This is an open letter to New York Islander Bloggers and hopefully some insight into what is happening in the NY Islanders blogging world. I've created a page with many NYI bloggers listed. My apologies if you have an Islanders blog and I didn't list it. Please leave a comment on the page and I will be happy to add it. Also, please bear in mind that this was done for fun and is not a critical evaluation of how good your site is.
I was curious how the blogs relate to each other, or more specifically rank against one another according to different ranking systems so I did some checks using Firefox and the SEO Quake Addon.
Just by checking out this data I get the feeling Islanders blogging has no clear runaway leader outside of Greg Logan, who is a reporter, gets paid to write and has access to priveleged scoops bloggers can only dream of. His blog also has the benefit of being on Newsday's website and getting some powerful links from them to build his site up in the search rankings.
I am of the opinion that many bloggers don't know how to optimize their blogs for the Search engines. This makes sense as blogging for most is a hobby. If you are serious though and hope for more traffic to your blog, you need to pay attention to this. There are several important steps in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and if anyone is interested I can post more about this later. I specialize in the WordPress blogging CMS and Drupal.
The key to good blogging is about the content. You'll hear this repeatedly while searching for ways to improve your site. Also, writing with a strong voice will help readers identify with you (or hate you, but as long as they are reading it must be interesting to them and can provide some good debate). Search for your niche within the Isles blogging niche and run with it. Also, since we are all fans, this shouldn't always be a competition about whose site is the best or who is the better writer. In fact, after you read this article, you might have a better idea why it is important to help each other (by this I mean linking your site to the other blogs in the Islanders blogosphere, including this one ).
First, I checked the what Google shows as the amount of backlinks to the sites. Backlinks are a very important factor in where your blog ranks in the search engines. The more backlinks you have, especially from high powered sites, the better your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) positioning will be. A backlink is like a pat on the back for your site. Google is the most popular search engine in the world and having good SERP position can drive massive amounts of traffic to your site.
I'd like to note that the amount of backlinks Google shows is quite low compared to reality. They believe it will prevent competitors from finding your sites backlinks providers and therefor preventing the competitors from trying to get the same backlinks as you, and possibly catching you (and maybe even passing you) in the SERP's. So, here are the Islanders blogs I have listed in order based on the most backlinks according to Google:
The next thing I addeed was the amount of backlinks to a complete domain according to Yahoo, the second largest search engine in the world:
The next data I accumulated was the Google Page Rank (Google PR) for each of these sites. Google page rank is the numeric value of how important a page is in the Google SERP ranking system. It isn't the only factor so having a high PR value for your website or individual pages won't necesarily bring you to the top of the group, but it is a good indication of the accumulated PR strength of the sites that link to your site and does play a role in your SERP's.
Like I mentioned before, a link to your site is like a pat on the back from another site and helps build Google's confidence that your site has relevant posts. Now, 10 links from low PR sites won't be as valuable as 1 or 2 links from say a PR 6 site. Not all links going to your site are counted, but as long as you aren't trying to game their system you should be fine.
Here are the page rankings as of September 1st, 2008 for these NYI blogs:
The last ranking system that I checked is the Alexa ranking system. This is not a very trustworthy ranking system but in my opinion the higher the ranking (like within the top 100,000 websites) the more credible a website is. You can game this a bit just by using the adding the Alexa toolbar to your web browser. If you blog often this alone should bring your site within the top 500,000 sites listed there just by going there yourself! Alexa provides two rankings. One is the one week average and the other is a three month average for your site. I have used the 3 month ranking. Also keep in mind the summer is slow in hockey land so I assume all of these numbers will begin increasing after the season begins. As a note, blogs that are on some multisite platforms weren't added because their ranking was for the entire site. Alexa rankings for New Yok Islander blogs: