Using Blog Subscriber Metrics for Better Outreach Decision Making

Today’s guest post is from Traian Neacsu. Traian is the Director of SEO and co-founder of Pitstop Media Inc, a Canadian company that provides top rated search engine marketing services to businesses across North America. To invite the author to publish articles on your blog please contact

If you’re a link builder who chooses his or her link partners based on their social influence, you probably don’t like to be cheated when it comes to decision-making metrics. Would you spend hours writing a guest article for a blogger with only 5 subscribers, or would you rather publish it on a blog with 250 subscribers? Or how would you like to acquire a PR8 link, only to find out later that the PR was forged, and it’s actually 0 (zero)? I don’t think anyone likes that kind of “sorcery”.

I consider the numbers of blog subscribers in addition to the useful metrics provided by default within BuzzStream when I decide on how to approach link partners.

This article will show you how to find this metric in BuzzStream, with the help of custom fields and a bit of detective work.

Create a new custom field with BuzzStream

This is easy. Just go to your Account -> Customize Fields -> New Custom Field:

custom fields


Name it Blog Subscribers and use “type numerical”.


Then go to your Link Partner page and Configure Columns to display the newly created custom field:

 added the subscribers to the tool


Finding the number of bloggers

This is the detective part of the article, and I know you will like it 😉

The easiest and most obvious way to find how many subscribers a blog gets is to actually look for the number on the page itself:

obvious number of subscribers

You are most likely aware of the above widget, which shows the number of subscribers for blogs using FeedBurner, the most used feed management provider. What you might not be aware of is that there are unscrupulous people who forge this number, similarly to what PR fakers do. They either Photoshop the image, or hijack someone else’s RSS widget.

I am not going to teach you how to do that. However, read further to learn how to check if the widget is real or not. No matter if I find this widget visually present on a page, I always double check for veridicity, using the methods described below.

Say you don’t find any numbers displayed on the page. Then how the heck do you find the magic number?

Here’s the first method

Open the source code of the page (CTRL+U), and search (CTRL+F) for feedburner:

find the feed URL in the source

There may be multiple instances of the string, but what you’re searching for looks like the highlighted link above; followed by the feed name, in this case Friedbeef.

Next, copy that URL in the browser’s address bar and add /~fc/ right after .com and the feedname; just like this:

the number of subscribers is revelead

If you’re lucky, you will get the number of subscribers using this method. If this fails (you might get the message below), then you’ll have to rely on a less accurate method.

 feedburner not enabled

The second method

This method estimates the number of subscribers based on the number of using Google Reader to read RSS, so it’s not as accurate as getting the number from FeedBurner itself.

You can also use this method if a blog doesn’t use Feedburner as their feed management tool.

Open Google Reader -> Browse for stuff-> Search:


using google reader to get the number of blogs



Perform a couple of searches:

1)      Search for the domain name without www. and .com:

google reader subscribers

Domain name search

2)      Search for the feed name (if you found it in the source code) and you might get these results :

google reader subscribers 2 

Feed name search



There’s no official data of the market share of Google Reader, but we can easily assume that it’s at least 50%. So keep that in mind when you add the number of subscribers to BuzzStream. You might want to add a bit more to the numbers reported by Google. I usually multiply by 1.3 to add an extra 30%.

A couple of notes before concluding:

–          Do not interpret these numbers as absolutes, but rather guidelines. When you rate your link partners, use bracketing (i.e. 0 to 50 subscribers = low influence, 51 to 100 subscribers = medium influence, and so on).

–          Do not rely just on this number to qualify prospects. Also check the number of followers, tweets, shares and comments (blog engagement rate).

Since the number of followers and FB likes are so easy to manipulate and/or automate, I like to give some importance to the subscriber metrics when I perform an outreach campaign. This being said, use these methods wisely. Acknowledge that they are estimates and please don’t ignore the bloggers with low counts. Some of them are great people.

What do you think!? Leave a comment; it will be appreciated and replied to.

See you at the top!


  • @Ryan – thanks for commenting. Sometimes a reputable blogger just opens a new blog and then you might miss him if you’re only looking at one metric only. A bit of detective work may pay out.

  • I agree that some of the bloggers with low counts can be great resources. Their content may not have been discovered yet. Count is not the only consideration when you reach out. Quality content makes a difference and you could be connecting with the next popular blogger when others discover their worth.

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