September 04, 2007

Why My Technorati Ranking Is Slip-Sliding Away

It'd be great if Technorati took a daily snapshot of a blog's influence, and tracked that Authority over time. Rather than a single number to define influence, bloggers could have a six-month or greater graph of their influence as it waxed and waned, or see just how many new links each story gained, with considerable spikiness. Given Technorati's struggles to remain a leader in the face of the Google Blogsearch onslaught, further tweaks to the statistics and tracking models they do best could help gain stickiness and relevancy.

It's no secret that the Technorati Authority ranking system works by tabulating the number of links by unique blogs in the prior six months to your site. Elite blogs can rank in the thousands, while "B-List" bloggers tend to occupy a lower tier, commonly in the 100 to 500 space. But given the tendency of certain stories to get a cluster of links, and those clusters being irregular in timing, it's no surprise that sometimes, one's Technorati Authority can take a steep dive in a matter of days - as a watershed moment or popular post passes the six month point.

Just this Saturday, in my "State of the Blog", I noted my Technorati Authority was 117 - signifying that 117 unique blogs had linked my way in the prior 180 days. By the time I got home from the Cal game late that night, the number had dropped to 108, then 104, and it now sits at 103. While I have attributed previous drops in this ranking to the company's work to eliminate spam blogs that artificially inflated the number, this time it's clear the drop has a lot to do with me, and I can see future drops ahead.

Six months ago, the blog had a serious traffic event when my comments on Google Reader reached Steve Rubel's Micropersuasion, Robert Scoble's Scobleizer, and TechMeme. By the end of the rush, Technorati noted 30 unique "Blog Reactions" to the article. But the article's publication date was March 3rd, a full six months and one day ago now. So, unless each of those blogs linked again to me later, their contribution to the Technorati Authority ranking will be removed, and my count will go down.

This isn't to say that my Technorati Authority hasn't increased in the last six months - for it has, quite a bit. When I first passed 100, I was fairly pleased, but given the spikiness of external hyperlinking, there's no doubt that the count will vacillate upwards and downwards, and at this time, we're headed on the side of gravity.

As the six month window first erases early March links and moves onward to mid-March, and eventually April, I can expect additional bites out my ranking, as I lose the ten external links to my comments on Google's Earth Day logo, made on April 22nd, and the ten others I gained from the aforementioned Technorati Spam Blogs story from late March.

Not only will I be losing those spikes in linkage from the "six months ago" window, but even in that short time, the world of blogging has changed considerably. Even since this spring, the rise of microblogging with Twitter, moves to Facebook, and reliance on bookmark harvesters like or Google Reader shared links will drive down the amount of external linkings from the general blogosphere.

I also believe that we're seeing an incredible amount of clique-like behavior among similarly themed blogs (something I'm guilty of as well). Those who find similar blogs to theirs get comfortable and link to one another, or rely solely on RSS feeds for all news, not stepping out to see what others are saying. Yet, if I continue to simply link to known quantities like ParisLemon, Webomatica, WinExtra and Kent Newsome, I won't be helping their Technorati Authority or their mindshare any more than my own. Instead, I'll just be extending the cycle.