Can RSS Feeds & Google Alerts Guide You to Your Blog Audience?

This is part three of the series on searching out your niche audience. If you missed parts one or two you can find links to each at the end of this post.

Today we take a look at utilizing RSS Feeds and Google Alerts to root out your niche audience.

RSS Feeds

I must say that I’ve not really used RSS Feeds to find my blog audience so this will be a real learning experience. Typically I’ve not found it to be a helpful process but maybe I was going about it wrong.

It is recommended to find some of the most popular blogs in your industry and subscribe to their RSS feeds. This will allow you to stay on top of new discoveries, new techniques, new questions and other relevant news that may be beneficial in finding your niche audience.

It’s presumed also that subscribing to these feeds will give you a wide range of different perspectives, assuming you’ve subscribed to a range of different RSS feeds.

How I Found These RSS Feeds

  • I started looking on the forums for blogs that looked promising and then looked on their blogs to see what other blogs they were recommending, if they did.
  • I also searched on Technorati, a very popular online blog directory, for my niche topic because the “advisors” mentioned that I would be able to sort by popularity to find the more influential blogs.

Forum Mentioned Blogs with RSS Feeds

Well this task proved to be unfruitful. I must have spent three hours searching out blogs only to find that most did not have RSS Feeds set up on their sites. Instead they have opt-in forms for newsletters and free e-books for building their list.

While I enjoy Technorati in general, it played out to be a resource for blog topics and not so much for blogs to follow. Plus it can become a huge attention distraction, at least for me.

These are the sites that had RSS feeds to which I subscribed:

  • The Entrepreneurs Journey – http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com
  • Basics 4 Bloggers – http://basics4bloggers.com

These are the sites that had no RSS feeds but I saved as “favorites” to be used as resources:

  • The Secrets of Success Blog – http://womenentrepreneursecrets.blogspot.in/
  • Want to Discover – http://want2discover.com
  • Niche Hacks – http://www.nichehacks.com
  • All Blogging Tips – http://allbloggingtips.com/blogging/

Overall I’m not impressed with using RSS feeds for finding my niche audience as it doesn’t appear to be a popular means of connecting with various blog sites. As I visit more blogs over time I’ll keep an eye out for the RSS buttons and see if it changes my opinion.

Google Alerts

I must say that I used to use Google Alerts on a regular basis and for some reason drifted away, not sure why – distractions probably. So I now set up Google Alerts for these terms:

  • Creating a blog
  • Starting a Blog
  • Blog Tips
  • Blog Niche
  • Niche Blog
  • New to Blogging
  • New Bloggers
  • Blog Newbies

And set the parameters the same for all as:

  • Result type: Everything (although I may experiment by setting it only to Blogs)
  • How often: Once a day
  • How many: Only the best results
  • Delivered to: my main email address

When you set up yours be sure to click the CREATE ALERT button. Silly me forgot as I started reading the results and had to go back to do so.

First impressions – I love Goggle Alerts!

Starting with the very first queries six super articles came up that helped me understand my audience better and gave me many ideas for topics. Gads, I’ll never be out of ideas for blog posts again, and as a bonus I’m personally learning more from these articles which is always a good thing.

My Consensus

Set up search queries for your niche topic in a variety of configurations, it will be time well spent and it’s super easy to do. The query results arrive in your email inbox based on the frequency you set and you can easily go back and adjust these settings if needed.

I’m not impressed with RSS feeds even though many tout their effectiveness. Your results may differ and be more productive, mine were not.

BTW: If you’re looking to expand your niche or want to drilldown with a more focused approach, give Market Samurai a try. I use it when researching new sites and even when considering what topic to blog about. Learn more here Market Samurai.

What are your thoughts on using RSS feeds and Google Alerts to learn about your audience?

See you again with part 5 when we look at using Facebook Groups for finding your blog audience.
Part 1: A Real Life Experiment for Searching Out Your Niche Audience
Part 2: Using Yahoo Answers to Find Your Blog Audience
Part 3: Drop By the Forums to Find Your Niche Audience


Kindly,
Marilyn T

Comments

  1. Great post. I LOVE Google Alerts and use them all the time. They are an excellent resource for any site you might have that uses current events!

    Thanks for the post!

    Michael

  2. I’m a big fan of RSS feeds for subscribing to blogs I read but never really thought of them to find an audience. Initially I would have to agree with you, not sure I would bother. But one has to wonder, could it vary depending on subject matter? For one of my niche sites, especially a very high traffic industry type, I wonder if an RSS feed might not be useful. Might have to give it a try and see.

  3. Marilyn,

    I’ve never used either method to find blogs, but what you’ve written here is very clever! I’ve used RSS in the past when following blogs but not to search for them. I do use Google Alerts – love those!

    I’ll keep that in mind when I start my new blog and for the current one I’m growing. Your post presents an excellent way to find like minded bloggers and connect with them, while helps you to become educated and informed, but to also grow traffic to your site and gain links.

    Great post Marilyn!

  4. I love the first-hand experience you’re sharing, Marilyn.

    I too used to use Google Alerts. It became such a distraction that I had to stop using them. I found myself putting the alerts aside and never getting back to them.

    Thanks for the Market Samurai tip as well.

    Eydie 🙂

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