Finding Second Tier Data Sources for Blog Posts

Finding Data Sources While Blogging

From time to time, I have to find, A. sources for backing what I’m claiming in a blog post, B. new information or data to include in a post I’m writing. It’s always hard to find an original research article by search for a wide key-phrase in Google. Hence, what I do these days is to grab the information sources (URLs) from already published blog posts. It makes the job a lot easier, saves time, and I get to discover good sources.

The Process in Short:

  1. Google what you’re trying to find. Use key-phrases instead of long-tail search phrases. For example, “site speed impact seo” instead of “how site speed helps a site’s seo”.
  2. Instead of looking for typical “[Survey]” or “[Study]” titles (because you won’t find them easily in the first few pages) look for contents, A.from  reputable sites you already know of, B. with promising titles and meta descriptions.
  3. Make a list of related sites that tend to link out credible data sources from within their posts. Leverage it later while searching for data sources.
  4. Link to the original data sources from your post. Whether you link to the page that helped you find the original source is your choice.

How Effective is It Practically?

In the past few months, while writing posts related to SEO, I needed information sources to support the points I was making. I’ll give you a couple of examples,

Example #1: Impact of Content Length on Search Performance

What I needed: A study showing that lengthier content pieces tend to rank better on Google.
Search Query: “content length seo”
Search Result I checked: http://www.quicksprout.com/2012/12/20/the-science-behind-long-copy-how-more-content-increases-rankings-and-conversions/
Data source I found: http://blog.serpiq.com/how-important-is-content-length-why-data-driven-seo-trumps-guru-opinions/

Example #2: Impact of Site Speed on Search Performance

What I needed: A study showing that faster sites (sites with very small load times) tend to rank better on Google.
Search Query: “site speed seo”
Search Result I checked: http://zoompf.com/blog/2013/08/how-website-speed-actually-impacts-search-ranking
Data source I found: http://moz.com/blog/how-website-speed-actually-impacts-search-ranking


Finding sources to back your points can get both tricky and time consuming. One of the easiest ways to tackle that problem is finding original sources by leveraging someone else’s research.

The chances of the sources being inappropriate, irrelevant or low-quality is almost non-existent — provided you’re executing the process correctly.

Have you tried second tier data source finding? How has it worked for you?

Rohit Palit

I'm a 19 years old Web Entrepreneur based out of Kolkata, India. I'm a technical SEO fanatic. I'm also interested in web hosting and WordPress. Want to get in touch? Connect with me on - My Personal Site, Google+, Facebook & Twitter.

  • Nice post Rohit, in my opinion a blog post (espeically in our industry) is kind of useless unless it is backed up by data. Another tip that I like to do is look at some of the papers being written in academia by doing a:

    site:*.edu “whatever im looking for”

    if I know of a University with a department that specializes in the subject I’m writing about I’ll incorporate that into the operator:

    site:rohit.collegeofawesome.edu “blah”

    • Yeah. I agree with you, Patrick. And that’s a nice little search query. It can come in very handy at times. Thanks for reading, and for your input. 🙂

  • Readability feature in Google advanced sea4ch does a great job. Setting Readability level to advance and searching for filetype:pdf works great in finding Whitepapers.