After Wikio contacted me recently to be one of the bloggers to preview the October rankings I got to thinking, and talking to others about ranking systems and why they’re there. I’ve always believed that rankings were compiled through some sort of mystical spell weaving, or possibly using a tombola, and the technical explanations only serve to reinforce this view – as the jargon mounts up, the shutters come down.
Of course there are those fabulous folk who really don’t care at all – and I think we all aspire to be a bit more like that, but in light of the fact that I do care a bit I asked the very accommodating Dominque Winpenny at Wikio if she’d answer some questions here on my blog, and stick around to answer any more that you might have. She happily agreed. I have to stress at this point that I don’t have any affiliation with Wikio, I’m not an employee or in any other way biased. This post is purely a response to a perceived demand.
What is Wikio? What’s the basic premise behind it?
Wikio is an information portal with a news search engine that searches press sites and blogs. With Wikio you can create a personalised homepage to follow news that interests you. The information on the site is always being updated, therefore is always current. You can also publish an article directly on the site or comment on an existing item, as well as voting for an article or a group that captures your interest in order to increase its visibility on the site. Each page offers an RSS feed that allows you to subscribe to receive the information that appears there in the reader of your choice
Who is pitched at? Who takes notice and why?
For anyone interested in Web2.0. It provides an important service for bloggers to increase their visibility, but also for anyone searching for interesting information which is hard to find in other places, and for anyone wishing to publish articles. Information is easy to find because of the option to personalise the homepage. Wikio is also linked with many other major websites offering blogging services; www.ebuzzing.com is a website putting advertisers and bloggers in contact and therefore looking to monetise their blogs. www.Nomao.com is a localised search engine which can be tailored to the users tastes and locations, and www.Overblog.com is a market leader in blogging platforms. Therefore, the Wikio Group as a whole has many services for all internet users.
What ranks do you compare yourself with? Commonly parent bloggers seem to take notice of Cision, Post Rank and Tots 100 in addition to Wikio – how do you position yourself against these and how do you differ?
In terms of comparing ourselves to other ranking systems, we do not generally have any others that we feel we are competing against, mainly because our website is quite unique in what it does. We are a social networking news site, so most of our news sources are from personal internet users and their sites, whereas most other websites with search portals do not do this. We also have rankings for a huge range of different categories, with a very wide variety of interests. I am sure that within each category, we are compared to other ranking systems, such as the ones you mention which are specifically for parenting, but we also have a general category in which any category can be entered, so have many things that differentiate our rankings.
Do bloggers need to register with Wikio in order for their blogs to be considered?
A blog needs to be submitted to our information team on http://www.wikio.co.uk/addblog to become indexed on our site. Some blogs are submitted by friends or readers who find a blog of interest, and we also have people in our team who source interesting blogs and submit them.
What are your criteria for registering a blog?
Once a blog is submitted, it can take a while for it to appear as registered; this is because our information officers deal with each submission individually, as they need to verify that the information provided is correct and subsequently registered by them, but more importantly that there is nothing compromising or inappropriate in the content of a site. We have many blogs indexed with us who have a blog attached to a website, so this is never a problem. If a blog is entering a category, they also have to decide which category the blog in question fits into etc. If you are not seeing your blog as being registered, it could just be that it is still in this process, or in a very rare case that the content was not approved. However, you can always get in touch and we can check this for you.
How do you work out the rankings? What factors are involved?
The position of a blog in the Wikio rankings depends on the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs. These links are dynamic, which means that they are backlinks or links found within articles. Only links found in the RSS feed are included. Blogrolls are not taken into account, and the weight of any link increases according to how recently it was published. We therefore hope to provide a classification that is more representative of the current influence levels of the blogs. The influence of a link depends on the linking blog’s position in the Wikio ranking, i.e if you have a very highly ranked blog create a link to your blog, this will reflect very well on your blog and therefore move you higher up the rankings. The rankings are updated on a monthly basis, therefore can depend on what you have posted in that month and how many visitors you have had to the site .
So are page views and visitor stats not relevant at all and is it possible that more efficient blog platforms will naturally rank better?
In general we do not find that there is any blogging platform that shows a difference in its ability to show inlinks/backlinks. It is important for the visibility of your blog to get good viewing figures – it shows that your content is of interest and this in turn will help to achieve backlinks from people who have read a particular article or post, but they are not included in our calculations.
Should bloggers care about where they are ranked? What benefit is it to them?
As the rankings are updated monthly, and on links talking about published articles, it is not a ranking about ‘who’s blog is the overall best’, it is simply who has produced the content that has been of interest to most people at a certain time. Therefore, people can fluctuate in places depending on what they have done in a month. Some of you may have been on holiday and therefore inactive for a while, at the same time as others have had some amazing event and published a lot, therefore it is not the be all and end all. However, it is always of benefit to bloggers to know the influence of their blog and that is how the rankings are of benefit to them. The Parenting community seems like a very friendly and caring community, therefore any rankings are more of a friendly competition. However we have many other categories, such as Sport, or Politics, where certain blogs are rooting for different teams or political issues and where the rankings become a great competition for them, between football clubs etc. People at the top of a ranking also tend to receive more visibility and readers, and it is for that reason that it is important to some bloggers to reach the top. Therefore, the ranking is there for bloggers to use and compare to, but they are what you choose to make of them.
If a blogger wants to improve their rank, what would you recommend?
Bloggers needs to try and make a community of bloggers with whom they can talk about and be talked about in return, and this is what will create backlinks which are the most important factor in calculating the rankings. Any current issues that attract a lot of attention and that people are bound to be looking for always attract links and views from other internet users. All of your articles, if a blog is registered with Wikio, will appear on our search engine, and can therefore attract visibility that way, It is all about gaining as much visibility as possible, and therefore if you are very competitive, the more current/interesting posts you publish the better. You can also publish posts about our site on your blog, such as when you manage to register, or any of our badges that you add www.wikio.co.uk/tools, which can prompt people to come to your site as they often want to know how to add their own widgets etc.
What is the reach of Wikio?
Wikio indexes over 1million information sources, in more than 5 different languages. Wikio started off in France, yet now has websites for 6 different countries: UK, US, Germany, Spain, Italy and France, and is continually increasing in size and popularity.
Do you feel that ranks and indexing make blogging more competitive and cynical?
I personally feel that is adds an element of fun into a blog, and gives a blogger something to aim towards. But rather than making blogging competitive and cynical, it gives a blogger a better idea of how their content is perceived by other bloggers and internet users, and therefore can perhaps be an indication of what was most popular in a particular month, and how to improve their blogs by taking ideas from people ranked more highly. For some bloggers, it is competitive – a lot of our bloggers from other categories, such as craft, are selling a product and participating in design, therefore for them the ranking is important as their blog is more for business use. However, for the personal blogger who simply enjoys posting articles and sharing news amongst their communities, the rankings should simply be an opportunity to watch the progression of your blog, and enjoy reading the highest ranked blogs for some interesting and insightful content!
Many thanks to Dominique for taking the time to answer my questions, I hope that my sharing the answers is of some interest.
That’s all folks – now it’s over to you!