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Should Bloggers be Helping Google Fix Their PageRank System?


By now, most bloggers have heard the announcement that the Big 3 search engines - Google, Yahoo, and MSN - have united in support of a new tag that will supposedly combat comment spam. The new tag is a nofollow attribute that can be added to links. When added to links in comment tags, the search engines will ignore them.

An excellent discussion of this new tag and how it works can be found at Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Watch: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050118-204728

Google announced the new tag in a 1/18/2005 post to their own blog: http://www.google.com/googleblog/

And Microsoft added their support to the new tag in this post: http://blogs.msdn.com/msnsearch/archive/2005/01/18/nofollow_tags.aspx

At first blush, anything that can help cut down the comment spam that most bloggers are daily subjected to would seem to be a good thing. It can be pretty upsetting to access your blog in the morning and find 50 junk comments with links to casino, adult, and pharmacy sites. If your blog has any PageRank, you can expect to find more of this garbage polluting your site every day. Fighting the spread of comment spam has become a necessity.

But after first cheering the proactiveness of the search engines, many bloggers have stepped back and taken a closer look and they don't like what they see. You can read a sampling of their thoughts at Search Engine Watch Forum: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=3797

Brian Turner's incisive article "New Nofollow Tag Cheers Bloggers but Fails Blogs" discusses some of the potential abuses of the new nofollow tag: http://www.platinax.co.uk/news/archives/2005/01/new_nofollow_ta.html

And Jim Pryke's article "Bloggers Cheer Google As Their Search Rankings Plummet" makes it very clear that not only will this NOT stop comment spam. But it will actually hurt bloggers as a community: http://netinstitute.com/archives/2005/01/20/bloggers-cheer-google-as-their-search-rankings-plummet

For an hilarious take on the new tag and how it will get abused, be sure to take a look at Link Condom: http://www.linkcondom.com

I have to agree with these bloggers that the nofollow tag won't even put a dent in the problem of comment spam. You have to realize that the comment spammers who cause the most problems are the ones who use automated bots to spread their spam onto every blog they find. The fact that they find a blog using the nofollow tag won't stop the bot from posting. If you have a popular blog, you'll still wake up every morning to find 50 casino/pharmacy/adult ads on your blog. You'll still have to spend the time deleting those posts to clean up your blog.

You see, the problem to bloggers isn't that those comment links pass PR. It's the fact that those spam posts make your blog look like garbage. Whether the links pass PR or not isn't the big issue for bloggers. It's the time it takes to get rid of unwanted comments and the detraction to their sites. The nofollow tag won't do a thing about that problem. You'll still have the problems, even if you use the tag.

Think about this: how effective have email filters been in stopping email spam? As most of us know, they've hardly done any good at all. Email spam becomes a bigger problem every day. Spammers really don't care if some of their emails are blocked. They just send more of it to compensate. The same will be true of the automated comment spam bots.

The fact of the matter is, there are already much better tools in most blogging software to fight comment spam AND save the time and effort of the blogger at the same time. There are already a number of plugins for WordPress, Moveable Type, and other blogs. There will undoubtedly be more in the future. These tools are already more effective at fighting comment spam than this nofollow tag will ever be.

What is unfortunate is that the people the nofollow tag will really hurt is bloggers themselves. Traditionally, bloggers have read and commented in each other's blogs. And these comments have added value. When I write an article for my blog, I love it when other bloggers take the time to add their insights on the topic I'm discussing. These comments add content to my site and continue the discussion. This is one of the reasons blogs are so easy to grow into topic-specific information-rich sites that are popular with readers. Unlike static sites, they offer two-way communication between reader and blogger. They become communities.

When someone adds this kind of value to my blog, I am more than happy to give them a link to their blog that passes PR. That will help them build the readership of their own blog, grow the community even larger, and add to the richness of the discussion. These are exactly the kinds of links that any webmaster should want on their site!

Adding a nofollow tag to comments can only quash this discussion. It can only discourage commenters with the most to contribute from taking the time to add to the discussion. After all, if the time I spend on another blog doesn't contribute to the growth of the blogging community as a whole or aid in the visibility of my own blog, am I going to spend as much time and effort doing it?

Anything that decreases the open flow of discussion currently enjoyed in the blogging community is a bad deal for bloggers.

The question that should be asked is this: why is comment spam so profitable? After all, if it weren't profitable, so many people wouldn't be going to such ridiculous lengths to do it.

The answer to this is obviously Google's link-heavy PageRank algorithm that forces webmasters to get every link they can to get their site's indexed and ranked. Most webmasters know that in order to get ranked in Google, they had better have a ton of links to their site.

That's the problem with PageRank as an algorithm. It encourages artificial linking between sites that no longer has any relevance whatsoever to the goal of providing good resources to visitors. Do we really believe that most reciprocal link directories provide a resource to our visitors? Not likely! If websites are real estate, reciprocal link directories are the slums, the seedy bars and tattoo parlors on the edges of polite society.

Whole businesses have sprung up as a reaction to PageRank. I'm talking about the link auction and link selling sites. Under the PageRank system, sites aren't being ranked by who provides the best content, but by who has the deepest pockets to buy the most links. Or, in the case of comment spammers, whoever wants to spread their bots all over the internet spamming blogs. This system has over time totally skewed the natural linking between sites that once dominated the internet - the very thing that Google's PageRank system is supposed to reward.

Ironically, blogs are one of the few places left on the web where linking is actually about providing good content to visitors and rewarding value provided on other sites. Bloggers as a group are the most likely to link to sites because of the content value to their visitors. Their links are very likely to be very topic specific. You don't find that on other sites. These are the kinds of links that I would assume Google would want to encourage through their PageRank system, not those junky reciprocal link directories or purchased links.

It would seem to me that the only effective way to cut down on comment spam and all the artificial linking techniques Google purportedly wants to thwart is not by making life harder for bloggers - the very people who link in the most relevant fashion. But at taking a second look at their own PageRank system and whether it is really serving the usefulness of their own search engine and the whole web in 2005.

For more tips and ideas on how to make money blogging, be sure to visit my "Why Marketers Should Blog" weblog at (what else) http://www.WhyMarketersShouldBlog.com


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE RESOURCES updated Sat. December / 14 / 2019

A Farewell to Feministing and the Heyday of Feminist Blogging - The New York Times
A Farewell to Feministing and the Heyday of Feminist Blogging  The New York Times

What Happened to Tagging? - JSTOR Daily
What Happened to Tagging?  JSTOR Daily

Expired viagra - Side effects of expired viagra - Best place to buy viagra online reddit - Laughlin Entertainer
Expired viagra - Side effects of expired viagra - Best place to buy viagra online reddit  Laughlin Entertainer

The crowdfunded cult of Amanda Palmer - Engadget
The crowdfunded cult of Amanda Palmer  Engadget

Proventil inhaler coupon - Fda proventil hfa - Proventil hfa and pregnancy - Laughlin Entertainer
Proventil inhaler coupon - Fda proventil hfa - Proventil hfa and pregnancy  Laughlin Entertainer

Best all natural viagra - Free trial over the counter viagra - Best alternative for viagra in india - Laughlin Entertainer
Best all natural viagra - Free trial over the counter viagra - Best alternative for viagra in india  Laughlin Entertainer

Happy 25th year, blogging. You’ve grown up, but social media is still having a brawl - The Guardian
Happy 25th year, blogging. You’ve grown up, but social media is still having a brawl  The Guardian

Farewell to the blog - Politico
Farewell to the blog  Politico

Propecia dosing - Propecia libido return - Does propecia cause thyroid problems - Laughlin Entertainer
Propecia dosing - Propecia libido return - Does propecia cause thyroid problems  Laughlin Entertainer

The Rise and Demise of RSS - Motherboard
The Rise and Demise of RSS  Motherboard

What Is an RSS Feed? (+ How to Get Started) - G2
What Is an RSS Feed? (+ How to Get Started)  G2

WordPress vs. Wix: What's the Best Website Platform for Manufacturers? - ThomasNet News
WordPress vs. Wix: What's the Best Website Platform for Manufacturers?  ThomasNet News

As Microsoft moves more blogs off its MSDN and TechNet sites, here's how to stay current - ZDNet
As Microsoft moves more blogs off its MSDN and TechNet sites, here's how to stay current  ZDNet

Track RSS Feeds (Yes RSS) with Feedly - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Track RSS Feeds (Yes RSS) with Feedly  The Chronicle of Higher Education

A checklist: 5 steps toward better blogging | 2019-08-31 - grbj.com
A checklist: 5 steps toward better blogging | 2019-08-31  grbj.com

The RSS sutras for the twenty-first century - Economic Times
The RSS sutras for the twenty-first century  Economic Times

Could Blogging Boost Your Ecommerce SEO? - Practical Ecommerce
Could Blogging Boost Your Ecommerce SEO?  Practical Ecommerce

Sweat Equity: Still blogging away on LGBTQ topics, but it's not big money - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sweat Equity: Still blogging away on LGBTQ topics, but it's not big money  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The how and the why of law blogs - ABA Journal
The how and the why of law blogs  ABA Journal

'Hindutva is not divisive, not anti-Muslim … RSS will abide by the Supreme Court judgment on Ayodhya' - Economic Times
'Hindutva is not divisive, not anti-Muslim … RSS will abide by the Supreme Court judgment on Ayodhya'  Economic Times

Wanted: An enemy for RSS to help BJP grow in Tamil Nadu - Economic Times
Wanted: An enemy for RSS to help BJP grow in Tamil Nadu  Economic Times

Attorney-Discipline Blogger Is Target of Defamation Suit - Law.com
Attorney-Discipline Blogger Is Target of Defamation Suit  Law.com

Changes to Google Play's average ratings: what to expect and how to prepare - Gamasutra
Changes to Google Play's average ratings: what to expect and how to prepare  Gamasutra

Growing Your Blog Using Email Marketing - Business 2 Community
Growing Your Blog Using Email Marketing  Business 2 Community

Brandon Sheffield's Blog - Dreamcast 20th anniversary interview extravaganza - Gamasutra
Brandon Sheffield's Blog - Dreamcast 20th anniversary interview extravaganza  Gamasutra

Blogging In 2019: How To Start A Successful Musician Blog - hypebot.com
Blogging In 2019: How To Start A Successful Musician Blog  hypebot.com

How to Get the Most Out of Discord - Gamasutra
How to Get the Most Out of Discord  Gamasutra

Making People Understand And Care About Your Game - Gamasutra
Making People Understand And Care About Your Game  Gamasutra

Blogging is hard, learns Gawker's new bosses - Boing Boing
Blogging is hard, learns Gawker's new bosses  Boing Boing

Why you should start a podcast soon - Quartz
Why you should start a podcast soon  Quartz

9 Places to Share Your Blog Feed to Automatically Update Your Social Media Contacts - Search Engine Journal
9 Places to Share Your Blog Feed to Automatically Update Your Social Media Contacts  Search Engine Journal

“The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging - Ars Technica
“The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging  Ars Technica

9 Ways to Evaluate Guest Posting & Blog Outreach Services - Search Engine Journal
9 Ways to Evaluate Guest Posting & Blog Outreach Services  Search Engine Journal

Reform suggestions for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - Economic Times
Reform suggestions for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh  Economic Times

17 Non-Negotiable Skills for Blog Writers in Any Business - Search Engine Journal
17 Non-Negotiable Skills for Blog Writers in Any Business  Search Engine Journal

Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Unity UI: The Guru's UI Development Diagram - Gamasutra
Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Unity UI: The Guru's UI Development Diagram  Gamasutra

Mohan Bhagwat, 6 Other RSS Functionaries Join Twitter - Outlook India
Mohan Bhagwat, 6 Other RSS Functionaries Join Twitter  Outlook India

RSS Feeds and How To Burn Them - Business 2 Community
RSS Feeds and How To Burn Them  Business 2 Community

Josh Bycer's Blog - Pursuing Playability Part 1 -- Quality of Life - Gamasutra
Josh Bycer's Blog - Pursuing Playability Part 1 -- Quality of Life  Gamasutra

Meet the New Blogger: Meghna Datta - Duke Today
Meet the New Blogger: Meghna Datta  Duke Today

My RSS feeds from a decade ago, a snapshot of gadget blogging when that was a thing - Boing Boing
My RSS feeds from a decade ago, a snapshot of gadget blogging when that was a thing  Boing Boing

Damien Yoccoz's Blog - How To Write A Kickass Game Description - Gamasutra
Damien Yoccoz's Blog - How To Write A Kickass Game Description  Gamasutra

The 10 Most Important SEO Strategies For Your WordPress Blog in 2019 - Forbes
The 10 Most Important SEO Strategies For Your WordPress Blog in 2019  Forbes

Nathan Savant's Blog - Region-Based Narrative - Gamasutra
Nathan Savant's Blog - Region-Based Narrative  Gamasutra

Bob Whitaker's Blog - NASA Historian considers Kerbal Space Program - Gamasutra
Bob Whitaker's Blog - NASA Historian considers Kerbal Space Program  Gamasutra

Scientific American Blogs Reminded People They Still Exist - By Scaremongering Vegetables And Promoting Supplements - Science 2.0
Scientific American Blogs Reminded People They Still Exist - By Scaremongering Vegetables And Promoting Supplements  Science 2.0

Josh Bycer's Blog - The Problem of the Indie Game Pedestal - Gamasutra
Josh Bycer's Blog - The Problem of the Indie Game Pedestal  Gamasutra

'Ideology of socialism is not different from ideology of the RSS … People have reposed faith in BJP leadership' - Economic Times
'Ideology of socialism is not different from ideology of the RSS … People have reposed faith in BJP leadership'  Economic Times

How to Use Guest Blogging for Natural Link Building - Search Engine Journal
How to Use Guest Blogging for Natural Link Building  Search Engine Journal

Josh Bycer's Blog - The Reality of Game Development - Gamasutra
Josh Bycer's Blog - The Reality of Game Development  Gamasutra

The simple most difficult challenge of bringing Frostpunk to consoles - Gamasutra
The simple most difficult challenge of bringing Frostpunk to consoles  Gamasutra

'Mommy bloggers' study reveals factors that drive success in social influencer marketing - EurekAlert
'Mommy bloggers' study reveals factors that drive success in social influencer marketing  EurekAlert

Joris Dormans's Blog - Unexplored 2 Dev Blog: Tiles to Curves - Gamasutra
Joris Dormans's Blog - Unexplored 2 Dev Blog: Tiles to Curves  Gamasutra

Avoid These 5 Blog Strategy & Creation Mistakes - Search Engine Journal
Avoid These 5 Blog Strategy & Creation Mistakes  Search Engine Journal

Josh Ge's Blog - Rebranding Difficulty Modes - Gamasutra
Josh Ge's Blog - Rebranding Difficulty Modes  Gamasutra

Beto O’Rourke is blogging about the fog and blackberry cobbler. But is he running for president? - Washington Post
Beto O’Rourke is blogging about the fog and blackberry cobbler. But is he running for president?  Washington Post

Victoria Tran's Blog - Fashion in Games: Why It Matters - Gamasutra
Victoria Tran's Blog - Fashion in Games: Why It Matters  Gamasutra

Victoria Tran's Blog - Designing Communities for Kindness - Gamasutra
Victoria Tran's Blog - Designing Communities for Kindness  Gamasutra

Bhaskar Rao- Salt of the earth - Economic Times
Bhaskar Rao- Salt of the earth  Economic Times

Herman Tulleken's Blog - Four Decades of Advergames - Gamasutra
Herman Tulleken's Blog - Four Decades of Advergames  Gamasutra

Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Unity Addressables: The Final Quiz Analysis - Gamasutra
Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Unity Addressables: The Final Quiz Analysis  Gamasutra

Pascal Luban's Blog - Mario Kart Tour: Gameplay: 1 - Onboarding: 0 - Gamasutra
Pascal Luban's Blog - Mario Kart Tour: Gameplay: 1 - Onboarding: 0  Gamasutra

Why All Of Our Games Look Like Crap - Gamasutra
Why All Of Our Games Look Like Crap  Gamasutra

SEO Critique of 3 Ecommerce Blogs - Practical Ecommerce
SEO Critique of 3 Ecommerce Blogs  Practical Ecommerce

Get More Traffic Now: 5 Secrets of the Most Popular Blogs - Search Engine Journal
Get More Traffic Now: 5 Secrets of the Most Popular Blogs  Search Engine Journal

Max Pears's Blog - Engaging Level Design for Combat - Pt 2 - Gamasutra
Max Pears's Blog - Engaging Level Design for Combat - Pt 2  Gamasutra

A 3D View of How We Got Here - Gamasutra
A 3D View of How We Got Here  Gamasutra

James Margaris's Blog - Why Artifact Failed - Gamasutra
James Margaris's Blog - Why Artifact Failed  Gamasutra

Furore over languages: National Education Policy is an excellent document which needs encouragement, not politics - Economic Times
Furore over languages: National Education Policy is an excellent document which needs encouragement, not politics  Economic Times

Iuliana U's Blog - Crowdfunding Without A Graphic Designer - Gamasutra
Iuliana U's Blog - Crowdfunding Without A Graphic Designer  Gamasutra

'Congress must not make the mistake of allowing the BJP to monopolise the nationalist narrative' - Economic Times
'Congress must not make the mistake of allowing the BJP to monopolise the nationalist narrative'  Economic Times

Blog or Podcast: What Best Helps the Entrepreneur? - Business 2 Community
Blog or Podcast: What Best Helps the Entrepreneur?  Business 2 Community

What is RSS? And Is It Still Important? - Small Business Trends
What is RSS? And Is It Still Important?  Small Business Trends

Josh Bycer's Blog - How Onboarding Should be Applied to Tutorials - Gamasutra
Josh Bycer's Blog - How Onboarding Should be Applied to Tutorials  Gamasutra

On surviving Yahoo Pipes, Feedburner futures, and the subscription web - Diginomica
On surviving Yahoo Pipes, Feedburner futures, and the subscription web  Diginomica

Catherine Fox's Blog - Beyond A Steel Sky - Dev Diary #2 - Gamasutra
Catherine Fox's Blog - Beyond A Steel Sky - Dev Diary #2  Gamasutra

Uncommon Blogging Tactics Are Highly Effective, New Study Shows - Search Engine Journal
Uncommon Blogging Tactics Are Highly Effective, New Study Shows  Search Engine Journal

Why Gurumurthy and RSS need a worldview - Economic Times
Why Gurumurthy and RSS need a worldview  Economic Times

My Roblox Years: Dungeon Life and New Product Science - Gamasutra
My Roblox Years: Dungeon Life and New Product Science  Gamasutra

Security Bloggers Network - Security Boulevard
Security Bloggers Network  Security Boulevard

California's AB5 Labor Bill Will Greatly Affect Game Companies - Gamasutra
California's AB5 Labor Bill Will Greatly Affect Game Companies  Gamasutra

Jamin Smith's Blog - The Big Game Branding 101 - Gamasutra
Jamin Smith's Blog - The Big Game Branding 101  Gamasutra

6 Reasons Your Ecommerce Site Needs a Blog Booster Shot - Search Engine Journal
6 Reasons Your Ecommerce Site Needs a Blog Booster Shot  Search Engine Journal

Creature in the Well Development with Bohdon Sayre - Gamasutra
Creature in the Well Development with Bohdon Sayre  Gamasutra

Ricardo Cuello's Blog - Music for Video Games: The Plan - Gamasutra
Ricardo Cuello's Blog - Music for Video Games: The Plan  Gamasutra

Rohit Sharma: The art of scoring runs with laziness and effortlessness - Economic Times
Rohit Sharma: The art of scoring runs with laziness and effortlessness  Economic Times

3 Strategies to Grow Gamers' Loyalty and Retention Rate - Gamasutra
3 Strategies to Grow Gamers' Loyalty and Retention Rate  Gamasutra

A Few Simple Benefits of Using An RSS Feed - Business 2 Community
A Few Simple Benefits of Using An RSS Feed  Business 2 Community

James Smith's Blog - Who's more popular: Mario or Brad Pitt? - Gamasutra
James Smith's Blog - Who's more popular: Mario or Brad Pitt?  Gamasutra

Want to Boost Your Game's ROI? Tap Into Your Community - Gamasutra
Want to Boost Your Game's ROI? Tap Into Your Community  Gamasutra

Huffpost UK closes blog platform, launching opinion and personal sections - Press Gazette
Huffpost UK closes blog platform, launching opinion and personal sections  Press Gazette

Damien Yoccoz's Blog - How Much Does Game Localization Cost? - Gamasutra
Damien Yoccoz's Blog - How Much Does Game Localization Cost?  Gamasutra

Best Squarespace templates 2019: Top picks for video, blogs, and more - Mashable
Best Squarespace templates 2019: Top picks for video, blogs, and more  Mashable

Brad Wardell's Blog - Living with Vulkan and DirectX 12 - Gamasutra
Brad Wardell's Blog - Living with Vulkan and DirectX 12  Gamasutra

Claire Sh's Blog - I don't hate social media... - Gamasutra
Claire Sh's Blog - I don't hate social media...  Gamasutra

4 Common Missed Opportunities in Reskinning Games for Brands and Agencies - Gamasutra
4 Common Missed Opportunities in Reskinning Games for Brands and Agencies  Gamasutra

A Response to Cliffski's 10 Tips to 10X Your Indie Game Development Process - Gamasutra
A Response to Cliffski's 10 Tips to 10X Your Indie Game Development Process  Gamasutra

Ahmed Khalifa's Blog - Level Design Patterns in 2D Games - Gamasutra
Ahmed Khalifa's Blog - Level Design Patterns in 2D Games  Gamasutra

Louis McTague's Blog - The Importance of Definitions in Game Design - Gamasutra
Louis McTague's Blog - The Importance of Definitions in Game Design  Gamasutra

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/6/19: I have seen the Snappening and it is an RSS feed - Comics Beat
Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/6/19: I have seen the Snappening and it is an RSS feed  Comics Beat

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