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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. December / 19 / 2018

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Pinterest’s Redesigned Feed May Drive More Referral Traffic  Search Engine Journal

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Some bloggers are being accused of selling pre-worn items and incorrectly sized clothes on Depop - DailyEdge.ie
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Jake Birkett's Blog - Using Steam reviews to estimate sales  Gamasutra

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Google My Business Changes Post Limit to 1,500 Characters  Search Engine Journal

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Larry&Brandon GDU's Blog - My Time at Telltale Games  Gamasutra

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PayTM To Have Allegedly Given Users' Data To PMO and Has Close Ties with RSS  IndianWeb2

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Why do publishers leave Steam? A make-your-own-platform trend?  Gamasutra

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Why You Should Prefer a Blog Over Social Media  Fstoppers

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[Post Mortem - 1 year later]: I managed to ship 6000 copies to stay in business  Gamasutra

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The Blogging Community Mourns The Loss Of Style Star Kyrzayda Rodriguez  Guestofaguest.com

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"Hey, I have to interview someone in 30 minutes. Give me a crash course." - Gamasutra
"Hey, I have to interview someone in 30 minutes. Give me a crash course."  Gamasutra

Recently, a colleague who's been in the industry forever - but never involved in the hiring process - came to me with a conundrum. It went something like this:.


Adrian Hawkins's Blog - How to make a Discord RPG: Part 4 - Gamasutra
Adrian Hawkins's Blog - How to make a Discord RPG: Part 4  Gamasutra

Latest in the series about how to make a playable on Discord RPG: this time we talk about techniques for promoting your server, including social media.


A handy art assets guide for social media presence - Gamasutra
A handy art assets guide for social media presence  Gamasutra

It took a lot of time to create assets to publish our game, Pendula Swing, on various online services such a Steam, Facebook, Twitter, Discord, YouTub.


Tommy Thompson's Blog - Cyber Demons | The AI of DOOM (2016) - Gamasutra
Tommy Thompson's Blog - Cyber Demons | The AI of DOOM (2016)  Gamasutra

Eight years in development, 2016's DOOM was a long awaited return for the franchise. I take a look at the AI toolchain adopted in the game, where it.


Paul Arendt's Blog - Rebuilding the Reach - Gamasutra
Paul Arendt's Blog - Rebuilding the Reach  Gamasutra

Sunless Skies creative director Paul Arendt talks about reconstructing the first region of the game to make exploration more meaningful and terrifying.


The Ultimate Guide to Seznam SEO - Search Engine Journal
The Ultimate Guide to Seznam SEO  Search Engine Journal

How do you optimize for Seznam, the second largest search engine in the Czech Republic? This guide will teach you Seznam SEO best practices.


Less is (Still) Less: AC: Odyssey's Exploration Mode and Time-Wasters - Gamasutra
Less is (Still) Less: AC: Odyssey's Exploration Mode and Time-Wasters  Gamasutra

When you start your first game of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey you're asked if you want to enable 'exploration mode'. Exploration mode tweaks the HUD to make ...


Should You Syndicate Your Blog to Get More Traffic & Leads? - Search Engine Watch
Should You Syndicate Your Blog to Get More Traffic & Leads?  Search Engine Watch

Organic blog promotion is a tactic that trips up many *content* creators since there is rarely one sure-fire to get increased traffic. Some of the strategies marketers ...


12 ways to automate and systemise 95% of your blog promotion strategy - Econsultancy
12 ways to automate and systemise 95% of your blog promotion strategy  Econsultancy

Promoting blog posts can be a very repetitive and mundane task, especially for bloggers in the early stages who don't have a six or seven figure audience to ...


5 Simple Steps to Creating Exceptional How-To Content - Search Engine Journal
5 Simple Steps to Creating Exceptional How-To Content  Search Engine Journal

How-to pieces can help build visibility, trust, and respect for your brand. Here are five important tips for creating how-to *content*.


The best free blogging site of 2019 - TechRadar
The best free blogging site of 2019  TechRadar

Want to start a blog, but not sure how? These free platforms are totally customizable, and will help you publish your first post in minutes.


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

If a blogger falls in a forest, and there's no one around to see it…will Google still pick up the feed? Ha! I crack myself up. For those of us who spend time blogging ...


Tom Pugh's Blog - Level Design Tips and Tricks - Gamasutra
Tom Pugh's Blog - Level Design Tips and Tricks  Gamasutra

A selection of tips and tricks for Level Design development.


Ben Porter's Blog - How to take 7 years to ship a beta - Gamasutra
Ben Porter's Blog - How to take 7 years to ship a beta  Gamasutra

It's been almost 7 years since I quit my last job. Back in 2011 I was a freshly baked postgraduate in Melbourne. I was entering my 30's and the indie game ...


The 12 Areas of SEO Knowledge You Must Master to be Successful - Search Engine Journal
The 12 Areas of SEO Knowledge You Must Master to be Successful  Search Engine Journal

While SEO and search might not be the shiny object that it was a decade ago, it still has a critical role in the digital marketing mix. That, plus a soaring demand ...


Victoria Tran's Blog - Boyfriend Dungeon's Kickstarter: Week 1 Social Stats - Gamasutra
Victoria Tran's Blog - Boyfriend Dungeon's Kickstarter: Week 1 Social Stats  Gamasutra

A dive into the social numbers behind Boyfriend Dungeon's Kickstarter, which reached it's goal of $50k USD in just over 6 hours.


Attention Feedly Readers: We’re Going Back to Full Stories in RSS - GeekDad
Attention Feedly Readers: We’re Going Back to Full Stories in RSS  GeekDad

We took a look at the results of a year delivering only excerpts to RSS, and we realized it didn't help. So, we're going back, and we hope you enjoy!


How video game localization works and how much it costs in 2018 - Gamasutra
How video game localization works and how much it costs in 2018  Gamasutra

What is localization? How about right processes and costs? Which tools work well and which languages we should translate to? All in all, how good your.


John Nelson Rose's Blog - The Order/Chaos Spectrum - Gamasutra
John Nelson Rose's Blog - The Order/Chaos Spectrum  Gamasutra

A look at games from the dual processes of bringing order and wreaking chaos.


Fr. Martin's False Comfort, This Scandal is about Homosexuality, and More Great Links! - National Catholic Register
Fr. Martin's False Comfort, This Scandal is about Homosexuality, and More Great Links!  National Catholic Register

Father Martin's False Comfort - Joseph Sciambra, First Things+++. This Scandal is about Homosexuality – Fr. Z's Blog. Can Sexual Orientation Change? Yes ...


Caleb Compton's Blog - Welcome to the Magic Circle - Gamasutra
Caleb Compton's Blog - Welcome to the Magic Circle  Gamasutra

The Magic circle is a magical world that players step into when entering the world of the game. However, it is also very misunderstood from a design p.


How a twitter campaign brought in 95 new game reviews - Gamasutra
How a twitter campaign brought in 95 new game reviews  Gamasutra

At Failbetter we invest a lot of time in ongoing marketing of our games. We review our store copy and look for ways to polish and improve our store presence ...


What Is a Google Broad Core Algorithm Update? - Search Engine Journal
What Is a Google Broad Core Algorithm Update?  Search Engine Journal

Not sure how a broad core algorithm is different from a major Google algorithm update? Here's how they differ, plus how to recover from a core update.


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

Guest blogging improves your brand awareness and SEO authority. It also increases your website traffic and leads. Here's how to use guest posting to earn ...


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