How To Avoid Being Banned By Technorati

 

Technorati don’t like their authority system being gamed. If they feel it is being gamed and made less relevant, whilst they might not totally remove your blog from their system, you might be removed from their Top100 list, and also their search results.

Currently Technorati still return an authority rating for your blog, even if they have determined you are gaming the system, but there is no guarantee that that will remain the case indefinitely.

Many blog monetization systems rely on Technorati authority as an indication of the value of placing a link on that blog, and thus there are quite significant rewards for having a high authority, which results in a lower ranking position, “1″ being the top ranking.

Open Source Publishers

One of the best rewards of publishing Open Source software is you can often include a link back to your site somewhere on the pages of the people using your software. These links in turn are used by various search engines to rate the authority of the site being linked to. With Google one indicator is Pagerank, with Technorati it is their authority.

Even the most prominent Open Source Developers are not immune from being banned by Technorati.

Matt

Compare Matt’s blog to the “official” top authority blog, and there is a massive divide.

Engadget

Widgets

Widget publishers are not immune to the Technorati nerf stick. Even if you are a top rated SEO blog such as SEOmoz, and gaining 100s of editorial links on a daily basis, you might be removed from the top100.

SEOmoz

Theme & Plugin Publishers

Theme publishers are not immune from being banned by Technorati if they include live links to the blog from the themes they give away for free.

Plaintxt.org

Blogrolls

There are various ways to exchange blogroll links such that they are counted by Technorati, but don’t provide real links that are seen by other search engines.
Whilst joining such blogrolls might not get you banned (unless you hit the top 100), it is more than likely that Technorati will start discounting those links.

Blog Networks get away with some massive interlinking, but the more legitimate networks are making an effort to make those links more relevant.

Paid Links

In this case I am referring to links which appear to Technorati as a blogroll – if you buy lots of obvious “sponsor links”, it is quite possible Technorati is going to ban you.

John Chow

I can’t say whether that is why John appears to be banned, but it might be one explanation, though the majority of John’s links have certainly come from other kinds of payola.

Unfortunately it doesn’t take much poison to taint a well.

Paid Reviews

This is a tough question and Technorati are faced with a similar problem to Google. Which links are editorial, and which are purely for pagerank and other factors.

In my opinion, quality reviews are most likely to remain in all indexes, but then I am an open supporter of quality paid reviews which give more value than just links.

All You Care About Is Money?

If all you care about is money, then obviously for as long as Technorati continue to report your authority via their API as being significant, even if you are effectively banned, then gaming the Technorati authority system could be looked on as a good idea to boost your earnings from text links and reviews.

The big problem with many of the ways of gaming the system is that they are permanent. Those links are out there, so if you have some success with a theme you publish, and through your own blogging efforts you start to approach the top100 list, there is no way to fix the problem.

There is no rule saying that Technorati have to continue giving a rating of banned sites by API, thus any “gamed” rating in the future might effectively return a “zero” in the future.

Why Should You Care?

If you are going to publish a theme or create a widget, you need to think carefully whether having a Technorati rating is something you wish to maintain.

I am not referring to whether you are listed in the Top100, but whether you would have a rating being returned at all by the API.

It is easy to say that you don’t care about being listed on Technorati, all you care about is how much you can sell your links for, but what happens if Technorati decide to stop reporting banned sites via their API?

There is a chance you might get reincluded, if Technorati develop technology so that they can discount links from the sidebar and footer totally, but it wouldn’t be so simple to still allow legitimate blogroll links.

How To Avoid Being Banned By Technorati

It is well known that Technorati currently don’t follow 301 redirects, so the solution currently is quite simple.

  • Decide on a theme name
  • Register a domain name for the theme
  • Use the domain name for the link within a theme
  • Use a 301 redirect from the domain name to your blog

You could actually just use one domain for all your redirects, or use a 3rd party service that issues a 301 redirect though that is placing your eggs in a basket you have little control over.

Alternatively just use nofollow on the links, but then they will not be seen by other search engines, and that would be throwing away good “Google Juice”.

A 301 Redirect would still be recognised by Google, Yahoo, MSN and ASK.

If in the future Technorati do support 301 redirects, it would most likely be possible to tell them not to follow certain redirects for your themes. The most likely scenario for the future is an interface in Technorati to allow you to tell them that 2 listings are effectively the same.

Note:-Technorati Authority is not the same as Technorati Favorites.

Technorati to my knowledge haven’t banned anyone from encouraging people to add them to their Technorati Favorites.

Technorati Authority on the other hand is the cornerstone of their search results to determine relevance, and thus they are going to defend it.

Retroactive Action

I have no idea how you could take retroactive action to fix your ratings.

This affects me too, a while ago I created a widget for LinkedIn, and it linked to a static page. As the functionality of the widget was eventually blocked by the service it was intended to promote, I changed the graphic used, and most links have now been removed from sidebars.
In hindsight I would have used a domain name and 301 redirect.

Theoretically any authority gained from that widget will be outside the 6 month rolling window that Technorati use within the next 2 months, and my own situation will be cleared up.
This would be much harder to achieve for theme and plugin authors. Maybe easier for those with paid links.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I am about to release my first wordpress theme and I am in no way considered special in the eyes of Technorati, but i definitely don’t want to hurt my chances for anything in the future. Would I still be better off buying a new domain for my theme and hosting it there?

    • says

      Drew

      I am just making people aware of what happens, and it is for them to decide.

      You don’t have to host a file somewhere else, just park a domain on your hosting, that will create a folder.
      In the folder add a .htaccess with a redirect to the part of your primary blog that will handle the theme.

      You will still get all the Google Juice, but it won’t affect your Technorati authority.

      I have seen at least one post today that took the attitude that it doesn’t matter if you get banned, because Technorati will still report your authority to the various link sales services, so it won’t affect your monetization long-term.

      Currently Technorati do provide authority and link details via API even if you are banned. Only time will tell if they continue to do so.

      So it is a question of short term gain in authority, for longer term potential loss of authority.

      I will be releasing at least one highly modified SEO theme shortly, and I was thinking not to include links at all, or use nofollow.
      I then thought of this alternative solution and decided to share it with my readers.

  2. says

    Very interesting read Andy. I was just introduced to the fact that Technorati filters their top 100 yesterday when reading John Chow’s blog. I like how you found a handful of other example sites.

    • says

      There are probably at least 50 which have been filtered for one reason or another out of the Top100.
      In my opinion that is a minor thing.

      Technorati could also easily look at the Top1000 and filter out another 500 sites.

      I decided not to mention sites that haven’t already been filtered.

  3. says

    Great post Andy, glad you included some concrete examples of what Technorati is doing. I thought they had a really great thing going, but over the last six months I feel that they have really dropped the ball.

    • says

      This isn’t dropping the ball, it is actually a good thing if their algorithm can’t cope with paid “blogroll” links and footers.

      They really should get rid of blogrolls totally, but in the past it was a useful indicator of popularity.

      The sad fact of it is that you could be banned from Technorati for using the same SEO tactics as Technorati themselves use.

      The bans are necessary, or the only people listed in the top 100 would be theme designers and software / widget developers.

      Designers include the link, and sponsored links because it helps people monetize with paid links, and all of them do it, almost without exception.

      But even then it is gaming the system. Advertisers might look on someone as top100 Technorati and think it is a popular blog, but in reality it might be popular just because of the theme they publish and not other content. It is quite possible that a theme designer has only around 200 subscribers and yet could be in the top 20 or so blogs.

  4. says

    I was reading John Chow dot Com just yesterday and he stated they were plaing favorites. I didn’t realize in all actuality he had been banned. Can you elaborate more on “What gaming Technorati? means. I have not heard that term used before.

    Thanks

  5. says

    Looks like great advice Andy. I just saw Maki post this on Digg and came here to skim through even though I’m supposed to be studying for my final exams. I’ve bookmarked the post to come and read it fully afterwards. Thanks!

  6. says

    I have a top level domain, christianmontoya.net, which I use for all links from any themes or tools I release. This page links to all my site including my blog at christianmontoya.com. I do this so that all the links directly to my blog are valid links in Technorati’s eyes.

    • says

      Christian, that is a good option, effectively a landing page for all your activities, but it would be possible to use 301 redirects and link through to the support pages on the various sites if appropriate.

  7. says

    Andy, sorry if this is off topic, but I figured you would know. Does the Technorati search by authority still work? I can’t find it anymore.

    Thanks,
    Brad

    • says

      What currently remains of a search by authority is fairly messed up, such as a search of blog on a certain subject.

      http://technorati.com/blogs/tag/seo?page=4

      They are normally listed in order of authority, and it is partially correct, but Technorati have explained to me that there are some syncing problems.

      There also seems to be a major bug in reporting favorites today

  8. says

    Trust me when I say that it doesn’t make one lick of difference.

    The referral traffic from having all of those links out there trumps the Technorati search traffic on any day of the week.

    As long as they still list your authority via their API (which it looks like they do for PhotoMatt) then it shouldn’t hurt any of the paid review scorecards either.

    • says

      As long as they still list your authority via their API

      Engtech, that is exactly the point though – why would they continue reporting the domains they feel have been gaming the system for monetization or add noise, which then sell links that in turn affect their system.

      I agree that the traffic directly from Technorati is minimal, but what happens when someone who writes for Techcrunch uses Technorati or Google Blogsearch to find a related link for a story and sends you a good deal more traffic?

      Having received links from both Techcrunch and John Battelle in recent history, quite “out of the blue”, the opportunity for casual but significant traffic is something worth maintaining.

  9. says

    Speaking of John Chow, I wonder if Google decided to discount some of his backlinks. He sat at an impressive number 1 for “make money online” for a long time but now sits at the 54th position. The website does not even come up number one when doing a “John Chow” search.

    Who knows though. He will probably be back at number 1 in a few days.

    • says

      That is a little more complicated.

      Google seem to have some problems with link attribution, and I have suffered a little from it as well on specific keywords I used to rank very well for.

  10. says

    I used to be an enthusiastic Technorati user, but I find that they send little traffic my way (maybe 15-20 visitors to my main site, which averages 300-500 uniques a day).

    One of the things that irritates me about Technorati’s new system is that they count only one link per individual blogs. Thus, if my material gets linked a few times a month from a given site (which happens – my regular readers are pretty decent like that), I only get credit for one link per six-month period.

    Thus, my current “authority” of 170 (representing 170 different Technorati-recognized sites linking to my blog) is dwarfed by the 7,000 external links to my site that Google sees.

    As far as gaming Technorati: Linkfarming would be technique #1, while the old “create a hundred throwaway blogs and add a post to your site” is another. One can also put up a post with the top ten Technorati search terms several times a day in the hopes that those automated newsbot sites pick up your junk and link you. Not very interesting to read, but the gamers are all about boosting stats to make a quick buck.

  11. says

    Interesting advice. I need to think about this since I wrote two new plugins. I created a pulldown menu to permit the user to elect to run a link to my site in the footer, but now I’ll need to consider the redirect option. (It’s not a big deal yet. I think two people have installed the Kontera Control plugin, so at most, that plugin give me two links!)

    BTW, on the johnchow.com issue: John Chow not only lost his google rank for “make money on line” but he lost his google rank for “John Chow” and johnchow.com

    He’s confident he’ll reclaim his rank, but, well, who knows? :)

  12. says

    Dear Andy,

    I have just bought a new domain name and created a 301 redirect in my old domain to direct existing traffic to this new domain. I have also imported all my old articles to this new domain.

    Any suggestions on the best way to get technorati to point towards this new domain? Will all my backlinks be lost this way?

    I have painstakenly built up more than 200 links to the old domain.

    • says

      Well in this article we are effectively taking advantage of the fact that they don’t support a 301 to try to avoid being banned.

      In your case unfortunately you will lose those links in Technorati.

      The 301 redirect is good for the major search engines such as Google.

      One thing you have to remember is that Technorati looks for links within 6 months so the priority should always be to build up your sources of links (subscribers/linkerati) and not short term linking strategies.

  13. says

    Hiya. Sorry to go off on a tangent, but how do you get that “if you liked this post link to it” box at the end of each post? Reply greatly appreciated.

  14. OOM says

    Seems we have nothing to worry about; not that we would be on Technorati top 100 or even 10000 :). That is good news for us. But bad for others.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] easily gamed with WordPress themes and widgets – eventually Technorati do kick sites out of the Top100 but the APis will still send high ratings. Competitions and "review my blog" have also been looked on as a good way of boosting Technorati rankings, and then we shouldn't forget memes and link chains. Technorati really need to move away from counting anything in a sidebar, including blogroll links. [...]