I was involved in an Econsultancy Round Table session recently and amongst many very interesting topics discussed was (of course) the perennial conundrum of PR measurement. During the discussion a number of people commented on how they no longer placed any reliance on, or used, Technorati since it had changed how blog authority and rank were calculated. So I thought I would see if I could get to grips with it.
In the past, Technorati’s authority score for a blog represented a count of the number of different sites that had linked to a particular blog in the preceding six months. Until the summer of 2008 this count included links where blogs appeared in blogrolls. These were removed from the calculations at that time, as they were identified as being too slow to change. Basically people’s housekeeping in connection with blogrolls was identified as being less than real time – to say the least I suspect!
The rank of a blog then represented how many blogs had a greater authority score i.e. more different inbound links than the selected blog.
The new measurements from October 2009 are less transparent but arguably more valid and useful. According to Technorati, authority is now based on a site’s linking behavior, categorization and other associated data over a short, finite period of time. This results in a score out of 1,000, with a higher score indicating greater authority. The advantages of this approach are that it is less easy for people to manufacture authority by creating fake links, plus the ratings are more dynamic, reflecting the extent to which individual blogs are the source of conversation.
They have also introduced a second authority score when viewing blogs through the Blog Directory feature that relates to a blogs relative authority within the sector or sub sector that it is classified in. For example if you want to know the blogs with a small business focus that Technorati thinks have the most authority on the subject then you can see a list here. In this case the Online Marketing Blog is assessed at having quite a bit more authority (961) within the small business blogs than the second ranked blog is this sector, Social Media Today (871). This is despite their overall authority scores being 614 and 689 respectively. Indicating that though SMT has more authority generally, Online Marketing Blog is considered to be more influential within the small business sector.
This is an interesting, and I would suggest, very useful change as it is relative and relevant authority that matters when assessing the importance of different sites not an absolute measure. We take the same approach to ranking sites at RealWire when calculating our RealWire Influence Rating for coverage achieved. If you don’t take this relative/relevant approach then you will always end up saying that the most influential sites are ones in the biggest communities e.g. Tech, but that is obviously not appropriate if you were trying to assess which sites were influential to, say, the fashion sector.
You can also see those blogs that are rising and falling the most within that sub sector on the right hand side of the same page.
I reckon these changes mean that it is easier to find key blogs that are relevant to you and those that are becoming more and less influential over time. And no this isn’t just because my blog now appears in the top 20k! What do others think?