Popularity: How do you measure it?

Popularity – How do You measure it?

I haven’t been very active in the Indian Blogosphere and so missed the entire discussion over Kiruba being the No. 1 blogger in India (according to Blogstreet).

Patrix has expressed his opinion on Popularity in the Indian Blogosphere. He goes on to list several Indian blogs (including mine) according to their Technorati Ranking.

His post did get me thinking.

Popularity can be defined as the quality of being widely admired or accepted or sought after.

But, how does this translate in the WWW? How do we measure popularity? What are the various methods today? Are they reliable?

Popularity: How do you measure it?


Today, a lot of methods exist for measuring popularity. One, like Patrix pointed out is, to use Technorati’s Ranking.

My Technorati Rank as on Aug 11, 2006

Technorati ranks blogs based on the number of incoming links. This rank is updated several times a day and only considers active links from the past six months. As of today, Technorati tracks around 50.9 million blogs!
A point to note is that the incoming links don’t just belong to posts or blogrolls, but also from credit lines (e.g. like that of my Connections Reloaded Theme).


Another method of gauging popularity is Alexa Traffic Rank.

Alexa’s ranking system has been online from as far as i can remember! Alexa computes traffic rankings by analyzing the Web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users. They have a page detailing the process.

This is a stark difference from that of Technorati. Having a higher traffic rank is a more accurate sign of your sites popularity because it measures the number of users actually visiting your site.
However, Alexa ranks can be slightly inaccurate because it depends on users of their toolbar.


Top Sites are often used to compare the popularity of blogs wrt one another. There are way too many top sites run by way too many people. A few well known ones are Blog Top Sites, Top100 Bloggers, RankingBlogs.com and Indian Bloggers.

While Top100 rates people on the number of votes they receive or the number of users visiting Top100 from the blog (which in my opinion is an highly inaccurate method of rating), the other three rate the blogs solely on the basis of unique visitors (i.e. traffic) which is how it should be!

Feed Subscriptions

A good way of ascertaining popularity is by looking at the number of feed subscriptions. e.g. Feedburner gives you buttons that let you display the number of subscribers to your feed.
This, however can’t be a sure-shot method because you may have a lot of subscribers but no readers. Yet again, this doesn’t track the actual traffic that the site receives.
Additionally, it only tracks those who have signed up for the service and put the code on their site.

No. of Comments

Visitor interactivity in terms of number of comments that the posts receive is another way to find out how popular a blog is. This can also be further used to determining visitor loyalty to understand how many repeat commenters are present.

And yet again, this isn’t the best way, because you could have a lot of visitors who love reading your blog but would not want to comment on it.

To conclude there are several ways to determine blog popularity.
However, all of these methods may not give the same results. So which method should we actually adopt?

Give me your opinion.

Which method would you use from the above?
Do you have still another way of measuring blog popularity?
Or have do you believe that since your blog is personal, you don’t really care about how popular it is?

Join the discussion below or blog about your opinion. And do remember to digg it.

And just a note to us Indian Bloggers. Let’s quit the squabble about who is No. 1 in the Indian blogosphere and look beyond. There is a whole world of bloggers out there.

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8 thoughts on “Popularity – How do You measure it?

  1. Technorati keeps track of a lot of blogs…but how many of them are spam blogs that ride the backs of legitimate sites? Don’t have a clue, myself, just posing the question.

    It’s all about our egos, right? Who wouldn’t want to be in the Top 100 sites? I am registered with Technorati, but rarely do I utilize it in any way. I don’t even remember my account password!

    I think that the number of social bookmarking and rating and ranking tools has gone way overboard, and as a result, the true measure of blog popularity is so diluted as to be meaningless.

  2. My only problem with hits or page views is the number of inane Google searches that lead to our blog. Such readers hardly stick and do not even stay on our blog for more than few seconds. For e.g. DesiPundit gets tons of hits from people searching for ‘desi babes’ purely due to one post that I linked long time back.

    Also, longer the blog has existed, more the content (assuming, of course, regular updates) hence more material for Google searches. So I assume this isn’t a fair standard to judge popularity.

    Judging by Feedburner subscription is fair but also suffers from conditions that you point out and also requires you to register with Feedburner.

    What I like about Technorati that it doesn’t require you to register. If you have a blog, it tracks you. Also, linking to some blog is a sign of trust or at least acknowledgement of existence. No offense meant but people may object to credit links although I still think they are fair.

  3. Well there is a critic’s award and a popular award. Once the top rankers have been selected, maybe somebody from the mainstream media or reputed writers could be summoned to make the final decision. In the program \”Indian idals\” people come from the film industry to pass judgment. Why not here?

  4. Being on the webmaster side of the Internet it is quite commonly known that links can be spammed, Alexa can be spammed and most other \”external\” factors to rank a particular page or blog can be spammed! If someone comes up with some other \”external\” indicator, sooner or later people will figure out how to fake it too.

    The future is intelligent internet. Either artificial or democratic internet.

    Seriously speaking, in my opinion all the above factors cannot be considered as \”sure shot\” ways to judge a blog’s popularity!

  5. I think technorati ranking remains the best bet as Patrix explained above. The only problem I can think of it is that one might get too many links for a particular post despite not being that popular, thus pushing up the ranking. But generally speaking Technorati is the best. The worst measure would be the number of comments, esp on Indian blogsphere since its almost a quid pro quo deal here.

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