I actually applied only recently for Tino Buntie to add my name to the 2000 Bloggers collage. I thought it was a cool idea, although the SEO benefit is probably minimal simply because although massive cross-linking is happening, it could be looked on as:-
If everyone grabs all the images and sticks it on a page on their site, it is effectively like a link exchange directory which people have been doing for years. Google can certain filter links like that out with no problem.
Obviously it is not quite so simplistic, and it should be noted that there is a level of editorial in this. It is real blogs created by real people, and Tino visits the sites to check.
It is also important that these in general are not site wide links – someone with any sense if they did post a full collage would do it on a page a little deeper on their domain, just because of page load times.
Unfortunately this apparently has upset the balance at Technorati, and I am actually happy about that, because it brings lots of things out into the open.
Technorati has great prominence in the search engines using other people’s content that people willing let them index, but the reason they have such prominence for all those cool keywords is because they have created one of the greatest linkbait systems on the internet, Technorati tags. The microformat even defines:-
The destination of a rel=”tag” hyperlink is required to be a tag space (a place that collates or defines tags), where the last segment of the path of the URL is the tag
Unless you have your own tag pages internally, there isn’t a huge amount of tag spaces to link to, and the default choice is Technorati for most people, though there are a few other options such as Wikipedia and a few PPC sites.
A while back Technorati started to use “nofollow” on their links to their sources of information to stop benefiting splogs, but if search engine rank wasn’t important to Technorati, they would create all their widgets and links with the nofollow code. But business is business and Technorati make money from advertising.
It is quite possible that Google and the other search engines have already had to take action to devalue the weight of Technorati tags, not too much, but enough so that the top search results for all those terms frequently used wasn’t always Technorati, which might be full of untrusted user generated content.
Technorati created their own importance in search results – they are one of the few “search engines” that appear in natural search results. Using robots.txt would solve that, but Technorati like the traffic.
I actually love Technorati, but I think this is making mountains out of molehills. There are bigger issues which effectively ensure that the z-listers have no chance of rising to the surface without some creative effort.
It should be noted that Technorati haven’t issued any kind of penalty to the participants in the 2000 Bloggers meme, as I just read over on Design Sojourn in a comment by Ian Kallen of Technorati.
Just to clarify: Technorati is not taking punitive measures against 2000 Blogger participants. What was announced was simply an adjustment to our indexing to filter out copy-and-pasted sets of links since our ranking is premised on links that are more conventional social gestures such as replies and citations. There is certainly a good deal of FUD being posted elsewhere about elitism, coercion, and so forth but given what was actually announced, I hope youâ€™ll see through the subterfuge and feel assured that thereâ€™s no heavy hand to be scared of. Weâ€™re here to serve you and help you make your voice heard, weâ€™re listening.
2000 bloggers, it is only a single page on most of the blogs that might be affecting the Technorati ranking results. With blog networks small and large, all those sitewide sidebars also affect Technorati in a major way, and so does preferential linking to same network sites.
Robert Scoble has discussed Microsofts internal blogger mailing list and the way they can effectively Googlebomb any product for a brand name. Whilst they might not have everyone on their blog roll (3000 bloggers), I am sure there is a lot of internal linking.
There are a lot of widgets out there that give real links back to their creators, and whilst this might not affect blogs it certainly affects search results. The thing is the links in most cases are justified because they go to information pages about the widget.
Links are just pointers as Carsten recently discussed over on Search Engine Journal.
If I tag something with the word “WordPress”, it often ends up in a sidebar RSS feed on a blog tracking wordpress, or someones shared feed reader stream that is being indexed. That link appears in Technorati’s index, even if it is temporary.
The web, and Technorati are full of syndicated news stories, press releases and articles.
Some of my blog content occasionally gets syndicated, and that appears in Technorati reselts. Some of it is on popular sites, “legitimate syndication” – other times it is “illegitimate syndication”, which would be classed as legitimate if it was on a PR7+ site, but because it is a new site collecting snippets of blog posts on a single specific theme, they are referred to as splogs. At least most of them link back to me with a live link to the source, and if they pick it up directly rather than from Technorati, they get links in the content as well.
I have seen uncliamed RSS feeds in Technorati in the 5-6K range simply because the feed was being syndicated.
Other Tag Farms / Indexes
The good new is it seem that Technorati already filter out feeds from places like the WordPress.com tag index. It is quite likely that index still affects other search results in a big way. WordPress.com don’t use nofollow for their links to/from the indexes as I have previously discussed.
This interview with Tino carried out by Li Evans is now been highlighted as proof that Tino was doing this all just as link bait.
If you create something cool, people link to you. Lots of people create cool things for links and don’t get slammed. Lots of people deliberately highlight controversial stories over and over again just to get attention. Hell even I am writing this hoping I might get a link or 2 from people interested in a different opinion. (and I don’t have nofollow on my trackbacks)
What Tino didn’t expect is that people would carry the thing one stage further and copy all the images with links to post on their blogs.
Tino has suggested a widget, for the future, but that could easily be created with Ajax so that it doesn’t affect results in Google and Technorati, and is just there to give people somewhere cool to continue their browsing, human selected.
Even Matt Cutts believes in good link bait – I wonder what he thinks of 2000 Bloggers…
2000 Bloggers was just a blip, or a small bush fire easily snuffed out.
For some reason every single link on Tinos blog is now nofollow – I didn’t think that is possible with blogger as many thing are included automatically – was such action really called for?
Update: I have done some more snooping and it seems that a number of sites hosted on Blogger have the following added:-
meta name=”ROBOTS” content=”NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW”
I don’t know anyone that would do something like that deliberately to a blog they had worked on for months / years.