Using Technorati, Google or Alexa alone provides an incomplete pictures of the rank of a given website or blog. However, taken together, these provide a meaningful way to measure the worth of a site. Each of these can be ‘gamed’ – particularly Technorati and Alexa – so taking any one rating system at face value can be misleading. So why does this matter? Well, knowing the ‘value’ or ‘rank’ of a page helps you assess the quality and accuracy of the content you see.

Google: People love, hate, bash, ignore, and adore Google for the PageRank system – but it is an invaluable way of checking the value of a site. A rank of PR3 or less is fairly easy to acheive, so any site with a rank from PR1 to PR3 is likely either new or not well read or linked to. PR4 is somewhat harder, and marks a typical decent/good blog that has taken reasonable effort to create and maintain. PR5 suggests strong readership and/or high-quality incoming links, while PR6 generally means that a site or blog is quite well established – and possibly run by multiple authors. Anything PR7 or above is either extremely old and well-developed with incoming links and/or it is maintained by multiple authors and frequently releases new and useful information.

Technorati: Technorati authority ranks blogs based on the number and kind of incoming links, as well as the number of people who have manually ‘Faved’ a given blog. This latter part of the equation is part of what makes it so easy to game – a lot of people have joined “Technorati Fave Trains” and Fave one anothers’ blogs in order to gain rank. So, Technorati rank is useful, but probably best used if you’re concerned about a site’s Google PageRank or if the site is too new to have a reliably current PageRank.

Alexa: Alexa rank is a good way to gauge traffic to certain kinds of pages. However, because that rank is based on the number of visitors to a site using the Alexa toolbar, it can be heavily skewed by the kind of page being visited. For example, since people want to boost their own Alexa rank to earn money, sites about making money online often have a disproportionately high Alexa rank. So, again, Alexa is a useful gauge of page value – but only in conjunction with these other sources.

Mixed: So, with all of this in mind, the question becomes: what does it mean if a site has a higher rank in one of these categories than the other? Well, if a site has a high Technorati rank but low Alexa and Google (Page)Rank, then the ranking is likely inflated. A high Technorati and Alexa rank but low Google PageRank probably means the site is popular or blog well-read, but it is too new and has become popular since the last PageRank update. High Google PageRank and low Technorati and/or Alexa rank indicates that the site has strong support from powerful incoming links, but that it likely isn’t trafficked by the same mainstream audience that uses Alexa and Technorati..