Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most popular beer blogger of them all?
Yeah, okay, dorky intro, but it’s an interesting question because all the beer blog readers I know seem to have different lists of blogs they read. What’s more each claims that his (or her) blogroll contains “the most popular and widely read” beer blogs — a claim that seems doubtful because the lists (some as large 60 blogs) rarely have more than a handful of sites that overlap.
So the other day I sat down and wrote a quick little program that uses a handful of terms including “beer”, “brewing”, “brewery”, “micro-brew”, “craft-brew”, and “brewpub”, to identify the top results for beer related blogs on the Internet. Since blogs are differnet than traditional websites (both in the way they’re read and cataloged), I used three different sources to determine popularity:
- Technorati “Authority” Ranks — Technorati is the probably the most comprehensive catalog of blogs and user-created content on the web. It’s “Authority” ranking is an attempt to determine the popularity of a blog by counting the number of links to/from a blog post over a rolling six month period. Special weight is given to specific “posts or articles” (as opposed to the general links to other websites that appear in the sidebar of a blog). The theory is the more links from other blogs, the more discussion there is on the post (or posts), and thus, the more “Authoritative” a blog is. The most “Authoritative” on Technorati is Engadget with a rating of 28,203. The average among 82 million blogs is around 8.
- Google Page Rank & Blog Search Results — Google’s rankings are based on a complex (and changing) combination of inbound/outbound links, keyword frequency, clickthrough, website age and, in the case of blogs, frequency of updates. Google’s analysis is more well-rounded than the blog-specific approach of Technorati’s and its search results tend to be more relevant to specific queries (e.g., “Portland micro-brews”). However, its search results include considerably more “non-blog” and “blog-spam” (aka, “junk” sites that scrape content from others) sites, so “true” popularity can skew widely.
- Bloglines Subscriber Rankings — Since a great many blogs aren’t read by visiting the blog, but via a “blog reader”, I decided to include Blogline’s Subscriber Rankings as a measure of popularity. While Bloglines isn’t the largest blog reader (Yahoo is), it is a powerful second, and handles a large number of blog subscriptions (around 31 million). Bloglines will suggest other blogs to you by analysing your current subscriptions and comparing those to similar blogs. The more subscibers a blog has, the more “popular” it is considered to be.
For this exercise I didn’t include “page views” or “unique visitors” (measures of traffic on traditional websites), because blog readers and aggregators like Technorati, Google. Yahoo, Bloglines, etc. skew those numbers by visiting a blog once and serving the results to all it’s subscribers. (So a blog with 500 readers might only see 50 visits because many of those readers read the content through a blog reader rather than visiting the site.)
Additionally, community discussion, bulletin board and blog aggregation-type sites such as RateBeer, Beer Advocate, Beerinator Beer Feeds, etc. were excluded from rankings as I wanted this to be a measure of “true” blogs where the content is created by a single person or small group.
So what is the most popular Beer Blog of them all? (Drumroll please…)
With a Technorati Authority of 144, Google search rank of 3 (on average), and a Bloglines subscriber base of 104, it was the hands down winner. No other blog ranked nearly as high in all three results.
I guess this isn’t much of a surprise. With multiple writers, plenty of updates, and great subject matter, A Good Beer Blog has all the ingredients for a top-rated blog. What was more surprising was who ranked number two and the number of other blogs that I thought for sure would be strong contenders that weren’t. I’ll share those with you in the next part of this post.
[End part 1]