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October 11, 2008

The Dark Art of Ranking Blogs

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People are inherently competitive. Whether it be in their career, sport or a friendly game of Pictionary on a Saturday afternoon people like to win or at least beat other people. The same can be said for bloggers which is a subset of the population who want to get their voice heard and thus want attention. The recent spate of blog rankings has got the whole community excited about being in the top XXX of something.

However when you start to rank people by their blogs you run into a few problems. How do you rank something as complex as a blog? What metrics do you use, when the majority of real data is hidden to the outside user? It's easy to compare sports stars as you rank them based on their performance on the field. If you started adding in income generated, fans and other vague data it'd become a lot more complicated just like it is with blogs. Many assumptions need to be made.

There are a few global and localised blog ranking systems around with some drilled down to specific industries.

We have the omnipresent Technorati influence. For all blogs of shapes and sizes.
Ad Age's Power 150: Global advertising blogs
Australia's Top 50 Marketing Blogs: Aussie blogs
Blogponds top 100 Blogs: Aussie blogs in general
Scamp's Top Ad blogs: with a UK subset
Top Blogs for Women: Australia again
There's even a top scrapbooking blog list.

There's also special editorials posting the top blogs here and there including Time's Top 25 blogs

Imagine if they ranked the Billboard Top Albums based on more than just sales? It'd become a nightmare and open to tactics used to generate higher rankings.

Right now to rank blogs we have a my rid of metrics such as Technorati inbound links, Technorati inbound blog, Google Page Rank, Bloglines readership, Feedburner readership, Alexa ranking, Yahoo! links.

There's also companies with their "patent pending" technology to rank blogs like Collective Intellect. There's also a wealth of other easy to track buzz on social media.

One thing missing from a lot of these rankings is participation and loyalty of readers. Bannerblog has a very vocal audience who like to share their opinion on banners, and regularly get 15+ comments per post. (not so much in the news) Other blogs find it hard to garner more than 3 comments per post. (like this section) This type of participation I think is an important part of the strength of a blog. I run other blogs (Sleevage, WTFcostumes) that get more traffic but the audience is very transient. Mostly based of search engine traffic. There is a 30%-50% increase in the number of new visitors. Bannerblog sits at a 45% new visitor rate most months. No one really searches for "VW Banner" on Google. But they search for "CD Covers" all the time.

Let's hope Google can come in an create a one blog ranking system to rule them all. They have the Blog Search now which specifically filters results from blogs only. Here's a nice breakdown of Google 's "Patent pending" blog ranking algorithm.

The only Top 100 list I usually agree with is FHM's Top 100 sexiest women.




 

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