Dec 13 2007
From the comments in my
last recent post about dofollow it’s evident that my explanation was a bit vague. I’ll try and clarify that a bit here.
The internet is like a giant spider web, where internet (web) pages are joined by links.
A search engine “spider” trawls the internet going from site to site via these links. Close your eyes – can you visualise Mr Spider scurrying from one web page to another?
Website owners have a choice with their links. They can instruct Mr Spider to follow a link from their web page to the linked site, or they can say “No, Mr Spider. Don’t follow this link – it’s not relevant to what I’m talking about or it’s not worthy of being followed”.
Website owners do this by applying a special tag to the link. This is called a “nofollow” tag or a “link condom”. Some blogging platforms, like WordPress.com and blogspot.com blogs, automatically attribute links in comments with a “nofollow” tag.
But in many ways, links are the currency of the web. The more incoming links a website or webpage has, the more important that page is seen to be. Kind of like Mr Spider saying “Oh, I’m here AGAIN. Gee this must be an important page”. And consequently the page in question will eventually be seen to be important, and will be returned higher up in the search engine results.
This is somewhat simplified, because it also depends on the words (called anchor text) that other sites use to link to that page. For example, quite a few of you (lovely people) have linked to me by saying “… Meg ……”. Consequently, I appear quite high up in the rankings for Google for the word “Meg”. If everyone had linked to me using the words “that chick”, then chances are I’d rate well for that term! Please see this post by Andy Beard for good advice about anchor text.
The ranking algorithm (which determines where your page comes in the search engine results for a given term) will also be affected by the “authority” or “importance” of the sites that link to you. Google call this “authority” PageRank. A link from a webpage with a high page rank will be worth more than a link from one with a lower page rank.
So a website or webpage is kind of lonely without any links. Sure you can tell Mr Spider that you’re there, but hopefully I’ve shown that links are kind of important for Mr Spider to visit regularly and get to know you.
How Can You Be a Link Giving Blogger?
- Maintain a blogroll
- Link out to regular commenters, being mindful of good anchor text
- Where possible, remove nofollow from your comments
- Look at plugins that reward commenters
DoFollow/No Nofollow Plugins
I urge you to read Andy Beard’s Ultimate List of DoFollow Plugins. He has valuable information (and links) on how you can remove nofollow from comments on a variety of platforms, and special plugins that help you do this (sorry though, if you’re on WordPress.com, there’s not much you can do).
Top Commentators Plugin
This is a great plugin that rewards your frequent commenters. You can set how often you want to restart the count, and how many commenters you want to display. There may be other plugins, but this is the one I use.
I think it creates much more interest that just a static link to the commenter, as it endeavours to find the latest post for each commenter. Quick note though, as this plugin generates a link for just about every comment, you may need to increase the “number of links” option before a comment is held in moderation – if you have set it to one, every comment will be moderated. See CommentLuv for this WordPress plugin.
So there you have it. Please let me know if there are other good plugins I’ve missed, or anything that is still not clear.
Yes, I’m aware this is my 4th post today. I think this is the most posts I’ve ever published in a day. But two were short, and the other raised more questions than it answered 😉
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