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How To Gauge a Website's Traffic and Influence

Being able to make an independent assessment of a website’s traffic and overall reach can be very useful as you promote your book. When looking for blogs and websites to review your work or exchange guest posts with, you want to focus your efforts on the ones that will give you the greatest returns. Many authors still seem to rely on outdated measurements, such as Alexa rank, when making these assessments. In this article we share some simple tools that are easily accessible and more or less standard in the website brokerage industry.

Where to look and what to look for:

MOZ

Over the past couple of years, Moz.com has become the defacto standard for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) metrics. The company maintains a huge database of all websites and how they relate to one another. Based on this data, Moz determines a website’s so called “domain authority” and number of backlinks, which are both useful metrics. To access some of their data for free, download the MozBar for either Chrome or Firefox, or just go to the Open Site Explorer.

Domain authority - an overall measure of influence

Domain authority is a score between 0-100 that measures a site’s comparative “strength” in relation to others. It is calculated using a vast number of metrics such as the age and number of links to the site. Since it is a logarithmic scale, it is much easier to climb from say 20 to 30, than it is to go from 70 to 80. If you are just going to be looking at one measure, this is the one to go for. It will give you a very good overall grade for where the site stands in terms of influence on the web.

Linking Root Domains

Looking at the linking root domains of a website gives you an indication of the number of unique websites that link to it. This is a good secondary signal to confirm the domain authority. In some cases, a site’s domain authority can be inflated by only a couple of very strong links, e.g. having been featured in a major news publication. Since you are trying to find websites with strong reputations in your field, it is better to see a good spread of backlinks coming to the target website.

SEMRush

SEMrush.com provides a snapshot of what keywords a website ranks for in Google and at what position. Since most websites get a large part of their traffic from search engines (Google in particular), this is a good indication of the amount of visitors the site gets.

Ranking Keywords

The most important metric you want from SEMrush is the ranking keywords. This will give you an idea of the site’s visibility. Take special notice of the volume of the keywords and how competitive you think they are. A top ranking for “Romance Novel” is a lot harder to obtain than the first position for a keyphrase such as “Romance Novels Written in Esperanto”.

Putting it together

It is difficult to mention any threshold values that you should be looking for since the numbers will vary, depending on the type of websites you target. If you are looking for book reviewers in a small niche, you are not likely to find sites that score very high on any of these metrics. On the other hand, if you are looking to make a guest post on a larger book review website, you might be able to be more picky. Your best bet is to look at websites you are familiar with in your target segment to get a feel for their relative strengths. The table below will get you started. Happy hunting!

Name

Domain Authority

Linking Roots

Ranking Keywords

Huffingtonpost.com

96

304,000

1,776,965

Goodreads.com

93

103,000

714,342

NYBooks.com

82

15,502

18,339

ManyBooks.net

67

3,231

4,771

Bookbub.com

49

558

32

HeroesandHeartbreakers.com

41

468

5,710

Lithub.com

41

86

257

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