We got an interesting question on our feedback community last week about how Nibbler ranks websites by popularity. I thought the answer might be interesting to anyone else who’s been wondering how we calculate the popularity score.
So I just checked www.google.com and for Popularity it scored 8.1. Looking at the details it says it’s the most popular website. So shouldn’t it get a 10 for this then??
The popularity score in Nibbler is made up of a few different factors.
A large percentage of the score is determined by the Alexa rank. In this case we can see that www.google.com ranks as the #1 most popular website in the world.
This is great for Google of course, but most websites aren’t this popular. Even if a website is the 1 millionth popular in the world, it might actually be the world’s #1 best pet shop website, although obviously it’s not as popular as Facebook although it doesn’t need to be. So getting a higher rank isn’t everything. Another proportion of the score is decided by the growth over the last 3 months. This is to reward websites that might currently be the 1 millionth in the world, but have actually made a huge improvement recently.
Nibbler says “This website recently saw a slight increase in popularity” this means popularity has increased, but only slightly. For example, this might only be an increase of 10%.
The Alexa rank only gives us a popularity rank for the TLD (google.com). Unfortunately it’s not possible to distinguish popularity for each subdomain (for example mail.google.com or docs.google.com). Nibbler tells us that the main site www.google.com accounts for 69.9% of this traffic, so it could be that it’s lost some points because of its subdomains.
I hope you agree that this actually makes sense and can understand why we do it this way. We’re not scoring websites purely based on their ranked position, it’s more involved than that. We happen to think that this makes it fairer for other websites, but let us know what you think.
And thanks for the question Stephan!