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Do a Blog’s Rankings Really Matter?

March 10, 2008


Creative Commons License photo credit: Davichi

There are so many different kinds of ranking systems, numbers, and graphs out there to determine how successful your blog or website is. There is Google PageRank, Alexa, Compete, Technorati, IZEA RealRank, and plenty more. And apart from those there are top lists and ranking systems created for niche sites, like the Top 100 Make Money Online Blogs. All bloggers that are working for growth, improvement, and money will know and check these rankings – some even obsess over them. But do they really matter?

Rankings DO Matter Because…

1. They will motivate you and make you strive to grow and improve your site or blog. You might create goals to reach a certain number or ranking, and by doing this you’re making yourself work harder for success, which you may or may not do otherwise.

2. They’re a good way to measure how well you’re doing. If we had no way to rank or compare our sites, how would we tell others who we’re persuading to read our blogs, or advertisers that want to make sure their money will be spent well?

3. As for advertisers, rankings influence them – even if those rankings aren’t always accurate. The better the rankings and numbers you have to show off, the more ad sales you can achieve.

4. Rankings not only influence advertisers, but they influence other people. If someone sees your blog or site for the first time, they’re not entirely convinced that it’s going to be utterly amazing and one they should read on a daily basis. If you have better rankings, people will recognize you as an authority.

As you can see, rankings DO matter because they set a basis for us and help us compare our blogs with others. If there was no way of comparison, it would be difficult to judge who was doing better, what sites we should read, and whose blogs we should advertise on. Even if the rankings aren’t always completely accurate, they still make a difference in those aspects. And even if not for anyone else, rankings also help you to achieve and strive to do better because they act as motivation and ways to create goals and resolutions.

Rankings DON’T Matter Because…

1. They’re not always accurate. You can have a low PageRank and still have plenty of quality incoming links, if Google docked your ranking. Site 1 might have a better Alexa ranking than Site 2, even if Site 2 has more visitors. Ranking systems can’t always be perfect and completely accurate all the time, so they’re not always the best measurement.

2. Apart from rankings not always being accurate, they can also be gamed easily. People are always looking for ways to cheat the system and get ahead of everyone else, but often times it ends up hurting everyone in the end. Think link trains, where all those who participate repost it, add their own link, and it then it’s posted again dozens more times. This can get you a better PageRank or Technorati score (even if it might come back to bite you in the end).

3. Rankings can prevent your real success from shining through. We’ve become so obsessed with scores and numbers that we don’t focus on the simple, obvious things that judge how successful our sites and blogs are. Your Alexa ranking might not be low enough so sponsors won’t purchase ad space from you, even if you have lots of comments, pageviews, and subscribers.

4. Rankings can lower your self-esteem and make you lose your motivation. Even if you’re working hard, you might not be able to reach the score or rank you hoped for – but this isn’t a reason to give up, because obviously, these systems aren’t perfect and they don’t always equal success or failure. They’re just a general way to measure your statistics, not a detailed one.

And as you can see, rankings DON’T matter because they’re not always accurate, either because the system itself isn’t perfect or because it’s possible to be gamed by the cheaters in the blogosphere. Rankings also can leave a negative impact on advertisers and you – even if you’re doing well your rankings can still be off, leaving a bad impression that’s not your fault.

Real Ways to Judge a Blog’s Success

1. Amount of comments – The comments your blog gets shows how many people are interested in what you write, interested enough to have something to say back. Comments are also a sign of LOYAL readers.

2. RSS subscriber count – This is probably one of the best ways to determine your success. RSS subscribers are those who felt your blog was too good to miss ANY of the content, so they had to make sure to be able to read it daily. A constant growth in subscribers will show you’re doing well.

3. Amount of quality incoming links – When others write articles and link to something else you’ve written to explain something, it means your content is detailed, helpful, and easy to read. When you’re featured in weekly roundups, it also means your posts are of the kind that others like to read.

4. Friends and connections – Having contacts in the blogosphere is important. If you have people you can ask for help when you have a serious blogging problem, or just people that’ll submit your articles to social media sites each week, it shows you’re successful in that aspect.

5. Pageviews and impressions – This is the oldest and most obvious one in the book, but it’s one that shouldn’t be passed by with all of our more detailed and advanced rankings today. The more people you’ve got coming to your blog or site, the better.

It might look like something amazing to achieve if you get high rankings, but don’t let those determine your success. Sit down and think about what you want as a blogger, and if certain rankings don’t apply to you or don’t matter as much, then don’t stress over them. Even if you have low rankings, if you’re achieving what you want as a blogger then you’re doing a perfect job as is. Set your own goals and measure your success in the ways YOU see best fit for your site.

What Do You Think?

Please leave a comment letting us know if you think blog rankings really matter, or if you believe they’re totally useless. Tell us how you mainly measure your success and what kind of goals you set for yourself and your site, if any. I can’t wait to see what you have to say!

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Comments

19 Responses to “Do a Blog’s Rankings Really Matter?”

  1. OldSailor on March 10th, 2008 1:34 am

    There is no point in comparing the ranking of one blog with the other. Blog rankings help to find out whether the blog is having a growth or not. If the rankings go down, as an alarm it helps to analyze the  reasons.

    OldSailor’s last blog post..Plastics are a Threat or No Threat to Marine Environment

  2. ChiQ Montes on March 10th, 2008 3:50 am

    Only because I use them to measure how well or even how terrible I am doing with my site..

  3. Biodun on March 10th, 2008 5:34 am

    To me high rankings indicate success and poor rankings indicate failure. High ranked blog can be a motivation, people who seeing them may be influenced though high rankings do not always equal great achievement of goals.Traffic is more important than ranking, the best way to make a readers come back is to provide quality and appealing content for your blog readers.

    Biodun’s last blog post..How Shared Web Hosting Works

  4. Srini on March 10th, 2008 8:21 am

    There should be a separate ranking system for blogs. :wink:

    Srini’s last blog post..Here is the news that many people are waiting for…………Coverage for Mental Health

  5. Mirjam on March 10th, 2008 10:14 am

    the importance of ranking really depends on what personal goal you have
    with your blog. I have noticed an increase in comments lately, and many
    go way beyond the “great post” or “like your blog” , yet they are
    really helping me to improve things and it is great to get some
    valuable feedback from my readers. So in those lines… I measure the
    “succes” of my blog by the quality of comments I am receiving…
    although I must confess that I love seeing alexa improving ;)

    Mirjam’s last blog post..Thinking about Changing Themes

  6. Manish on March 10th, 2008 10:35 am

    The real way to see a blog true value is through comments and interaction with the readers.You may have 10,000 rss readers but theres no point when they all have subscribed to you but do not read what you say.Also if you are an person who relies two much on stats then you may measure the blog value thorugh page views bounce rate etc.

    Manish’s last blog post..5 easy ways to get started in affiliate marketing

  7. Tay on March 10th, 2008 11:50 pm

    Thanks to everyone for all of your input! I agree with all of the points made in different ways – rankings help determine a blog’s growth, they measure how well you’re doing, high rankings don’t always equal achievement, and it all depends on your own personal goals as well. At time I think blog rankings ARE important and at times I think they AREN’T. Every situation is different, like listed above and like you’ve all shown in the comments so far!

  8. Steven Snell on March 11th, 2008 8:52 pm

    In my opinion they only matter if the blogger wants them to matter. I use rankings as a form of motivation and that’s about it. Other bloggers don’t care about them at all, and if they’re happy doing what they’re doing, I would say that no ranking can tell them they’re not doing good enough.

    Steven Snell’s last blog post..Offline Sources for Design Inspiration

  9. Tay on March 11th, 2008 11:09 pm

    @Steven Snell,

    That’s some great input! And you’re exactly right, no one should let any ranking tell them that they’re not doing good enough. It depends on personal goals. If you’re aiming to be top in the business and make a lot of money, then rankings might matter. But if your blog is for personal reasons or on a personal level, or if that’s not what you want to achieve with it, why should rankings matter?

    I use rankings for motivation as well, and also to set goals and act on them to grow this blog. Thanks for your comment!

  10. Manish on March 12th, 2008 3:42 am

    I agree with Steven, ranking do provide lot of motivation.

  11. Brown Baron on March 13th, 2008 3:11 am

    Smashing post. I was nodding my head the whole time I was reading it. Very nice :)

    Brown Baron’s last blog post..Tab Kit Extension For Firefox

  12. Tay on March 13th, 2008 5:40 am

    @Brown Baron,

    Thanks, that’s great to hear coming from you especially! :)

  13. Barbara Ling (aka Owlbert) on March 13th, 2008 10:10 am

    I agree with Steve – rankings matter if they matter to the personal blogger.   Some people might feel high vertical SERPs placement outweighs other types of ranking (especially is the posts in question are slanted towards making money for the author), while other people might find the broader approach (general viral marketing among people who tell their friends, hey, you have to visit this blog!) is more important.Data points,Barbara (aka Owlbert)

    Barbara Ling (aka Owlbert)’s last blog post..Getting slapped upside the headed courtesy of your pitifully dull blog writing voice

  14. Jazz Club Los Angeles on March 14th, 2008 12:22 am

    Do rankings really matter?I would have to say that writing in a interesting fashion is an art.I would also say that if you worry more about making your blog say the message you want to impart to your readers (art for art’s sake), than your ranking, then the ranking wilol soon have to follow as a matter of course.  James

  15. Mark on March 15th, 2008 2:11 am

    Another well-written post, Tay. The items you list for judging a blog’s success are spot on. I can understand and appreciate what Google has tried to do with their page ranking system, I just don’t think it’s at the level it needs to be for it to be fool-proof. Your ways are much better.

  16. Crystal on March 15th, 2008 9:00 pm

    It will matter when YOU want it to matter.  If you’re monetizing your blog (especially through paid blogging), then PR is the key.  If you’re just building up a community of solid supports, then to heck with rankings, focus on the content!  They say blogging is an easy job, but really, there are so much that we have to do, starting with building traffic, monitoring rank, and making new content at the same time! It’s like managing a one person international firm with some very, very outspoken clients. 

    Crystal’s last blog post..Blogging Money & Traffic – My Experience Part 2

  17. Tay on March 19th, 2008 11:29 pm

    @Barbara,

    You’re right. There are plenty of ways to judge a blog’s success apart from the real “rankings”. Personally, I’d rather have more reader loyalty and higher SERPs than a higher PageRank any day. Thanks for sharing your opinions!

    @James,

    You’re right. Of course for the bloggers looking to make money, blogging as an art might not be their main focus. But if, like you said, you work on making your blog an art and amazing piece to look at, the rankings will follow. Great point!

    @Mark,

    Thanks, I really appreciate it! And I agree, Google’s PageRank definitely isn’t fool-proof and I’m sure it never will be, entirely. Rankings are here for us to get an idea of how well we’re doing, but I think some people go overboard and ONLY focus on them.

    @Crystal,

    Wow, thanks for the excellent comment. I’m monetizing this blog and working to make profits with it, but rankings aren’t all that matter to me. I’d much rather build up a brand and a loyal following first, because readers matter most. I’ve already had my PageRank penalized, anyway. And I also really like what you said about blogging not being an easy job – it seriously isn’t!

  18. Top Dog on March 23rd, 2008 5:10 pm

    i don’t know that alexa ranks matter at all. however i always find myself looking at my alexa toolbar as i land on a site. theres too many examples of people having a site ranked ~600,000 and another ranked ~300,000 and the 600,000 ranked page being the one that gets more traffic. a lot of the alexa ranking system is down to how many people visit the site who use the alexa toolbar i think?

    Top Dog’s last blog post..The invisible rope

  19. Tay on March 24th, 2008 12:00 am

    @Top Dog,

    You’re exactly right – how well an Alexa ranking will do all depends on what niche your site is in. The more people view your site with the toolbar, the better your rank will be. Sites like this one, where most visitors have the Alexa toolbar, do better than dog sites or gardening sites where those users don’t know much about things like that.

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