Metrics Metered



When I set up my first Web site in 1995, Web counters were the big thing. Virtually every site had one of those (rather pointless) rolling counters at the bottom that tracked how many “hits” the page got. We were, at that point, obsessed with the idea that our pages were being read and could care less by who. The whole idea of international publishing was still new and exciting.

Later counters became more evolved, the term “hits” became meaningless and we focused on “visitors” or “users”. A variety of new trackers, most with their own buttons, began to pop up. Those slowly replaced the hit counter as the new metric to watch.

However, as the millennium rolled over and the first tech bubble burst, we saw even more advanced metrics rise out of the ashes. Attention became the most valuable thing to track, especially in an AJAX Web where page views and visitors would be almost meaningless. It was no longer a matter of just how many people visited, but how long they stayed and what they did.

Now we’ve moved forward again, this time it’s “engagement that we’re looking at. Services such as PostRank allow you to track comments, tweets and links to your site as part of your “Engagement Score”, combining that info with your other, more traditional data.

But with so many metrics to track. There’s a legitimate question about what stats are the most important for a blogger to track. The answer is simple: All of them and none of them. [Read more…]

Google PageRank finally demoted, but remains on toolbar

Google PageRank, which has caused its fair share of excitement, disappointment, worry and FUD over the years, finally seems to be on its way out.

Although Google has been telling people not to treat its public PR scores as an all-important metric for some time, the statistic has now been dropped from the Webmaster Tools.

Personally, I didn’t notice (I haven’t observed PageRank for years) but SEO Round Table and others found a thread on the Webmaster Central forums in which Google employee Susan Moskwa says: [Read more…]

5 Bookmarklets to Learn More About a Site


There are many reasons one might want to learn more information about a site they are visiting. Perhaps the site is a competitor that is beating you in the search engine rankings. It could be that the site is a spam blog or other site warranting an abuse report to their host. Maybe they are just curious to find out who is hosting the fast-moving server, making them want to switch to their host.

Whatever the reason, cutting through the veil of a site to learn what makes it tick can be a tricky feat, especially for those who are not familiar with the inner workings of the Web. Navigating through a mess of Whois results and DNS information can be very useful, but also intimidating.

So how does one learn more about a site, preferably without being inundated with confusing information? Here are five simple bookmarklets that can teach you more about a site with just one click. [Read more…]

Have You Helped Someone Today?

I’m not bragging. It’s a fact. My blogs get a lot of attention. They win awards. I have a lot of incoming links, and a lot of steady traffic. The PageRank of my blog – well, actually, I don’t know. I have no idea and haven’t paid attention for several years. It doesn’t matter.

Most of the stuff that other bloggers worry and fuss over doesn’t matter to me. I don’t look at my blog stats unless I have a good reason. I don’t write to beg for traffic nor attention. Honestly, I just do what I do and people like it. Any search engine page ranking success I’ve had is due to experience and common sense. No games. I hate the games.

I tried to explain this to someone just entering the blog market recently, and they just couldn’t get it. “But you’re THE Lorelle! You’re famous!”

Nope. I’m just me. I’m just you. I’m just like everyone else, I’ve just been doing this longer. So pardon my arrogance for just a moment, but I’ve been there, done that, and now I think I’m paying attention to what’s more important than some numbers and scores.

What matters most to me is helping people.
[Read more…]

What Do You Want? One-Shot Traffic Versus Easy Conversion

A reader recently asked me how he could repeat the traffic magnet power of a post he wrote a year ago featuring the logo of a local football team. He told me that he gets continuous traffic to that post daily, and he wants to repeat it, bringing even more daily traffic into his blog.

Traffic magnets can be fleeting or consistent over time. We aren’t talking about exclusive pictures of celebrities or the Digg-effect blog post that brings in thousands of visitors in one or two days, then traffic drifts off to nothing. Traffic magnets continue to be draws to your blog over the long haul – one, two, even four or five years after publishing.

While many believe that any traffic is good traffic, traffic magnets come in two very distinctive audience groups: one-shot deals or easy conversions.
[Read more…]

Do You Tag Yourself?

Do you tag yourself? Honestly? No, this is not a game.

With everyone back on the tag versus categories versus tags bandwagon, have you checked to make sure you are tagging yourself?

Inside of is the tag attribute that turns “Lorelle on WordPress” into a tag.

<a href="" title="Lorelle on WordPress" rel="tag">Lorelle on WordPress</a>

When I write my name in a link, I also include a tag:

<a href="" title="Lorelle" rel="tag">Lorelle</a>

This makes “Lorelle” a tag.

When I write about the , I also put that in a tag, so the words “Blog Herald” get into the tag clouds on the site as well as the tag search engines and directories.

I use the same tag technique for , , and every taggable link I write to help associate what I write with those tags.

Are you tagging yourself and your blog? The rel="tag" is all a link needs to turn it from a link into a linking tag. It’s what defines a tag.

If you aren’t tagging yourself and your blog, it’s a great branding technique you may be missing out on.

Google! Clean Up Blogger! Now!

Google search results in blogspot splogs

I know that lately, there continues to be a lot of kvetching about Google, Page Rank, and spam blog issues. This are legitimate concerns, but I have a bigger bitch with Google. Clean up Blogger, NOW!

I was contacted today by a newspaper reporter from Charlotte, North Carolina, to comment on the death of a local blogger, part of a pair of women who have taken Charlotte by storm with their social commentary blog. I wanted to research this myself to write about it here, so I headed to Google, the search engine of choice, and entered in death, social, bloggers, charlotte, north carolina and clicked over to Blog Search when Web and News came up empty. I expected to get a few hits as the reporter said the death of this young woman was the “talk of the town” and the community was turning out to support the surviving blogger.

What I got were ten search results all from Google Blogger/Blogspot sites.

My first reaction? Google must now give priority to their own bloggers in the search results. It’s a good assumption based upon the evidence.
[Read more…]

The Art of Backlinking

Why are backlinks important? Backlinks are another jargon term for links that “come back” to your blog via blog post articles, blogrolls, comments, and such on other blogs. They are also known as referrals or incoming links. In the world of Google PageRank™, links to your blog count. The more incoming links the better, right?

Semi-right. Yes, incoming links to your blog count, but Google now uses TrustRank™ in their algorithm. Though it’s usage is still in its early days, TrustRank evaluates incoming links based upon the page ranking and “quality of trust” of the blog sending the links to your blog, the keywords within the two linking blogs, and a lot of other information and details. If the data doesn’t add up, that incoming link might not mean much. If the data does add up, it could be a boon to your blog and its page ranking.

The key to getting links to your blog is getting quality links, links that improve your blog by association, not numbers.
[Read more…]

Improving Your Blog: The Google Game

I’m the first to admit that I, too, was sucked into the Google Game, the game of playing with my blog to ensure the success of my blog’s participation in Google world domination control of all things searchable. As part of my ongoing series on improving your blog tips, one of the redundant bits of advice I give to my clients is how to play the Google Game while not playing the Google Game.

Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Playing the Google Games means understanding how Google’s PageRank algorithm works, which is much like predicting the stock market in relationship to the weather. Sometimes the weather cooperates, as does the stock market, but other times, both are unpredictable and based upon factors that twist and turn in the wind.
[Read more…]

Breaking: Google Drops EVERYONE’S PageRank To ZERO?

I was alerted (thanks Jordan) that across all many some data centers, many sites now have their PageRank dropped down to zero, including such prominent domains as the New York Times and TechCrunch, but also Yahoo, and strangely enough Google itself. With this change in PageRank, one does wonder whether or not PayPerPost has truly been singled out, or this is an attempt to destroy (and perhaps rebuild?) PageRank as a metric once and for all.

More as it comes in.

Update: Ionut from Google Operating System has chimed in below — what we see on the toolbar is probably the official pagerank. Perhaps the PageRank zeroes have more to do with datacenter updates than anything else.

Update: In hand checking some of IP for data centers at, it seems like many data centers are not in fact down; the conflicting results, coupled with the persistent zero level at the tool-bar level of previously “zeroed” blogs suggests that this is likely, in fact a data center issue.  Thank goodness there’s a question mark at the end of that title. ;)