Exclusive: Blogcatalog vs Technorati? – Sharing The Love & Tagging (nofollow removed)

As most of my readers are no doubt aware, I am a strong supporter of sharing the link love, but I always advocate sharing it in a focused manner, preferably from relevant content or from comments and trackbacks. If you trackback/pingback this blog you receive a reciprocal link between highly relevant content automatically, and not only Google and other major search engines count the links as relevant, but also blogging search engines such as Technorati, though with Technorati it is best to do it on a more recent post.

If you want to share the love from your blog, I compiled an extensive list of “dofollow” and “nofollow” resources covering major platforms such as WordPress (on your own domain), blogger and Drupal. It is also possible on Typepad, and Dawud Miracle and Karen have been discussing ways to present the complicated procedure to remove nofollow on Typepad. Hopefully I will be able to link to a solution soon.

In my review of Blogcatalog recently, I mentioned that one of the key things I would like to see is for the Nofollow link to be removed from the site profiles.

This is how the site profiles used to look when viewed using the Search Status Firefox Plugin which highlights nofollow links on the pages you visit with a pink box.

Blogcatalog Nofollow

That link wasn’t just nofollowed. It was also passing through a redirect script to count the number of clicks the link had received, important for their rating system and to help advertisers to evaluate the value of the listings they purchase. Some redirect scripts can pass on link juice, but a clean link is much better.

Blogcatalog Sharing the Link Love (No Nofollow)

The page now looks like this:-

Blogcatalog No Nofollow

As can be clearly seen, the link no longer has the nofollow extension, and thus passes on juice.

What about the redirect?

<h2>Andy Beard - Niche Marketing</h2>
		<h3><a href="http://andybeard.eu" onclick="return o('andy-beard-niche-marketing');">http://andybeard.eu</a></h3>

You will see here that this is a clean link which uses the onclick parameter to count the number of outbound clicks from the page. From what I can tell from limited testing, pages also load a lot faster with the new linking method.

Not All Links Are The Same

Some would argue that MyBlogLog has provided followable links from the start, and they are certainly to be congratulated for this. They also have a number of useful linking structures that help bring their profiles into prominence.

It is interesting studying the value of links from various services just by doing a quick vanity search on Google for Andy Beard.

The MyblogLog linking structure with the number of links using that term internally really makes them highly relevant.

That doesn’t however help much on relevance for other terms not associated with the name of the blog, or blog owner.

Here is another vanity search, but this time on “Andy Beard – Niche Marketing

Ok so that link text is being used through to my page profile on Blogcatalog, so it is not really very fair and also is very prominent on Bumpzee for the same reason.

Lets use a term that I use in my description on multiple syndication sites to see which is giving me currently the best relevant link.

Blog Search Engine Performance

Blogcatalog is an older domain, but that page with description is much younger than my profule on MyBlogLog.

There are references on Bumpzee for that phrase before MyBlogLog appears.

This isn’t conclusive research, but as of this writing the page that is ranking for Blogcatalog is often based on my old rating within the service – as my registration was quite late, it was fairly well buried on each of the listing pages, often 4 or 5 pages deep.

It takes Google a number of days to recalculate ranking based on links. Thus it is only going to improve.

Blogcatalog Introduces Real Tagging

Please first of all understand that this seems to be the first stage of implementation, but it demonstrates clearly the direction Blogcatalog can take and the speed they are implementing changes.
The removal of nofollow was quite a simple matter, but implementing tagging certainly took a little more work, in just a few short days, on a holiday weekend!

Lets take a little look at Meg’s Blogcatalog profile

Blogcatalog Tagging

Now my geeky readers will no doubt notice that not every site is currently working, and that the tags currently being picked up are Megs categories defined within a feed such as:-

	<category><![CDATA[blogcatalog]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[mybloglog]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[Australian Blogs]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[blogsearch]]></category>
		<category><![CDATA[blogging]]></category>

That was taken from Meg’s feed (she has actually got 2, one at WP.com, and one on Feedburner – they really should support redirects)

Blogger blogs do things slightly differently. Here is an example of the code in Johns feed at Finding The Money.

<category scheme="http://www.blogger.com/atom/ns#" term="networking" /><category scheme="http://www.blogger.com/atom/ns#" term="promotion" />

Those are generated by using labels on the new blogger, thus it would be worthwhile using lots of them, or creating additional links to a tag space that shares link love back with you.

I don’t think it will take long to have this picking up all forms of tagging such as rel=”tag” anywhere within a feed item.

That is what they would have to cope with on my blog, where a post might only be in 3 defined categories, but be tagged with 10 or 20 tags.

Blogcatalog Tagspace?

The microformat “rel-tag” definition dictates that the end of the URL you use to link through to the pages that form a “tagspace” should end with the word in question.

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

Blogcatalog now has links such as

http://www.blogcatalog.com/post-tag/blogsearch

As a demonstration they have built a global tag cloud, though this doesn’t yet have a comprehensive data set.

They also have the links to tags as previously highlighted, and the ability to search tags.

Tag Search

This is becoming a little confusing, and I am sure things will become refined over time allowing even more powerful features.

Currently we have a number of search options:-

Blogcatalog Tag Search

  • In the Blog Directory – this searches the blog directory descriptions only – as an example a search for “SEO” currently doesn’t find my blog listing, even though it is highly rated in the SEO category, and I use SEO for a blog defined tag – SEO is even a term found in one of my reader reviews, but that isn’t picked up. Tag and Category are probably terms that shouldn’t be picked up, but review content probably should.
  • In Tags – these allows a search in predefined tags when blog accounts are created. As an example a search for “BlogCatalog” doesn’t come up with any results, because no blog has currently defined that term as one of their core topics. A search for Wordperss in the tags comes up with my blog at the top, because my blog is currently the highest rated blog using that defined tag.
  • In Blog Posts – this searches the content of archived blog posts. It should be noted that there is a lot of stored content with some listings going back over 1 year on a search for the term “WordPress” – I wonder if data such as categories or tags is also stored (the raw RSS data) – if they have all of it, that is a lot of content that can now be recategorised with tags and who linked to who within the content.

Blogcatalog Search results in posts
Popularity is currently based upon blog rating, I am not sure how relevance is counted, but it would also be possible to introduce other metrics such as linkage and add additional authority based searches or options.

  • In Blog Post Tags – this is the new form of search previously discussed, that will allow bloggers to define what their post is about using the rel-tag microformat already used by Technorati, and their blogging platforms existing category system.

BlogCatalog vs Technorati

As I have already likened Blogcatalog to MyBlogLog, it is now time to take on an even bigger player, Technorati.

Technorati could roll out a networking feature, but their current size means it isn’t something that can be rolled out fast without also introducing a massive support and spam problem. Technorati autodiscovers sites and feeds, often polluting its index, and is a primary target for junk.

Blogcatalog could easily encroach on Technorati’s space, whilst remaining devoid of spam, and already having a social feature built in.

Blogcatalog is only indexing feeds which it is told about and isn’t scraping the blog itself looking for additional blogroll links which aren’t necessarily a good indication of quality, because it can be easily gamed. Authority with Technorati can easily be established by releasing a few themes or widgets, or having a blog as part of a network, as I have discussed in the past.

Blogcatalog is probably lacking in historical data, but that isn’t honestly hard to get. They could always write a simple “Pick Me Up” plugin that can be installed and provides an RSS feed of all previous posts, and I am sure something similar could be possible for all platforms, maybe something like a dynamic, blog content only sitemap.

Fancy charts and tables are fairly easy to add

Technorati Is Ugly in Pink

Technorati Ugly In Pink

Blogs added to Technorati are not added manually – Technorati find them by itself, and only at a later date are they removed from the index if they are found to be “splogs”.
Lots of the feeds Technorati is encouraged to collect aren’t unique blog feeds.

With all the poor quality content being added to the index, there is no wonder Technorati choose to add nofollow on every page, but that is also their undoing.
Many smart bloggers, because Technorati isn’t sharing any link love don’t link to Technorati directly, and use internal tagging. WordPress will have tagging built in with the release of WordPress 2.2.
Wordpress.com has for a long time used its own internal tagging system, and I questioned a while ago that this was potentially an extremely smart SEO move.

Technorati is heavily cross linked, but all the cross linking is nofollow ugly pink links.

Blogcatalog can justify having followable links, because there is a human review process for every blog, and they have also added a voting processs and other quality controls to highlight the highest quality content that readers find valuable.

Conclusion

I have had direct contact at various times with people from MyBlogLog, Blogcatalog and Bumpzee, and at this time I have no direct financial incentive to promote one particular service over another, and am purely writing about what I observe to be great features, and encouraging more.
I don’t know whether I am the only person directly encouraging Blogcatalog to add what I feel are cool features, and some of these features are also a feature of Bumpzee, who I have also actively encouraged to include them both publicly and in normal user feedback discussions by email.

So far I am only scratching the surface of what is possible…

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Comments

  1. says

    A tag cloud made from the 100 most common user defined in the post tags at the bottom of that page would also be useful ;)

    Robert Scoble was recently comparing the accuracy or usefulness of results possible with Google Blogsearch and Technorati.

    Part of his criteria is how fast the data is being picked up. I suppose a polling system might not be as fast as if you have a ping system.

    You guys in some ways have an advantage in having a smaller index to start with. No splogs to filter out

  2. says

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the case study mention :)

    There are quite a few limitations with the WordPress hosted blogs, such as widgets, nofollow commenting, and as you mention the duplicate feeds (I could go on, as you know). I have a domain, it’s just a matter of extracting the proverbial and doing it! And also the fear of losing the “crutch”…

    One thing that IS great about WordPress is the “categories” (which I have renamed “tags”) and it actually drives a fair amount of traffic my way by being more specific, than just lumping something in say “internet”. These are indexed nicely in Google too :)

    Thanks for the follow up – the speed of their response is certainly impressive.

  3. says

    Yo Andy,

    You are one sneaky linker, good sir; thanks for that, and for keeping us up to date on BC .

    I’m going to have to check out BlogCatalog; although I can’t see adding another avatar widget. :(
    -j

  4. says

    This is an interesting tips. Have read the post but still confuse about using blogcatalog. Need more time to understand how it can help me improve my search engine rankings to increase my online earning.

  5. says

    Hey Andy, I know you are a great supporter of tags hence why I decided to post here a counter-argumentation.

    1. Don’t you think that under an intelligent (semantic if you will) Internet tags should not be needed? The search engines and other communication platforms should be able to organize, filter and serve information purely based on the content.

    2. The tags require an extra work from the user, and they might also be used for selfish interests (i.e. tagging a post with a hot keywords just to get more exposure).

    Let me know what do you think of those 2 points. Also do you think in the future everything is going to be tagged?

    3. Tags clutter the environment.

  6. says

    You would think that would be possible, and it is partially, but the same argument could be made about quality content. Google shouldn’t need links to determine if something is relevant to a search result, but for some reason their algorithms require editorial links to determine the value of the written word.

    Tags honestly take very little additional work. Even if it takes me 2 or 3 hours to write a long blog post, it rarely takes me longer than 2 minutes to tag it.

    Selfish Interests? You mean like not having to load up your content with lots of specific keywords because you can add them at the end in the form of tags pointing to highly relevant content?
    I am sure you will forgive me for all the additional terms I rank for just because I include a few additional tags on the end of a post that create better optimized versions of the same content for a particular keyword phrase.
    Good SEO tactics are not selfish, they are bringing users into contact with the information they were looking for, and tagging can be just as important as selecting a title with good keywords, because each tag on my blog creates a page with that keyword in the title.

    Tags clutter an environment in the same way when you walk into an old library they have rank upon rank of filing systems, and all the books in various categorized shelves.

    How can you categorize books?

    By Author
    By Subject
    By Title
    By Date Published
    By Publisher
    All time best seller lists
    Recent Best seller lists
    Yearly Best seller lists
    Highest rating by the press
    Highest rating by user review
    Highest rating from one particular reviewer
    Most reviews in the press
    Most user reviews

    The list goes on, but all of those are valuable

    Clutter? Tags can be implemented in a variety of ways. Did you know Techcrunch is using Ultimate Tag Warrior?
    They are not using it as effectively as they could. As the backend of tagging becomes part of WordPress, we will see all kinds of nice interfaces, and more users will use them as a form of navigation to related content.
    Tags certainly seem to provide me with much more accurate related content links on each page and in my feeds, and I rank extremely well against older and more linked to domains writing about the same content, both on blogsearch and the main Google search index.

  7. says

    OK I agree with the Google argument that networks are not perfect and sometimes you need external or artificial factors to organize them.

    What about the real evidence of people tagging stuff? Technorati is the tag engine by excellence, yet if I am not wrong less than 10% of the Top 100 Most linked blogs are using tags activitely.

    Regarding the selfish use. You said “You mean like not having to load up your content with lots of specific keywords because you can add them at the end in the form of tags pointing to highly relevant content?”

    Well I think under an efficient network people neither should have to load content with keywords nor to add tags at the end of posts.

    They should just write for humans, that is it.

    Just think about meta tags. In the early days search engines would give a lot of important to the meta description and meta keywords tags. Unfortunale people started abusing them, stuffing keywords that were not completely or not at all relevant to the content, just to get a few extra hits or rank better. The result is we all know, meta tags are almost useless from SEO point of view today.

    What will prevent tags from following that path?

    • says

      Daniel yes you are quite right that lots of top blogs don’t tag stuff. Tagging is just one factor within Googles Blogsearch Algorithm patent, and it is my belief it may also be used in part when ranking blogs in the main index.

      It should be possible just to write content for humans, but humans can make stupid mistakes just as easily as Google algorithms.

      As an example (and it was corrected and they did apologise), Article Marketer once knocked back one of my articles about duplicate content and article marketing, claiming it was not an SEO article. That was a professional reviewer though maybe a new employee with other specialities.

      Whilst in theory algorithms should be able to pick up every possible word association, human tagging helps.

      At the same time there is a danger of using too many tags directly to Technorati, which is why I always suggest using internal tagging.

      Also note that categories are picked up as tags by blog search engines, and most blog use some categories, but that is not using tagging to its full potential.

  8. says

    Any blog I care about has internal tagging and indexing built right in. It has this because I wrote a NucleusCMS plugin to handle indexing and tag cloud and usually use htaccess to make the URLs work. The fact that I also wrote myself my own wiki style markup system means that inline tags are easy too. It just seemed to be SEO 101… it still seems like a good idea although I am working on something a wee bit more beefy to process ALL my blogs and my fave reads… (that’d be you BTW).

    Oh and tag you are it. See blog for details.

    • says

      As far as I know they are doing some testing.

      Google isn’t very forthcoming regarding followed links from user generated content, and at the end of the day BC isn’t VC or internet mega corporation funded.
      Any dip in traffic for search that might be caused not due to juice leaks, but based upon where they link to has to be explored.

      It is not something I am happy about but I am still a realist.

      I should also add as Tony will also say, BC isn’t about leaching them for links, but the community

  9. says

    Don’t give me that bull. It has nothing to do with leaching links. Bloggers need to wake up and quit being so blind. You keep up with that speech Andy.

    • says

      BC doesn’t require links, they just need a way to confirm ownership, which can be done with a meta tag, or using a widget.

      Sure there are other options, but those are similar to almost every blog directory, and there is no rule stating you can’t stick a nofollow on the link, just like with most blog directories.

      I have had close to 3000 visits now from my profile page alone, compared to maybe 50 from Dmoz.

      I should really work to improve my profile page as it has had many more views, 12500, than visits

      I am only included in a couple of other directories, e.g. Blog Top Sites – I assure you I get more visits from my BC directory page than from Blogflux (who merged with BTS)

      Then there are other traffic opportunities, the dashboard etc.

      Plus I am not a highly active user, this is all passive traffic. I know it is a 2 way street, but friendly interaction with other bloggers brings subscribers, regular readers, commenters and additional 3rd party traffic from social media.
      It also brings links from other bloggers, and I link to them, either in posts or in comments.

      Don’t forget on your blog to include a notice that you nofollow comment links… how dishonest.

      • Sandra says

        You know this pagerank thing really is not important. It’s not pagerank that will convert visitors in to regular readers, it’s interacting with them and providing value. It’s showing your visitors that you care about them and that they are more than just a traffic hit.

        If you are only joining Blogcatalog for the link juice then you are truly missing out on what they have to offer. Blogcatalog is more than a place to get a link. They offer a place where you can connect with other bloggers and share your passions. To me that’s more valuable than a link.

        Also I noticed that Rose owns a blog directory and a blogging forum and Sez Who shows that this isn’t the only place where she has denigrated BlogCatalog. This feedback on a post that’s over a year old seems very suspicious to me.

  10. says

    Rose does not own a blog directory. I’m the editor of one and it was not I who first noted that BlogCatalog once again added the nofollow back.

    I don’t need to announce that my blogs comments are nofollow. All WordPress blogs are nofollow unless you join the No Nofollow movement, which I may just do. People are NOT commenting on my blog to get a link back though. They are however submitting to BlogCatalog to increase their PR.

    Seeing how you mentioned the Blog Directory I’m editor of you will notice that they do not use the nofollow attribute. Good for them and every other directory that shares PR.

    Sandra I commented on this post because it states BlogCatalog shares the link love. Well not anymore they don’t.

    One moment they have it, then they don’t then they do.

    Make up your mind BC.

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