Understanding Google PageRank, Alexa Rating and Klout
After your first few weeks or months of blogging, you probably started hearing people talk about their PageRank or Alexa Ranking or Klout Score. It can seem a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what they all mean, if low or high numbers are good, if you REALLY need to worry about the numbers and what if anything you can do to improve them.
This post will cover the basics of each so you can figure out if its a statistic you need to worry about or not.
Google PageRank (aka PageRank, PR or Google PR)
What Is it?
Google uses mathematical algorithms to determine how to rank different websites in the search results. PageRank or the score given to websites to show the value or importance of the website. Google does not publish the specific rankings of each site which may have decimal points or use a larger scale but they do allow us to see a round number between 0-10 which lets us see how we are doing. Google changes how it ranks sites regularly so your PR will not always be the same. The point of it is to try to return more accurate and trustworthy sites when you search for something instead of a bunch of spammy, low-quality sites.
How Do I Find It? Is it Important?
You can check your PageRank at http://prchecker.info . Enter your main url and the security code and submit. New websites and blogs are given no ranking at first. Once it’s been around long enough to determine a ranking, a ranking between 0-10 will be given. The higher your PR, the better. Most blogs tend to be between 2-4 from what I’ve seen. It’s very hard to get a ranking higher than 4.
How important PR is to you depends on what your blog is for. If it’s an online diary meant for friends and family, then it doesn’t matter how well you rank in the search engines. However if you want to reach a larger crowd, have new visitors to your site and/or monetize, it’s pretty important. You can still rank in other search engines regardless of your PageRank but Google is the most widely used search engine in the world.
How Can I Improve It?
The main consideration that goes into your ranking is the number of sites linking in. However it’s more complex than that as the quality of the sites linking in is looked at as well as how well you link to yourself through your pages. For example a link to your site from a site with a PR 4 looks better than a link from a site PR 1.
A good start would be to guest post on other people’s blogs as they usually let you include an author bio with a link to your blog. Some bloggers do round up posts or other posts where they ask the bloggers they know a question or if they have a post on a certain topic. Then in their post they post your answer with a link to your blog, or a link to your related post. Participating in blogger groups will up your chances of seeing when requests for these come in. What you don’t want to do is mass email bloggers asking if they will put a link to your blog in their blog roll or leaving a link to your blog in every comment you make.
Dofollow VS. Nofollow
Okay I have to cover this with a talk about Google PageRank. A link that is set to dofollow counts towards PageRank. If I link to your blog and it’s a dofollow link, I pass a little bit of my PageRank to you and it counts as a link to your site for PageRank. If I make it nofollow (by adding a little code to the html) it will not count towards your PageRank. Google does not want people to pay others money to link to their sites so they can up their PageRank as this defeats the purpose of it. So if you receive money for a post (sponsored post) or get a review item in return for a post, when you link to the company it should be nofollow so you are not passing your PageRank to their site when they sent you money or a product. You can find out more in this past mini challenge from Life as Leels.
What Is It?
Alexa gives a ranking to sites compared to other sites over a 3 month period. The rank is calculated from estimated average daily unique visitors and estimated number of pageviews over the past 3 months. The site with the highest combo is #1. Alexa rankings change daily. In the case of Alexa, lower is better. Alexa tracks this information from users who use the Alexa toolbar. Using the toolbar allows Alexa to give “points” to each site you visit, helping to lower their Alexa.
What Is My Alexa Ranking?
You can check your Alexa ranking by visiting Alexa and typing in your url. You will notice you are given a global rating (the first number) followed by a country specific rating (the country the website resides in.) In the case of this website, as of the day I checked, my Alexa ranking was 84,947 and in Canada it was 5,936
For most blogs, it’s generally considered than anything below 500,000 is good and anything below 100,000 is GREAT! Of course not everyone can have a low ranking because it’s all relative to all the other websites and blogs. So every time someone gets below 100,000, someone else had to go above it.
Note that if you are on Blogger and don’t have your own domain, because of the way they change the end of the url depending on the country you are in, you have more than on Alexa ranking. For example If I visit myblog.blogspot.com here in Canada, it shows myblog.blogspot.ca If someone in Australia visits it, it would look like myblog.blogspot.com.au. Each ending has a different Alexa ranking.
Should I Care About My Alexa?
That depends. For bloggers who work with companies on reviews and giveaways or sponsored posts and advertising, SOME of the companies and PR care about your Alexa. However many do not. Most people are realizing that while it can give you a basic idea of a site’s traffic rating, it’s not a truly accurate representation as it only measures those who HAVE a toolbar installed.
I would take note of it every once in a while and if it’s high, work on promoting your blog to bring in new readers but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If you install the toolbar on all your computers, you can help yours and any other blogger’s site you visit without any extra work on your part. Don’t obsess on the number though. If a company asks for a specific Alexa and you don’t meet that minimum, contact them back anyways and stress your other stats and what you can do for the company. If they choose to stick by their rules, don’t worry about it. More and more companies are figuring out that Alexa isn’t everything.
To find out more on Alexa, see this past mini challenge from Rachel Cotterill.
What the Klout?
I’ll cover just the basics here.
What IS Klout?
Klout was designed as a way to measure influence of a specific person, as opposed to a specific website. It looks at the number of followers you have on some of your social media platforms as well as the interaction you get (retweets, likes, shares etc.) The result is a score from 0-100 that is supposed to show how influential you are.
The average of all Klout profiles is 20 while most bloggers seem to be between 30-60. It is much harder to move from a 50 to a 60 than it is to move from a 20 to a 30. (It’s not just increments of 10, your score can be 42 or 23 or 55 for example.) Your Klout score is actually a number with 2 decimal points (like 42.80) and that number changes daily. Klout takes that number and gives you a rounded number with no decimal points for your score.
What is My Klout Score?
Unlike with Alexa and PageRank, to find our Klout Score you will need to signup or login to Klout. You can signup/login with Facebook or Twitter so you must have one of those accounts to have a Klout score. It is possible to see your Klout score without signing up. You would have to download a plugin for your browser that allows you to see Klout scores when you visit Twitter. Then you could look at your own tweets to see the score. But if you want to see more than just the number, you will have to sign in to Klout.
Is My Klout Score Important?
It depends on who you ask but no, not really. A few companies have asked for my Klout score but not many. If your score is below 40, you may want to work on increasing engagement on Twitter and Facebook at least but don’t obsessively check your score or spend all of your time trying to increase it. If you don’t work with companies, then it matters even less.
The MAIN perk of your Klout score is called just that, Perks. Whether you have a blog or not, if you have a good Klout score, you can be eligible for perks. Klout will send you an email when one is available to you (unless you have notifications for them turned off.) It might say for example that Canadians with a score over 30 can get a free bottle of shampoo. Or US users with a score over 50 can get some other new product. If you are interested, they send you the product in the hopes that you will try it out and talk about what you think on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t HAVE to but that’s the hope. I enjoy my Klout Perks.