted keyword
- Vertical Media – finding influential media sites related to your keyword
- Interested Media – sites which cover topics related to your topic but are not direct competitors
Highlighted in red above, are the three features that, used in conjunction, can make your PR campaigns more effective.
InfluenceFinder in Action
In many situations, the data provided by the customers on who their competitors are, can be incomplete. To do your job well, you’ll need to profile the competitors for your customers: see who they are, what they do, which are the sites linking to them, etc. You can do this manually, typing in Google the most relevant keywords related to your customers’ brands, then selecting the top results and analyzing their strengths. But InfluenceFinder will do the work for you much faster, and with in-depth details that are hard to calculate without algorithms.
These details are significant to understand how the competitor websites got a premium Google position for the specific keywords. The data helps you narrow thousands of domains down to those that have authority, are relevant and active. Data includes:
- Max Authority – a scale of 1-15, that measures the site’s authority via PageRank, Alexa data, and link data from Majestic SEO.
- Traffic Rank – based on global Alexa Ranking
- Traffic Country – valuable for ego-targeted campaigns
- Is Blog? – shows whether the site is a blog or not
- Heartbeat – shows whether the site is active or dormant
- Non-Brand Keyword in Title
- Brand Keyword in Title
- Non-Brand Keyword in External Anchor Text
- Brand Keyword in External Anchor Text
- Commission Junction Network – shows if the site or page is an affiliate of Commission Junction
- Trade Doubler Network
- AWin Network
- Affiliate Future Network
- DGM Network
- Web Gains Network
- Linkshare Affiliate Network
Deeper, on the page level, InfluenceFinder also includes data like:
- Page authority
- Outlinks count
- Links to domain
Regardless what you want to use InfluenceFinder for, the data is the same, but the results are targeted to match your selection. For example, for Interested Media, InfluenceFinder will show links to sites that are most likely to publish a story about your customer, since they are not direct competitors and cover industry-related topics.
Another way to use InfluenceFinder that is not described by any of its previous reviewers is to generate campaign success reports. When testing the software, this is what I did.
For our customer, Stay.com, I was curious to see which were the sites that mentioned the Stay.com brand, how many linked to our client, how many mentioned the Stay.com brand in the title, and which were the most influential. The purpose was to demonstrate the SEO results of the PR campaign we conducted on Stay.com’s launch. I set up InfluenceFinder on Understanding Your Brand and the results followed in a few hours.
We organized the results based on Max Authority to understand the SEO value of the links pointing at Stay.com’s domain. Obviously, the more stories were published, the more links we got – InfluenceFinder finds and ranks the newest links as well, often only hours old.
Quality Worth the Price
For many small agencies, InfluenceFinder is far from being affordable. At $249 a month, it eats up to a whooping $2,988 a year, money wasted if you don’t have the customer base to support the expense.
But a small agency solution is in work, and will be launched this November, as CEO and founder John Straw informed us in an interview. The current version of InfluenceFinder is aimed at heavy SEO folks, and the current customer base of InfluenceFinder includes about 70 big agencies like WPP and OMD.