The Idea Dude


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why ranking does and doesn't matter

To say that Google's page ranking adjustments this past week has created a disturbance in the blogosphere is an understatement. It's not the first nor is it the last. Should it matter, no. Does it matter, yes. Because we live in a world where social status is one of the keys to natural selection and evolution. Even the animals in the wild have a pecking order. For any species to thrive, the strong must survive and the weak must die. If it were not so, the weaker genes would eventually kill off the species or be killed by other superior species. That is life in a nutshell.

So from the time we played king of the hill, to the zillion of top ten lists we always seem to be making, it is our way of keeping score. To rank so we may know where we are in the food chain or in this case the blog chain. That's why we have "vote for me" buttons on social networking sites and boast of the number of LinkedIn connections we have or the number of friends we have on MySpace.

The problem with ranking is not the concept itself but not really knowing how the ranking is achieved or the rules that surround it. Of course, every rule has an exception and like the laws in our country, some will get bent and some will hurt the very people they were meant to help.

Take the Technorati ranking for example. Their authority is based on the number of links to your blog within 6 months. So what does it really mean. At TheGoodBlogs we have hard data to back up what I'm about to say.

  • Generally the rule or what at least what you expect is, if you're highly ranked, you should be receiving a lot of traffic.
  • We have bloggers in the top Technorati 5,000 with less than 100 views per day.
  • We also have bloggers with consistently 1,000 or more views a day with rankings worse than 85,000 on Technorati.
  • Ergo, on Technorati, ranking does NOT imply traffic and vice versa.
  • BTW: it has nothing to do with how often you blog either. In both cases above, the average blog post is 1 per day.

Technorati is what I would call a relationship rank. The folks with the highest ranking actively engage themselves in the blogosphere. They are the connectors. This is what they do best, being marketeers of their brand and their topic.

Google is what I would call a relevancy rank. While they have changed their algorithms over the years, they are not particularly interested in how many real relationships you may have had on your blog. They are only interested in trying to determine how much relevant content you have on your blog and you're not a spammer or a host page for advertising links. With 100 million blogs and 10x more blog pages, they automate all that so often they can't tell reliably whether you're linking to 1,000 real bloggers because you want to give some link love or just link to 1,000 websites as an affiliate.

What does all this mean? If you blog because you love to, than it really means nothing. Continue to leave your trail of breadcrumbs in the blogosphere because they are instances of you over time. And really that's all that should matter...

Why I love the blogosphere? I get to read what the so-called pundits have to say because it's important for business to sell orange dresses and not green if that's what Hollywood is wearing this spring. BUT, the best part is to find the blog in Indonesia, Ireland or a small town in Alaska that has that one post that speaks to you, that one sentence that moves you and inspires you for the rest of the day.

Because when that happens, you realize how much poorer we would all be without the Internet...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one sentence that touches you...

This one did :-)

"Continue to leave your trail of breadcrumbs in the blogosphere because they are instances of you over time."



4:39 PM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hi Joanna,

I would definitely never go hungry following yours.


6:46 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

You definitely deserve to be called 'The Idea Dude'. How do you come up with so many poignant thoughts? And as usual, what you have to say is so true. Your ideas always ring around my head for days. Thats the trail you're leaving...

8:50 AM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hi Amanda,

Thank you. I'm glad my crumbs are enjoyed by others too!


3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo, Vern!

I believe that posting frequency does play at least a partial role in determining Technorati ranking, though, for the following reason:

I recently skipped five days between posts on my Writer's Notes blog, and my Technorati ranking immediately dropped by over 10,000 points (the next time I updated). Prior to that, it had advanced to a little above 43,000, and it unceremoniously dropped back to over 54,000. That was difficult to take, since breaking the Technorati 50,000 was a milestone that had been a long time in coming.

Admittedly, during that same period, I had also neglected my usual practice of visiting and commenting on other blogs since I was so busy, basically drawing no new backlinks to my blog. My impression, however, was--and still is--that it was a combination of the two factors, though, of course, I could be wrong.

I've written a post at Writer's Notes about my experience. It's called "Preferred Posting Frequency and Technorati Ranking."

Thanks for letting me sound off!
Jeanne Dininni

8:26 PM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hi Jeanne,

Thanks for sharing that insight. I've added your link to the comment so readers can find it.

Preferred Posting Frequency and Technorati Ranking


10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Very interesting take. Try telling that to those bloggers who obsess over rankings, etc.

In fact, there's a very funny website, a link of which I posted to one of my articles earlier last month. It's called Bloggers Anonymous - a funny parody on so-called "obsessed" bloggers of the day. I think you'll get a kick out of it:



1:49 PM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hi Stephen,

David Armano is a pretty smart guy. I love his work.

Thanks for sharing the link. I definitely had a couple of good laughs.

As they say, never a truer word said in jest.


6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My good friend,

You got me thinking with this article! i believe you're right that ranking isn't all that important, especially if you dont' yet care about advertisers. I am more interested in serving my subscribers who will later be more willing to buy from me (be it my speaking service, my book or a future product).

Worrying myself sick over Alexa's ranking isn't worth it, in my opinion.

Great article! Thanks Idea Dude!

8:39 PM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Thanks Stephen,

There's a lot to be said about loyal repeat customers because those are the ones who care and most likely to buy.

Even though I can't visit all my favorites every day, I invariably go back to them sooner or later because of their content not because of their fame or rank.


10:35 PM  

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