Measuring your Online Influence: Metrics

by Bill Swallow on August 9, 2010 · 0 comments

in Content Strategy

Soft ruler
Image via Wikipedia

As I indicated in my last post, I wanted to learn a bit more about the various metrics used in measuring blogger influence. I still say the best means of measurement are the comments, emails, Tweets, and IMs you get from people thanking you for sharing information or helping them answer a question or solve a problem, so I’m going into this with a bit of curious skepticism, if there is such a thing. I don’t doubt the metrics are useful, but part of me thinks that many of these metrics show reach, and I’m not exactly sure at this point how to translate that directly into influence. Or perhaps I’m just stuck on one of possibly several definitions for influence.

Anyway… In this post I’m going to describe, based on what I have been able to learn so far, what each of the metric sources used in generating the MIB Techcomm ranking. I intend to follow up with a more critical and evaluative look at how these metrics might indicate a measure of influence.

Alexa Rank

I have to admit, I knew nothing about Alexa going into writing this post. It seems to collect site visit data (visits, duration, link backs, etc.) but after looking up my blog I see there’s not a whole lot of data to look at for my blog. I’m not sure how relevant this source was to my overall influence rank.

Klout Influence

Klout appears to measure Twitter influence. Looking at the weighting, my score is 30 for overall influence, yet it places me in the 60 percentile range with a true reach of 660. Frankly I don’t quite know what to make of these numbers, but the charts, graphs, and achievements are interesting to look at. What I find most valuable here is my Klout classification:

@techcommdood is a Networker

You know how to connect to the right people and share what’s important to your audience. You generously share your network to help your followers. You have a high level of engagement and an influential audience.

Google PageRank

Google Page Rank is an interesting metric that measures the strength of your ranking among other pages based on the number of pages linking to you, based on their strength ranking from other pages linking to them. It influences the order of search results when searching Google. Sounds simple, right? Well, check out the algorithms here and get back to me on that. As of today, my Google PageRank is a 4 out of 10. I’m not sure what this means, exactly, but if it correlates to the weight of a duck then it might be a witch.

Technorati Authority

To be honest, Technorati boggles my mind. It appears to be similar to Google PageRank, but only for blogs. I tried looking up my blog there in many different ways but I couldn’t find any data whatsoever. As far as Technorati is concerned, I apparently don’t exist.

Twitter Followers

This is a fairly straightforward metric: number of people following your account on Twitter. I’ll admit it was nice to see my follower count increase by about 150-200 people after the TechComm MIB rankings were announced. I was sitting around 950 followers prior, and while I try to ensure that I have real people (not bots or spammers) following me, I can’t be 100% sure of just who or what is following me. I also am not certain of exactly how influential that makes me. There are people following @techcommdood who, from their bios and feeds, look to be genuine but have absolutely nothing to do with technical communication. I wonder just how they decided to follow me (perhaps from a Follow Friday suggestion, or maybe I mentioned a beer they enjoy (though I try to keep that chatter on another account).

There are other tools out there you can use to measure your reach, influence, and overall visibility online, but I wanted to focus on the ones used for the MIB ranking. Do you follow any of these (or other) metrics for your online presence? If so, which do you use and how do you use them? I’d love to know!

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