2/20/08

What your mother never told you about Blogrolling

But only because you never thought to ask...
In Support of the Now-Eponymous Link-Digression Syndrome

SEO principles have long reminded us that blogrolling doesn’t parse well for search engines, which have conveniently been configured to ignore blogrolls. The code which Wordpress, Blogger, Typepad, et al use to generate blogrolls automatically gets ignored by spiders. That’s why, whenever i add someone to my blogroll, i try to do a couple of things:
  1. announce it. you saw me do that yesterday. announcing it ensures that your expression of endorsement, friendship, commonality, or whatever, is made visible to spiders.
  2. click it. providing a link isn’t enough. if you want that link to show up in that blogger’s statistics, clicking the link you just made is essential. the spiders may eventually discover the link you provided in your post about blogrolling said blogger, but that can be up to three-to-four weeks later. after someone else has clicked the link in your blogroll. repeatedly. faithfully, even.

one thing that spiders do recognize is link titles. link titles are a handy way to increase the visibility of your site through your blogroll, and to increase the visibility of those whom you blogroll. link titles are a win-win for everyone involved. Wordpress’ blogroll system, for example, uses a “Description” field that is rendered as link titles in the blogroll. what i do when i blogroll someone is use their blog’s tagline as their blogroll description. this results in very nice links in this particular theme, which provides a specially-formatted popup for link titles. so, if for example, your blog has a tagline of “i like to eat live chickens”, anyone who does a search on “eat live chickens” will find not only you, but by association, me—provided, of course, that the link from me to you is clicked on.

intrigued? want to learn more, but your index finger holds you back? click it with your other hand!

Worth the read. Especially if your mother is computer illiterate and wouldn't be able to tell you this stuff even if you thought to ask about her it. And Geez… All I will end up with is a bunch of plastered people that want to drink more showing up at my place with my tagline:
Grab your favorite libation and Drink Liberally with the only Blogger guaranteed to be plastered all over the Internet!
Most of the time I try to use keywords for links to others' (and my own) posts because I know a bit about that Googlebomb effect, and how words used can make someone an "authority" on a topic. Also, I already use the links on my Blogroll to go to all of the Blogs there. Click! Click! Click! I think that many people use readers these days, but I want people to know that I, or even occasionally someone else, have visited from my Blog. Now, I know that that was/is a good policy for practical purposes.

I guess that I’ll have to add the practice of announcing links on my Blogroll among a few of other things as well. I'll have some more to write about this later, I think?

4 comments:

commander other said...

heh. thanks for reposting my post. i don't really consider myself an "authority" on the innerwebs, but i have been doing web stuff since the early 1990s, so i'm not completely stupid.

i thought about amending that post with the following, so i'll put it here.

the main thing is clicking the link. one of the original spiders (if not THE original spider) was called WebCrawler, and it was a double-entendre from the beginning. the creators thought "crawler" sounded better than "skitterer", and it's not a "runner". that is, it's slow. in other words, just as real spiders crawl about in the real world, seemingly stopping at random points, so thus the web crawlers. and there's a hell of a lot of seemingly random places to stop at these days.

for example, the current incarnation of my blog has been at its new domain for four months, but when i look at who links to me in Google, fewer than 2% of the blogs that i know link to me show up. and despite a recent up-take on links to my blog recently, the ones it shows are at best a week old or so, and those are exclusively ones that i can see in my stats that someone actually clicked on.

oh, and guess what. many sites (such as mine) are referenced in the URI without the "www.", but many people, thinking that free-handing a link is just okee-dokee, put that "www." back in. sadly, such contrived links are entirely separate animals to the search engines, spiders, and aggregators. there's a technical difference, in other words, between http://www.otherwhirled.com and http://otherwhirled.com type them both into your address bar, and they'll both take you to my blog. however, they'll both remain distinct in your address bar (yes, even though the former link will forward you to the latter one, in my case), just as they remain distinct to spiders and aggregators. so, those good people who link to me with the "www." in it, despite their good intentions, actually just confuse the issue to spiders and aggregators. copy-and-paste is always the better route than free-handing a link.

there's a ton of information on the web. aggregating click-throughs is a slow process. and we are a long way from reaching a general point of stasis when aggregators can catch up to real-time.

insofar as the usage of link titles is concerned, give that a grain of salt. the real way that's useful is if you use the same link title every time you link to the same place, whether providing a general link or a link to targeted information. theoretically, my link to that guy who likes to eat live chickens should be placed well below his site in google search results. if i come up higher or basically equal to him, he's not doing enough with keywords and all that good stuff (see the SEO links at the beginning of my post. they're very helpful on that kind of stuff).

regardless, all the recent link-backs and reposted blogrolls that have been going around lately are nice and all that, but if we're blogging for a technorati rating or search engine ranking, then somebody better be paying us to do so. it's much more liberating, cathartic, etc, to blog for the simple joy of supporting the freedom of expression, in my humble opinion.

Connecticut Man1 said...

That was quite considerate of you to follow up with that extra bonus info! I must admit that I blog partially for the search engine and techno ratings, not really my own BUT everyones' and only because we have been behind the curve on doing this compared to the right wing for so long that we have a lot of work to do if we want to get, and keep, alternate views in front of people.

In a post over at My Left Nutmeg I wrote about why I Blog on politics. "THEY", the political/corporate powers that be, picked a fight with me. Otherwise I would likely be Blogging about gardening, politics or sex... Something really interesting! lol

But for now? This fight is too big to sit on the sidelines.

commander other said...

well, hey, you've got a mission. that is, there's a larger point to your blog than mine, since you're actively involved in local politics. so, it makes sense to blog for the ratings, since the ratings denote your reach. duly noted.

i, on the other hand, am just some asshole with a blog, so what i do doesn't matter so much. i mean, i'd stump for state and local politics and even national ones, but since my state is the last one with a primary, and there's fewer people who live here, let alone vote, than in one suburb of New York City, or Los Angeles or Dallas/Forth Worth, or Atlanta or (insert name of large metropolitan area here), i'm more likely to limit referrals for my business if i speak up too loud than to actually benefit a candidate or two.

which, yeah, sucks major big-time. as it is, i've pulled my business back by half and am now working a remote contract because people around here have started to figure out who commander other is and what he does for a living (i'm a wedding photog, and conservatives have lots of kids who eventually get married, thus the inherent conundrum, given that the parents of the bride typically pay the wedding expenses). this part of the world kinda sucks that way.

anyway, i'm glad you're not sitting on the sidelines. despite what i said above, i'm not much of a bench-warmer, either. i'll be back out there stumping hard when our senators and representative (yeah, singular) are up for re-election, that's for sure.

and next time i'm in connecticut, or you're out here, i'll sure as heck buy you a beer.

Connecticut Man1 said...

I am fortunate in that Blogging will not affect what I do. (Part time college student and Mr. Mom) Even my wife's job will not be effected since her company takes some very progressive views towards American politics. They financed a PBS movie on the environment that backhandedly knocked bush before the '04 elections... heh