This is Part 7 in our series “How To Make Money From Your Blog”.
Google PageRank and AlexaRank are two ways of measuring the popularity of your website.
PageRank is what enabled Google to become the #1 search engine and be thrust into the limelight. In essence, each website is ranked on a scale of 0 to 10 based on a certain number of factors, mainly how important the sites are that are linked to that site. Google says:
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important”.
Simply, the higher the PageRank of your site, the more incoming links you have from higher ranked (relevant) websites (with useful keywords), and the “better” your site is performing. However PageRank is only updated about once every three monts, so is often an unreliable method.
Alexa is a website that, among other things, tries to measure the amount of traffic a site receives by gathering data from the Alexa toolbar that a lot of people have installed. It’s a combined measure of the reach of a website (number of users) and page views.
Entrepreneurs-Journey does a great job of explaining AlexaRank.
SearchStatus Firefox Extension
SearchStatus is an extension for Firefox (and Mozilla) that provides useful information about the site you’re visiting and your own sites:
For every site you visit using, SearchStatus lets you view its Google PageRank, Google Category, Alexa popularity ranking, Alexa incoming links, Alexa related links and backward links from Google, Yahoo! and MSN. This combined search-related information means you can view not only the link importance of a site (according to Google), but also its traffic importance (according to Alexa), so providing a balanced view of site efficacy.
The two little ranking bars (above) provide a snapshot of a site’s importance, but with dubious accuracy (the toolbar is accurate, whether PageRank and AlexaRank are is a different matter). Much more information can be gathered using the context menu (below), with backward links always being interesting.
Overall, whilst these tools are useful and interesting, they shouldn’t be taken as gospel. Your own server stats are usually much more interesting especially in conjunction with an analytics package (such as the free Google Analytics).