Social Searching: Site Wants to Change How You See the Web

7 Powerful Search Engines for Social Networks

Social Searching: Site Wants to Change How You See the Web

Are you looking for a long-lost friend or an ex-colleague? Perhaps you're trying to catch up with the weirdest trends on social media? If so, you'll need a way to search social networks.

Of course, most social networks have their own search engines built in, but they're fundamentally limited by the fact they can only search their own database. And how you are supposed to know whether Aunt Mary is on , , or one of the other myriad options?

The solution? Use a network-agnostic social search engine. They can search all of the most common networks, as well as lots of the niche, smaller ones.

1. Mentionlytics

Mentionlytics is a great social media search engine for businesses that need to discover trending topics across a number of platforms.

You will be able to dig into data about your brand, the keywords you want to target, and your competitors.

After performing a search, you will be able to get a complete breakdown of your top influencers, your mentions, and the wider industry social media data.

The main clients Mentionlytics is targeting are startups, SMEs, enterprises, public figures, and PR agencies. This is not a social media search engine for personal use.

Pricing starts at $39/month.

2. Social Mention

Social Mention is both a social search engine and a way to aggregate user-generated content across a number of networks into a single feed. It helps you search for phrases, events, and mentions, but it won't let you find individual people.

The site supports more than 100 social networks, including , , , and Instagram. It can also scan blogs, bookmarks, and even comments.

In the left-hand panel of the results page, you'll see an abundance of data about the phrases you entered. You can find out how frequently the page is mentioned, a list of associated keywords and hashtags, top users, and more.

On the right-hand side of the screen you'll find links for exporting data into a CSV file, and along the top of the screen are various filter options.


The site is one of the easiest on this list to use.

The site has several advantages over a regular search query on Google. For example, many social networks are either not indexed by Google, or only have very limited indexing. also prioritizes “people pages,” whereas a regular Google search will also return results for posts mentioning the person, associated hashtags, and other content.

Obviously, even after running a search, some profiles might remain restricted depending on the said user's privacy settings. However, as long as you can access the account through your own social media account, you will be able to access the listing on

To use the site, fire up the homepage, enter your search terms, and mark the checkboxes next to the networks you want to scan. When you're ready, click Search.

4. Social-Searcher

Social-Searcher is another web app that works across a broad array of social networks and other platforms.

You can use the site without making an account. Non-registered users can search the web, , , , Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, Flickr, Dailymotion, and Vimeo. You can also save your searches and set up email alerts.

If you need a more powerful solution, you should consider signing up for one of the paid plans. For €3.50/month (US$4/month), you get 200 searches per day, three email alerts, three keyword monitors, and space for up to 3,000 saved posts. The top-level plan, which costs €20/month (US$23/month), increases the limits even further.

The same team that is responsible for the previously mentioned Social-Searcher has also developed a Google Social Search tool.

It works with six networks. They are , , TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You can mark the checkboxes next to the networks' logos to limit your search to particular sites.

The usual Google search tricks apply. For example, putting quotation marks around a set of words will force Google to only return results with an exact match, adding a minus sign will exclude specific words from the results, and typing OR between words will let you roll several terms into one search result.

Results are sorted by networks, and you can click on Web or Images to toggle between the different media.

6. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo takes a slightly different approach to the tools we have mentioned so far. It specializes in searching for trends and keyword performance.

That makes it an ideal tool for businesses; they can find out what content is going to have the biggest impact when they share it, as well as gaining an insight into the words and phrases their competitors are using.

On the results page, you can use the panel on the left-hand side of the screen to create filters. Date, content type, language, country, and even word counts are searchable parameters.

On the right-hand side of the page, you can see how successful each post was. Analytics for , , Pinterest, and Reddit are shown, as are the total number of shares.

Free users can only see the top 10 results; you will need a Pro account costing $99/month to unlock more. It's probably too much money for individual users, but for businesses the cost is negligible.

7. Tweak Your Google Chrome Settings

Of course, each social media platform has its own search tool that's built-in. But did you know you can use those native search tools without needing to navigate to the site itself?

It's all possible thanks to Chrome's search engine management tool. As long as you've used the site's search feature at some point, Chrome will remember it. You can then assign a keyword to the engine so you can activate it directly from Chrome's omnibox.

To see what search engines are logged in your Chrome app, go to Settings > Search engine > Manage search engines. To edit the activation keyword, click on the three dots to the right of the search engine's name and select Edit.

We have introduced you to some of the best social media search engines for a variety of use cases. Each of them focuses on a different type of user and presents its results in a different way. If you use them all, you should be able to quickly find the topic, person, trend, or keyword you're looking for.

On the flip side, you might want to hide your social media profiles so people can't find you using these services.

How to Hide Your Social Media Profiles From Bullies

Social networking sites can be a breeding ground for bullying. Here's how to hide your social media profiles from bullies.

About The AuthorDan Price (1520 Articles Published) More From Dan Price


Social media: How does it affect SEO?

Social Searching: Site Wants to Change How You See the Web

Does social media have an impact on your SEO? Do retweets, shares, and s of a page actually boost that page in search engine results?

Studies this one by HootSuite have suggested that there’s a correlation between social media shares and higher rankings. You might have noticed that yourself: content that ranks well on Google often also has a lot of shares, retweets, and s.

Most experts agree, though, that rankings aren’t directly affected by social signals. (And that’s what ex-Googler Matt Cutts said on the subject a few years ago, too.)

, which once included the promising Authorship markup, is soon going to be shut down.

So what’s going on? Why do posts that get shared a lot also tend to be posts that rank more highly?

Social media and SEO: Correlation, not causation

While social media shares might be correlated with better rankings, that doesn’t mean that the social media shares cause better rankings.

A piece of your content could get shared thousands of times on without necessarily budging at all in Google’s search engine results.

Instead, when social media appears to be causing a boost in ranking, this is what’s happening:

  • Content that gets shared a lot gets seen a lot.
  • Content that gets seen a lot is more ly to get linked to from other websites.
  • Those additional backlinks are the cause of the better rankings.
  • The improved rankings also lead to increased social media activity.

As AJ Kohn puts it, “It’s not the actual social activity that matters, but what happens as a result of that activity.”

And, back in 2017, Simon Ensor suggested here on Search Engine Watch:

“We should not be worried about whether links from social media platforms are valued in the same way as a link from a high quality and highly relevant website. Instead we should look at the benefits of utilizing social media to help boost ranking signals that we know search engines care about.”

In that post, Simon took a look at the impact of link earning, co-citation and co-occurrence and brand authority and CTR – it’s well worth a read if you want to dig deeper into why social media tends to have an impact on SEO.

Here, though, I want to focus on the practicalities: what can you do to harness the power of social media?

#1: Create content that’s worth linking to

If your site has very little content, or if the content is poorly written or uninteresting, why would anyone feel moved to link to it from their site?

A common culprit here is self-promotional content: standard web pages that advertise your services or products, or tell readers all about your company. These are important for your site – but they’re not ly to get much traction on social media.

Instead of producing more of the same on your blog, focus on creating content that’s more informational and less salesy. Maybe it’s a tutorial helping readers to do something, a collection of useful tips, a well-designed infographic, or something else that people will want to share with their audience.

You don’t need to invest a lot of time in this (though if you do have the time, it’s well worth mapping out a full content marketing strategy). Simply having a couple of really good in-depth blog posts, or some interesting and useful data, can give you the opportunities to get not only lots of shares but also links from influential websites.

If you’re thinking about “building links” on social media for SEO, you’re thinking about it wrong. 

Yes, sites , , and LinkedIn themselves are authoritative – but links from personal accounts on those sites tend not to be.

Firstly, most links from personal accounts are “no-followed” which means that they don’t strictly pass search engine reputation.

And secondly, from a search engine perspective, even if they did pass reputation, it would ly be from the personal user and not the social media site (so it wouldn’t be worth a lot unless that user was very influential).

On top of that, links on social media tend to get buried deep into a news feed within minutes or hours – they don’t stay visible links on websites.

Instead of approaching social media as a way to build links, then, you need to think about it as a way to build a following. That doesn’t necessarily mean going after as many people as possible, though.

#3: Build (the right) social media following

Having a huge social media following probably won’t hurt, but it may not help as much as you’d imagine, either.

Instead of focusing on the sheer quantity of people following you, think about the quality of your following.

Being followed by just 100 people can be better for SEO than 10,000 if it includes the top 5 influencers in your industry who publish content on a regular basis.

To get noticed by these people, it’s a good idea to:

  • Avoid pestering them for links: take the time to build up a relationship, and you want to think in terms of (as Michael Keating puts it on “a partnership that lasts rather than a one-off engagement”.
  • Share their content. Don’t just retweet it or share it without comment, but craft your own tweet or post where you talk about how good their piece is and why people should read it. This will make far more impact on the influencer than yet another retweet.
  • Help them with their link building by linking to them from your guest posts on large blogs. As Darren Rowse from ProBlogger explains, “A  few years ago now, a blogger I’d never heard of before wrote an article for a large business publication that sent me a huge amount of traffic. It definitely got them on my radar.”

If you want to harness the power of social media to – indirectly – help your SEO, try creating valuable and interesting content, building the right following on social media, and helping out your followers (without expecting anything immediately in return).

You’ll ly see that you naturally gain valuable backlinks – and that your content, and site as a whole, begin to rank better as a result.

Joe Williams is founder of Tribe SEO. He can be found on at @joetheseo.

More about:

  • Backlinks
  • content
  • influencers
  • Linking
  • SEO
  • Social
  • Social media


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