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How to Use Followerwonk for Link Prospecting - Tutorial Tuesday

Jesse Stoler | July 15, 2014

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Welcome to another installment of Tutorial Tuesday! This week, I will be talking about Followerwonk, a comprehensive application that allows users to thoroughly analyze Twitter users and behavior. I will be talking about how to use Followerwonk as a link prospecting tool specifically.

There’s more to social media than sharing photoshopped pictures of a cat in space playing a pizza turntable.

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Social media serves a wide array of functions, from establishing convenient connections for friends on opposite sides of the globe to mind experiments. Nearly everyone can be found on social media these days, especially influential webmasters. This means that for SEOs, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are potential link prospect gold mines.

Recreationally, Twitter is slowly becoming my favorite social platform. Professionally, Twitter is absolutely my favorite social platform. It’s an effective channel to find a swarm of niche influencers. Although there may be some exceptions to this rule, I would go as far as to say that you can’t lay claim to being a niche influencer if you aren’t active on social media.

But even though Twitter is a convenient place to find niche influencers and webmasters, using the Twitter search bar isn’t the most convenient way to go about it. If you were to type “pizza” in the Twitter search bar, you would be provided a looooooong list of results of everyone who has tweeted about pizza, not exclusively people who run sites devoted to pizzas or food.

Thankfully Followerwonk, an app developed by Moz, is great at narrowing down such a long list.

Step 1: Registering on Followerwonk

A Twitter handle is compulsory in order to use Followerwonk, which makes sense. A paid subscription to Moz Pro is required for some advanced functions (I’ll note when that is the case).

Let’s pretend you already have a Twitter handle. To use Followerwonk, simply go to followerwonk.com and click on one of the two circled icons:

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If you already logged into your Twitter account, you will immediately access the tool.

If you are not logged into your Twitter account, you will be taken to a separate page.

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Step 2: Finding Influencers on Followerwonk

Let’s say you are building links for a site that develops oddball pizza recipes. Food blogs would be the natural sites to target.

As I said before, a high percentage of influential webmasters are on Twitter, even if they aren’t necessarily serial Tweeters. In a Twitter bio, anyone has an option of listing a website he/she owns or works for. For example:

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Moz is the provider of Followerwonk, and they generally have their hands in all things internet marketing. Notice how in Mr. Fishkin’s bio he mentions SEO and marketing. It would be natural for someone who operates a food blog to have something about food in their Twitter bio as well.

Followerwonk scrapes Twitter bios to find certain words or phrases that you want to look for. Check this out:

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By typing in “food blogger” into the search bar, Followerwonk was able to provide me with 12,841 results of Twitter profiles that are talking about food. Even if they themselves are not webmasters, you can potentially find link prospects by looking at what they’re sharing with their followers.

Step 3: Sorting Data on Followerwonk

Currently, the results are sorted by number of followers. However, you can sort the results by amount of tweets, the amount of people they’re following, age of the handle, or their “social authority.”

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If you’re not eager to crawl through every single result, I would recommend sorting by number of followers. That category correlates most closely to influence.

If you want to be able to save this data, you can download and export this data as a CSV (paid subscription only).

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Not only can you save the data, but this provides more information upfront, including percentage of tweets with URLs and date of last tweet. Sorting by “date of last tweet” can be helpful to sift out potentially inactive handles.

Step 4: Finding Additional Info

Followerwonk allows you to search entire profiles as well, not exclusively the Twitter bio. It can search the URL and location as well. In order to search an entire profile, click to the right of the search bar.

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Switching to profiles will make results look like this:

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The results aren’t going to be remarkably different typically.

With a paid subscription to Moz, however, you can hover over any of these users names and find some more information about that user.

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By hovering over @keithlaw’s name, I can see the percentage of his tweets that are retweets, the percentage of tweets when he is tagging other users, and the percentage of his tweets that include URLs. I like the last one in particular, because it’s an indicator of whether or not you should further analyze that user’s tweets for more potential prospects.

Step 5: Applying Filters

If you’re only looking for users with a certain amount of followers or are targeting specific locales, Followerwonk has an option for you. By clicking on “more options” directly under the search bar, you will be provided the following fields:

wonk25You can filter Twitter users by the amount of times they tweet, name, and most importantly for this instance, URL.

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Entering “foodblog” into the URL field returns 27 handles that have a website with the word “food” in it. Are all of these websites going to point to potential prospects? No. Some of the results will be repetitive. It’s still better than mining through individual Twitter profiles though.

Don’t trust every website you come across just because it has food in the URL. After you’ve compiled a list of sites, you need to conduct several smell tests. Learn more about perfecting that test here. This test is essential, as it will spare you from outreaching to low-quality and outdated "link prospects."

Conclusion

Followerwonk can help you find link prospects by:

  • Scraping Twitter bios and profiles
  • Searching for specific terms
  • Showing user engagement, following, and activity
  • Filtering essential data

Social media is a natural place to find influential webmasters and their respective sites: this definitely includes Twitter. Followerwonk is a comprehensive Twitter application that can assist internet marketers and SEOs in various practices outside of link prospecting. But as it happens, it’s also one of the most valuable link prospecting tools available.

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About The Author

Jesse Stoler

Jesse Stoler is a Content Specialist at Page One Power, a link building firm based out of Boise, Idaho. His hobbies include stand up comedy and pretending he has fans.

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