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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 Wed. January / 29 / 2020

A return to blogs (finally? sort of?) - Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard
A return to blogs (finally? sort of?)  Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard

Debbie McMurtry Celebrates 10 Years on Staff for RSS Feeds Service Provider - StreetInsider.com
Debbie McMurtry Celebrates 10 Years on Staff for RSS Feeds Service Provider  StreetInsider.com

The Death of the Good Internet Was an Inside Job - The New Republic
The Death of the Good Internet Was an Inside Job  The New Republic

Understanding the Role of a Technical SEO Audit - Search Engine Journal
Understanding the Role of a Technical SEO Audit  Search Engine Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘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

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

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

How to Use Guest Blogging to Build Relationships - Search Engine Journal
How to Use Guest Blogging to Build Relationships  Search Engine Journal

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

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

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

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

Chris Zukowski's Blog - How Steam users see your game - Gamasutra
Chris Zukowski's Blog - How Steam users see your game  Gamasutra

25+ Unique Blog Post Ideas to Engage Your Readers - Search Engine Journal
25+ Unique Blog Post Ideas to Engage Your Readers  Search Engine Journal

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

Victoria Tran's Blog - The $0 Marketing Game Guide - Gamasutra
Victoria Tran's Blog - The $0 Marketing Game Guide  Gamasutra

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

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

Max Pears's Blog - Engaging Level Design for Combat - Pt 3 - Gamasutra
Max Pears's Blog - Engaging Level Design for Combat - Pt 3  Gamasutra

After Tumblr NSFW ban, these adult communities are rising - Fast Company
After Tumblr NSFW ban, these adult communities are rising  Fast Company

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

Cision PR Newswire's Beyond Bylines Blog Featured in Feedspot's List of Top Journalism Blogs - PRNewswire
Cision PR Newswire's Beyond Bylines Blog Featured in Feedspot's List of Top Journalism Blogs  PRNewswire

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

Burak Tezateser's Blog - Steam has a lack of data scientists - Gamasutra
Burak Tezateser's Blog - Steam has a lack of data scientists  Gamasutra

Unity Scene Hierarchy: Catch that Performance Thief! (Part 2) - Gamasutra
Unity Scene Hierarchy: Catch that Performance Thief! (Part 2)  Gamasutra

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

Alex Pine's Blog - Methods of creating invisible tutorials - Gamasutra
Alex Pine's Blog - Methods of creating invisible tutorials  Gamasutra

Andrew Yoder's Blog - The Door Problem of Combat Design - Gamasutra
Andrew Yoder's Blog - The Door Problem of Combat Design  Gamasutra

How to get on the front page of imgur - Gamasutra
How to get on the front page of imgur  Gamasutra

Dora Breckinridge's Blog - The Flip: Turning a Negative Review Positive - Gamasutra
Dora Breckinridge's Blog - The Flip: Turning a Negative Review Positive  Gamasutra

Together, we built a successful digital board games business. Here are 5 crucial lessons we learned. - Gamasutra
Together, we built a successful digital board games business. Here are 5 crucial lessons we learned.  Gamasutra

Ariel Marcelo Madril's Blog - Unlocking Unity Animator's interruption full power - Gamasutra
Ariel Marcelo Madril's Blog - Unlocking Unity Animator's interruption full power  Gamasutra

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

David D'Angelo's Blog - King Knight's Map: Building Secret Paths - Gamasutra
David D'Angelo's Blog - King Knight's Map: Building Secret Paths  Gamasutra

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

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

Jon Ingold's Blog - Designing Investigate Conversations - Gamasutra
Jon Ingold's Blog - Designing Investigate Conversations  Gamasutra

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

Procedural texturing for hand-painted stylized character pipelines - Gamasutra
Procedural texturing for hand-painted stylized character pipelines  Gamasutra

How Painting Works In Chicory: A Colorful Tale - Gamasutra
How Painting Works In Chicory: A Colorful Tale  Gamasutra

Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Why Your Game Content Is Not Scaling - Gamasutra
Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Why Your Game Content Is Not Scaling  Gamasutra

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

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

Simon Carless's Blog - Steam's 'Follower' counts - hidden in plain sight. - Gamasutra
Simon Carless's Blog - Steam's 'Follower' counts - hidden in plain sight.  Gamasutra

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

Eliza developer Matthew Burns on stress, choices that matter, and language of games - Gamasutra
Eliza developer Matthew Burns on stress, choices that matter, and language of games  Gamasutra

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

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

Neil Schneider's Blog - What Client-to-Cloud REALLY Means - Gamasutra
Neil Schneider's Blog - What Client-to-Cloud REALLY Means  Gamasutra

Tristan Jung's Blog - How Do Bullets Work in Video Games? - Gamasutra
Tristan Jung's Blog - How Do Bullets Work in Video Games?  Gamasutra

A Postmortem. Making Games Is Easy. Selling Them, Not So Much. - Gamasutra
A Postmortem. Making Games Is Easy. Selling Them, Not So Much.  Gamasutra

Max Pears's Blog - Level Design for Combat - Gamasutra
Max Pears's Blog - Level Design for Combat  Gamasutra

Simon Carless's Blog - Nintendo Switch: A Discoverability Followup - Gamasutra
Simon Carless's Blog - Nintendo Switch: A Discoverability Followup  Gamasutra

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

Steam Indie Game Sales Numbers - Battle Royale Tycoon - Gamasutra
Steam Indie Game Sales Numbers - Battle Royale Tycoon  Gamasutra

Frank Zhang's Blog - Building a Fantasy VR World in Unity - Gamasutra
Frank Zhang's Blog - Building a Fantasy VR World in Unity  Gamasutra

Catherine Fox's Blog - Beyond A Steel Sky - Dev Diary #3 - Gamasutra
Catherine Fox's Blog - Beyond A Steel Sky - Dev Diary #3  Gamasutra

Nuvi Acquires Social Healthcare Leader Banyan - Associated Press
Nuvi Acquires Social Healthcare Leader Banyan  Associated Press

Gafgar Davallius's Blog - Satisfactory: Network Optimizations - Gamasutra
Gafgar Davallius's Blog - Satisfactory: Network Optimizations  Gamasutra

Chris Zukowski's Blog - How players shop during a Steam sale - Gamasutra
Chris Zukowski's Blog - How players shop during a Steam sale  Gamasutra

David D'Angelo's Blog - Shovel Knight Showdown: Chester's Choice - Gamasutra
David D'Angelo's Blog - Shovel Knight Showdown: Chester's Choice  Gamasutra

Evgeny Dyabin's Blog - Cascadeur: character's pose prediction using 6 points - Gamasutra
Evgeny Dyabin's Blog - Cascadeur: character's pose prediction using 6 points  Gamasutra

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

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

Kenneth Liu's Blog - Kliuless #54: A Decade of LoL - Gamasutra
Kenneth Liu's Blog - Kliuless #54: A Decade of LoL  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

Nadya Primak's Blog - Is a Game Development Degree Worth it? - Gamasutra
Nadya Primak's Blog - Is a Game Development Degree Worth it?  Gamasutra

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

Verizon selling blogging site Tumblr to WordPress owner - Inc.
Verizon selling blogging site Tumblr to WordPress owner  Inc.

Video: Outer Wilds — Is it my Genre? Trailer Analysis - Gamasutra
Video: Outer Wilds — Is it my Genre? Trailer Analysis  Gamasutra

Time to call out Hindutva: Democratic India was founded on freedom, but the two nation theory is diametrically - Economic Times
Time to call out Hindutva: Democratic India was founded on freedom, but the two nation theory is diametrically  Economic Times

Ben Weber's Blog - Automating Machine Learning for Mobile Games - Gamasutra
Ben Weber's Blog - Automating Machine Learning for Mobile Games  Gamasutra

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

Epic Games' attempt to go fee-free on Google Play indicates disappointing Android performance - Gamasutra
Epic Games' attempt to go fee-free on Google Play indicates disappointing Android performance  Gamasutra

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

BJP: Winning at What Cost? - Economic Times
BJP: Winning at What Cost?  Economic Times

It’s not black and white: If you really care about secularism in India, understand both Hindus and Muslims - Economic Times
It’s not black and white: If you really care about secularism in India, understand both Hindus and Muslims  Economic Times

Inside the process of creating the score for Temtem: adaptive music. - Gamasutra
Inside the process of creating the score for Temtem: adaptive music.  Gamasutra

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

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

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

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

Did Activision CEO just confirm Overwatch and World of Warcraft on mobile? - Gamasutra
Did Activision CEO just confirm Overwatch and World of Warcraft on mobile?  Gamasutra

RCEP: India’s withdrawal provides space to strengthen competitiveness - Economic Times
RCEP: India’s withdrawal provides space to strengthen competitiveness  Economic Times

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

The Indie Dev's Guide to the Chinese Market - Gamasutra
The Indie Dev's Guide to the Chinese Market  Gamasutra

Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Delivering Videos With Addressables - Gamasutra
Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Delivering Videos With Addressables  Gamasutra

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