Welcome to my new “How To Blog” series! In this series, I’ll try to put my knowledge to good use and shed some light on the basic of blogging. You will learn how to set up a self-hosted blog, what are the must-have plugins, how to attract readers, how to monetize your blog etc. I’ll publish a new “How To Blog” post every Saturday.
Who loves you? Yeah, probably a bunch of real life people. But blog-wise, who is you friend and who isn’t?
Today, we will explore the different tools you can use to assess your blog ranking. Is your blog popular? Easy to find? High-ranked? Followed by regular readers or one-time visitors?
Your blog’s position on the web is assessed daily by various sources, among them:
- Google, and its famous Page Rank
- Feedburner, and the number of your subscribers
- Technorati and the number of inbound links
- Alexa, which provides information on web traffic
Google love: the famous search engine uses a very complicated algorithm to “measure” the importance of your website in the web. Basically, you PageRank will be determined by the number and PageRank metric of all pages that link to your website (“incoming links”). A page that is linked to by many pages with high PageRank receives a high rank itself. If there are no links to a web page, there is no support for that page.
PageRank are updated every few months… the last time was in February 2008 but no one can really predict the updates. PageRank updates are known to bring good news to some and bad to others. Late 2007, bloggers who used Pay Per Post or similar services were slammed by Google and a lot of them, if not all, lost their PageRank.
How do you get a high PageRank? Some invest on their PageRank by buying links from high-ranking websites, some try to game the system and use black hat SEO, some just exchange links… there are many techniques out there. My best bet would be: work on your content and on your website and you’ll be just fine. It seems useless to me to link to a bunch of irrelevant websites which will, ultimately, reduce the quality and relevancy of Google search results. I didn’t know about PageRank at all until I reached PageRank 4 and trust me, I didn’t do much for that. Give it a bit of time, exchange links with bloggers in your niche and chances are, you will see your PageRank raise. And won’t get a headache in the process.
You can check your PageRank with the following tools:
Count your subscribers with Feedburner: Feedburner republishes your blog’s feed to make it more usage-friendly, it allows you to follow your RSS feeds and track usage of your subscribers. The service is free: you just need to sign up and “burn your feed“. You will then be able to see subscribers’ stats (who read what, when etc.), optimize your feed (make it browser-friendly, build interactivity etc.), publicize it (ping a bunch of website for example)… and even monetize it. Worth a try, doesn’t it?
A couple of tools might enhance your Feedburner experience:
- The Feed Analysis (a free detail report of your feed)
- The Feedburner Feedsmith plugin for WordPress (detects all ways to access your feed and redirect them to FeedBurner)
Technorati and the links: Technorati is a search engine for blogs, and probably the most popular around. It counts the numbers of unique links to your blog in a given period and rank you. Even if you don’t make it to the top page (seriously, who does?), it’s a useful tool to see who linked to you. Who added you in a blogroll? Who quoted your post? Who tagged you? A lot of blogger don’t mention it and it sounds like a good way to find out!
Have a look at:
- Technorati widgets (to display your Technorati rank on your blog, for example)
- For fun, check how much is your blog worth (er… where can I claim my $63,000?)
- Hack to add Technorati incoming links in WordPress dashboard
Alexa, the traffic queen: Alexa provides information on web traffic to other website. It gives a popularity based ranking, which is achieved by users adding a search tool on their website. Alexa then tracks where you go and compiles the information into rankings based on the number of hits to each site. This tool is mostly a “big guys'” tool though, since most of us don’t really compare traffic… and you need a lot of it to have relevant data showing!
You can still download the Alexa toolbar for Internet Explorer or Firefox (gives you infos about the website you’re visiting)
And let’s not forget about a few additional free online SEO tools you may use to check your blog status and improve it:
- Website Grader, a great tool to measure your marketing effectiveness. It’s very easy to read, includes some good tips on the report and it’s free. I love it!
- Domain popularity, an online tool that lists all your backlinks
- Website speed and loading time, when you think a billion of widgets might be too much, this tool will confirm it!
- SEO toolbox, includes pages indexed, domain age etc.
So, what are you waiting for? Go check how awesome is your blog!