Do Blog Rankings Matter?

There are a lot of different ranking systems currently being used for blogs. Google’s PageRank has been the subject of more than its share of blog discussions recently. In addition to PageRank, there’s always Technorati and Alexa rankings, and recently IZEA (the parent company of PayPerPost) has decided to move away from PageRank and create its own RealRank. (For information on RealRank, see Courtney Tuttle’s Real Rank Doesn’t Solve Anything for Bloggers.

Other ranking systems have been developed by individuals for specific blogging niches. Mark at 45n5 has created a lot of buzz and plenty of inbound links with his list of the Top 100 Make Money Online Blogs, and Marco Richter has created a similar list of the top blogs about blogging. Many blogs being sold recently have used rankings as a selling point to potential buyers.

Personally, I don’t think any of these rankings have that much significance, but aside from PageRank and RealRank I do check them regularly. Although I don’t think high rankings indicate success or poor rankings indicate failure, I am motivated by rankings and it gives me a clear indication that I’m moving forward. This evidence of growth (along with subscriber counts) helps to keep me going.

I know some of you are a part of the 45n5 rankings and/or Marco Richter’s list, and all blogs can be tracked by Technorati rank and Alexa rank. What impact do these rankings have on you?

My Thoughts on Blog Rankings:

1. Don’t let others (including me) tell you what is important and what determines your success. Your success is measured against whatever it is that you set out to achieve. If you have poor rankings but are accomplishing what you want as a blogger, don’t be discouraged.

2. Find some type of measurement or ranking that is relevant to you and use it as motivation. Especially if you’re a naturally competitive person, rankings can be really helpful.

3. Don’t worry about rankings that don’t affect you.
If you’re not selling ads, why does PageRank matter? Likewise, if you’re selling products or services from your blog, aren’t sales a more valid measurement than your Technorati rank?

4. Rankings can help to indicate if you are achieving your goals, but high rankings themselves should not be your primary goals. If you are trying to grow your blog’s audience (and who isn’t), increasing rankings can indicate that you’re on the right path, but ultimately there are other things that are more important than your rankings.


Why Rankings Matter:

1. They are based on statistics and are intended to be factual representations.

2. People who see them may be influenced. Example, the top blogs on 45n5’s list have gained a lot of targeted readers that know they are an authority on the subject.

3. Motivation.

4. Blog sales and advertising revenue can be influenced by rankings.

Why Rankings Don’t Matter:

1. They can be manipulated. Example, link trains that are created primarily to game Technorati’s ranking system.

2. High rankings don’t always equal achievement of goals.

3. Ranking systems may be flawed.

What are your thoughts on rankings and how do they impact you?

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31 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Ad Tracker, November 28, 2007

    Another great post. How do you have time to get any real work done?

    I think rankings of any kind are totaly useless for 98% of bloggers other than as a score card. Most of us don’t, and aren’t going to, make any real money blogging, so we need a yardstick to measure ourselves.

    We need to mark our own personal progress and, perhaps more importantly, we need to have a way to compare ourselves to others to satisfy or spur the competetive spirit.

    Like you said ;)

  • Vandelay Design, November 28, 2007

    Hey Ad Tracker. Thanks for your response. I agree that they are mostly useless, but I can’t help but look at them at least every now and then.

  • Dustin Coates, November 28, 2007

    I more or less agree with you and with Ad Tracker. Rankings are a decent benchmark, but there are much more important things, as in whether you have visitors who are coming back regularly, interacting with you and other visitors, and buying your product or clicking your ads (if that’s what you’re after).

    With that said, rankings surely help and so shouldn’t be disregarded, in my opinion. But they shouldn’t be the only goal, as you said.

    Good post again, as always.

  • Vandelay Design, November 28, 2007

    Hi Dustin,
    Thanks for your feedback. I think what you said is important – they shouldn’t be the only goal. All of the other things you listed are very valid goals and measuring sticks for blog success. Personally, I tend to emphasize subscriber numbers and involvement from readers. So thanks for being involved!

  • list building, November 28, 2007

    After reading this post and the other comments, I felt compelled to add my 2 cents to this whole issue of whether or not blog ranking is important or not.

    My experience from my own blogs show that blog rankings is not necessary to getting a bunch of recurring visitors and readers to your blog. I currently have a sudoku blog, with NO blog rankings at all, and I still get a bunch of visitors every single day to this blog.

    So we shouldn’t put all of our blogging hopes into one thing, or we shouldn’t put all of our eggs in the bag of blog rankings.

    Blog rankings do help….but if you don’t have a decent blog ranking then……

    So What!

    The most important thing you can do as a blogger is provide quality and appealing content for your blog readers. If you provide the good content, the readers will definitely come.

    That’s just my 2 cents on this whole issue.

  • david, November 28, 2007

    Traffic is much more important than ranking.

  • Patrick Altoft, November 29, 2007

    The 45n5 list sends me between 5 and 10 targeted visitors every day. For that alone it has value.

  • Psyked, November 29, 2007

    “If you’re not selling ads, why does PageRank matter?” – why doesn’t it matter? I know they’re both Google ranks, but I never thought that they actually mattered to each other?

  • Wayne Liew, November 29, 2007

    There’s so many ranks out there for us to pursue and some just gave up blogging along the way because they are just too influenced by the numbers.

    I would say the best measurement is the stats of a blog (is it?) since a good counter like Google Analytics will show nearly everything about your readers. Of course, incoming links are not included but what is important is where are the places that your link is capable of bringing in traffic.

  • Matthew Griffin, November 29, 2007

    I think one of the most important point that was made is that many times rankings are manipulated. It’s important to resist the temptation to use unethical tactics to get better stats. Dedicate yourself to being a great writer and be consistent in your promotion and the numbers will come.

  • Ruchir, November 29, 2007

    Yeah, like you I too see rankings more of a motivation. Although rankings can be misleading, depending on your niche, most rankings are a pretty accurate measure of a blog’s success (assuming you haven’t gamed it). Even though I have small goals each month such as increasing Technorati rank, I only really care about the Subscriber count and the money…

  • Mahesh, November 29, 2007

    Technorati is usually down most of the times,even if you do ping it everyday it ‘ll dont get your stat properly.Why our success is dependent on such service?

    Again if the content is good on our blog,what Alexa can measure ?
    Back links or Feed subscriber?

  • adam, November 29, 2007

    Thanks for this post, I can’t help but check the ranking services when looking at competitors or just want to compare my own stats to that of friends ;)

  • Maya Norton, November 29, 2007

    Great post: tight, articulate, relevant, useful. Thank you for it.

    Maya Norton

    The New Jew: Blogging Jewish Philanthropy

  • Vandelay Design, November 29, 2007

    List Building,
    Thanks for your response. I agree. If you’re accomplishing what you want without rankings, who cares.

    Patrick,
    I think I get about the same. Certainly no complaints about that traffic. And when they arrive at your blog they look at you with a little more credibility than the average blog.

    Psyked,
    I’m not really sure what your question is. Having a high PR can help you to make more money when selling ads, but if you’re not selling ads (or if your ads have nofollow tags) the point is irrelevant.

    Wayne,
    I agree with you to an extent. But what if you’re getting a lot of traffic, but they’re leaving right away and not coming back? That traffic probably doesn’t mean a whole lot in my opinion.

  • Steve, November 30, 2007

    That is a great article. I really don’t pay attention to the rankings anyways. It is all about expressing yourself.

  • Chris, November 30, 2007

    I agree with your article, Rankings are really only relevant because we make them relevant. We put so much stock in what our PR is and our competitors that we have created the number’s importance. Excellent view and point thanks for teaching me a new way of looking at things.

  • Ken Liang, November 30, 2007

    Slightly off the topic, I was wondering how much time do you normally spend on marketing this site/blog each day?

    Do you think submitting to directories is worth the time?

    Ken

  • pelf, November 30, 2007

    I have long disregarded what Grandma Google wants to do with my PR because I have found satisfaction on my personal blog. I am interacting with my commentators, and they have begun to respond more to my posts, which I think it a kind of success :D

  • Vandelay Design, December 1, 2007

    Pelf,
    I’m glad that you realize that your success isn’t measured by PR.

    Ken,
    The amount of time I spent each day really varies. I don’t really spend that much time directly marketing the site. I spend time writing, reading other blogs/sites and using social media.

    Chris,
    Thanks for your feedback. I’m glad it helped.

    Steve,
    If expressing yourself is the goal, rankings are absolutely not a measure of your success. Thanks.

  • wkhaiaun, December 1, 2007

    Nothing but agree. Without ranking I would not have known how to track the performance and everything. The tips really come in handy.

  • Contamination, December 3, 2007

    I can’t help but agree with this post.

    While it’s nice to have some kind of arbitrary score devised by some company and calculated by a computer, there’s no better “score” than the feeling I get when I am interacting with my readers.

    I live for comments.

  • Vandelay Design, December 3, 2007

    Contamination,
    Comments are definitely important. Thanks for leaving one here!

  • dave @ Seo blog, December 4, 2007

    I need to agree with most of the comments here, blog rankings are not really important but I can imagen if you’re an seo company and your blog is a PR1-3 after 1-2 years, it’s not really a good ‘advertising’ because people who don’t know anything about seo all know the green indicator :) So if they see your blog or site with a PR3, you can’t be that good…

    dave

  • Biodun, March 10, 2008

    Ranking does not matter, it may make a loss of motivation, if couldn’t reach the desired goal, even with hard working there by losing self- esteem.
    What really matters is the number of comments your blog gets, it shows how people are interested in what you write, and could give a feedback.

  • Gazikent, November 10, 2008

    Traffic is much more important than ranking.

  • Your Friend, December 1, 2008

    I agree whole-heartedly! Rankings do not mean anything unless it is helping you meet your bottom line. Are you selling what you want to sell? Are you getting people to click on links and go where you want them to go? Are people leaving comments? Is your blog active or are you getting clicks from those who are not interested in what they find once they arrive?

    I really do think, though, that high rankings of some sort make people check your blog out. When one of my blogs was announced on as one of the Growing WordPress Blogs my traffic increased. People suddenly respected me and my talents. It was a huge deal to me because I only had the blog for 3 months before being bestowed with this honor and there were only 100 on the list and the previous month there were over one million WordPress blogs. People took notice for a little bit. Then things settled down a bit, but some regulars continued to come back on a regular basis.

    It is so refreshing to hear someone say what I have often thought, “Do rankings really matter?”

  • Arju, August 6, 2009

    I had google page rank 4 for my site. But after I started review inside my blog it reduced my page rank 0.

    Can anybody tell me why this is?