11 Easy Tools for Measuring Website Credibility
When doing business online it comes in handy to be able to estimate the size and credibility of a website.
You can be concerned about credibility when you're looking to buy, to make an advertising decision, looking to write an external guest post, making a partnership or assessing the real size of a new customer, just to name a few examples.
In this post we will take a look at some of the most accessible tools to assess a website's size and credibility. None of the following tools are authoritative enough on their own, so we recommend you to use a combination:
What is it: PageRank is a system developed by Google, the representation of an algorithm that ranks websites for Google’s Search Engine results. It reflects how 'important' Google believes a website is.
How to read the metrics: The number, a value from 0 to 10, is based on the number and quality of websites linking back to that specific page. The most important websites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) have a PR of 10, while unranked or non-relevant pages can be on 0.
Where to Find it: With a toolbar app such as “Google Toolbar” you can retrieve Google’s PR for any visited page. Alternative tools are available in your browser app store. We personally like Open SEO Stats, which joins several metrics in one place.
Weaknesses: Google PageRank is updated infrequently and therefore could be outdated. It also doesn’t provide any information regarding the amount of real visitors or quality of the content itself.
What is it: Alexa is the ranking system of a subsidiary company of Amazon, representing the visitor traffic of a certain website.
How to read the metrics: Alexa ranks websites in an ascending order based on their amount of traffic, starting with Google on number 1, followed by Facebook on 2nd and Youtube on 3rd place. A huge number of websites are listed in an endless and ever growing ranking.
Where to Find it: By creating an official account at www.alexa.com, or by installing the alexa toolbar you can check any website's Rank. You can also use a third-party app such as Open SEO Stats, which includes the value for the Alexa Ranking Position for each visited website.
Weaknesses: A website's Alexa score is constructed through the number of its visitors that have the Alexa Toolbar installed. It is thus obtained through sampling and approximation and can therefore be distorted. For example, a website that attracts a segment of people with the Alexa Toolbar installed will have a disproportionately high alexa ranking compared to others that don't attract such a segment (e.g. a business software website with tech-savvy visitors vs. a food style blog).
What is it: WOT stands for Web of Trust. In general lines it is a User Rating based number showing the average trustworthiness of a website. The goal of WOT is to protect web users from online scams and inappropriate content.
How to read the metrics: WOT displays 2 metrics: website trustworthiness and appropriateness for children. Results appear in a coloured logo in your browser: green for safe, yellow for suspicious and red for dangerous. When you have the app installed you can leave behind your own review. The algorithm behind the app determines how much impact a vote has, based on the amount of votes and conformity with general opinion.
Where to Find it: You can download the WOT app here.
Weaknesses: WOT is not as widely used as for example the Alexa Toolbar. Because of this there are oftentimes no ratings available for smaller websites. Nevertheless, it's still useful to identify clear cases of scamming sites.
What is it: A comprehensive SEO overview tool which lets you not only discover the website’s positioning regarding Page Authority but also the number of inbound links and social media followers.
How to “read the metrics”: Even though the inputs for Inbound link analysis are the same as used for Google Page Rank, with this kind of research it is possible to know the exact number of linking pages and their source. Page Authority is then measured from 1 to 100. The higher it scores, the more authority it has. Furthermore, by clicking on Page Analysis you are able to further check for linking sources, opportunities and other metrics.
Weaknesses: In Moz Bar’s free version not all functions are available.
What is it: Built With helps you to understand the technical structure behind a certain website. This is a valuable tool to understand the deepness of the website as well as the technology behind it, the servers’ location and other pertinent information to assess a website’s credibility
Where to find it:Built With website
Weaknesses: Maybe too complex for those who are not familiar with the applications which can be found in the long lists (although the short description provided can be very useful).
What is it: Ghostery is one of the best apps to discover which tools and plugins are used on a website. Ghostery is recommended for both businesses and private consumers who want to know what information is collected about themselves. It is possible to block the trackers of certain tools, similar to the functionality of adblocker.
Ghostery can be used to assess a website's credibility indirectly, by looking at the type of tools they use. You can make some conclusions about the professionality of a website, for example, when you see that a website it only makes use of free tools.
Weaknesses: Ghostery is not an extensive tool, but in what it does there is not a lot you can criticise on it. Its initial settings might be a bit dominant as you're browsing the web, but this will make you realize the amount of data that is collected from you while surfing. You can change the settings to make it less dominant and can disable the tracker tools manually.
What is it: Quantcast is a tool that allows you to collect meaningful information about a website’s audience. From demographics information to interests, traffic size, pageviews and others. With Quantcast you can also compare a website to its competitors. All this data is collected through a Digital Beacon, introduced in some publishers’ content, information and sampling is then extrapolated to all different sources under a statistical modeling process.
Where to find it: Quantcast can be used through their website
Weaknesses: Its focus on quantifying audiences comes from the company's core business in advertising. Therefore, the type of data collected and presented is mostly related with data relevant for paid marketing activities.
What is it: Compete is a free online tool that helps you measure the number of visitors to your website and compare it to other websites. Full paid products enable you to have more insights about conversion, channel effectiveness and mobile intelligence. Data is collected from user behavior across multiple devices and from a heterogeneous sample of the population studied.
Where to find it:Compete website
Weaknesses: The free tool is quite limited by only giving you information about the number of visitors.
What is it: SimilarWeb gives you an overview of a website's traffic, bounce rate, traffic sources, subdomains, referring sites, visitor location, search traffic, social media and much more. Data used in SimilarWeb come from their own crawlers and other click-stream data from their own panels of users
Where to find it:SimilarWeb website
Weaknesses: Some enhanced features such as competitors comparison are only available on the paid version.
What is it: This is a tool designed for Marketing professionals with information collected by AdWords, positions, rankings, organic positions for domains and URLs, search volume and others. One interesting features from the free plan is the possibility to obtain direct competitors from organic search, ads competitors and charts comparing organic and ads related traffic.
Where to find it:SEMrush Website
Weaknesses: Even though this is regarded as one of the best SEO tools available, it still lacks in information concerning link building.
11Social Media Analysis
What is it: Number of Followers per social network channel such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and others.
Where to find it: You can find this information in any of the company’s official social pages. We also suggest that you take a look at Klout a tool which measures social impact.
Weaknesses: Unfortunately, the number of social media followers can fail to provide meaningful information on different levels. First, there is the possibility for any company to “buy” social media followers at a really low cost. Because of this you should look at the interaction level of the company's post. For example, when a website has a 1000 followers with dozens of them reacting on each of their posts, you can assume they collected them naturally. On the other hand, when a page has more than 1.000.000 followers but only 1 or 2 comments on each of their posts, you can assume the social following was bought. Also, not every business is active on social channels due to their marketing strategy and therefore not having many followers is not necessarily a sign of lack of credibility.
As pointed out above, you mustn’t forget to apply common sense. Not every business is internet focused, depending on their product or market and performing badly on these metrics are not necessarily signs that a website’s lacks in credibility or trustworthiness.