June 05, 2008

Blog Rankings: Is Wikio More Accurate than Technorati?

Technorati is the world's most popular blog aggregation and ranking system. Selected as one of Time Magazines 25 sites we can't live without, it is probably the first site which comes to mind when referencing how well our blogs compare with others.

Wikio on the other hand is a relatively new site. A European based news and blog aggregator, Wikio began ranking the top 300 blogs late last year, and currently tracks around 37,000 blogs (compared to the millions tracked by Technorati).

There are significant differences in the ways Technorati and Wikio compile their rankings and this makes me wonder: which of these two sites rank blogs more accurately?

I discovered Wikio's Top Blogs lists quite recently while researching the most popular Blogger powered blogs. While many of the sites featured in the overall list are familiar, I was intrigued to see that Wikio also ranks blogs according to category, such as Technology, Food and Wine, Politics and Music.

The concept I find most interesting about Wikio's blog ranking system is that only links within blog posts contribute towards a blog's authority and rank.

Technorati offers two forms of blog ranking:

  • Authority: This is the number of unique blogs which link back to your blog (the higher your blog's authority, the better!). If the same blog links to yours ten times, only the most recent link will count towards your blog's authority.
  • Rank: The number one ranked blog is the one which has generated the most unique links (the greatest authority) over the past six months. Your blog rank may not be unique: for example, if your Technorati rank is 10,043 there are 10,043 ranks between you and the top ranking blog, and other blogs may share the same authority as yours. The lower the number of your Technorati rank, the closer you are to the top.

With Technorati, any form of link can pass "link love" to your blog: this means links in posts, links in blogrolls and any other links present in the blog template.

Because Technorati tracks all types of "blog reactions", it's ranking system can easily be gamed.

Technorati's Flawed Algorithm

According to Patrick Altoft, there are four major methods of manipulating Technorati rank:

  1. Create a popular plugin
  2. Exchange links
  3. Create popular blogging software
  4. Design a popular blog theme

Each of these methods generates "artificial" backlinks to the author's blog: rather than be editorial (deliberately created by the blog editor to reference another's writings, authority or newsworthiness), these links may be present in the blog layout or blogroll, but not within blog posts.

Blogs which have used any of these methods to generate backlinks or awareness of their product are then manually removed from the Technorati Top 100 list.

Jackbook, for example, should rank at number 43 in the top 100 list:

But when we look where Jackbook.com should feature in the top 100 list, Jacky's listing is nowhere to be seen...

Other sites to be banned from the Top 100 list include Blogger-Templates, Binary Moon and even John Chow!

Does this mean Wikio's algorithm is a more reliable method of ranking blogs?

Wikio's Top Blogs List is Not Without its Faults...

Wikio ranks according to the number of incoming links from other blogs which are found within articles. Using this system is a much more reliable method of determining authority as such links are rarely bought, and are not generated by plugins, widgets and templates.

Although I prefer Wikio's system of ranking, I think there are still a few drawbacks to this system:

  • Only a fraction of the actual number of blogs are tracked, meaning those which are included in Wikio's database may rank much more highly than they relatively should.
  • Rankings are only updated once per month, whereas Technorati updates rankings several times per day.
  • Wikio is a much younger system, and has yet to achieve the popularity (and recognition) held by Technorati.

Wikio's categorical blog rankings do serve the general blogosphere more accurately than Technorati (which seems rather biased towards technology based sites), but as there are few categories (and fewer blogs listed in the database), there is still much which can be improved upon.

What do you think?

Have you explored Wikio to see which blogs rank highly in your chosen niche? How do you think this system compares to Technorati as a means of ranking blogs?

I'd love to know your opinions on which system ranks blogs more fairly, if indeed you think that blogs should be ranked at all!

Please share your opinions by leaving a comment below.

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