For all of the criticism about Technorati’s inconsistent ranking figures or recent team changes, the one thing the site has intuitively understood from the beginning is the inherent desire for bloggers to be ranked. Though there are lots of industry based lists (such as the Power150, Viral Garden Top25, and Peter Kim’s newly launched M20) for marketing and advertising bloggers, Technorati still holds a unique place as the main blog directory for the worldwide blogosphere in every category. They now index over 100 million blogs, and even if you believe that 99% of these are abandoned blogs or spam blogs, that still leaves more than 1 million blogs that are being authored by people passionate about something and actively creating content about their passion. For those people, the Technorati Authority ranking is likely something that they watch on a consistent basis. It’s a guilty pleasure for most bloggers – who know that there are other things that probably matter more, but watching that Authority figure grow day by day is irresistible. The only problem is when you reach the hump.
The hump is the moment when you have had a number of good posts that were highly popular and resulted in lots of Technorati links, that are now getting to the end of their 6 month window – after which, Technorati no longer counts them as part of their overall authority ranking. As a result, there are some days, where you might drop 40 or 50 points in Technorati rankings (and even more for higher ranking blogs with more links). Watch the Technorati rankings of high traffic blogs like PostSecret or Gawker and you will see this phenomenon in effect. This is the hump, where you have great content ranked, but expiring according to the way Technorati indexes and are faced with the challenge of continuing to create linkworthy content so you can keep your Technorati number up.
There are really two ways to deal with the hump. The first is to worry about it, get frustrated about Technorati’s shortcomings and performance problems (not to mention their instant dismissal of all your content older than 6 months), and do everything you can to pump your numbers up again by getting links from everywhere and anywhere you can. The other is to think beyond links as a currency for how to rank your blog and think more in terms of engagement. RSS subscribers, email subscribers, people bookmarking your posts or commenting on them … all are more valid measures of engagement than just links. If only someone would find a way of putting that into a satisfying little single ranking like Technorati. Until that happens, hump or not … Technorati will continue to be irresistable for most bloggers.