BuzzSumo bridges the gap between SEO and content marketing tools into a single platform. It’s a clever mashup of the best features of, say, Semrush and Buffer.
Most PR professionals would have zero hesitation about signing up for the tool if not for the cost of the paid plans.
And so, in our BuzzSumo review, we’ll dissect the features, pros, cons, and customer opinions to determine if the paid version is worth it.
Let’s head straight in!
What Is BuzzSumo?
BuzzSumo is a freemium SEO tool and social media analyzer. Established in 2014, BuzzSumo was one of the first hybrid tool platforms on the scene.
Some of its key innovative features include:
- Influencer and author competition analysis.
- Sourcing of influencers and authors.
- Trend alerts are based on factors such as country and topics.
- Content analysis and generation.
- YouTube top performance discovery.
- Facebook page analysis.
- Finding top questions for a given topic.
Now, to the nitty-gritty. Here are what these BuzzSumo features offer users and why you should care.
BuzzSumo doesn’t allow you to sign up for their free version right away. What you can do is try their 30-day free trial first, but of course, this free plan can end faster, if you do 100 searches before the month ends.
Then, you have to decide whether you want to cancel your account, continue with the free version, or upgrade to the paid one.
The good news is that you don’t need to enter your credit card information for the free trial. There’s no attempt at duping you into paying for the paid version once you forget to cancel. This customer-centric attitude alone makes BuzzSumo stand out prominently in a sea of content marketing tools.
If you think you’re ready, you can sign up with your Facebook account or use your email credentials.
Your first onboarding gift from the team is a 3-minute intro video on how the platform works. You can skip it if you want. BuzzSumo will send you an email with the video anyway.
What’s more, the BuzzSumo team will contact you throughout the trial period to ensure you get the most out of the platform.
The main dashboard opens up right after, with all the main tools lined up at the top left of the page. The star contents of this page are your recent feeds and your recent saved searches. Here’s what that looks like:
You’ll find the Settings section at the top right from the drop-down menu under your name. This is where you can connect BuzzSumo to your Twitter, Facebook, and Slack. It’s also the place to:
- Track and upgrade your plan
- Change your billing method
- Download your API documentation
- Set your preferences
Now that you have a sense of the BuzzSumo ecosystem, let’s go through the features which have made the platform popular.
Note: When you go to BuzzSumo.com, you won’t find the home page right away. You’ll have to click on the Go to App option, which will direct you to the tool page.
The Discover Feature
The Discover feature is your imagination sparker. Every time you enter a topic, keyword, or domain, you get a huge list of trending content and related news.
While browsing through what’s popular, you get an idea of what works with the audience so you can modify your content accordingly.
One thing to remember: you only get one year of historical data from these tools.
There are five sections within the Discover tool.
You’ll find the top articles from your connected social media sites here. It sources the trending content from your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, and displays them under the recent feeds list.
Each article comes with a trending score, engagement points, and share count on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit.
A list of genres, such as news and digital marketing, is listed under the Curated Feed. Click on any of those to focus only on trending news from those.
You can also check out trending stories from each country. Sort the stories further by applying language filters in the countries and limiting the trending time from 24 hours to 1 hour.
These are merely the general trends you get from BuzzSumo scouring your socials.
But you can also tailor your trend search to specific topics. For example, if you type in “BuzzSumo reviews”, you can refine your search further by adding more related hashtags and words and excluding keywords you don’t want in the content.
You can also limit or exclude particular domains.
The results include videos, though you can exclude YouTube videos in the filters too.
When you go to Topics, BuzzSumo will greet you with the five popular global searches.
Enter a topic in the search bar. If you want to search multiple keywords, use OR after every one of them. In case you want to filter out specific words, use the “minus” sign.
The result page will have all the related words, some in larger fonts, to indicate their popularity.
Below, you’ll find aligning topics and content ideas for each topic. BuzzSumo generates the entire article title for you.
Then, you can select the Insights and content idea option beside the topics and you’ll find a wealth of information.
There’s a chart indicating the total number of articles published on the topic every month with the engagement score and link to the most popular article.
You can view all the content, Quora and Reddit questions, and related keywords for each topic. Studying all this, you can understand what works and why it works.
You can enter a keyword or a domain here.
If you enter a keyword, the results include:
- Search volume
- Total articles published
- Related and similar keywords
- Related topics
- Tiny trend chart
It doesn’t have a wide selection of tools for keyword research like other SEO tools, but you get the key points.
On domain search, you get:
- Ranking keywords counter
- Organic monthly traffic
- Page authority
- Domain authority
The domain keyword search results only retrieve a small amount of data. Sometimes, you get almost nothing if there’s a prohibition on advertising on the search term.
You can find the most popular questions for any given topic here. Perform a general keyword search for questions or limit it to forums and subreddits.
Moreover, you can narrow down the timeline of the questions anywhere from the past year to 24 hours. There’s also the option of filtering based on site type and top-level domain of each country.
Content Ideas Generator
The Content Ideas Generator is a new section and an exciting one.
The first research panel contains a shortened version of the topics, keywords, questions, and trending features in one place.
The second panel contains data obtained from Content Analyzer. You get an idea of the format you should use and the appropriate length of the content from here.
The third panel also summarizes data from the Content Analyzer tool. You can understand the social channels you’ll get the most engagement from for the content and the best day of the week to post.
The Content Feature
Unlike a lot of content tools that only focus on blog posts, you can research top-performing content on Facebook and YouTube through BuzzSumo. It’s also a backlink finder and content analysis report generator.
First, enter a keyword, domain, or article link on the Content Analyzer. Then, watch as BuzzSumo lists a year’s worth of content on the target topic with social scores and the number of links.
Additionally, you get an evergreen score for the content, which indicates how long the article has managed to maintain relevance.
You can narrow your search to focus only on press releases, newsletters, lists, or even podcasts on the content analyzer. Other filters like length, publisher size, and reaction analyzer make the feature even more effective.
You can also export a PDF of the analysis report, which provides a visual breakdown of the results.
By the time you reach the end of the analysis page, you’ll know:
- The month has the lowest number of content published on a given keyword
- The month that sees the most content
- The social media site which engages the most with the keyword
- The content type that is most popular
- The best day to publish
- Length of content which will garner the most engagement
- General sentiment toward the content
- The top domains on the topic
- And the current top-performing content based on engagement
The content analyzer practically maps out what you need to make and where you need to distribute it to get more attention to your business.
Facebook Page Analyzer
In addition to analyzing your Facebook page, you can compare your competitor’s page on the tool.
For example, take a look at the screenshot (above) of the comparison between BuzzSumo and Semrush’s Facebook page. It’s easy to see that Semrush has an overwhelming amount of engagement-to-post ratio compared to BuzzSumo.
When you scroll down, you’ll see charts pointing out the exact difference in approach and engagement rate. You can check the post content to understand what Semrush is doing right which BuzzSumo is missing out on.
The YouTube content analyzer isn’t that different from the general or Facebook page analyzer. A notable feature is the paid ads and organic ads filter.
BuzzSumo’s backlink data isn’t as big as Ahrefs, but it has a unique sorting method the other tools lack.
Along with the domain authority of a linking website, you can view the social currency the website has. This is invaluable data as not only do you understand which websites to target for backlinks, but also the real audience capture they have.
The Influencers Feature
You can find influencers spread across four platforms via BuzzSumo.
The general gist of all the sections is the same. You enter a niche keyword and BuzzSumo presents you with the most influential people on the topic.
For Facebook, Authors, and Youtube, you mainly have the location, language, and category filters. Twitter filters are more extensive.
You can choose influencer type, activity type, and restrict your search to journalists.
BuzzSumo doesn’t only find you the top influencers of each platform, but also their:
- Page authority
- Domain authority
- Follower number
- Retweet and reply ratio for Twitter
- Average retweets for Twitter
- Subscribers and views for YouTube
- Page likes and followers for Facebook
- Articles published and the total and average engagement for authors
You can find influencers with a genuine following for your team with this tool. Plus, you’ll know the influencers your competitors are collaborating with, which will help you create a better influencer marketing and even SEO strategy among other things.
Monitoring and Alerts
You can monitor six key metrics via BuzzSumo. They include:
It’s the simplest feature to set up on the platform but one of the most useful ones. For one, you can keep track of every time new content is uploaded on a keyword you’re targeting. You can also monitor the response to your content as an author.
However, the monitoring and alert feature are even better for spying on your competition. You can set alerts for every time someone mentions a specific brand or competitor on the internet or links to a website.
Instantly getting the news will allow you to swoop in and tempt the consumer into availing of your product or service instead.
You can choose a time of the day to get these alerts or for instant notification for every mention.
The Projects Feature
You save all the data you gathered such as top articles for a keyword or the famous influencers on a topic here. The project section can act as your crisis management center whenever you’re out of content ideas.
You can also add the URLs of various websites you’re tracking here. BuzzSumo will do automatic engagement scores for the websites. This way, you can compare how your content is performing against your competitors in one place.
Pros of BuzzSumo
- Free Chrome extension.
- Clutter-free user interface. You aren’t bombarded with features but you have access to it all when you need them.
- High customer-oriented approach.
- Accurate social share estimation.
- No setup fee.
- Analyzes every possible piece of content, from blog posts to social media posts and videos.
- Content ideas bank.
- Capture snapshots of the top results.
- Lots of filter options spanning domain, language, location, and time.
Cons of BuzzSumo
- No audience data for Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, LinkedIn, etc.
- Lacks demographic data such as age range or device use.
- Bugs in the Slack integration.
- No guarantee you’ll find the contact info of the influencers or authors.
- The results for domain search aren’t the most reliable.
BuzzSumo offers extensive pricing options.
While a worthwhile preview of what you can achieve with the platform, the Free plan caps your searches at 10 per month.
The restriction extends to 1 user, no alerts, 1 project with 100 items, 1 year of historical data with 1000 results, and 1 custom data.
You also miss out on Question, Youtube, Facebook page analyzer, and top author search. Not a bad deal overall. Yet, it feels so when you check the higher tier plans.
You have to pay $99/month for the Pro plan or $79/month at annual billing. With this plan, you will still miss the social media analyzing tools, but you get an upgrade of unlimited monthly searches.
Add to that 1 year of data with no limit on the results, 5 users and alerts, 50 exports/month, 10 custom feeds, and no curb on the projects.
The Plus plan costs $179/month or $139/month if you pay for the whole year at once. It allows you to add more users, alerts, exports, and custom feeds compared to the Pro plan. Also, this is the only package where you have access to the Question Analyzer tool. It’s the most popular plan, generally of use to small agencies.
The Large plan costs the big agencies and marketers $299/month or $239/month if you pay for the whole year upfront. It removes restrictions on the features you couldn’t use on the Pro and Plus plan. Plus, you get an increase in every tool limit.
The Enterprise plan from BuzzSumo comes with custom pricing for industrial giants. You get five years of historical data and can negotiate the usage limits with the BuzzSumo team. BuzzSumo will send you a quote once you give them your requirements.
You can try the Pro, Plus, and Large plans for free for 30 days.
BuzzSumo Reviews on G2, Software Advice, and TrustRadius
Experiences can differ a great deal depending on the user. Let’s check out the sentiment among BuzzSumo customers on trusted review websites.
BuzzSumo has 4.5 stars out of 5 on G2. 94 customers took the time to discuss what they love and dislike about the tool.
As it turns out, BuzzSumo could acquire way more users with a more economical plan pricing.
Customers seem to get the most use out of the content analyzer tool and the influencer finder.
131 customers gave overwhelmingly positive reviews on Software Advice. It’s not easy to get a 4.53 score out of 5 when many people review your tool.
Again, the pricing is the main issue, though users on the platform actually rated the tool positively in terms of value for money.
Most users acknowledge the ROI they get from using this tool, especially since organic and paid campaigns result in real likes, shares, and engagement when informed by this tool.
On TrustRadius, it’s a clean 8.5 out of 10 for BuzzSumo.
Customers use the tool to verify social shares, research topics, monitor brands and keep up with trending news.
TrustRadius customers don’t necessarily have a huge issue with the price. But many would love to have access to more features in the free version.
Considering how popular Instagram and TikTok have gotten recently, users have also reported that incorporating insights from these sites will be extremely beneficial.
Most social media and SEO tools work separately. While plenty of platforms incorporate the features together, few do it as well and as extensively as BuzzSumo. It doesn’t feel like you’re paying mostly for a social insight tool or SEO too.
You get the feeling you’re paying for both. You essentially get two tools at the price of one. And that is what makes the somewhat expensive nature of BuzzSumo justifiable.
At the same time, many features are wasted if you aren’t a content marketer or a digital marketer. So, only go for it if it aligns properly with what you do or what you wish to do.