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Blogging Those Tweets? Get Rid of the Nofollows

A regular habit I have is to blog My Ten Favorite Tweets for each week. These are my own tweets, and they mostly contain links to interesting things during the past seven days. One thing I’ve always liked is that I can give “link credit” to the sites that I include in these weekly posts. This blog has a pretty respectable Google pagerank, so it can help other sites posting good content.

But alas, I have come to learn something. Twitter inserts the “nofollow” attribute in any links included in tweets. What is a “nofollow”? From Wikipedia:

An HTML attribute value used to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index.

When you paste a tweet from Twitter to your blog, the links include the “nofollow” attribute inserted by Twitter.  See below:

On FriendFeed, I asked some SEO-knowledgeable folks about this “nofollow” attribute I’ve been pasting in to my blog posts. AJ Kohn and Jimminy confirmed that because that “nofollow” is in there, the search engines aren’t giving link credit.

So the great content doesn’t get the credit in search engines it deserves. Now I need to go back and remove those pesky “nofollow” attributes.

Keep this mind if you paste tweets into your blog posts.

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Google Alerts Ain’t Working – Why Don’t They Use Attention Signals?

Do you use Google Alerts?

I do. I’ve got seven of them set up. Generally, they’re pretty helpful. But they often suffer in terms of quality. Here’s a few comments with regard to that:

#1: @VMaryAbraham so am I. Google alerts and blog search have been delivering really bad quality results lately. Old and spam.

#2: Google Alerts actually sent me some useful info today instead of the usual mess of bizarre kitchen sink links from random years and places.

#3: @JesseStay my Google alerts are similarly getting less useful

One of my alerts is for ‘Enterprise 2.0’. I’m doing a pretty good job of staying on top of things in the Enterprise 2.0 Room on FriendFeed, but the Alerts are good back-up. And Google Alerts are the most common keyword notification service that people use.

So this is my question: what determines the links we see in those daily Google Alerts?

I ask this because of a recent experience with a well-received blog post that was not included in the ‘Enterprise 2.0’ Alerts. Compared to another post that did make it in to the Google Alerts, I find myself mystified as to what algorithm Google is using to generate its Alerts.

It’s not to say that Google Alerts don’t deliver some good posts – they do. But they seem to miss the mark pretty often as well, as the quotes at the start of this post show. I’ll relate my own experience below, based on objective factors, as opposed to my own declaration that “It was good post dammit!” 😉

Tale of Two Blog Posts

I checked the Google Alert of January 18 for Enterprise 2.0. Here’s what I saw (my red highlight added):

google-alert-enterprise-20-011809

The highlighted post is a schedule of Web 2.0 sessions for Lotusphere 2009. If you’re into Lotus, good stuff. One session at Lotusphere was titled “INV101 –   From Web 2.0 to Enterprise 2.0: Collaboration, Productivity, and Adoption in the Enterprise”. Hence, its inclusion in the Enterprise 2.0 Google Alert.

I use that entry as a contrast to a post I wrote on the Connectbeam blog, titled Three Silos That Enterprise 2.0 Must Break. It’s a post that pushed some definitions of what a silo is and where knowledge management needs to move to. It was well-received, with a number of attention signals like Del.icio.us bookmarks and tweets.

And you’ll notice it’s not listed in the Alerts email above, or in any earlier ones. It was included in my ‘Connectbeam’ Google Alert. So I know Google had indexed it in its blog database. But it was not in the ‘Enterprise 2.0’ Google Alert. Which got me to wondering, what does it take for a post to make into the daily digest of Google Alerts?

I put together a comparison of the two posts: the Lotusphere post, and the Connectbeam Three Silos post. I wanted to see where the Connectbeam post falls short. Take a look:

google-alerts-tale-of-the-tape

The table above includes some typical Google attributes: PageRank, term frequency, links. It also includes the next generation of content ranking: comments, bookmarks, tweets and Google Reader shares. On either basis, it’s surprising that the Lotusphere post made the cut, while the Connectbeam post didn’t.

So I’m still trying to figure out what makes the difference here. Clearly, the Three Silos post struck a bit of a chord in the Enterprise 2.0 community. I know this not because of links by other bloggers (although they were there), but by the other Web 2.0 ways people communicate what’s of value to them.

How about it Google? Time to update your algorithms to include attention signals from our growing use of social media?

Did You Notice a Change in Your Google PageRank?

Something changed the past few days in the Google PageRank of this blog. Posts that were getting a predictable average number of hits each weekday are suddenly zooming up in terms of views. I don’t know what my PageRank was before (being a blogger n00bie and all), but it’s a 5 now. Perhaps a new round of the Google dance?

I’m not alone in seeing this. Here are a few others who have noticed the change recently:

Frederic of the Last Podcast tweeted:

just noticed that my pagerank must have increased from 4 to 5 in the last few days – nice 🙂

Mark O’Neill of Better Than Therapy wrote:

I got a pleasant surprise today when I noticed that my Google pagerank has been increased by one. I am now a 6 which is nice.

And on Search Engine Land, Barry Schwartz noted:

Over the past few days, many webmasters and SEOs have been noticing an update to the PageRank score found in the Google Toolbar. Usually PageRank updates aren’t that noteworthy, but it seems something is different about this PageRank update.

I’m no expert on search engine optimization, but it is interesting to hear Barry say that something is different about this PageRank update. Click here for a post on Court’s Internet Marketing School discussing the PageRank changes, along with a ton of reader comments.

One Example: Farewell Email Post

I have a post on this blog that’s been up for nearly two months now. How to Write a Farewell Email to Your Co-Workers provides a humorous look at that ritual of leaving companies, the farewell email. Given that people tend to leave on Fridays, the page views of this post follow a predictable path, increasing each day to a weekly high on Friday.

This Wednesday’s views were the highest ever for a single day, and we’re not even at Friday yet. The chart below shows the daily views for the post, with the Wednesdays highlighted by arrows.

I normally wouldn’t note the increase in views, as it risks coming across as some sort of bragging. But the magnitude of the change is pretty significant. And here’s why it’s happening. The post has now risen to the #2 position in a Google search on ‘farewell email’. It wasn’t that way before. I’d check on how the post ranked periodically, and it tended to be around the 10th or 12th result. So a jump of 8 or 10 places in search results is worth 3 times the hits. Now I see the SEO industry in a whole new light!

Of course, this blog isn’t about ad revenue. And the blog’s heavy Web 2.0 content may not appeal to the search engine visitors. But, I decided to add a message for my farewell email visitors:

Welcome to the blog. I know you’re here for tips on writing farewell emails. If you’re at all interested in Web 2.0, I invite you to look around the blog a bit. Use the tag cloud below, or the recent posts on the left-hand side to find info. Also, let’s connect on Twitter and FriendFeed: twitter.com/bhc
friendfeed.com/bhc3

From an advertising perspective, there’s a mismatch between the farewell email post and most of the blog’s other content. So I’m not ‘targeting’ the right audience. But if any of those visitors decide to stick around, I hope they get enjoy the blog.

*****

See this item on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/e/a8133912-d2e9-f680-6592-a66e08abb717