Wednesday, July 09, 2008

If your blog's ranking is falling, is that really your fault, or Technorati's?

I've heard from some bloggers lately both privately and publically that they have noticed their blog's ranking falling recently. The Viral Garden is no exception, as I believe TRati at one time tracked over 800 links for this blog.

But if you think about it, how we share links to blogs has changed dramatically in the last couple of years. In 2006, when I published the first Top 25 list, the main way that you shared a blog link with others, was via a blog post, or on your blogroll. Technorati counted these links and ranked blogs based on the number of links it counted for each blog from posts and blogrolls.

But recently, especially in the last year or so, how we share links to blogs and blog posts has changed dramatically. Instead of doing it from our blog, now we link to posts on Twitter. Or Plurk, or we share it on Friendfeed, or via our Shared Items on Google Reader. I would regularly leave 'Viral Community News' posts with links to interesting blogs and blog posts I had found. But I stopped doing that because it's so much easier to share links on other sites. And more of them.

However, as our methods of sharing links have changed, Technorati hasn't adapted. TRati still tracks the number of links your blog gets via blog posts and blogrolls, but it doesn't track links your blog gets via Twitter, or Plurk, or Friendfeed, or Google Reader's Shared Items.

Which means that as a whole, TRati should be tracking fewer links across the board for all blogs. And the past Top 25s bear this theory out. 18 of the current 25 blogs in this week's Top 25, were also in the year's first Top 25. Of those 18 blogs, 14 have lost links since Jan, 3 have gained, and one is unchanged.

The problem is, many bloggers see their rankings and 'authority' falling, according to Technorati, and think their blog isn't as popular as it once was. It could simply be a sign that people are sharing your content on sites that Technorati isn't tracking.

If Technorati is serious about re-dedicating itself to focusing on bloggers, it can start by accurately tracking how and WHERE we are sharing content.


Anonymous said...


I am willing to bet that most bloggers don't care nor do they measure links. Links are like measuring clips for a press release--neither measure value nor readership (although they measure popularity in a high school sort of way). You once felt the same way, Mack, and wrote about it here. Currently, your poll supports that POV.

Mack Collier said...

Lewis I still feel that links aren't the most important thing, but I know that they are to many of my readers. I know because I constantly hear them telling me about them, asking questions about Technorati, etc. And when I asked my readers if I should nix the Top 25 completely, they said no, that they liked ranking the blogs. So I kept it. Even though my own blog continues to fall in the rankings based on links.

Anonymous said...

Social bookmarking sites like, Digg and Magnolia account for the bulk of the incoming links to the sites I administer, and almost no services track all of these accurately.

Loads of bloggers like to share links with little more than a link and some clever tagging, and I think an argument can be made that even this level of engagement should be counted when trying to quantify a blog's influence.

Cheryl said...

Still learning about blogs, SEO and tracking. Good post that shows how even tech savvy companies are having difficulty keeping up with how rapidly things are changing.

Anonymous said...

This is a really good point - Technorati definitely need to move their model on to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape. Link-based authority still matters, but like you say is far from the complete picture

Anonymous said...

Mack: Thanks for the post. This is a good topic, and one that we've been discussing at Dell.

Agree with you that Technorati should widen the net and track links in the sites you mentioned and like Jordan said delicious as well.

That said, even if we had a more robust way to track inbound links easily, it's still only a single measurement of reach. Lots of other things matter beyond links, but they are a good indicator.

Mack Collier said...

I think there's two issues here:

1 - Is Technorati accurately tracking the links that a blog receives? Obviously not, since it's only tracking blogs, even while linking continues to move to other social sites/tools.

2 - As Lionel alludes to, are links the best way to 'track/rank' a blog? I think they are important, but so is traffic and comments. I think the best way to rank your blog's performance is to incorporate multiple metrics, but then you have to consider how each gets weighted in comparision to the others.

End result is that ranking/rating blogs is very messy business, and no one does a very good job with it.

Unknown said...

Hey Mack -
Personally I think there's something wrong with Technorati itself. I'm one of those rare bloggers who does track my links. Over the past 2 months I've seen my authority rank drop considerably, even though I know I'm getting more links in every day.

I just really don't think technorati is a good measure anymore. For some of the reasons you list, but also because they don't seem to be counting all blog links either.

I've been relying less and less on Technorati, as I find its reliability is suspect too. All too often I log in and something is wrong.


Anonymous said...

It does seem like the fame of Technorati has been going downhill for quote sometime now.