The BuzzSumo database is truly massive--5 billion articles indexed in Jan. 2018, with 2 million added each day. With this much information, finding the most shared content for high-level, single word topics is easy--just type and go.

But, to find the data you need to create the best content over time, you’ll need to go a bit deeper than a one-word search.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through topic selection, as well as some of the advanced search options and filters available in the Most Shared section of the site.

Search basics

Most Shared is designed to help you find the content that resonates with your audience by identifying the articles, blog posts and other content that have gotten the most social shares and backlinks.

You can search in Most Shared for topics, domains, multiple domains, or a combination of these things.

Let's start with choosing content topics. Keep in mind that in Most Shared, BuzzSumo looks for the search terms you provide in the title or topic of the content that we find online.

Learn more in the How To Search Lesson in Essentials Of BuzzSumo.

Identify broad content topics

You can identify content topics by thinking beyond your product type and long-tail keywords.

  • Ask yourself what words commonly appear in the blog or social posts for your own site or others in your industry.
  • Ask yourself what someone would Google if they needed your product or service.

When you search for broad topics in BuzzSumo, you will likely find a tremendous amount of information. Some of it will come from news sites, or it may not align with marketing purposes.

For example if I am in the insurance business, and search for insurance, the first page of results in Most Shared will look like this:

There are four types of insurance listed, as well as two political posts, and a summary of a national insurance system.

These may not be helpful if I sell car or property insurance.

BuzzSumo includes powerful advanced search operators and filters to make getting the results you need easy.

Get Specific!

Use the first page or two of results in Most Shared to identify the content that doesn’t line up with your marketing needs.

Once you have decided what to eliminate, there are two ways to refine the search.

  • Add a negative operator
  • Add additional words to the search query

In my insurance example, I can simply add the word homeowners to my search.

In BuzzSumo, you don't need an and operator. Just enter two words as a search query in any order and BuzzSumo will identify all content with both terms in the title or topic.

Now the results are much better suited to my needs.

I can get even more specific by putting quotation marks around the phrase, "homeowners insurance," in this case, BuzzSumo will only show me mentions of homeowners insurance, when the words occur together, in this order.

Once I've narrowed the results by adding words for specificity, I can also exclude words from my results with a negative operator -.

In my insurance example, I may want to get rid of mentions of any political parties.

Expand the results

Sometimes it’s a good idea to expand results in a search. You can do this by using the OR operator.

This is helpful as a timesaver--maybe you want great content ideas for a set of topics, or to generate content ideas for more than one niche or product area.

Advanced search options can be combined. You can use negatives, quotation marks, and OR in the same search for very specific and helpful results.

All of the advanced search operators are listed on the drop down menu located under the most shared search field.

Avoid common mistakes

There are two common mistakes that people make in their BuzzSumo searches:

  • Limiting searches to product types
  • Beginning with long tail key words

The names of products don’t always make the best content topics. For example. BuzzSumo is a social share data provider. But, if I look for content using those terms, there are no results.

This is because most people don’t use “social share data provider” in a blog post topic or headline. Social share data provider is not a good content topic.

Most shared is also not a great place to find content with long tail keywords. You can see that there are no search results in BuzzSumo for the long tail key word: “Content marketing agency in Lyndhurst, NJ”.

It’s the same issue as we had with product types. People don’t use long tail keywords in topics or headlines, so “Content marketing agency in Lyndhurst NJ” is not a good content topic.

Filtering

Once I have narrowed or broadened my search and eliminated off topic or other less useful mentions, I have content that overlaps with what I want to create. I can use it to determine what resonates with my audience.

Filters, located on the left side of the screen, help in several ways.

The time filter is great for curating content. For example, I can write a summary of the best homeowners insurance content for the past month, or I can send a newsletter with links to the weeks’ best content. I can also look here to find content that came online during a specific period of time.

Language and top level domain filters let me identifty preferences in specific areas of the world.

And, content type filters let me investigate the headlines found in very popular content formats.

Domain filters allow for whitelisting trusted domains or excluding domains that aren’t relevant.

Length filters let you choose to see long- or short- form content.

Save searches

Once you have filters and advanced operators that work for your needs, it’s essential to save your searches.

To save a search, click the options box, and select save search from the dropdown menu.

Give your saved searches unique names for easy access later.

All of your saved searches will appear on the left hand side of the screen, in alphabetical order.

Once you have refined your search results, you can look for repeated words or phrases in heavily shared content, look for out of date content that you could bring up-to-date, or look for opportunities to take a novel or controversial approach to a subject.

Then, it’s time to move on to Content Analysis, to get a broader understanding of the content area.