Google’s popularity score in Nibbler

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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 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??
Stephan Gerlach

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 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 ( Unfortunately it’s not possible to distinguish popularity for each subdomain (for example or Nibbler tells us that the main site 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!

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  • Stephan Gerlach

    Thanks for taking the time to explain :D

  • John

    Great Article… 

  • Impulse Webdesign

    It does makes sense, eventhough the algorithm could take into account that a #1 website cannot relatively increase as much as a unpopular website. But when it comes to pure numbers the increase might actually be much higher. So an 10% increase of popularity on the #1 website might be way more in numbers than a 20% increase of any lower ranked website.

    Correct me if I’m wrong?

  • Provence

    Thank you, but i would also like very much some explanations about the facebook sharing stat, because it is always 0 on all my websites, even if they got comments, shares and +1….


    • silktide

      Hi Provence, it looks like we need to review this as it’s adding much more weight to higher number of likes making it more difficult to get a score than we’d like. We’re in the process of reviewing this. 

  • gp


    The search engine is not accurate.
    It cant find wny backlinks nor social media while i have 127 backlinks and several facebook, youtube and also twitter connenctions…
    So i have my doubts.
    anyway where can i find the plugin verification code pps?


    • silktide

      Hi gp. What’s the site you’re testing and we’ll look into it. You’ll find the verification code when you click “Claim this website” and then select “Add a meta tag to your homepage”.

  • poles marmer

    Verry good……Great Article… 

  • Guest

    hi, didnt know where to ask so sry if its a bad place to do so, i can’t get nibbler to see my google page.

    i would appreciate your help :)

    • silktide

      Hi, it looks like Nibbler might be having some trouble with the Polish characters in the URL of your G+ page. We’ll look into fixing it, thanks for letting us know

      • FIona Beck

        Nibbler is not seeing my google+page either and its all in English. Can someone help please?