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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 Tue. September / 29 / 2020

Blog vs YouTube Over Other Websites: How to Choose - Legal Reader
Blog vs YouTube Over Other Websites: How to Choose  Legal Reader

Content Marketing Autoblogging Platform Keyword Filtering Technology Launched - Newswire
Content Marketing Autoblogging Platform Keyword Filtering Technology Launched  Newswire

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

RSS is the greatest enemy of Hinduism - Times of India
RSS is the greatest enemy of Hinduism  Times of India

Automated RSS Feed Content Generation Set-And-Forget Marketing Tool Launched - Newswire
Automated RSS Feed Content Generation Set-And-Forget Marketing Tool Launched  Newswire

RSS’s standardised Hinduism – Part 1 - Times of India
RSS’s standardised Hinduism – Part 1  Times of India

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

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

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

The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 1 - Times of India
The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 1  Times of India

The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 2 - Times of India
The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 2  Times of India

Blogging from the beach: The freshman 15 - HME News
Blogging from the beach: The freshman 15  HME News

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

The Road to Ruinarch : Wishlist Gathering and Expectations - Gamasutra
The Road to Ruinarch : Wishlist Gathering and Expectations  Gamasutra

Rising divorces a sign of justice, not arrogance - Times of India
Rising divorces a sign of justice, not arrogance  Times of India

The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 3 - Times of India
The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 3  Times of India

Member manager sought for YALSA's blog, The Hub - ala.org
Member manager sought for YALSA's blog, The Hub  ala.org

eBay Kills Affiliate Tool that Drives Traffic to Seller Listings - EcommerceBytes
eBay Kills Affiliate Tool that Drives Traffic to Seller Listings  EcommerceBytes

Webster blogger refuses to let COVID-19 muffle her voice - Democrat & Chronicle
Webster blogger refuses to let COVID-19 muffle her voice  Democrat & Chronicle

The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 4 - Times of India
The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 4  Times of India

Why is weird stuff popular on social media? - The Times of India Blog
Why is weird stuff popular on social media?  The Times of India Blog

Farewell to the blog - Politico
Farewell to the blog  Politico

The blogger who hit back against a hammer-wielding Russian ‘assassin’ - BBC News
The blogger who hit back against a hammer-wielding Russian ‘assassin’  BBC News

3-Step Blog Strategy That Works: Storytelling, USPs & Sales - Search Engine Journal
3-Step Blog Strategy That Works: Storytelling, USPs & Sales  Search Engine Journal

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

What Hindutva trolls can learn from Gandhi - The Times of India Blog
What Hindutva trolls can learn from Gandhi  The Times of India Blog

Blogs - LexBlog
Blogs  LexBlog

Ian Hamilton's Blog - Prioritising Accessibility Considerations - Gamasutra
Ian Hamilton's Blog - Prioritising Accessibility Considerations  Gamasutra

Blogging Assistant PD Accused of Revealing Secrets of Little-Disguised Clients - ABA Journal
Blogging Assistant PD Accused of Revealing Secrets of Little-Disguised Clients  ABA Journal

Building temples unlikely to pay poll dividends - The Times of India Blog
Building temples unlikely to pay poll dividends  The Times of India Blog

Josh Bycer's Blog - Lessons Learned From Reviewing Indie Games - Gamasutra
Josh Bycer's Blog - Lessons Learned From Reviewing Indie Games  Gamasutra

Catholic bishop suspends priest and issues trespass order over blog about clergy sex abuse - Washington Post
Catholic bishop suspends priest and issues trespass order over blog about clergy sex abuse  Washington Post

Michigan design bloggers dole out ideas, inspiration - The Detroit News
Michigan design bloggers dole out ideas, inspiration  The Detroit News

NEP 2020 – A quick glance on key changes at school and college level - The Times of India Blog
NEP 2020 – A quick glance on key changes at school and college level  The Times of India Blog

‘Saare jahan se achha’ is a better economic mantra - The Times of India Blog
‘Saare jahan se achha’ is a better economic mantra  The Times of India Blog

Ghost blogging platform servers hacked and infected with crypto-miner - ZDNet
Ghost blogging platform servers hacked and infected with crypto-miner  ZDNet

Neurocracy: Using Wikipedia as an Interactive Narrative Device - Gamasutra
Neurocracy: Using Wikipedia as an Interactive Narrative Device  Gamasutra

The RSS sutras for the twenty-first century - Times of India
The RSS sutras for the twenty-first century  Times of India

Why Modi must not repeat Nehru’s mistakes on China - The Times of India Blog
Why Modi must not repeat Nehru’s mistakes on China  The Times of India Blog

Jack Pritz's Blog - Dead by Daylight's Engagement Cycle - Gamasutra
Jack Pritz's Blog - Dead by Daylight's Engagement Cycle  Gamasutra

Tales From Discoverabilityland: A Story Of Three Graphs - Gamasutra
Tales From Discoverabilityland: A Story Of Three Graphs  Gamasutra

The two ‘big boys’ in Modi’s cabinet - The Times of India Blog
The two ‘big boys’ in Modi’s cabinet  The Times of India Blog

How Blogger Ken Prendergast Became a Must-Read Scoop Machine on the Cleveland Development Beat - Cleveland Scene
How Blogger Ken Prendergast Became a Must-Read Scoop Machine on the Cleveland Development Beat  Cleveland Scene

Game Devs, The World Needs You Right Now - Gamasutra
Game Devs, The World Needs You Right Now  Gamasutra

2019 Saveur Blog Award Winners - Saveur
2019 Saveur Blog Award Winners  Saveur

Victoria Tran's Blog - Finding, Choosing, and Managing Moderators - Gamasutra
Victoria Tran's Blog - Finding, Choosing, and Managing Moderators  Gamasutra

Congress and post-truth politics - Times of India
Congress and post-truth politics  Times of India

Is Prashant Bhushan wrong? - The Times of India Blog
Is Prashant Bhushan wrong?  The Times of India Blog

Marin judge tosses criminal case over divorce blog - Marin Independent Journal
Marin judge tosses criminal case over divorce blog  Marin Independent Journal

Byrd's New Nest | Jesus Creed | A Blog by Scot Mcknight - ChristianityToday.com
Byrd's New Nest | Jesus Creed | A Blog by Scot Mcknight  ChristianityToday.com

Students Unite Through Blogging and Instagram – The Colgate Maroon-News - The Colgate Maroon-News
Students Unite Through Blogging and Instagram – The Colgate Maroon-News  The Colgate Maroon-News

Ian Hamilton's Blog - Highlights of Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020 - Gamasutra
Ian Hamilton's Blog - Highlights of Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020  Gamasutra

‘Hindutva is not divisive, not anti-Muslim … RSS will abide by the Supreme Court judgment on Ayodhya’ - Times of India
‘Hindutva is not divisive, not anti-Muslim … RSS will abide by the Supreme Court judgment on Ayodhya’  Times of India

Your Old Blog Content Is a Goldmine - CMSWire
Your Old Blog Content Is a Goldmine  CMSWire

Book Review: Networked Selves: Trajectories of Blogging in the United States and France by Ignacio Siles - USAPP American Politics and Policy (blog)
Book Review: Networked Selves: Trajectories of Blogging in the United States and France by Ignacio Siles  USAPP American Politics and Policy (blog)

Crystin Cox's Blog - Understanding LiveOps, Doing LiveOps - Gamasutra
Crystin Cox's Blog - Understanding LiveOps, Doing LiveOps  Gamasutra

The saga of lockdown: India has shown extraordinary solidarity, forbearance and leadership skills - Times of India
The saga of lockdown: India has shown extraordinary solidarity, forbearance and leadership skills  Times of India

Matt Smith's Blog - The Rapid Prototyping Game - Gamasutra
Matt Smith's Blog - The Rapid Prototyping Game  Gamasutra

Why Maria Wirth is Wrong - Times of India
Why Maria Wirth is Wrong  Times of India

Stop the Left turn. Cong needs to woo the middle class back - The Times of India Blog
Stop the Left turn. Cong needs to woo the middle class back  The Times of India Blog

Fabian Fischer's Blog - Reward Fatigue - Gamasutra
Fabian Fischer's Blog - Reward Fatigue  Gamasutra

Simon Carless's Blog - Steam's wishlist conversions - how hot are yours? - Gamasutra
Simon Carless's Blog - Steam's wishlist conversions - how hot are yours?  Gamasutra

How the Bodo Accord was accomplished, establishing a wider template for peace in the Northeast - Times of India
How the Bodo Accord was accomplished, establishing a wider template for peace in the Northeast  Times of India

#Blog4Good - LexBlog
#Blog4Good  LexBlog

Karl Kontus's Blog - Marketing advice for small indie developers - Gamasutra
Karl Kontus's Blog - Marketing advice for small indie developers  Gamasutra

Andrew Haining's Blog - Outer Wilds critical analysis - Gamasutra
Andrew Haining's Blog - Outer Wilds critical analysis  Gamasutra

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

The curious case of Animal Crossing in China | Opinion - Gamasutra
The curious case of Animal Crossing in China | Opinion  Gamasutra

Josh Bycer's Blog - How Modern Roguelikes are Becoming More Accessible - Gamasutra
Josh Bycer's Blog - How Modern Roguelikes are Becoming More Accessible  Gamasutra

Condemn the Tablighi Jamaat event, without having to resort to any whataboutery - Times of India
Condemn the Tablighi Jamaat event, without having to resort to any whataboutery  Times of India

Siddhartha Talya Blog - The Times of India Blog
Siddhartha Talya Blog  The Times of India Blog

Riddle for the Middle - Times of India
Riddle for the Middle  Times of India

Shutdowns kill people and biz, ease them fast - Times of India
Shutdowns kill people and biz, ease them fast  Times of India

China is deeply mistaken but we too require a relook - Times of India
China is deeply mistaken but we too require a relook  Times of India

This R-Day, let’s focus on India’s cultural greatness rather than military muscle - Times of India
This R-Day, let’s focus on India’s cultural greatness rather than military muscle  Times of India

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

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

Sergio Garces's Blog - Steam in Graphs in 2019 - Gamasutra
Sergio Garces's Blog - Steam in Graphs in 2019  Gamasutra

When Nehru put the ‘Constitution in danger’ - Times of India
When Nehru put the ‘Constitution in danger’  Times of India

Ex-eBay workers accused of sending live spiders, cockroaches to blogging couple writing about lawsuit - ABA Journal
Ex-eBay workers accused of sending live spiders, cockroaches to blogging couple writing about lawsuit  ABA Journal

#DalitLivesMatter: Why we don’t care about this hashtag - The Times of India Blog
#DalitLivesMatter: Why we don’t care about this hashtag  The Times of India Blog

Sebastian Long's Blog - Should Players Buy Their Own UI? - Gamasutra
Sebastian Long's Blog - Should Players Buy Their Own UI?  Gamasutra

Impact of Coronavirus Epidemic to China's Game Industry - Gamasutra
Impact of Coronavirus Epidemic to China's Game Industry  Gamasutra

How did Fall Guys get it so right? - Gamasutra
How did Fall Guys get it so right?  Gamasutra

The Last Root of Unity - Scientific American
The Last Root of Unity  Scientific American

How a blogger in Florida put out an early warning about the coronavirus crisis - The Washington Post
How a blogger in Florida put out an early warning about the coronavirus crisis  The Washington Post

Level Design Breakdown: Ghost of Tsushima Gameplay Trailer - Gamasutra
Level Design Breakdown: Ghost of Tsushima Gameplay Trailer  Gamasutra

Are Food 'Influencers' Wearing Out Their Usefulness In India? - HuffPost India
Are Food 'Influencers' Wearing Out Their Usefulness In India?  HuffPost India

Blogging Assistant PD Gets 60-Day Suspension for Posts on Little-Disguised Clients - ABA Journal
Blogging Assistant PD Gets 60-Day Suspension for Posts on Little-Disguised Clients  ABA Journal

Bend it like Baba: Look who’s really flexible, Sima aunty - The Times of India Blog
Bend it like Baba: Look who’s really flexible, Sima aunty  The Times of India Blog

Niklas Gray's Blog - Recording Statistics - An Exercise in Minimalism - Gamasutra
Niklas Gray's Blog - Recording Statistics - An Exercise in Minimalism  Gamasutra

Ryan Sumo's Blog - Project Management in the Time of Covid-19 - Gamasutra
Ryan Sumo's Blog - Project Management in the Time of Covid-19  Gamasutra

Vinod Ravishankar's Blog - Game development and programming - Gamasutra
Vinod Ravishankar's Blog - Game development and programming  Gamasutra

Don’t defer to China: Galwan valley should finally compel us to make major course correction - The Times of India Blog
Don’t defer to China: Galwan valley should finally compel us to make major course correction  The Times of India Blog

Beyond India, Aamir has let down thousands slaughtered by Turkey’s Islamo-fascist regime - The Times of India Blog
Beyond India, Aamir has let down thousands slaughtered by Turkey’s Islamo-fascist regime  The Times of India Blog

Close encounters of the carona kind - Times of India
Close encounters of the carona kind  Times of India

Houston personalities: Meet the Houston mom behind a popular parenting blog - KPRC Click2Houston
Houston personalities: Meet the Houston mom behind a popular parenting blog  KPRC Click2Houston

‘Over 90% of India’s heritage lies buried and space archaeology can help unearth it … using satellites a - Times of India
‘Over 90% of India’s heritage lies buried and space archaeology can help unearth it … using satellites a  Times of India

Why has Sushant’s tragedy become a frenzied social media circus? - Times of India
Why has Sushant’s tragedy become a frenzied social media circus?  Times of India

Andre Faure's Blog - How to Prepare for a Matchmaking Meeting - Gamasutra
Andre Faure's Blog - How to Prepare for a Matchmaking Meeting  Gamasutra

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