Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

Google Pagerank Falls on Paid Links, Blogs

Posted in Google,Search,SEO by Elliott Back on October 25th, 2007.

The blogosphere today is in collective shock after Google downgraded the pagerank of many leading blogs and news sources. The response tends to fall into several categories: we knew it was coming, pagerank doesn’t matter, and we deserved it. Techcrunch does a pretty good job of examining the evidence behind the update:

The only clear change appears to be among large scale blog networks and similar link farms, where each site in the network provides hundreds of outgoing links on each page of the blog to other blogs in the network, in some cases creating tens, even hundred of thousands of cross links. Previously such behavior has been rewarded by Google with high page rank, although it would now appear that this loop hole may now be shut.

Here’s a table of pagerank changes organized by the percent difference:

Pagerank -4 Pagerank -3 Pagerank -2
Statcounter SEO Rountable
Search Engine Journal
Quickonline Tips
SF Gate
The Washington Post
The Blog Herald
The Unofficial Apple Weblog

An interesting tidbit comes from Syntagma who note that “the majority of these decreases happened after a human review.” So, it might not be easy for you to fix your linking strategy and regain Pagerank automatically.

Ironically, this coincides with GOOG hitting $666 today. And, Silicon Valley is calling us “Pagerankled.” For you people out there running blogs, an immediate solution is the following:

  • Make sure you nofollow any links that you don’t directly control
  • Avoid using static link-farms like directories, like linking to every blog in your network from every page
  • Don’t let your commenters add links to their sites

Here’s an example of the link distribution of my site after I’ve properly annotated some links with nofollow:


The green areas (header, footer, content, and some meta data) represent regular links, the red areas (advertising, sidebar links, tags, and related stories) are nofollow links, and the blue areas are dynamic links (javascript widgets) which don’t need updating. I am not sure if I want to nofollow anything else–what do you think?

Update: Forbes weighs in, “it could also be Google simply taking into account the growth of the Internet.”

Bloglines Outage

Posted in Scalability,Uptime by Elliott Back on August 4th, 2007.

Trying to read my feeds I get some nice 500 errors from Bloglines:

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@bloglines.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
Apache/2.2.5-dev (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.5-dev OpenSSL/0.9.7a Server at www.bloglines.com Port 80

This kind of error is interesting because while Bloglines’ home page is up and working, their service is not, and that’s something very hard for monitoring tools like Pingdom to monitor without the cooperation of the web service. If there’s ever a standard created for an open web 2.0 service, an interface by which one can query which parts of it are up and down should factor in. It could be as simple as a ping, or as complex as a list of components and statuses. Just fire off a request to api.example.com/ping and get back “up” or “down.” You could use api.example.com/uptime for information about uptime and api.example.com/status for more detailed information.

Blackberry blogging sucks

Posted in IM,My Blog,Windows by Elliott Back on June 22nd, 2007.

I want to blog about how my cancelled flight on nwa is making me five hours late, but all I have is my bb.

WordPress should definitely release a mobile skin for the admin area, which doesn’t work so well right now on small screens.

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