Friday, June 15, 2007

The State of the Art: Technorati's "Authority"

Technorati has bumped up the importance of "authority" in ranking blogs, and Technorati users want to know what it's all about. So where do they turn? Technorati, naturally. Look at this afternoon's top searches:

Unfortunately, "authority" is a word people use all the time in other contexts, so it's impossible to find posts that actually discuss the concept.

So consider this an experiment in search engineering. This post is actually about that concept of authority which Technorati users want to know about. I'll be watching it to see if it surfaces, and if so, how.

Here's what you need to know about Technorati's "authority" rankings:

On Fri. May 4th, we updated to include the Technorati Authority for blogs listed on the Blog page and in search results. This update changed the earlier references of "N blogs link here" and "X links from Y blogs" with the single Technorati Authority number. On the blog page, we also show the Technorati Rank.

Technorati Authority is the number of blogs linking to a website in the last six months. The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has.

It is important to note that we measure the number of blogs, rather than the number of links. So, if a blog links to your blog many times, it still only count as +1 toward your authority. Of course, new links mean the +1 will last another 180 days.

Technorati Rank is calculated based on how far you are from the top. The blog with the hightest Technorati Authority is the #1 ranked blog. The smaller your Technorati Rank, the closer you are to the top.

Since at the lower end of the scale many blogs will have the same Technorati Authority, they will share the same Technorati Rank.

The Technorati Top 100 shows the most popular 100 blogs based on Technorati Authority. The #1 ranked blog is the blog with the most other distinct blogs linking to it in the last 6 months. If your blog's rank is, say 305,316, this indicates that there are 305,315 blog ranks separating your blog from the #1 position.

The best way to increase your Technorati Authority is to write things that are interesting to other bloggers so they'll link to you. Linking to source material when you blog is also a great way to engage in conversation and help others find what you find interesting.

This is why getting linked from another blog's home page is so much better than being linked from within a post. The post expires in Technorati's 180-day calendar; the home page link is perpetually fresh.

Many bloggers who should be attending to their blogs spend as much time checking on their Technorati as on site statistics that deal in harder forms of data like hits, unique visitors, or bounce rates, and which are far more useful guides to readership. And that's the genius of Technorati's ranking system. Since there is no way of knowing how many blogs share your blog's authority level, there is no way of knowing how many blogs share your numerical rank. A blog ranked at 50,000 could actually be 1,000 or 1,000,000 blogs away from being ranked 49,999; likewise, there could be 5,000,000 or 50,000,000 blogs more popular. There's no way to tell.

Would we accept this sort of fuzzy math in any other area of our lives?



Robert Seidman said...

I don't know who you are, but i iove, love, love how you experiment. I have been conducting similar experiments (though with different things than 'authority')

Indeed, the specific search that landed me on your page was: "how do i increase my authority in technorati search".

I don't know what what your authority was pre-post, you had the highest authority on THAT search...

Jeremiah McNichols said...

The experiment bombed. For some ridiculous reason Technorati has removed the ability for searches to be filtered by authority even as it has bumped up its official importance; you used to be able to narrow searches according to how much authority blogs should have to show up in your results, but no more. This is a truly absurd development.

Between you, me, and the lamppost, Technorati is going down. They rely massively on window-shopper traffic that finds them through Google searches, and sooner or later Google is going to enforce its own policies of not linking to further searches (they like to link directly to actual content), Technorati is going to disappear from Google search, its pagerank is going to tank, and the well is going to dry up very fast. You didn't hear it here.

I hereby bestow upon you an Authority of 1. What a great blog.