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How to structure and save searches
How to structure and save searches

Learn how to design, filter, and record your search history in BuzzSumo.

Written by Evan Ahlers
Updated over a week ago

BuzzSumo is, at its core, a search tool. Put any topic or domain into our Content Analyzer Search bar, and we will crawl our database of 8+ billion articles to find you the most relevant matches. 

Like all search tools, learning how to design the right searches to return the most helpful data takes a bit of time to master. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to:

  • structure your searches

  • use our advanced operators and filters

  • save searches for easy access

Search basics

Content Analyzer Search 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 use Content Analyzer Search for topics, domains, multiple domains, or a combination of these things.

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

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 artificial intelligence, the first page of results in the Content Analyzer Search will look like this:

There are a few posts about government, some about Coronavirus, and several op-eds.

These may not be helpful if I am writing about AI and robots.

Fret not! 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 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 robot 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 "artificial intelligence". In this case, BuzzSumo will only show me mentions of artificial intelligence, 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 the above example, I can also try removing the phrase to see popular AI content that does not involve robots.

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 in an overlay that can be accessed by clicking "Advanced search tips".

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 the exact phrase, “social share data provider” in a blog post's topic or headline. It is not a broad enough topic to yield meaningful results.

Content Analyzer Search 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 we had with product types. Long-tail keywords don't make for great topics.


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 below the search bar, 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.

The country filter will limit results by TLD (top-level domain) and the language filter will only show content written in the chosen language.

Make sure to click + More Filters!

Domain filters allow for whitelisting trusted domains or excluding domains that aren’t relevant. B2B Publishers Only will surface content aimed at B2B industries.

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

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

Publisher size can help sort through the big names and find domains with a smaller mailing list.

Dominant Reaction will narrow results by the most prominent reaction received on FaceBook.

Save searches

Once you have filters and advanced operators that work for your needs, it’s essential to save your searches.
Simply click the 'Save Search' button that's located next to the right of the search bar.

Give your saved searches unique names for easy access later.

All of your saved searches will appear on the main Content Analyzer page.

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 can 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 the Analysis tab to get a broader understanding of the content area.

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