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How Do We Measure The Importance Of A Blog?

When we talk about judging the importance of a blog, there’s usually a clash of semantics. Some people look at the ‘value’ of a blog (how much a blog is worth), others look at how popular / influential the blog is in its niche and overall in the blogosphere (authority).

If you’re looking to place a dollar value on your blog, read this blog valuation article on Performancing. However, for SEO purposes (or if you want to rank blogs in a blog directory, as we’ve done here at EatonWeb) you’d be better off finding the authority of a blog.

There are many different scales that people use to measure a blog’s importance – Traffic, RSS Subscribers, Search Rankings, etc. Unfortunately for a blog directory, we don’t always have access to this hard data and as a result we have to rely on third-party metrics to do the job.

So which 3rd party metrics can we use? PageRank is widely discredited, and Alexa stats are wildly skewed in favor of tech-related sites. It’s not that hard to fake RSS numbers (although you’d have to be particularly desperate to do so), and Technorati, while being again skewed towards the linkerati as opposed to a more representative sample of web users, also has its share of glitches.

The approach many people have used is to combine a host of metrics and use them to arrive at an aggregated score. For example, SEOMoz’s Page Strength tool factors in linkage data from Yahoo Site Explorer with directory listings in Dmoz and mentions in Wikipedia, amongst other things, in order to arrive at a score out of 10 (like PageRank). This is ‘good enough’ but if you want to compare two blogs with similar scores, it’s a poor measure. Using a larger scale (out of 100) allows you to compare site differences better but the question still remains:

Which metrics are the most important?

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10 Ways To Improve The Traditional Directory Model

In case you’re wondering what this is about, read my introduction here.

There are 3 reasons why SEOs disregard most directory links:

  • Most directories are ‘general-purpose’, so there’s little value (as compared to a link from on-topic site).
  • Few directories get much love from Google, mainly because they themselves don’t have a ‘trusted’ link profile (in other words, few quality links and fewer ‘in-context’ links).
  • Directory links are basically link lists which are valued lower than links from within a full-page article.

In short, webmasters shun directories because links from them deliver little value (apart from a few well-ranked exceptions such as the Yahoo Directory, ODP, BOTW and Business.com).

So how do we improve the traditional directory model? Here are some ideas:

1. One Page per Site

Each approved website should have its own page – this is the basic foundation of revamping the directory model because every other improvement stems from this step.

A dedicated page allows you to add far more information about a website than you could on just a page of links – information about the site, about the site owner, about the audience, and if you wish, information pulled from various 3rd party metrics such as Technorati and Alexa.

2. Go Niche

Instead of trying to build the next ODP, build the first ODP of a single niche (say, soccer blogs or celebrity blogs). The best way to build trust is to conquer a niche first and get people in your niche (not just readers but webmasters) to recognize your directory as the primary source of information on websites in your niche.

3. Detailed Site Reviews

Just putting up a link and a few words to describe the site isn’t going to help either your directory or the site you’re linking to. Describe the site in detail (i.e. audience, topic, history, any media recognition, status in the niche, etc.) and if necessary, get in touch with the site owners and send them a short interview request / questionnaire. When it comes to free website publicity, most site owners are willing to bend over backwards to cooperate – especially when it means talking about their own work.

4. Use Site Intros on Category Pages

You still need the category pages to show site listings, so to increase their value, add a 100 word introduction to that site below each link. More content (and especially relevant content) will give your category pages a better chance of ranking well in the search engines and this will help all the sites listed in your directory.

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Why EatonWeb?

When we started redesigning EatonWeb, our goal was to bring directories and directory submission out of the dark ages.

Any decent SEO knows that by and large, directory submission has fallen out of favor. But why? There’s a simple reason. Most directories don’t contribute anything to the web. Most directories are link farms.

So how could we be different? Well, we went the virtual whiteboard and brainstormed and came to the conclusion that a successful directory needs to matter. A successful directory needs to contain useful information. It needs to separate out the wheat from chaff, so to speak.

From the very beginning we were determined to build a directory that measures various blog attributes that are indicators of quality. We settled on establishing 2 primary blog metrics: one that measures a blog’s strength and one that measure’s a blog’s momentum over time. Then we pull the two of these metrics together for an overall score.

For us, measuring a blog’s strength was not sufficient. After all, a blog with lots of backlinks and technorati references might be stagnant, or losing ground, but still appear “strong” – so measuring a site’s strength across time (it’s momentum) became our goal, and we hope that this metric becomes our trademark.

So why is the EatonWeb blog directory different? Because EatonWeb matters. EatonWeb lists the best sites first, and lesser sites last. So if you’re looking for the best celebrity blogs, we show you the strongest and also the fastest growing.

So why does this matter? Imagine that you’re an advertiser looking to advertise on celebrity blogs. One thing you could do with EatonWeb is look for celebrity blogs that are either strong, increasing in strength, or, a combination of both.

EatonWeb matters because it organizes its data according to the measured quality of a blog. So you can be sure that when you’re looking for the best blogs in any given subject, EatonWeb gives you the data you’re looking for.

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