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10 Must Have Tools to Monitor, Analyze and Respond to Brand Mention

10 Must Have Tools to Monitor, Analyze and Respond to Brand Mention

What are people saying about your brand? I am not speaking about those paid advertisements or reviews on popular blogs that you have been orchestrating. I mean real, organic brand mentions from your user base. Chances are you have no idea, not unless it has been a major complaint that has come directly through your customer service office. Or you may be missing social media interaction under the surface, leaving your reputation vulnerable.

We all know that social reputation management is a critical part of running any business in the digital world of today. So how do we make sure we are really taking advantage of it? By having the right tools in our corner to monitor, analyze and respond to every single relevant brand mention on the web.

The Importance Of Managing Sentiment

It isn’t enough that people are talking about your brand, they have to be saying good things. And if they are saying bad things you have to be able to quickly respond. “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner it takes 12 positive experiences for a customer to feel better about a single negative experience. And an American Express Survey also found that 78% of customers will back out of a purchase because of a bad service experience with a company.

All of this leads us to one conclusion: keeping customers happy is a major part of success and profitability, and part of doing that is making sure you catch problems early. That is what makes sentiment management such a big part of social media interaction and marketing today.

The Ultimate Tool Kit

1. Mention: Best for Facebook Monitoring

Mention is an awesome tool in the way it operates using a four-goal system: sentiment monitoring, crisis management, competitive analysis, and finding influencers. Using these metrics you can cover every side of your social reputation management plan, all from a single dashboard. They also have brand and media tracking, social media monitoring, and more.


All of this is customized for different clients, such as businesses, educational resources, and agencies. In spite of that they have three pricing plans that make it easy to get what you need.

A valuable thing about Mention is that it’s very good at finding Facebook conversations other tools are usually missing

Price: I would recommend their Starter plan, which comes with a dashboard, sentiment analysis, and influencers tracking along with five alerts, 5,000 mentions, and a few other goodies for $99 per month. Anything more than that requires a customized plan and pricing on request.

2. Twitter Advanced Search Tool

It is true that you get what you pay for, so generally speaking you don’t want to rely on free tools for much. But if you are looking for one to help back up more advanced monitoring software you can’t go wrong with Twitter Advanced Search Tool.

Like any search engine, you can get results based on keywords placed anywhere in the tweets, About Me bio, or content. And exactly as Google, you can play with the well-defined boolean operators that are normally supported from search engine to search engine.

With Twitter, the search operators you should be using a lot are:

  • [“search phrase”] to define the exact match
  • [“search phrase1”“search phrase2”] to exclude any word or any phrase from the search results (notice there is no space after -)
  • [“search phrase1” OR “search phrase2”] to search for either of the words

You can search by keywords, without certain keywords, by account, by brand mention, and a whole lot more. It has the benefit of being proprietary, and no one is better at creating an in-house search than a social website. It gets past a lot of the blocks and noise that come from third party apps, so at the very least it can help you narrow down your direction to use on the others.

There’s a variety of options and opportunities for Twitter user search:

  • [to @username]: Search for tweets addressing that user
  • [from:@username]: Search for tweets published by the user
  • [@username]: All of the above (basically, any mention of the username when the user is tagged in a tweet)

Tip: You can mix these options with boolean operators to find lots of missed reputation management opportunities. Example: This is the actual search phrase I am using to monitor my name mentioned on Twitter:

[“ann smarty” OR seosmarty OR -from:@seosmarty [email protected]]


  • “ann smarty” -> mentions of my full name
  • seosmarty -> mentions of my moniker whenever it happens to be untagged
  • -> mentions of my personal blog (whether it was shortened in a tweet or not)
  • OR -> ANY of the above should be included in the search results
  • -from:@seosmarty -> excluding my own tweets
  • [email protected] -> excluding tweets tagging me because Twitter does a good job notifying me of these already using “Notifications” feature

Twitter Search Username Reputation

Price: FREE

Bonus: FREE download! Click here to download my own clickable PDF guide that will help you and your team to find and monitor all kinds of brand mentions.

Twitter Search

Fun tip: Track your competitors’ social media sentiment to discover more potential risks. Search Twitter for [competitor name 🙁 ] and monitor these search results to be alerted when your competitors’ customers are unhappy (and avoid similar issues):

Negative Sentiment Search

3. Cyfe: Monitor & Archive Brand Mentions on Twitter

Cyfe is not just for brand alerts: It can be set up to monitor almost anything under the sun, including your expenses, sales and customer support teams and more. Cyfe is rather one of those business productivity tools than an exclusively marketing or reputation management solution.

For social media, I am using to monitor and archive Twitter mentions using a separate dashboard.

Simply set up multiple widgets monitoring all kinds of Twitter search results (see the “Advanced Twitter search” options above) and login once in a while to see archives mentions and decide if there are any you missed. The archive is a great option to have because you are able to find your promoters over time and identify most active ones.


Price: Unlimited number of widgets for just $19 per month ($14 per month if paid annually).

4. Tweetdeck: Engage with Brand Mentions on Twitter

Tweetdeck is one of the oldest tools I am still using a lot. The beauty of the tool is that you don’t need to login anywhere daily to see the mentions. It will deliver them as they happen right to your desktop, based on your notification settings.

You can set up multiple columns to monitor all kinds of keyword and domain mentions and only get notified of those updates you choose.


[Tip: Set up most important mentions to send “desktop alerts” for you or your social media manager to engage with them as soon as they come. Be the first to respond to your brand mentions on Twitter]

Price: FREE

5. Buzzsumo Alerts: Get Email Digest of in-Content Mentions

Not exactly a reputation management tool, Buzzsumo has a great “Content Alerts” feature that sends you email digests every day notifying you where your brand name has been mentioned. You can use it to monitor your brand name or your company author names.


Price: You can set up 5 alerts for $79 a month. You can monitor multiple things within one alert, for example, I am monitoring at least two names (and different combinations of how you can spell them, including [First Last Name] and [firstlastname] as one word)

6. Serpstat: Dig into Brand Mentions in Search Results

While most of these tools help monitoring and managing social media mentions, search engine sentiment is essential, too. It changes slower than on social media but it still needs your attention.

I have previously talked about monitoring search queries that include your brand name and how you need to make sure that you are ranking for all of those long queries that include your name.

Google Suggest Reputation

Serpstat is a great tool allowing to research and monitor search queries that contain your brand name. Set up a project, identify those search phrases and add your digital assets to monitor how they rank for those keywords.


Price: Serpstat minimum package is $19 a month and it allows you to monitor 200 keywords which will most likely be enough for your site unless you have a really huge brand to manage (they also offer the most affordable API on the market)

7. Semantria: Visualize and Organize Your Mentions

Surveys, social media accounts, and reviews are all covered under this awesome Excel add-on from Lexalytics. Semantria has an emphasis on getting balanced data for more thorough, helpful reports. Importing is super simple, and the results are clean and easy to read. They even sell in multi-seat packages, so managing multiple projects, accounts or data sources is simple and budget friendly.

Excel Visualization

Of all of the tools on this list, I would say this is one of the very best. You can try it for free to see for yourself. Be sure to check out some of their other cool toys on their site.

Price: There’s a free trial after which you’ll need to schedule a demo to see how much it will cost for your specific needs

8. Talkwalker: Reputation Management Solution for Large Businesses

Talkwalker is a larger scale social media marketing tool that covers a lot of different corners. But if you want global data (and a lot of it) it is a great option. It has image recognition features that take your mentions to a new level… even if they don’t say your brand in the description you can find mentions via images featuring your logo. That is on top of more traditional social listening and monitoring tools that catch a lot more than most monitoring software does.


Price: They are a pretty steep product, admittedly… prices start at $8,400 per year for small brands, and go up to $36,000 per year for enterprise customers. But on the plus side they are a more thorough product than you are usually going to find, and they allow for customized demos that show you the features that work best for your company.

9. Meltwater: Analyze Long-Term Impact of Social Media Over Time

Meltwater is a simpler tool than those above, but it is still very helpful. It works by filtering through the conversations on social media to find harder to see mentions of your brand. It then creates a report that helps you not just to track what is being said, but actually engage in conversation with those users.

In the meantime you can also see the larger picture and get a good grasp of patterns in mentions, so you can start to put together a more personalized game plan. They help you to put that data into context, rather than just leaving you to trudge through it alone.


You may have come across this tool in the past under its old name, IceRocket. Since then they have made some real improvements that have made this a much more useful, intuitive app.

Price: Meltwater offers service and pricing packages to match your specific needs. You’ll need to request demo to find out your price.

10. Hootsuite: Monitor and Engage

I have always felt Hootsuite was a mixed bag. On one hand it is one of the most celebrated analytics and social tools on the web. On the other, the tools have a very sharp learning curve that is aimed more towards those who are already adept at highly technical tools than average marketers.

But it is hard to argue with results, and Hootsuite always provides them.


Price: $19 per month if you can do with one user. If you need your team there, you’ll need to pay $99

To Sum up:

Download the below comparison as PDF to hand to your reputation manager or CEO.

Tool Best for… Monthly price
Mention Facebook monitoring $99
Twitter Advanced Search Tool Twitter mentions FREE
Cyfe Creating archive of Twitter conversations around your brand $19 ($14 if you pay annually)
Tweetdeck (desktop) Responding to Twitter mentions in real time Free
Buzzsumo Content mentions (blogs, magazines, etc.) $79
Serpstat Monitor your brand name Google Suggest and search N/A
Semantria Analysis and visualization of your data $19
Talkwalker Brand monitoring for huge corporations, TV shows, celebrities, etc. $700
Meltwater Analyzing mentions over time to determine patterns N/A
Hootsuite Monitoring and managing mentions across many channels $19 for 1 user

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Social Media.

Ann SmartyAbout the Author

Ann Smarty is the Brand and Community manager at as well as the founder of Ann has been into Internet Marketing for 10 years, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable.

How to Diagnose Your Traffic Issues with These SEO Tools

How to Diagnose Your Traffic Issues with These SEO Tools

Believe it or not, SEO is not a rocket science. In most cases, it comes down to the most obvious common sense things, like easy-to-understand website structure, well-written relevant copy, carefully picked descriptive page titles, etc. Some more complicated problems may occur (those that require professional help) from time to time, but in most cases, you can identify and fix things with tools.

Here are 5 SEO issues preventing your site from getting more traffic and tools that can handle those:

1. Broken Links and Redirects

It’s the most widespread problem, for both big and small websites. The Internet never stops growing: Many pages go down in redesigns, website moving or selling, outdated or sold-out product page, etc.

There are plenty of reasons why a page may cease to exist. An estimated 37,000 websites are hacked every day which results in hundreds of thousands of non-existent pages and broken redirects. Major hosting companies have terrible downtime statistics which means websites go down every minute.

While broken links have been such a huge problem, it’s also usually overlooked. No matter how picky you are about selecting who you link to or how well you test each of your links once you publish your content, there’s still a good chance your older pages have plenty of broken links.

Not only are these broken links really hurting your SEO (wasting your link power), they also provide a huge hurdle for your site usability. In fact, usability is the biggest concern here. There’s nothing more frustrating that a link that takes a user nowhere. In most cases, this results in a lost conversion.

The Tool

Netpeak Spider is one of the fastest, most flexible and in-depth crawlers out there helping you go through your entire website and find those links to fix. It will alert you of broken links and warn you of any redirects for you to check if that link is still taking users where it’s supposed to.

How to Diagnose Your Traffic Issues with These SEO Tools

The reason I prefer the tool is that it lets you easily set up how deep you want it to crawl and which sections you want to spider. You can set up custom rules for the spider to only crawl a specific directory of the site. It will also calculate your website internal “PageRank” allowing you to see if each important page of your website gets enough attention.

For smaller, WordPress-run sites, there’s also this awesome plugin that will go through all your links and let you quickly get rid of the broken ones right from the plugin dashboard. It’s a huge time-saver and it will re-scan your website for new errors on a regular basis too. It will also check external links in your comments section to let you fix those:

How to Diagnose Your Traffic Issues with These SEO Tools

2. Missing Keywords

Search engines still heavily depend on keywords. Yes, they got smarter and you cannot achieve higher rankings by simply using your keywords more often in your copy. But you can increase your traffic by expanding the list of those keywords you use and then create in-depth content using the keywords in prominent places.

The lack of relevant keywords in your site copy and title tags is often the actual problem you are getting less search referral traffic than your competitors. Sometimes website owners are too focused on 2-3 sets of keywords and don’t care to optimize for any other phrases. And some website owners write content around the keywords no one searches for.

Discovering more promising keywords that could drive people from search results to your website is most often the key to increasing the site traffic.

The Tool

Looking what your competitors are ranking for is a good way to discover the possible core terms to expand upon.

Serpstat has a cool feature called “Missing keywords” allowing you to search which keywords your competitors rank for while your website is nowhere to be found. Enter the URL of one of your already ranking pages (for example, the home page) and click through to “Missing keywords”.

How to Diagnose Your Traffic Issues with These SEO Tools

The tool will automatically identify your competitors and find the keywords they rank and even suggest one of your site pages which could rank for that term (based on your page title). You’ll also see the search volume and competition right away.

We had great success using this tool to help Jackson Tree Service a St Louis based tree service close the gap between competitors.

3. Slow Site or Pages

Another widespread issue that has got lots of attention after Google announced site speed a ranking factor. Yet, like with broken links, it’s not so much about rankings, as it’s about lost users and conversions that I’d give more attention to the issue.

The Internet is getting faster and web surfers are getting used to the overwhelming amount of information. They skim through the pages, they seldom have time to wait for slow pages to load and they quickly move on to the next thing once they are half-done with the current page. It is crucial to ensure your pages are fast enough to hold their attention.

The Tool

There are lots of load time checkers out there. I’ve been using this one for ages and I’ve never had any reason to look for anything else. It clearly shows which parts of your web page slow it down, so you can optimize what needs to be optimized.

How to Diagnose Your Traffic Issues with These SEO Tools

If you are on WordPress, there are also a few plugins you may want to install for faster-loading images.

4. Mobile Un-Friendliness

Did you know that there are more Internet users than desktop Internet users these days? 52.7 percent of global Internet users access the Internet via mobile. In the United States, the number is even more astounding: 75.1 percent of U.S. Internet users access the Internet via mobile.

How come so few businesses still care about their website mobile user experience?

The problem is, switching to a mobile-friendly website is not an easy change for most (especially older and bigger) websites. Yet, it’s something that must be done. There’s no way around that.

The Tool

Google’s Mobile Friendliness Test tool is a good start. It will let you preview your page on a mobile device and signal of any problem you may have.

How to Diagnose Your Traffic Issues with These SEO Tools

You still need to invest in some mobile user experience testing even after your site passes Google’s test, though.

5. High Bounce Rate

The debate whether a high bounce rate affects your rankings or not is as old as SEO. The smartest educated theory is that it’s probably not the bounce rate per se that affects rankings but rather the dwell time (“how long it takes a user to go back to search results after they click through to yours”). And it’s not an isolated metric but the one taken in comparison with other pages ranking next to that one.

That doesn’t mean your page bounce rate is an unimportant metric:

  • A higher than usual bounce rate signals of poor user experience (hence lost users and conversions)
  • A higher than usual bounce rate usually correlates with poor dwell time

The Tool

The most obvious way to check and compare your site bounce rate is Google Analytics of course. A more productive way to keep an eye on your bounce rate is an app called Whatagraph. It checks your Google Analytics daily and emails you a helpful report containing your site pages with the highest bounce rate.

How to Diagnose Your Traffic Issues with These SEO Tools

Just make sure to check those pages in the email report and see what sorts of usability issues may be driving people away: Is the content outdated? Are there broken links or images? How can you tweak the page for it to grab and hold users’ attention better?

If you manage a lot of websites, you can use Cyfe to create one dashboard consolidating all widget, each monitoring bounce rate of each of your websites. This way you’ll be able to spot any suspicious spikes in the bounce rate and diagnose immediately:

How to Diagnose Your Traffic Issues with These SEO Tools

To Sum Up:

Problem Why it is important to fix Tool to diagnose & fix
Broken links and redirects Broken link structure (no way for users to get where they need), bad user experience, lost conversions Netpeak Spider, Broken link check WordPress plugin
Missing keywords Limited traffic Serpstat
Slow site or pages People will leave before the page loads, hence lost conversions and opportunities Page load time
Poor mobile user experience There are more mobile Internet users than desktop Internet users these days. Poor mobile user experience means lost traffic Mobile Friendliness Test tool
High bounce rate High bounce rate signals of bad user experience or irrelevant offer. It may affect your search traffic too Whatagraph and Cyfe

Download this cheat sheet as PDF here.

What other SEO issues do you see often? Let’s find a tool for those in the comments!

About the Author

Ann SmartyAnn Smarty is Brand and Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, founder of and manager at Viral Content Bee.




Like this month’s theme? We are sharing even more about how small businesses can grow with SEO over at

9 How to Optimize Your Site for Google's Featured Snippets (Quick Answer Boxes)

featured-snippetsIn 2014, Google introduced a new way to satisfy a user’s intent by giving them quick answers right within SERPs in the “featured snippet” position (above the top organic result and below the paid listing) and online businesses and publishers have been trying to adapt to the change since then.

On one hand, featured snippets present a challenge to online publishers by sometimes removing the need to ever click through to their sites. On the other hand, they have given e-commerce sites a new opportunity to rank for informational queries and boost their site visibility.

Ranking in the Quick Answer box does give a huge competitive advantage, so there’s no way businesses can ignore those.

Here’s a two-step tutorial on optimizing your content for featured snippets:

1. Find out Which Questions Google Users Are Asking

Google won’t show quick answers to any queries that sound like a question (with words “how”, “why”, “what”, etc.) but they do for most of them already. The key to getting into the featured snippet position is to understand which questions people are asking in your niche and how to answer them with your content.

Investigate which questions users type into Google’s search box

SerpStat is a brilliant tool that returns Google Suggest phrases based on your provided term.

The beauty of the tool is that you can use “Only questions” filter to see all various questions people type using your base keyword:


Investigate your current referrals

In most cases, pages that get into the featured snippet are those that already rank high for that query (1-5 top positions), so explore your Webmaster Tools “Search Analytics” section as well as Google Analytics top search referral landing pages reports to identify your site pages with the highest potential to get featured in the quick answer box.

To see your question-related queries in Google Webmaster Tools, go to Search Traffic -> Queries and from there filter “Queries” by various question words you are researching. Below, for instance, I am filtering my queries by “how” (Keep “Position” checked because, as I have already mentioned, the higher the organic position, the better your chances to get featured in the Quick Answer Box):


Apart from those two tools provided by Google, you can also try Brightedge which is the only web analytics solution I am aware of that is tracking whether your site is appearing in “quick answer” boxes and which queries have those:


Ask real people what questions they would ask on your topic

MyBlogU (Disclaimer: This is the site I have founded) is a good place to get the community to help: Simply create a new project, describe your topic and ask the users to submit their questions.


Track questions people ask on Twitter

User-generated content is one of the best sources of “how-to” content inspiration. Oftentimes, the first place people turn for help to is Twitter and Facebook. While I don’t know a good way to monitor what people are asking on Facebook, Twitter is easy and open.

I use Cyfe to monitor several phrases and related questions people tweet. The beauty of the tool is that it archives all widget results, so I can always go back to find some content inspiration:


The search phrase I was using to retrieve the questions from Twitter was

“how to” apple

2. Add a Section (or Many Sections) on Your Site Answering Related Questions

With Google providing so much opportunity to non-commercial how-to content, many brands have started taking informational search queries much more seriously. Here are just a few more or less creative examples:

HomeDepot is building “Project: How to” section which is very-well-integrated into the e-commerce part of the site:


Sitegeek has added “Q&A” section to each included hosting page answering most popular user-generated questions about the specific service:


Werther’s Original have expanded product information by including “Nutrition facts” and “Ingredients” sections:


Notice their product pages are now included into the featured snippet:


Here’s a few content tips to show Google your content is answering a specific question and have better chances to get featured in Google’s Quick Answer boxes:

  • First state that question explicitly on the page
  • Then answer that question in no more than two sentences
  • Below elaborate on the topic in the article (to avoid Panda filters, your content needs to be profound but to trigger a featured snippet appearance, your content should be very specific, so aim for both)
  • Create a specific, yet in-depth page for each question you are targeting. It’s better if the actual query (together with the question word) appears in the URL slug

It hasn’t been confirmed but the educated guess is that the variety of content formats on the page answering the same question helps in ranking in the quick answer box. Consider turning your tutorial into a PDF and annotated video, for example. Here are more ways to re-package your content into:


Apart from your site, your Youtube channel can be a good alternative to rank in the featured snippet box. It’s been noticed that Youtube how-to videos often appear in the Quick Answer boxes.

To optimize your Youtube videos, you need to:

  • Name your video exactly as the question you are targeting
  • Make sure your video has a voice transcript (Which is where Google seems to be taking the text explanation to feature in the Quick Answer Box)
  • Rank your video high in general Google search results (It would help if you could link to it from your own site. Use this detailed Youtube optimization checklist I have shared here)

Have you seen any success ranking in Google’s featured snippets? Please share your tips and results!

Ann Smarty is the Brand and Community manager at as well as the founder of