Google Loves A Tasty Blogroll

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Judging by a patent application filed by Google for ranking blog search, one of the three things a blog should have is a blogroll, and being included in some high-quality ones will help too.

Google Loves A Tasty Blogroll
Google Loves A Tasty Blogroll

SEO by the Sea blogger Bill Slawski has made a practice of diving into the rough waters of patent language, and emerging with pearls of detailed, readable wisdom.

His recent blog post about a filing by Google for ranking blog search turned up several points that could help a blog show up in a search, or keep it from being a factor.

Slawski found that Google considers blogs to contain three content types:

  • The content of recent posts,
  • A blogroll, and;
  • Blog metadata (author profile information and/or other information about the blog or its author).

While it’s likely Google is going to look at other factors in ranking blogs, the positives and negatives observed by Slawski show how the process resembles the fabled PageRank Google has used as part of its website rankings.

Positive factors for a blog include its popularity, inclusion in blogrolls (especially high-quality ones), and tagging of the blog. News aggregator subscriptions could imply high popularity. Google said that it could validate those against "subscriptions spam" by checking for unique subscriber IP addresses.

On the positive side of the calculation, Slawski suggested how Google might calculate another factor mentioned in the filing:

Implied popularity

Instead of explicit subscriptions, an “implied popularity” could be calculated from data collected from people searching on Blog Search, and examining the click stream of search results:

For example, if a certain blog document is clicked more than other blog documents when the blog document appears in result sets, this may be an indication that the blog document is popular and, thus, a positive indicator of the quality of the blog document.

Some negative factors could impact a blog. New posting frequency, especially at set intervals, could be a tipoff of a low quality, i.e. spam, blog. Post content and size might raise alarms in Google’s algorithm, and push the blog to a lower ranking.

Slawski offered a couple of points where such negative ranking could affect a blog that actually contains valid content. A blog about Nigerian spam emails, he noted, may not rank well by Google’s criteria.

Google could also divine some unsavory intent by the way links get sprinkled throughout a blog, by Slawski’s reckoning:

Link distribution of the blog document

It appears that under this quality scoring system, whom you are linking to is considered, too:

As disclosed above, some posts are created to increase the pagerank of a particular blog document. In some cases, a high percentage of all links from the posts or from the blog document all point to ether a single web page, or to a single external site. If the number of links to any single external site exceeds a threshold, this can be a negative indication of quality of the blog document.

At the end of January, Robert Scoble compared a handful of blog searches, including Google’s. Even though he quibbled with Google’s default presentation of relevance sorting, he liked it far more than Technorati.

Going by Slawski’s findings, that’s because Google has a lot going on in the engine room of its blog search service.

Google Loves A Tasty Blogroll
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  • Christine

    This is what I do with my blog. I put just a sentence or two when I post and point it to the site I want people to go to. But its the same site every time. Is this going to hurt me.

    the name of my blog is


    and the website it points to is www.newpuppydogweb.com

    can you tell me if I shouldn’t be doing this.

  • Ron

    As a test, a friend of mine from a previous job went to my website, from her computer. She clicked on a couple of ad sense links that in Google states are worth about $5.00 – $15.00 each. She was truly interested in the clicks and searched around those sites for some time.

    The interesting thing is I did not receive any credit for those clicks. In fact, it did not show up at all on the reports.

    I did see a couple of clicks for unrelated terms. Terms that I know she did not click on, because those terms are not something that is found on my website.

    Now, this is very interesting and concerning. If we allow Google to hold on to our money until it builds up, and they do not give out any interest by putting it in a money market fund or another interest bearing account, why bother?

    Another disappointment by the Big G.

  • oktay idris hun

    Dear Sir,
    //aglocoviewbar.blogcu.com and
    this is my blogs. How can
    I move it’s top ten at the google search engine by agloco words?
    Kind Regards.

  • incrediblehelp

    It would be interesting to know how Google defines what a blogroll is since it is nothing more than sidebar navigation.

  • Paul

    David, this is a good, insightful article, but I’ve got to disagree with part of your your first sentence, “one of the three things a blog should have is a blogroll.”

    Like you said later in the article, the patent has elements that sound a lot like PR. And if that’s the case, then saying a blogroll will help a blogs rank is like saying a links page will help a website’s rank.

    Based on the information you cited in the patent I say…

    – Being in another blog’s blogroll – good.
    – Having blogs in your own blogroll – irrelevant.

    • David A. Utter

      From the patent application:

      [0054] Moreover, blog documents typically contain three types of content: the content of recent posts, a blogroll, and blog metadata (e.g., author profile information and/or other information pertinent to the blog document or its author).

      I’m no entrail diviner, but if I had to take a stab at the wiggly bits and make a guess, I’d say Google believes it knows a good blogroll when its algos see it.


      • Matt Taylor

        Are you a Blue Oyster Cult fan?

  • Max Hartshorne

    Has anybody else had the experience of looking up a legitimate name on Technorati and finding that almost all of the results are from spam bot blogs? I read about these in Wired, boy is it a drag to see how a spammer just scraped your legitimate blog text to mish mosh it with nonsense blogs surrounded by Google ads. Ugh.

    What was once a pleasant search experience is marred by ugliness. oh the horror.

  • Robert

    I have been watching my ranking number slip down the greasy Technoratu pole for 4 months now and cannot understand why Technorati is so highly rated.

    I am glad that Scoble finds Google better than ttechnorati. I do too.

    In fact I am concerned about how technorati’s ranking methodologies work when you consider that when you search my site (http://iscatterlings.com) you will see it is now ranked in 108,057 spot.

    You are invited to look at how recently ago Technorati updated my ranking versus how recently they claim I last updated my site. Yes 37 days ago!!

    If you saw this you’d not bother visiting my site and would think I am the laziest blogger out.

    So thanks Technorati and a special thanks for responding to my email to your support crew many days ago. I am still waiting.

  • Randy Gibbons

    Based on the amount of blogging I have done over the last few months it is hard to figure how google actually spyders and ranks blogs.
    Blogs seem to have so many different character patterns much like people do. Would like to see someone explain all the terminoligy properly though.
    Randy Gibbons

  • Bhupendra Ghimire

    Volunteers Initiative Nepal (VIN) is a non-government and non profit organization (NGO) which was founded by a group of development workers, educationists, advocates, social activists, cultural and tourism experts, ex-volunteers and other professionals. The organization has officially been registered under Society Act with the District Administration Office Kathmandu, Nepal (Reg No.147/062/63). This has also been affiliated to the Social Welfare Council (SWC) (Affiliation No. 20910) Nepal. VIN has been a good forum for development practitioners and professionals.

    From its establishment in 2006, VIN has been providing most affordable volunteering opportunities in different sectors. It has been mobilizing international and local volunteers in various programs providing essential trainings and counseling, which contribute significantly to the development of poor and marginalized communities of Nepal.
    This is I feel very good things to do and great!

    Can you include it in my site http://www.volunteeringnepal.org ?

    VIN has been deploying its volunteers in teaching in schools, teacher development, health and sanitation, children clubs facilitations, child and youth development, English teaching in monastaries, Vocational education, Child sponsorship and scholarship, language and culture, environment and community education, teaching computer science, Construction and other material support, working in orphanages and rehabilitation centers, cultural exchange and home stay, and entrepreneurship.
    Thank you

  • George

    It was interesting reading, keep em coming!

  • Craig McLeish

    The company I work for G3 Creative (www.g3creative.co.uk)
    currently post boggs with
    are they the best, and if not who should we be looking at?

  • http://www.volunteerorphanage.org/ Debi Lal Prasain

    Welcome to the Himalayan Foundation Nepal (HFN). HFN is an officially registered non-government organization (Govt. Regd. No. 935) associated with the Social Welfare Council of Nepal (SWC Regd. No. 24693).

    In 2007 our organization started The Living Orphanage which started out with 4 high-risk children in desperate circumstances, each with a unique and tragic story. Today, the orphanage has grown to provide care, shelter, and education for 13 children.

    We believe that all children deserve a loving home with hope for the future. HFN has expanded its efforts to sponsoring the education of underprivileged children within the community and to offering volunteer programs that provide essential support to local communities. We also work in partnership with 6 other orphanages located throughout Nepal where volunteers have an opportunity to work and contribute.

    Volunteering with HFN will help the lives of these children and will have a positive impact on the local community through HFN’s various volunteer programs. Let’s work together to help make a difference to the lives of those who need it most!

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