SEO Ranking Tools: Traffic Rank, PageRank and mozRank Explained image SEO

Just when you think you’ve got SEO down, Google keeps you on your toes. Look what Google Penguin tossed into the mix in just one year. SEO is a strategic chess-like game of moves which is all suited in relevance to your measurement tool.

Of the three most popular SEO measurement/benchmark tools today, Traffic Rank, PageRank and mozRank, neither rises as more important to another. Your SEO efforts need to target a combination of one of these but take into consideration all of the measurement tools. If you’re not using them, it doesn’t mean your competition isn’t using them.

Traffic Rank

Traffic Rank is the weakest of the 3 popular SEO standards. Alexa takes into consideration your website popularity in relation to all recorded websites worldwide over the course of 3 months. A rank of 1 means you’ve got the most popular site online. Alexa Traffic Rank doesn’t care about your popularity via keyword or meta data.

Alexa Traffic Rank, Alexa Reach and Alexa Page View parameters are most likely considered the weakest measurement tool because it relies on users downloading a toolbar in their browser to collect data. This skews data first and foremost solely based on the sampling population.

“Different strokes for different folks,” as Yeremi Akpan, founder of ProBlogger Tips, describes Traffic Rank. Are you striving to improve your Traffic Rank? Read some helpful information on how to lower your overall Alexa Traffic Rank.


PageRank is a primary search engine ranking tool to set the bar. PageRank takes into consideration your keywords and the amount of back linking to your site. Back links serve as votes for quality in regards to PageRank. Google’s baby, PageRank, has a second tier built in such that pages with higher PageRank, cast a heavier influencing vote on those pages they back link, regardless of quality.

The fault in PageRank is that it lacks a link quality detector. So often, links and backlinks are shared among low quality sites to game PageRank. Link farming and directory listings have been popular in the past to increase your PageRank but can now cause you harm with Google Penguin. Do not discount your PageRank though; this looks like a mechanism Google will keep (RIP Google Reader).


mozRank is a scoring system that judges your site based on a myriad of characteristics. mozRank is by far the most widely liked SEO benchmarking tool but very confusing to dissect.

mozRank is about link popularity but not without discrimination. mozRank, in a nutshell, wants to see high-quality sites link to your site. In turn, mozRank deciphers and ranks the WHO and WHERE that is linking to your site. Higher mozRank is based on relevance in keywords in linking sites and domain authority.

Though mozRank may be the most complex of the three SEO measurement tools, always remember that mozRank is based on a logarithmic function so going from 3 to 4 is much easier than going from a 7 to 8. If you’re looking for good ways to improve your mozRank, check out this great blog from our friends at IMPACT Branding.

Bottom line

If you write for your target audience first and optimize for search second, your target will come and so will the links.

SEO measurement is a changing game but always know, whatever tool you’re using, let it function as a yardstick. For instance, a site that scores well under Alexa Traffic Rank does not automatically score well on the other two functions. consistently measure yourself as well as your competition under the tools most fitting for your goals. Pre-plan your measurement tools with your target in mind.