Technorati Blog Cosmos – Who’s Linking Who?

Technorati, as you may know, is a combination of a blog search engine and a blog directory. While not every blogger feels it’s of any worth, there is the Technorati Top 100 Blogs list, and being on it means some measure of success. To get there, of course, you need to accumulate links to your blog.

The explanation of Technorati’s revived authority rank suggests that it’s no longer enough to have blogs just linking to your blog. You need to have fresh links coming in regularly. Links are only relevant for six months (180 days). If not, your ranking goes down. That doesn’t mean it’ll affect your ranking in the SERPs (search engine results pages) or even in Google’s PageRank, but others may adopt a “momentum” metric at some point as well.

This method of ranking blogs gives anyone not already in the Technorati Top 100 a chance to move up, provided you can accumulate lots of fresh links. It also means that if you leave your blog dormant too long, it essentially ceases to stay “relevant” in Technorati. In fact, one of my newest blogs has a much higher Technorati ranking than I would have thought, primarily because all of the links are fresh. However, one of my flagship sites has a lower ranking than the new blog, despite having many more links and being nearly two years old.

What does that mean? Do not let your blog go dormant. No new content probably means no new links back. Premium backlinks are always essential. You’ll likely have to work harder to keep fresh links coming in. Note that even if you have, say, 10 links coming to you from a single blog, that only improves your authority ranking by +1. Still, linking out to others improves the chances that you’ll be linked back to, especially if you are writing “linkable” content.

If you’re serious about maintaining a reasonable Technorati authority rank, you’ll very likely want to track who’s linking to you, even subscribe to a feed containing that information. Even if you don’t care all that much about being on their Top 100 list, you may simply want to know who is linking to you, and whether those links are being maintained.

Fortunately, Technorati offers their Cosmo Query API, which lets you access linking information from within your own applications. You’ll need to sign up for a Technorati API Key, which is free.

Reasons to track your blog cosmos

The Technorati authority ranking is not normally a metric used in ad networks, search engines, etc., to determine your blog’s worth. However, it has a great deal of value. It gives a general sense of your blog’s health. Here are some concrete reasons for using the information, whether directly from Technorati’s web pages, or from within an application accessing the API:

  1. Know who is linking to you.
  2. Know what other blogs are saying about you or your blog.
  3. Know what other bloggers linking to you are writing about.
  4. Determine if your blog is staying relevant to it’s niche. That is, if the number of fresh links is decreasing, it may mean your blog’s readership has changed or your topics no longer interest them enough to make them want to link to you.
  5. Have a source list for possible future profiles and/or interviews. They linked to you. Maybe you can find a reason to write about them and link back.
  6. Subscribable list of fresh links to your blog, provided you either use their direct URL (with “format=rsss”) or a feed mashup tool to customize results. This means you can view incoming links directly from your favorite feed reader instead of having to visit Technorati.com to perform the Cosmos query.

Tools

The tools you will use in this tubetorial are as follows:

  1. Technorati Cosmo Query API.
  2. Yahoo Pipes.

In addition, I’ve also used the following to create this tubetorial:

  1. Techsmith’s Camtasia Studio.
  2. SplashCast Media’s SplashCast.
  3. Various text and HTML editors.

Process

This is the general process for building the Technorati Cosmos Pipe:

  1. Customize the Cosmos Query URL with input from the Pipes user.
  2. Fetch the Cosmos results feed for the specified blog.
  3. As a visual aid, add the following information to each result item’s title:
    1. Date and hour (no minutes) that the link was recorded. This is not the same as the date that the post linking to you was published. I have yet to see an explanation of this at Technorati.
    2. The number of links to the blog that is linking to you.
    3. The number of blogs linking to the blog that is linking to you.
  4. Sort the mashed up feed in reverse chronological order.
  5. Output the results.

To clarify step #3, the information is added to the title of each Cosmos Query result item so that you can see at a glance when a link was recorded and how much authority that blog has.

Once you’ve run the Cosmos Pipe for your blog, Yahoo Pipes auto-generates a custom URL for subscribing to the results. So you can add the generated feed URL to your favorite feed reader.

Yahoo Pipes modules used

Here are the modules used in building the Pipe:

  1. URL Builder – to customize the API query URL we’ll use.
  2. Text Input – to supply your Technorati API key.
  3. URL Input – to supply the blog URL you want tracked.
  4. Fetch Feed – to fetch your blog’s Cosmos details in RSS feed format.
  5. Regex – to add some information to each linking blog’s title. This is purely as a visual aid, and lets you determined the authority of any blog linking to you.
  6. String Concatenation – to supply the exact information for each linking blog’s title.
  7. Sort – to order the cosmos results in reverse chronological order. While Technorati already supplies the information this way, Pipes is still in beta and may alter the feed being mashed up. This module may be redundant for this pipe in the future.
  8. Pipe Output – output the mashed up RSS feed.

If you want to filter the Cosmos results of any low-authority blogs linking to you, add a Filter module to your Pipe. Block out blogs based on the tapi:inboundlinks and tapi:inboundblogs feed variables. (I’ve discussed filtering in Yahoo Pipes in previous tubetorials, such as in RSS Radar posts.)

Links

If you want to skip building the Cosmos Pipe, you can simply use the release version I’ve published. For it to function, you will need to supply your own Technorati API key. Of course, if you feel like customizing the Pipe, you can clone and tweak it as well.

Notes

Technorati states that they try to index full content of blogs, but only from their front page or the RSS feed. They do not yet index permalink pages. So if a blog’s RSS feed is not “full-text”, then it is possible that any links not in the first few paragraphs of a post will not register in their database. That simply means that there may be many more links to your blog than what shows up in your cosmos. Hopefully, that’ll persuade you to ensure you’re using full-text feeds, and hope that others linking to you will do so as well.

Video

This video is longer than most of my other Yahoo Pipes tutorials, simply because the Pipe itself is a bit more complex and requires additional explanation.

Technorati Cosmos query from Yahoo Pipes - example results snapshot

The Eatonweb blog directory is one of the oldest directories on the web and another place where your blog needs to be listed!