Measuring Momentum: A Temporal Metric For The Web?

Here’s a PR 8 page: That page has been dead since June 9. 2006 when the author started writing for a different company, on a new domain.

According to Google, this outdated, non-updated page is more important than The Drudge Report which has a PR 7.

We all know that PageRank is easy to manipulate and a poor reflection of a site’s value. We also know that Google has moved on from PageRank to include things like TrustRank, traffic data, etc.

Despite it’s low-resolution, ease of manipulation, and inaccurate indication of a site’s worth, PageRank continues to capture people’s imagination. It drives the economy of Text Link Ads.

Admittedly, I buy and sell PageRank. Less so now then when I first got into the game. But I’ve always used discretion and have tried to hedge my bets towards sites that are poised for growth, rather than those that are in the process of decline.

In other words, for the savvy text link ad buyer, market pressure actually encourages investment in quality, growing sites, as opposed to sites with artificial PR injection or sites on the decline. That’s a virtue of the TLA market in my opinion. The savvy buyers go after legit, growing sites.

Which brings me to another point. There’s very little market pressure from AdSense to make quality websites. Not all quality sites translate into high AdSense earnings (many spammy sites make lots of AdSense revenue). On the other hand, any site that is growing and making progress has a product to sell in the TLA market.

But alas, I digress from the main point of this post: we really need a solid, diversified metric to measure a balance between site strength and site momentum. PageRank measures brute link strength. Alexa gives us a rough indication of a site’s growth over time, but it’s an easily manipulated, one-dimensional metric.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a single metric that gave us a realistic picture of the health of any given website? Not just brute link strength(PageRank), and not just an indication of relative traffic (Alexa), but a measure of a site’s overall presence, growth and significance *at this moment*?

5 thoughts on “Measuring Momentum: A Temporal Metric For The Web?

  1. Lost my first comment due to a DB connection error. I’ll try to pick up the fragments…

    “A measure of a site’s overall presence, growth and significance *at this moment*” is a very interesting point, Ryan. A metric like this that can be captured with one number/statistic would be hard to define. Maybe it could be a rating that combines the separate metrics of today, i.e. this number of percentage points is given to Alexa traffic rank, this for PR, this for the number of Technorati mentions, and so on. The question of who gets the biggest weight in the rating would surely be cause of debate.

    In my experience, my PR3 blog beat out another PR5 blog by a few dollars in all-time Adsense earnings. The PR3 has one-tenth of the PR5’s traffic. In my case, the decider has been the content. The PR3, with less than 50 entries, has very targeted content, while the PR5, nearing 200 posts, has diverse topics that result in sometimes unrelevant ads.

  2. saloschin,
    interesting. i’ve actually found that the correlation between effort and earnings tends to follow, but not always. some niches just don’t monetize well, no matter what. those, i guess, just need to be labors of love.

  3. I have found that a website makes money = to the time and effort put in, whether that be with Adsense PPC or selling a product. The site that has consistently made me the most money selling products from- I have eBay to thank 100% for. And with Adsense sites, it’s about constantly thinking how you can gain more traffic organically. In this instance, SERPs are much more important than PRs. I have had zero success with 90% of my sites, though. Why? Because I just let them sit there without the attention and tweaking they need to succeed. However, to answer your question more specifically, Ryan- I tend to be contrarian and look for “niches” that are not yet covered by other websites. So while search enquiries aren’t huge, I’m at least likely to rank very high for them. This puts me in the $1 per day Adsense range for a site that costs about $100 to do.

  4. saloschin,
    in your experience, what sort of PR3 sites do well, and are you talking “doing well with AdSense” or are these PR3 sites that sell a product?

  5. Couldn’t agree with you more here, Ryan. It is amazing how much faith and value people put in pagerank. Some of my best sites which have made tons of money are PR3, while I have absolutely useless ones that are PR6. Plus there are no real guidelines in place. I really think Google wants to keep everybody guessing and pulling their hair out. Having said that, “when in Rome….” 🙂

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