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Hold the Alexa, here comes URLFan

Yes, we know Alexa isn’t accurate, in fact it has a number of blindspots, but it’s a easily accessed public web metric. But for checking out the Web2.0-ness of your site, you might like to check out URLFan.com.


What is URLFan?

If you’re a “Web2.0-ish” person, you’d want to check out this metric type site which ranks sites according to their RSS feeds.

The site description says URLFan is “currently parsing hundreds of gigabytes of RSS content a day”

As of my last visit, URLFan’s stats stand at “Reading 746,006 feeds, parsing 41,334,923 posts, ranking 1,844,043 domains”

Bear in mind that the criterion for ranking is popularity of web feeds. As you know, RSS (really simple syndication) is becoming more widely adopted as the distribution technology of choice for content syndication, whether it’s into your Google Reader (or it’s equivalent at your My Yahoo! page) or the Mozilla Thunderbird email/RSS client.

Out of curiosity, I pulled the top ranked sites according to URLFan:

urlfan top sites

With content sites, not surprisingly, dominating the top positions.

Interestingly, YouTube and Flickr, rank highly despite the fact that the bulk of their content is video and graphic-based. I suspect it has to do with the content’s title and tags.

The lesson here is if you’re not already tagging your content, you should start today!

I thought it’d be interesting to see how bloggers ranked, so I ran some blogs through the engine.

Ranks 150 out of 1,844,043 sites
Mentioned in 927 unique feeds.
Mentioned in 1543 posts.

Ranks 1036 out of 1,844,043 sites
Mentioned in 219 unique feeds.
Mentioned in 387 posts.

Ranks 1170 out of 1,844,043 sites
Mentioned in 200 unique feeds.
Mentioned in 341 posts.

Ranks 1680 out of 1,844,043 sites
Mentioned in 146 unique feeds.
Mentioned in 254 posts.

Ranks 8265 out of 1,844,043 sites
Mentioned in 40 unique feeds.
Mentioned in 68 posts.

Ranks 8438 out of 1,844,043 sites
Mentioned in 40 unique feeds.
Mentioned in 64 posts.

Ranks 12688 out of 1,844,043 sites
Mentioned in 28 unique feeds.
Mentioned in 31 posts.

Jim Kukral
26190 out of 1,844,043 sites
Mentioned in 15 unique feeds.
Mentioned in 17 posts.

Ranks 27113 out of 1,844,043 sites
Mentioned in 18 unique feeds.
Mentioned in 21 posts.

So does it mean that a “low” ranking on the URLFan scale means your site is “bad”?

That’s hardly the case.

Remember URLFan is primarily using RSS as the metric.

If you’re not actively promoting your RSS feed, or pushing traffic into your list (like I do), then you’ll score lower.

And remember too, that traffic quantity is not the entire picture.

Traffic quality (the type of visitor you are attracting) is as and could be more important.

I’d rather than 1,000 relevant and targeted visitors to my site, rather than 10,000 untargeted ones (who might come once and never come back).

When planning your online marketing strategy, always look at the big picture.

3 comments on Hold the Alexa, here comes URLFan

  1. Chee Kui
    May 20, 2007 at 3:33 pm (4876 days ago)

    Interesting finding. Well..but I stilll think Alexa is better than urlfan. Simply becos no one subscribe to my rss feeds. ouch :p

  2. webb
    April 18, 2012 at 1:13 am (3082 days ago)

    I have never been a fan of alexa. I wish someone woul o someting reall accurate an free.

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