Aug 19, 2010

Rank and File, Something's Fishy

Brace yourself, I am about to step outside my comfort zone and give you a peak into the Lunker Hunt back office.  This post is not for my fellow anglers, it's for my fellow bloggers and it gets into the nitty-gritty of blogging.


One way to pretend you are attracting new readers is to list your blog on a listing service.  It is pretty easy and requires no upkeep.  Just create an account using your fake e-mail address and forget about it.  LH is listed on a few services and each operates uniquely.  Each service provides a rating to be compared against other blogs.  A good rating puts you high in the directory and, in theory, generates more traffic.  Not surprisingly, I'm most happy with the service that gives me the best rating. So I'll start there...

blogcatalog



blogcatalog was the first listing service I signed up for and, as of 16 Aug 2010, LH is not only listed on the first page of blogcatalog's fishing blogs, it is also ranked above blogs I consider vastly superior. The site format is pretty simple and easily navigable, so finding what you're after takes no effort.

What gets you on the first page and 20th from the top?  I'm not really sure about the recipe for success here, but I know the ranking slides when I go a few weeks without updating.  After a drought the rating immediately rebounds with a single post.  So the volume and regularity of your content seems to play a roll, but I'm currently ranked over a few other blogs with gobs and gobs more content.  Something else is at play here and I think I'll keep it up....whatever "it" is.

Technorati


The ranking system on Technorati most resembles a black box.  They already knew about LH and all I had to do was "claim it," which I did about a year ago.  My blog is currently ranked #11536 (good luck finding that in the master list...I can't) and has an "authority" of 419.  I can not find an angling specific category, so that may be the fundamental flaw in their system.  #11536 out of all blogs may not be bad, but you are better off somewhere else if you want blogs relevant to your interests.

 
Sorry about the caturday pic. I couldn't resist, now back to it....I'm not really sure how to improve the Technorati ranking, but I've discovered cross links controls authority.  Not all cross links are created equally; blog roll links don't seem to effect authority.  How authority plays into rank is unclear, but one thing is clear: Technorati generates about zero traffic for this site.

Blogged


I recently signed up for Blogged after reading a post at Troutrageous.  Without much experience, I'm forced to draw conclusions with minimal knowledge.  Here is what I know so far: they have a nice graphic to show your rating.  The LH rating, as of press time, is "based on editor's review" and is good enough to score a spot on page seven (of nine) in their fishing directory.  The only baseline I have is the Troutrageous post, where a lofty 7.5 (very good) was revealed.

The "editor's review" was brief, as evidenced by a single hit on my stat service.  The editor viewed my front page for an undisclosed amount of time and never viewed the archive or any other link.  Time will tell how the Blogged rating will change or if it even will.  Time will also tell if any traffic clicks through, but I remain hopeful they provide a better service than Technorati.

The Numbers

I'm about 90% sure the total traffic generated from all these services to all of their listed blogs is negligible. I'm 99% sure it is negligible for fishing blogs and 100% sure it is negligible for this blog.  As you can see in the first screen shot, LH has scored a total of 133 hits from blogcatalog.  I believe this is over a two year period, which averages out to 0.0009 hits per day even though LH is the "20th best" fishing blog they have listed.

I am curious to hear your experience, is it similar?  Is it worth our time to worry about this, or should we generate traffic the old fashioned way?  Maybe I'll purchase some radio time, maybe even some billboard space.

11 comments:

  1. This is a very good write up. I often wonder about listing my blog on various sources. I like blog catalog as well but it is not generating the traffic I would like. My hit counter may actually be going backwards at this point. Ha ha

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  2. First of all, Clif. Don't undersell yourself. You've got a great blog here. You've got a clear writing style and I'm always anxious to see your next lunker.

    As for the listing services, I'm listed in a lot of them. Like you, I see very little traffic from them in the grand scheme of things. I would do what you're doing. List it and forget it. If you get a hit or two, great. If not, there's not harm. It's never bad to have your name out there.

    I find that the best traffic generator is through search engines. Posting topics people are interested in and search for is key. Social media like Twitter and Facebook are good to hook fellow anglers who are looking for fish porn and how you landed them.

    Generally, I find that if you participate in the community (like commenting on other blogs) and post on a regular basis, the traffic will follow.

    "Post it and they will come."

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  3. Great Post Clif. I apologize in advance for the longwinded comment I'm going to make.

    IMHO - These sites are worthless. All of them. Most come with some sort of "premium" service, which is clearly what their business models revolve around. I haven't become a paying member, but I'd suspect if I did, my rankings would magically improve.

    Here's my thoughts on the 3 services above, since I too play in these sandboxes.

    1. Blog Catalog - Slick looking, but little value. In looking at my Google Analytics, I rarely get traffic from Blog Catalog, despite, like you being on the first page.

    2. Technorati - Even worse. This evidently used to be the standard for these services a few years ago, today it really only caters to syndicated blogs. Guys like us shouldn't bother. My ranking is 8682...out of ???

    3. Blogged - Same view as you. The only reason why I do like it is it actually gives you some feedback - based on what and by whom is another story. Saw the rating button on Trout Underground once upon a time giving that site a 9.2. If TC gets a 9.2 I'm tickled pink with my 7.5

    After diving into my Google analytics...none of these type of sites drive any meaningful incoming traffic. However, in order, here's my results in this segment:
    1. BlogCatalog
    2. Invesp.com
    3. Loadedweb
    4. Blogged
    5. Fly Fish Map (interesting one I just added last week)
    6. Technorati

    On the flip side, what DOES drive traffic?
    1. Other people's blogs (i.e. Google Blogger Friends'/Followers' blogrolls)
    2. Fishing Forums - I tag my signature with my URL
    3. Social Media - Facebook & Twitter
    4. Outbrain.com Contextual Links

    Moral of the story, invest in your friends & followers, perhaps go out an recruit a few new ones, and your traffic will increase over time.

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  4. Heck! Even MaNAngler agrees! If #4 on blogcatalog doesn't get traffic from listing why do we bother?

    Their secret is out, I busted another huge story!

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  5. I've had some success treating blog catalog as a social site and sending some messages out to people in the outdoors groups... it has brought in some decent hits but takes some work.

    I've yet to have my blog accepted on blogged for some reaon... WTF is the deal with that... I've submitted it multiple times.

    I agree with troutrageous with on how to get traffic...

    What forums do you guys post on that are open to putting links in your signature?

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  6. @blake - After I submitted LH to Blogged I then had to go "claim" it. They won't give you ownership until you claim it, which involves putting a "blogged" link on your site.

    To claim it, do a search for you blog title. There will be a page for it with a link to claim ownership.

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  7. @ blake - I only post to local forums (PAanglers.com for example) that I enjoy participating in. Even there I don't "pimp" my blog, just a subtle link in small font in my signature. The more I contribute in a positive fashion, the more folks come. I do participate in a few larger forums too - smallstreams.com probably being the most prominent.

    Clif is right about claiming your blog. Give it a shot, if you still have problems, reach out to me, I'll give you a hand.

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  8. Clif, I wouldn't worry about wrecking their business model. The "Blog-o-Log" industry doesn't have a large lobby so the FBI won't be knocking on your door and charging you with tax evasion.

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  9. I took a peek since I joined blogcatalog awhile ago, (although I haven't visited it in ages)since you mentioned it, and looks like I'm front page with you. We should have a party. But, like you, I don't think I get any traffic from it.
    As for the other things, couldn't tell you.
    It seems to me, according to my stats, the majority of organic traffic (new visitors) come from Google search traffic.
    Facebook and twitter help as well.

    I'd say you've blown the cover up off blog 'helping' sites.

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  10. @Dave - maybe not tax evasion....

    @Rebecca - Though I keep a personal FB page and have my feed posted there, I haven't take the leap into creating a special page. You say it works?

    Twitter is right out (like the number five), unless I can set it and forget it. What's the protocol there?

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Clif reserves the right to delete your comment if he is so inclined, but he is a pretty liberal guy so post away and see what happens.