Tag Archives: seo tools

Introducing Lava – The Emotional Search Engine

Lava emotional search engine

Many of us are familiar with using tools like BuzzSumo to estimate the share-ability of a content idea, or Google Keyword Planner to estimate search demand. But how do you find out how people actually feel about a topic?

For those of you who didn’t catch James Finlayson’s and Lisa Myers’s talk at BrightonSEO last week, we have just launched a brand new tool which does just this. We proudly present to you Lava, the world’s first emotional search engine.

It’s time to get emotional

By creating content that resonates emotionally, we can increase our chances of getting read, watched, shared or featured by the press.

Lava works by indexing every major UK newspaper (currently at around 8 million articles), soon to include US publications as well. By inputting a search term such as a person, place or thing, you can see how sentiment around that subject has changed over time.

For example, here is how the media feels about three US presidential candidates over the last six years:

sentiment analysis of US politicians

Lava assigns every article a score based on how positive or negative the sentiment is at a sentence level, and then calculates the overall sentiment of the article as a whole.

Strong negative sentiment does not necessarily mean that journalists hate a particular person or thing. It could just mean that there is negative sentiment occurring in the same articles as the subject, as would be the case if I was cited as a source in articles about a tragic event.

Some cool examples

Historic sentiment analysis can be used to tell some interesting stories about how we feel about certain brands, politicians or celebrities – and how this has changed over time.

Here are a few possible things you could look at with Lava:

Is sentiment towards professional footballers linked to their performance?

Does sentiment towards the characters in Breaking Bad or House of Cards mirror the plot?

Does sentiment towards famous musicians like David Bowie peak after they die?

How can Lava be used in content creation?

cat looking at painting

You’re probably wondering what all this has to do with content creation.

Well, Lava can be used to gauge the emotional impact of your early concepts and help you decide which ideas to take further. So, by inputting a few different content ideas, you can get a sense of how your audience feels about a subject over time.

A spiky profile or consistently high positive or negative sentiment would suggest an idea worth pursuing; a flat profile that’s hovering around zero would suggest apathy towards the topic.

In this respect, Lava can used alongside other indicators to predict content performance, such as:

Shareability – How many shares has other content published on this subject got?

Search Demand – Are people searching for this topic on Google, and is it trending up or down?

Audience Fatigue – Has there already been a glut of content published about this?

Interest – Are people asking questions on sites like Quora or Reddit?


Ultimately, Lava is about helping you better understand your audience and what makes them tick. You can then use this information to enhance your content campaigns.

I hope you have fun playing around with it. It’s still in beta, so please email me if you have any questions or suggestions.

Check it out for yourself here: lava.vervesearch.com

5 FREE SEO Tools You Didn’t Know You Were Missing

Free seo tools for seos in the digital marketing industry

As an SEO, I love tools. I can’t help it. As most of the new generation of SEOs, I don’t come from a techie background, so I use tools of any sort to help me in my daily tasks. And most of them are free.

I could probably write a book about the tools that we use here at Verve Search, but today I thought I’d put together a blog post about a few lesser-known tools, that I only discovered accidentally.

Meta Description Crawler

Most of you know Screaming Frog as the best on-page optimisation tool out there and probably find it as invaluable as much as I do. However, if you don’t have a paid license, you may find yourself hitting the page limit quite quickly. The other day I wanted to review all the meta description tags of a website to see if there is anything that we could do to improve CTR (click through rate), so I used Meta Description Crawler. It’s free and seems not to have a limit to the pages that are crawled  Remember: meta description tags don’t affect ranking, but do have a direct impact on the chances of your website/blog being clicked – think about the user. 

Class C Checker

While doing link building, I often check the IP address of link prospects. Let’s assume that you approached a good website where you would like to have your content posted, and the webmaster comes back to you telling you they have a bunch of sites they control where you could have some more articles published. Before spending more time and energy on writing original content for these other sites, it’s good practice to check their Class C. I use this tool: Class C Checker; quick and free. What does Class C mean, though? As explained here, it’s just the third set of number in an IP address. Taking this bogus IP 12.345.67.890, 12.345.67 is the Class C, so if you have a website hosted on 12.345.67.001, you are sharing the same Class C as my example. It seems that websites that have the same Class C could make Google think they are owned by the same person/company, so they only express one vote of confidence. Although it won’t directly hurt you, having a high percentage of links coming from the same Class C, could trigger a search engine’s spam signal.

Link Detox Tool

In a post Penguin world, many webmasters have started worrying about their backlink profile. If you have received one (or more) of those dreaded unnatural link warnings from Google, you may want to check Link Detox by Link Research Tools. It’s free to use once (correction: you have to tweet about it in order to get access to it) and shows a list of potentially harmful links, with the emails of the webmasters, in case you want to contact them to remove the link(s) pointing at your site.

It also provides you with the reasons why Link Detox thinks those links are bad, and a degree of dangerousness. Nobody can ensure that removing the links will help your reconsideration request, but you may want to give it a go!

Netpeak Checker

My favourite. I almost don’t know where to start… First of all, it’s free (yay!). You have to download it in order to use it. I know we all like our tools to be online and not on our machines, but this one really gives you an edge when link prospecting or evaluating the links you’ve already got this week/month/whenever-you-want.

Basically you upload a set of URLs and in exchange Netpeak Checker returns any parameter you may think of, from Alexa Rank to WHOIS Domain Age. And they all come from authoritative sources, including SEOmoz and Majestic SEO. You can check the whole list on the software’s page.


I have a passion for good design, so the guys at Ahrefs.com immediately conquered my heart with their sleek interface. Ahrefs is a Backlinks & SERP’s Research Tool. We all like data, but sometimes struggle with making sense of  it– not in this case. I find it invaluable for competitor research; you cannot only find your competitors, but also the keywords and the country for which you are competing. I invite you all to explore the possibilities you have with them, even with a free account.

This was only a short list of the tools I started using recently, but I’m sort of a tool geek, so I may be using completely different ones next month! Please share your thoughts about these, or any other tools you may use.

Let’s share some SEO tool love!