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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. October / 23 / 2019

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

G.O.P.-Led Senate Panel Affirms Russia Attacked Election, and Urges Action - The New York Times
G.O.P.-Led Senate Panel Affirms Russia Attacked Election, and Urges Action  The New York Times

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

What Is an RSS Feed? (+Examples and Instructions for Getting Started) - G2
What Is an RSS Feed? (+Examples and Instructions for Getting Started)  G2

How to Use Buffer for Social Media Management: The Solopreneur's Guide - Business 2 Community
How to Use Buffer for Social Media Management: The Solopreneur's Guide  Business 2 Community

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

NetNewsWire 5.0 RSS Reader Rebuilt from Scratch, Now Free and Open Source - WP Tavern
NetNewsWire 5.0 RSS Reader Rebuilt from Scratch, Now Free and Open Source  WP Tavern

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

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

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

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

'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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Chidambaram was home minister and Narendra Modi & Amit Shah faced probes - Economic Times
When Chidambaram was home minister and Narendra Modi & Amit Shah faced probes  Economic Times

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

Five years after Google conquered and abandoned RSS, the news-reader ecosystem is showing green shoots - Boing Boing
Five years after Google conquered and abandoned RSS, the news-reader ecosystem is showing green shoots  Boing Boing

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

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

Akshay Kumar's string of successes invokes the dominant national mood of post-2014 India - Economic Times
Akshay Kumar's string of successes invokes the dominant national mood of post-2014 India  Economic Times

Sowing seeds of division: Muscular politics may yield short term electoral dividend, but it hurts India's future - Economic Times
Sowing seeds of division: Muscular politics may yield short term electoral dividend, but it hurts India's future  Economic Times

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

What matters more in academia: scholarship, or untrammelled fealty? The curious case of 're-evaluating' Romila Thapar - Times of India
What matters more in academia: scholarship, or untrammelled fealty? The curious case of 're-evaluating' Romila Thapar  Times of India

'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

Happy 14th Blogiversary To Ann Althouse! - Outside The Beltway - Mobile Edition
Happy 14th Blogiversary To Ann Althouse!  Outside The Beltway - Mobile Edition

Is Rahul Gandhi on the same page as Imran Khan? - Economic Times
Is Rahul Gandhi on the same page as Imran Khan?  Economic Times

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

Why Jeff Bezos Went to Medium With His Message - The New York Times
Why Jeff Bezos Went to Medium With His Message  The New York Times

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

Accept or not, Chandrayaan-2 has proved the existence of God again - Economic Times
Accept or not, Chandrayaan-2 has proved the existence of God again  Economic Times

Why Narendra Modi govt could scrap Article 370 - Economic Times
Why Narendra Modi govt could scrap Article 370  Economic Times

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

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

Pippin Barr's Blog - What Would Mavis Beacon Do? Punish You. - Gamasutra
Pippin Barr's Blog - What Would Mavis Beacon Do? Punish You.  Gamasutra

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

The Kargil variant - Economic Times
The Kargil variant  Economic Times

Celebrating The Essential Role Of The Historically Smal... | Pivot | A Blog by Karl Vaters - ChristianityToday.com
Celebrating The Essential Role Of The Historically Smal... | Pivot | A Blog by Karl Vaters  ChristianityToday.com

Security Bloggers Network - Security Boulevard
Security Bloggers Network  Security Boulevard

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

Svyatoslav Cherkasov's Blog - Porting Graveyard Keeper to consoles and mobiles - Gamasutra
Svyatoslav Cherkasov's Blog - Porting Graveyard Keeper to consoles and mobiles  Gamasutra

NetEase drives mobile games business in Japan while Tencent builds presence in emerging markets - Gamasutra
NetEase drives mobile games business in Japan while Tencent builds presence in emerging markets  Gamasutra

Part 4, Putting into play - How to trigger the narrative vehicle - Gamasutra
Part 4, Putting into play - How to trigger the narrative vehicle  Gamasutra

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

What will Amit Shah do next? - Economic Times
What will Amit Shah do next?  Economic Times

Working from Home: 31 Tips to Be More Productive & Successful - Search Engine Journal
Working from Home: 31 Tips to Be More Productive & Successful  Search Engine Journal

5 Social Media Blogs That You Need To Know About In 2019 - Forbes
5 Social Media Blogs That You Need To Know About In 2019  Forbes

Next step: A West Bank in Kashmir? - Economic Times
Next step: A West Bank in Kashmir?  Economic Times

Revealed: The Most Demanded Languages For Game Localization (H1 2019) - Gamasutra
Revealed: The Most Demanded Languages For Game Localization (H1 2019)  Gamasutra

Those tiny drops that make our rainbow - Times of India
Those tiny drops that make our rainbow  Times of India

As Article 370 goes down, so does the opposition? - Economic Times
As Article 370 goes down, so does the opposition?  Economic Times

The 'Brahmin left' vs the 'Merchant right': A comment on Thomas Piketty's new book - EUROPP - European Politics and Policy
The 'Brahmin left' vs the 'Merchant right': A comment on Thomas Piketty's new book  EUROPP - European Politics and Policy

Consume Wisely – How to Deal with Too Much Content - Business 2 Community
Consume Wisely – How to Deal with Too Much Content  Business 2 Community

Start RSS Feeding Content Today With dlvr.it to Social Media [How-To] - Rocks Digital
Start RSS Feeding Content Today With dlvr.it to Social Media [How-To]  Rocks Digital

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

The Future is Bloodless! China Bans Blood in Video Games - Gamasutra
The Future is Bloodless! China Bans Blood in Video Games  Gamasutra

Will poaching legislators help or harm BJP? - Economic Times
Will poaching legislators help or harm BJP?  Economic Times

Platform for nuclear threats: Is anti-India prejudice hardwired into The New York Times' DNA? - Economic Times
Platform for nuclear threats: Is anti-India prejudice hardwired into The New York Times' DNA?  Economic Times

With the nullification of Article 370 and Article 35A, a historical blunder is corrected in Jammu and Kashmir - Economic Times
With the nullification of Article 370 and Article 35A, a historical blunder is corrected in Jammu and Kashmir  Economic Times

The age of Hinduness: Modi has disavowed hard Hindutva for the humanism of 'Hinduness' - Economic Times
The age of Hinduness: Modi has disavowed hard Hindutva for the humanism of 'Hinduness'  Economic Times

Best blogging platforms of 2019 - TechRadar India
Best blogging platforms of 2019  TechRadar India

Chris Zukowski's Blog - The best slides I saw at GDC 2019 - Gamasutra
Chris Zukowski's Blog - The best slides I saw at GDC 2019  Gamasutra

An enigma called Rahul Gandhi - Times of India
An enigma called Rahul Gandhi  Times of India

Like NRC, the Citizenship Amendment Bill is flawed in conception. Proceed with caution - Economic Times
Like NRC, the Citizenship Amendment Bill is flawed in conception. Proceed with caution  Economic Times

2 women show us the power of personal choice - Economic Times
2 women show us the power of personal choice  Economic Times

8 Ways to Get (And Keep) Blog Readers - Backstage
8 Ways to Get (And Keep) Blog Readers  Backstage

How extremist conspiracy theories about immigration and demographic change can fuel violence - USAPP American Politics and Policy (blog)
How extremist conspiracy theories about immigration and demographic change can fuel violence  USAPP American Politics and Policy (blog)

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

Why Google killed off Google Reader: It was self-defense - GigaOM
Why Google killed off Google Reader: It was self-defense  GigaOM

More Than 50,000 NSFW Tumblr Blogs Were Archived by the Partiko Team This Week - PRNewswire
More Than 50,000 NSFW Tumblr Blogs Were Archived by the Partiko Team This Week  PRNewswire

What Happens When Game Artists Design a Mural - Gamasutra
What Happens When Game Artists Design a Mural  Gamasutra

How single leaders will define the 2019 election: They could be decisive in battles for more than a third of the Lok Sabha seats - Economic Times
How single leaders will define the 2019 election: They could be decisive in battles for more than a third of the Lok Sabha seats  Economic Times

Meet some of Charleston's most popular bloggers and social media influencers - Charleston Post Courier
Meet some of Charleston's most popular bloggers and social media influencers  Charleston Post Courier

"Terrorist Fiske Jab" Revisited - Neuroskeptic - Discover Magazine
"Terrorist Fiske Jab" Revisited - Neuroskeptic  Discover Magazine

Words as weapons of violence- none can beat the seculars - Economic Times
Words as weapons of violence- none can beat the seculars  Economic Times

Matias Kindermann's Blog - Designing Catch Huntermann, World's Best Detective - Gamasutra
Matias Kindermann's Blog - Designing Catch Huntermann, World's Best Detective  Gamasutra

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

How to Switch from Blogger to WordPress Without Losing Google Traffic - Digital Inspiration
How to Switch from Blogger to WordPress Without Losing Google Traffic  Digital Inspiration

A climate of fear: It helps autocracy – but those who disagree should persist past our cowardice - Economic Times
A climate of fear: It helps autocracy – but those who disagree should persist past our cowardice  Economic Times

These iOS 13 apps work with Dark Mode, Sign in with Apple, Voice Control, and more - 9to5Mac
These iOS 13 apps work with Dark Mode, Sign in with Apple, Voice Control, and more  9to5Mac

Fabian Fischer's Blog - A different take on turn timers - Gamasutra
Fabian Fischer's Blog - A different take on turn timers  Gamasutra

Designing a planet-scale real-world AR platform - Gamasutra
Designing a planet-scale real-world AR platform  Gamasutra

Await the Ayodhya verdict: Why orchestrated attempt to pre-empt the judicial verdict subverts the rule of law - Times of India
Await the Ayodhya verdict: Why orchestrated attempt to pre-empt the judicial verdict subverts the rule of law  Times of India

What J&K's special status meant: Article 370 kept a door open to independence, but Kashmir's autonomy has steadily been whittled down - Economic Times
What J&K's special status meant: Article 370 kept a door open to independence, but Kashmir's autonomy has steadily been whittled down  Economic Times

Thomas Bidaux's Blog - Crowdfunding and Tabletop Games: 2019 Mid-Year Update - Gamasutra
Thomas Bidaux's Blog - Crowdfunding and Tabletop Games: 2019 Mid-Year Update  Gamasutra

Imran Khan's toxic tweet-tan-trums - Economic Times
Imran Khan's toxic tweet-tan-trums  Economic Times

Breath of the Wild Open World Analysis: Gravity to go Forward - Gamasutra
Breath of the Wild Open World Analysis: Gravity to go Forward  Gamasutra

Loot Box Design 2.0 – Complying with China's New Rules - Gamasutra
Loot Box Design 2.0 – Complying with China's New Rules  Gamasutra

'One tight slap': What makes Indian politics so thappad-happy - Economic Times
'One tight slap': What makes Indian politics so thappad-happy  Economic Times

Update: RSS feed authorship - BlogTalkRadio
Update: RSS feed authorship  BlogTalkRadio

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