// Internet Duct Tape

Does Technorati Matter? (Searching for Violent Acres)

Posted in Technology, Technorati by engtech on January 26, 2007

Technorati.com is probably the best known “blog search engine” (I’d hazard a guess that Google Blog Search is the most used).

Technorati assigns each blog a ranking based on the number of blogs that have linked to it in the past nine months. The ranking says how many blogs have more links than you. You need about 3,000 links to reach the “coveted” Top 100 list. This ranking number is used by news aggregators like TechMeme and for blog advertising networks like ReviewMe.

It’s a very useful site for keeping track of who is linking to you. Their about page says they’re “the recognized authority on what’s happening on the World Live Web, right now” and their Wikipedia entry lists them as an “Internet search company”. But how many people actually use it for search? (I think Technorati realizes this and is trying to branch out in other directionsalso see Matt.)

Violent Acres most popularThey publish a list of popular search terms on the front page of their site. Zeitgeists like this are an interesting way of tracking public interest. For the past few days “Violent Acres” has been at the number one position on the list, and my site has been in the top 5 search results. That has been panning out to around 10-25 hits a day coming from Technorati.

Wait. 10-25 hits for the most popular search term on their site? The search term that they say is more popular than YouTube, WordPress, MySpace, Paris Hilton or the iPhone?


Does not compute. As long as I can remember the top 10 popular search terms on Technorati have always been MySpace, YouTube, WordPress, something political and one of those panty-less celebratants. It was cool to see Violent Acres appear on the list. I think she’s fast on the way to becoming one of the most popular blogs on the Internet. But it makes no sense that being the top result for the most popular search term on Technorati for over 24 hours would lead to so little referral traffic. Isn’t this the most popular term people are searching for?

  • I ran some tests to make sure my refer logs were picking up all the refers and it looks like the data I’m basing this observation on is correct.
  • At the very least this is the number of people who click on the “Top Searches” on the Technorati front page and then click on one of the first results.

So why does the most popular search on Technorati lead to such little traffic?

I don’t know how their algorithm works. I assume it’s the most often used search term. Here are a few potential scenarios why this could happen (ordered from most likely to least likely).

  • People are searching for Violent Acres’ blog NOT posts about her blog — so they don’t click on the results that aren’t from her site. (Most likely)
  • My titles suck and no one wants to click on them.
  • I’m completely overestimating how long I was showing up in the top results.
  • No one uses Technorati blog search.
  • Technorati Popular Search isn’t search terms — but instead buzz of trends in blogs.
  • Someone is spamming the search terms to get the number 1 position. (Least likely)

UPDATE: It looks like this happened because VA mentioned Technorati in this blog post. So one blogger can get to the most popular search result with mentioning Technorati off-hand like that? That still makes me wonder how many people are using it for searching blogs.

technorati violent acres

Link to most recent chart of mentions of Violent Acres

Does anyone use blog search tools?

I’m heavily involved in blog culture and even I don’t limit my searches to “blogs only” that often. I stick with Google search, like I would for any other web research. I love Technorati’s tools for finding out who is linking to my blog and articles. But that’s navel gazing and picking my bellybutton link — I don’t care what they say about others. I always thought there were people out there using Technorati search even if I wasn’t one of them. Now I’m starting to wonder…

Which search tools do you use? Have you ever used a blog specific search tool like Google Blogsearch, Technorati, or Icerocket?

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22 Responses

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  1. Webomatica said, on January 26, 2007 at 4:21 am

    Hmmmm…. now that you mention it, I only very occasionally use technorati search to find other blogs. These days I’m relying on my feed reader (including Techmeme, Tailrank, and Megite) and mybloglog to find other posts worth linking to. And for links to stuff other than blogs, it’s Google all the way, plus IMDB and Wikipedia.

    Technorati has tons of MySpace blogs, too (negative).

  2. engtech said, on January 26, 2007 at 4:24 am

    This is what I’m noticing as well. I have a trusted source of RSS feeds and aggregators that I don’t usually step out of… and whenever I do it’s towards Google search (not even Google Blog Search).

    This was the first time I can remember even seeing Technorati referral traffic.

  3. alaesme said, on January 26, 2007 at 11:32 am

    If you would have read Violent Acres blog, she directly mentions using Technorati to search for hate blogs against her. People are probably just acting like sheep, doing what she says and not clicking the links. Therefore “People are searching for Violent Acres’ blog NOT posts about her blog — so they don’t click on the results that aren’t from her site. (Most likely)” is semi right.

    I find it amusing that one person’s blog entry can cause her blog to be in the top of the search.

  4. engtech said, on January 26, 2007 at 11:58 am

    @alaesme: You’re right on the dot.

    That’s pretty crazy if the “search Technorati” mention in this post, is enough to grab the number one spot on Technorati. According to her advertising network she gets about 9700 hits a day…

  5. Andy C said, on January 26, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Interesting article.

    I mainly use my existing RSS feeds and Google for generic searching (personal, work, technical).

    For discovery of new topics, I use TailRank, TechMeme and Megite (and try to ignore all the duplication)

    However, for blog specific topics (Habari) is a good example, I would tend to use Technorati over Google Blog Search or IceRocket.

  6. Dustin said, on January 26, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Why would you limit to just blogs? When I need to find some information on the web, I take whatever source I can get reputable information. Why would a blog search help me to get that information?

  7. engtech said, on January 26, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    @Dustin: that’s my problem with blog specific search engines as well.

    What I find them useful for is if I want to find an independent review (although I’d probably look for a review aggregator like metacritic or rottentomatoes), or if I’m looking for opinion on current events… but even then… I’d say I use “blog search” four times a year, if that.

    The only use I see for it is when you want to see what bloggers are saying about you or your product.

  8. Walter said, on January 27, 2007 at 2:34 am

    For what it’s worth, I found this through Technorati doing exactly what you described: clicking the top search term and then clicking a result.

    What made me want to reply was the comment about the amount of traffic that site gets. I went and checked it out and it’s Adbrite that’s counting them.

    I have a site that gets roughly 25,000 unique visitors per day. There are some days where Adbrite will say it averages 50,000 unique visitors per day and then some other ones when it will say 10,000.

    Then, on top of that, there are times when the count of unique visitors is significantly higher than the page views. Like 50,000 unique visitors and 36,000 page views.

    My conclusion is that Adbrite is retarded and shouldn’t be trusted to give an accurate measure of traffic. If she’s able to sway Technorati with a single off the cuff link in an update a few days ago, she’s probably getting significantly more traffic than that. I know I couldn’t get that done with even the traffic my site gets.

  9. TagMan said, on January 27, 2007 at 2:48 am

    I like Technorati but think it’s become a bit too cluttered. I use their tags as the database for a Technorati TagMan game. It’s sometimes interesting to compare the differences between the /pop/ and the /tag/ page. You’d think more people would be writing about what people are searching for. Then again, it does seem like search volume must be pretty low on the site as the /pop/ page often seems rather skewed.

  10. engtech said, on January 27, 2007 at 2:49 am

    @Walter: Thanks very much for the info about Adbrite. I’m fairly certain that all the referrals I’ve seen have been from people clicking on the front page results, and then looking at the links — not from organic searches.

    I’m very curious as to how Technorati determines their popular searches page. Something going on…

  11. engtech said, on January 27, 2007 at 2:50 am

    @TagMan: I haven’t been paying attention to the Technorati Pop page as much as you have.

    So this is a common occurrence?

  12. ilyka said, on January 27, 2007 at 9:24 am

    Someone is spamming the search terms to get the number 1 position. (Least likely)

    Considering it’s Violent Acres? MOST likely.

  13. Sarah said, on January 28, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    I’ve always wondered why the majority of the popular search terms are IT/internet/technology related. It would seem to suggest thats all people are interested in reading about but is that really the case? Or is it a select few who are actually using Technorati to do their blog searches which is skewing the statistics?

  14. engtech said, on January 28, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    It looks like the Violent Acres search term is dropping from the #1 position. That makes me think that Alaesme was on the money and the spike was because VA mentioned Technorati last week and her readers searched on it, but didn’t click on anything they found because they were looking for haters.

    (I ran a few tests to see if it was possible to exploit search terms, and it wasn’t as trivial as this MyBlogLog exploit)

  15. Jon Swift said, on January 29, 2007 at 4:14 am

    Violent Acres: The Mother Teresa of Cyberspace

    She is like a female Mark Foley; he didn’t merely spout empty rhetoric about how dangerous the Internet could be for kids, but actually went out and proved it.

  16. Ilya Lichtenstein said, on January 29, 2007 at 9:28 am

    Violent Acres in general is one of those self-perpetuating Internet phenomena. Once she gets an initial reader base by attacking other bloggers/being outrageous, she can manipulate that reader base to do more outrageous things, thus attracting more readers because she’s so outrageous, etc etc ad infinitum.
    No such thing as bad publicity, as they say.

  17. joy said, on January 31, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    I have the same problem as Webomatica. I tried to use Technorati to find some content to link to from my blog, but I get a lot of myspaces. I’m not saying that there aren’t quality myspace posts (there are so many, some of them have to be good), but most aren’t.

  18. […] that as far as blog search is concerned (which is supposed to be Technorati’s purpose) is kind of floundering. One complaint I have is that Technorati includes MySpace blogs. Therefore, a search for even […]

  19. […] anonymous blogger (seriously, he’s anonymous) writes: It’s a very useful site for keeping track of who is […]

  20. Nita said, on February 16, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    I use Technorati to find out about the other blogs which are linking to me. They give fairly detailed information about the other blogs and also their recent posts. At times I click on those posts.
    However if I want to search I go to Google. At times to Clusty. Clusty is very good.

  21. engtech said, on April 19, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Andy Beard has some experiments / stats going on:

  22. […] your blog gets favorited, you get a little boost in traffic. And it is little, as engtech points out. But if we all start using the favorite system, I bet that will […]

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