Written on April 1st, 2005 at 01:04 pm by Darren Rowse

Google’s Sandbox Documented?

Search Engine Optimization 3 comments

If you’re into Search Engine Optimization you might be interested in checking out this article and the comments at this Threadwatch post titled Google’s War on SEO. It refers to a recent patent by Google that could shed some light on where they’re going with their algorithm.

It is pretty heavy stuff - but sheds a bit of light on the legendary and often speculated about Google Sandbox. I’m yet to go right through it all - but one of the initial take home comments seems to be that if you want to grow in Google you need to work on ‘natural’ growth and not the sudden appearance of a large site with loads of backlinks to it (which has been an approach of many SEO experts perviously.

This makes sense and is probably good news to bloggers who in most cases grow their blogs pretty slowly over time with a steady growth in backlinks. Anyway - if you’re into this stuff have a read and let us know what it all means to you in comments below.

There is also a good discussion on the same topic at Search Engine Watch.

Written on April 1st, 2005 at 01:04 pm by Darren Rowse

Sponsored Blogging

Pro Blogging News 2 comments

Better Communication Results has a post on Sponsored blogging and podcasting which gets picked up over at Corporate Engagement that examines the question of the ethics of sponsored blogging.

I’ve never had a sponsored post on any of my blogs but have often wondered about them. Do you have any experience with them? Would you be open to someone sponsoring a post - under what conditions would you or wouldn’t you do it?

Written on April 1st, 2005 at 10:04 am by Darren Rowse

WordPress Spam Saga Developments

Pro Blogging News 3 comments

The latest news on the WordPress Spamming Saga is that Google has reindexed their site to give it a page rank of 0 out of 10 - effectively removing it from their index at least in the short term. It seems that Yahoo has done likewise.

Along side this WordPress have now removed all of the 120,000 spam articles from their site (smart move).

Written on April 1st, 2005 at 09:04 am by Darren Rowse

Pope Blog Getting Attention

Pro Blogging News 3 comments

A month or two ago we started a blog to watch the the developments in the Vatican around the Pope who was suffering from terrible illness. With his continuing decline it has been amazing to be involved in a blog that tracks a life like his. I feel like I’ve learned a lot not only about blogging through it but about the topic at hand.

The latest news is that he’s just been read his last rites and is very close to death - you can imagine the type of attention that this story is getting and will continue to get over the coming weeks.

Update - in following developments of the Pope’s health for the past 5 or so hours and updating news as it happens on the blog I’m again amazed at the speed and usefulness of blogs in comparison to the main stream media. The past three or four posts that I’ve put on the blog have beaten main stream online news reports by half an hour or more every time. Our sources are the same (Vatican Radio) but blogs are just so fluid that I have type up a post as I hear it and have it live on the blog within seconds.

In fact the mainstream media reports of the story are sometimes so out of date by the time they are published. As I watch Google New on the topic I’m still seeing reports appearing just now that the Pope’s health is worsening when Vatican Radio reported he’s stabilised over an hour ago. Again it highlights the usefulness of blogging in reporting the news.

Written on April 1st, 2005 at 04:04 am by Darren Rowse

How Does Google Share with Adsense Publishers

Adsense 5 comments

Have you ever wondered how much of a cut Google takes from Adsense earnings and how much they give to publishers? Its an age old question that Google have never spoken publicly about. This doesn’t stop a lot of speculation on the topic every month or two in the numerous Adsense forums around the traps. SEO Round Table points to a couple of discussions that predict that the publisher’s share could be anything between 59% and 70%.

I’d probably err on the lower side of those predictions - what do you think?

Written on April 1st, 2005 at 03:04 am by Darren Rowse

Eyetools seeks expressions of interest in “Community of Learning”

Blog Design 0 comments

Eyetrack-HeatmapGreg over at Eyetools Research gave me a call on Skype a few weeks ago to talk to me about blogging, Adsense and his wonderful Eyetools Research which I was fascinated in. If you haven’t checked out Eyetools can i recommend you head over to his blog and have a look because its not only fascinating - its also full of very useful information. In short Eyetools is a eyetrack testing tool that watches where people look when they read your blog and creates a wonderful heat map to graphically represent what the hot spots on your site are.

Greg generously ran an eyetool test on one of my blogs and I was very impressed with the results - it explained a number of things and taught me a few valuable lessons in positioning of ads, blog design and layout and the use of different formatting techniques.

Greg today posted that he’s seeking bloggers expressions of interest in a eyetracking “Community of Learning” for bloggers. Read more about what this means at his blog but take it from me that the types of things that Greg can tell you about their research would be well worth paying for and its a program I’m keen to explore more of myself.

Written on March 31st, 2005 at 07:03 pm by Darren Rowse

Blogging Crushes - Get your Virtual Date Here

Pro Blogging News 8 comments

Do you have a Blogging Crush on another Blogger? Want to be set up on a ‘virtual date’?

I’m not talking a romantic crush - I’m talking about an admiration, an obsession, a fascination with another blogger. You love what they do but you wonder if they even know you exist! (sniff sniff)

They are at the top of your list of daily reads - you can’t get enough of their posts - you wake up in the morning thinking about them…. ok - maybe not the last one - but you know what I mean.

Who do you have a Blogging Crush on and what would you like to ask them?

If you could have a face to face meet up (a date) with any blogger who would it be and what two or three questions would you ask them?

Leave your answer in comments below and I’ll do my absolute best to get your questions answered. Who knows they might even notice you and a wonderful relationship might ensue.

Written on March 31st, 2005 at 05:03 pm by Darren Rowse

10 DIY Blog platforms you may not have visited

Blogging Tools and Services 1 comment

Duncan over at the Blog Herald has a good post introducing readers to 10 DIY Blog platforms you may not have visited.

The list he compiles is filled with some interesting blogging tools that you might want to check out if you’re looking to start a new blog.

Written on March 31st, 2005 at 04:03 pm by Darren Rowse

Hippy Shopper Launched

Case Studies 3 comments

Hippy-Shopper

The team at Shiney Media in the UK have just launched another new Entrepreneurial blog - the Hippy Shopper - the UK’s first Green Consumer Blog.

Their News Release announcing the blog describes it as follows:

Published by the UK’s leading commercial weblog company, Shiny Media, and written by Stuff magazine‚s Managing Editor, Adam Vaughan, HippyShopper aims to enlighten and amuse its readers with green news stories from the UK and links to environmentally friendly sites around the world.

Its daily updates will:

Track the latest green gadgets
Tip readers off about what‚s coming in the organic food market
Give details of green exhibitions
Offer updates on eco-friendly health and beauty products
Give tips on how to recycle products

I love the concept - for a start its a blog with a message that will hopefully make a difference - but its also aiming to make a profit obviously. The main income stream on the Hippy Shopper so far is Adsense (green color scheme) - but I suspect it’ll be an ideal blog for some affiliate programs down the track.

One word of warning - don’t stare at their header too long - you could get a little freaked out and feel the need to smoke some funny grass or something.

Written on March 31st, 2005 at 01:03 pm by Darren Rowse

Wordpress Website’s Search Engine Spam

Pro Blogging News 6 comments

WordPress have been coming under a little scrutiny in the past 24 hours by Waxy.org who have questioned their hosting of 120,000 articles on their site on a variety of topics provided by a third party on some high paying keywords. You can check out some examples of these pages here and here. I’d noticed a few of these articles a few weeks back and wondered what WordPress was doing with them - not it all becomes clear! Waxy.org writes:

‘These articles are designed specifically to game the Google Adwords program, written by a third-party about high-cost advertising keywords like asbestos, mesothelioma, insurance, debt consolidation, diabetes, and mortgages. (Update: Google is Actively removing every article from their results. You can still view about 25,000 results on Yahoo.)…

This poses some interesting questions. First, do organizers of open-source projects need to disclose how they’re making money off the project? Matt isn’t disclosing anything about this activity to the community. I don’t think anyone would be upset about Matt trying to support Wordpress with outside sources of revenue, but as an open-source project, they should be held to a higher level of transparency. Without the users and developers all working for free, it wouldn’t exist.

Second, is it ethical for open-source projects to make money gaming search engines? Unlike a blog about asbestos news, the Wordpress website has nothing to do with asbestos. It capitalizes off the goodwill of the Wordpress community, which links to the Wordpress website because they support the project — not because they support search engine spam. But as long as there was transparency about their plans, I think this is less of an issue.’

So - what do you think about this? I have some mixed thoughts. On one hand I have nothing against the people at WP making a few dollars from it - open source or not. However I think that there has been a lack of transparency and that perhaps using the official WP site to do it is not the best move. If they wanted to take this approach perhaps a better strategy would have been to do so on another domain which was clearly marked as being a repository of such articles.

I personally don’t like the ‘free article’ thing that so many bloggers are getting into. I did dabble in it myself a while back but as I’ve previously written don’t think its a wise move to get into both because it runs the risk of duplicate content, potentially cheapens your site and in my opinion clutters the web with the same information in multiple places around the net - and as Waxy writes is quite spam like.

What do you think?

Update - there is some sort of official explanation on this discussion thread at WP.

Update - the web is buzzing with this story - check out what some other bloggers are saying at some of these blogs:

Jason Kottke - Oilman - Elliot Back - Greg Yardley - Ian Landsman - Priyadi Iman Nurcahyo - SEO Roundtable - Lisa Jill - Kingsley - Jonas Luster - Chyetanya Kunte - Blogosphere News - Silicon Beat - Patrick Strang - Tim Mayer



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