CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Be in the know on what's hot and popular

Remember "the good ol' days" when something was the hot topic for weeks or even months? Now, hot topics can come and pass before you even knew they were hot.

Stephan Spencer
Search engine optimization expert Stephan Spencer shares late-breaking SEO tools, tips, trends, resources, news and insights. Stephan is the founder and president of Netconcepts, a web agency specializing in search engine optimized ecommerce. Clients include Discovery Channel, AOL, Home Shopping Network, Verizon SuperPages.com, and REI, to name a few. Stephan is a frequent speaker at Internet conferences around the globe. He is also a Senior Contributor to MarketingProfs.com, a monthly columnist for Practical Ecommerce, and he's been a contributor to DM News, Multichannel Merchant, Catalog Success, Catalog Age, and others.
Stephan Spencer
2 min read

Getting ready for AMA's Hot Topic: Search Engine Marketing conference, which I'm chairing, next month has gotten me thinking about what truly constitutes a "hot topic." Online, folks' interests are fleeting. Remember "the good ol' days" when something was the hot topic for weeks or even months? Now, hot topics can come and pass before you even knew they were hot.

On the upside, the Web has made the tracking and monitoring of what's hot easier than ever before. Wondering what products are taking the world by storm? Can't have your morning coffee before knowing which celebrities are on their way, or should be, to rehab? Well you don't have to go too far to find all kinds of monitoring lists online.

Of course, that's part of the challenge: too many sites to dig through. Rand Fishkin and his team from the Seattle-based SEO company, SEOmoz, have introduced a great new tool to help cut through the clutter. SEOmoz's new Popular Searches tool aggregates popular searches from some of the best sites for taking the pulse of the Web. Whether it's popular searches at Technorati and the search engines, the hottest tags at Flickr and del.icio.us, or what's moving at eBay and Amazon.com, the Popular Searches tool will give you a snapshot view of what's hot, as well as a top 10 from all sources.

SEOmoz Popular Searches tool
Popular Searches tool from SEOmoz

How can you put this to use in your search marketing program? Here are my suggestions:

  • Blog topics Browse through the list when you are looking for something to blog about.
  • New products Find new products to add to your store whether it's on or offline.
  • Trend spotting Download the CSV file version once a week and look to see which topics continue to show up in the results, time and time again.

A nice feature is that you can click directly through to the specific list for more in-depth research. This is a brand new tool, so we'll have to see how it evolves.

Some nice additions might be:

  • Expanding the top 10 to a top 25, 50, or even 100.
  • An indicator of movement up or down within the list or lists.
  • An indicator of "new" to the list.
  • A hot-hot indicator of evergreen topics, or those that continue to show up in the lists.

Monitoring popular topic lists can be a quick and easy way to keep an eye on what's hot or what's becoming hot. How you put these lists to use is only limited by your imagination.