Sunday, January 29, 2006

Measuring link popularity of a blog

Con artists are always trying to spam search engines, create link farm blogs, artificially boost their link popularity, and other dumb ass measures for Instant Success (which does not exist).

There are no shortcuts to blog success. It takes hard work, patience, trial and error, and dedication.

Look at how The Truth Laid Bear (TTLB) Ecosystem describes Raw Link Count vs. Link Score, in its FAQ.

He discusses "clinking" (a Vaspers neologism, new word) or "clique linking", as seen, ofr example, in Weblogsinc. and other networking blogs.


In the past, the raw link count seemed a good measure of blog's relative success and popularity, but in recent times, the blog world has grown more complicated, with more intricate patterns of linking that can distort such a ranking system --- sometimes deliberately, sometimes simply as a consequence of the natural evolution of the blogosphere.

To address this issue, TTLB now calculates a link score for each blog which ultimately determines where the blog falls in the Ecosystem rankings. Unlike the raw link count, the link score attempts to correct for issues such as the following:

Blog Networks:

Recently we have seen the rise of 'networks' of blogs, often founded as commerical ventures, such as Weblogs, Inc. and Creative Weblogging.

Frequently, blogs in these networks include not only permalinks to other member blogs in their blogrolls, but a rolling list of posts from their sister blogs as well.

Networked blogs, therefore, immediately end up with a signficiant number of links that don't necessarily say much at all about how popular they are to the general blogosphere, which is what the Ecosystem is attempting to measure.

So: TTLB now adjusts a blog's link score to ignore links that come from sister blogs in the same network.

Excessive links from blog-to-blog:

One link from blog A to blog B shows that A thinks B is interesting. Two or three links from A to B shows that A thinks B is really interesting. But how about 10 or 20 links?

We're now seeing small, informal groups of blogs which seem to link to each other's every post, thereby inflating their Ecosystem rankings.

In addition, given that it is quite easy, and frequently free, to set up a blog, there have also been blogs which seem to serve little purpose but to link to other blogs and provide them a rankings boost.

So, to combat these problems, the Ecosystem now puts a limit on how many links any blog can provide to another blog before it flags those links as suspect and ignores them.

Excessive links from a single blog in general:

Should a link from a blog with 2,000 links to other blogs be worth exactly the same as a link from a blog with only 200 outbound links?

A link is a recommendation; it says, "Go look over here, and you'll find something interesting."

So should a recommendation from someone who says everything is interesting be considered as valuable as one from someone who seems to choose their recommendations with more care?

I say "no".

And so there is now a cutoff point for total number of outbound links a blog can have, after which, each additional link causes the "weighting" of a link from that blog to decrease slightly. As I know this is a controversial measure, I've made the limit very conservative: by my estimates, less than 5% of all blogs will be affected by this limit.

So unless you link to more blogs than 95% of the blogosphere, you don't have to worry about this change.



No comments: