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June 24, 2009

Page Rank
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:55 PM * 37 comments

So, anyway, here’s a cute little button that shows Making Light’s current Google Page Rank. Scores range from 0 (the worst) to 10 (the best).

PageRank Checking Icon

Here’s Google’s explanation of what Page Rank means:

In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.

That Google page leads off to other fascinating discussions of How To Make A Good Webpage (or at least avoid making a bad one), such as this:

Little or no original content

One of the most important steps in improving your site’s ranking in Google search results is to ensure that it contains plenty of rich information that includes relevant keywords, used appropriately, that indicate the subject matter of your content.

However, some webmasters attempt to improve their page’s ranking and attract visitors by creating pages with many words but little or no authentic content. Google will take action against domains that try to rank more highly by just showing scraped or other auto-generated pages that don’t add any value to users. Examples include:

  • Thin affiliate sites: These sites collect pay-per-click (PPC) revenue by sending visitors to the sites of affiliate programs, while providing little or no value-added content or service to the user. These sites usually have no original content and may be cookie-cutter sites or templates with no unique content.
  • Doorway pages: Pages created just for search engines
  • Auto-generated content: Content generated programatically. Often this will consist of random paragraphs of text that make no sense to the reader but that may contain search keywords.
  • Scraped content: Some webmasters make use of content taken from other, more reputable sites on the assumption that increasing the volume of web pages with random, irrelevant content is a good long-term strategy. Purely scraped content, even from high-quality sources, may not provide any added value to your users without additional useful services or content provided by your site. It’s worthwhile to take the time to create original content that sets your site apart. This will keep your visitors coming back and will provide useful search results.

…And so on.

One could look at that set of pages as a contemplation on original sin. Or one could compare it with the ideals set up for moderation and community that Miss Teresa has expounded.

Comments on Page Rank:
#1 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:35 PM:

My blog's a 4. If ML is a 6, mine seems high. ;)

#2 ::: Chris Eagle ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:39 PM:

@1: PageRank is a logarithmic scale. Four is a lot less than six.

#3 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 10:43 PM:

I'm thinking the googlebot doesn't know what it's supposed to be looking for around here.

Which is just fine, because we enjoy a readership that's brighter, on average, than the googlebot.

(It's late, and I'm having difficulty believing I just used 'googlebot' in a serious sentence.)

#4 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 11:03 PM:

Perhaps this would be a pertinent time and place to ask why ML doesn't share its googlejuice and uses rel="nofollow" on all comment links? When web links from commenters here are good, they are very, very good.

#5 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 11:26 PM:

I remember seeing a book called Make Easy Money With Google Adsense.

The formula was something like
1) Find an article somewhere that has hot topics and keywords in it
2) Wrap a website around it, and include Google ads
3) Watch the money roll in

#6 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 12:23 AM:

Erik @#5 -- reminds me of the old recipe for rabbit stew. "First, catch your rabbit."

#7 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 12:26 AM:

I get a five:

Earl: It's a decent default to prevent even the temporary bounce being on ML would make to a spammer.

#8 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 12:30 AM:

We use rel=nofollow by default to rob spammers of a reason to spam us.

Not that it seems to slow them down. Seventy-three by actual count in the past twenty-four hours.

Since we do de-spam by hand... well. Those with the Keys can make that decision.

#9 ::: Jacob Davies ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 12:44 AM:

I knew (don't know anymore) someone who made a decent living writing and then editing for one of those "thin affiliate sites". It's basically barely-rewritten material culled from other sites, especially Wikipedia but also commercial information sites, dumped into templates, then linked internally in a semi-meaningful way. The money comes from ads or affiliate links or both.

She didn't seem to think it was, you know, soul-corrupting evil. I'm not sure what I think.

#10 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 01:24 AM:

Has anyone done a computer game yet involving messily extirpating spammers, virus perpetrators, phishers, epublishing scams, and other Internet slime?

#11 ::: Samuel Bierwagen ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 01:57 AM:

Tedious nitpicking, something that every one of my comments seems to be, follows:

PageRank is one of google's internal quality metrics, and not one of the more important ones. The fetishistic importance assigned to it by the (speak their black name quietly) SEO industry is because it is the only public metric. It's somewhat useless, since it's so widely gamed.

prchecker.info is a SEO outfit, and are not even vaguely affiliated with google. I wouldn't be cleartext linking to them. If you want to check your pagerank, you can install the google toolbar, which has a handy little pagerank meter for whatever page you're on at the time. I wouldn't, since it, of course, reports all this back to google.

Instead, use the offical Google Webmaster Tools, which lets you do all sorts of other nerdy things too.

Also: 73 comment-spam a day? Ha!

Also also: If you want to discard all of this as sour grapes, please note that bbot.org has a phat pagerank of 1, thanks to some dead links and assorted ugly hacks. Beat that!

#12 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 02:07 AM:

The problem is the number of sites that are Wikipedia scrapes with new templates They sometimes make it hard to find alternative information sources, clogging up Google with wikispooge.

(I may just have invented that word.)

#13 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 02:07 AM:

The problem is the number of sites that are Wikipedia scrapes with new templates They sometimes make it hard to find alternative information sources, clogging up Google with wikispooge.

(I may just have invented that word.)

#14 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 02:13 AM:

Chris Eagle @ #2, Dammit, man, I was basking in reflected glory!

#15 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 03:14 AM:

Dave Bell, is that really still so much of a problem? I know that it was a big problem four years ago, but I hadn't noticed it for a while.

#16 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 03:56 AM:

Dave Bell @12, 13: So brilliant, you invented it twice!

#17 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 03:59 AM:

BTW, I find searching for whatever keywords you were looking for -wikipedia gets rid of _most_ wikipedia mirrors. The rest should be reported to the wikimedia foundation, as they're violating wikipedia's copyright (which requires an attribution line that reads "from wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" on every page).

#18 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 07:38 AM:

Jules, I was trying to get a bit more detail about "Nobel 808" and "gelignite"; one of my characters is doing nasty things to the Insurgents in the Spanish Civil War, and I wanted to know just when Nobel 808 became available.

(The guy's parents left Mexico after being on the losing side of the annual revolution, so he's speaking Spanish with a Mexican accent. Has the name of Alberto Gonzales.)

Maybe the Wikipedia text has a common source with some of the others, rather than being the primary source on the web. Wikipedia says pre-WW2. I've seen a mention of its primary component being RDX, and there's some description elsewhere of RDX-manufacture being set up during WW2, but that wasn't a new compound. (Called Hexogen by the Germans.)

Gelignite would be OK. I wonder if I dare ask in alt.engr.explosives

#19 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 08:48 AM:

Samuel @#11: My blog's PR is 0, since I was using it to make money Google didn't get a chunk of. I'm not anymore, but that doesn't stop them from consigning me to the depths. :)

#20 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 10:40 AM:

Jim: I recommend taking rel="nofollow" off for a month and measuring if there's any significant difference.

I think spammers care about rel="nofollow" the same way they care about the fact that I can't read Russian.

#21 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 11:29 AM:

Evan Goer #20: I suspect the "significant difference" from doing that would be well out of the mods' sight -- namely, to the spammers' profit from their faked-up ads and click-throughs.

As far as "sharing the juice", the NH's do occasionally promote links from the comments to the sidebar.

#22 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 11:40 AM:

David: I don't understand. If you're saying that the spammers are targeting Making Light so that they'll get clickthrough, then rel="follow" is just irrelevant and ML should just get rid of it ASAP.

Now if spammers are targeting ML to get linkjuice, then the jury is still out. I don't believe rel="nofollow" is doing anything positive for ML, but you'd have to run an experiment to see.

#23 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 12:08 PM:

Evan, I don't see that rel="nofollow" is doing anything negative for ML either. Why should they risk it?

#24 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 01:55 PM:

Because of what Earl Cooley @4 said.

#25 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 02:47 PM:

rel-nofollow does nothing harmful to ML. It just fails to help other sites that get links from our comment threads.

Since rel=nofollow is by default in MT, presumable we're getting no help from other sites that use MT.

This is a fossilized tactic from the anti-comment-spammer war.

#26 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 04:35 PM:

Jim, you're correct that this is a wash for Making Light. By turning on rel="nofollow" by default, MT and WordPress haven't harmed their own sites or decreased the volume of spam.

What this has done is zero out all links for Google/Yahoo/Bing. For sites that are incapable of catching & scrubbing spam, this is a very good thing for Google. For sites like ML that are able to catch and scrub their spam, this is a very bad thing for Google.

Ob disclosure: I work for Yahoo! Search.

#27 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 05:06 PM:

Dave Bell @12:

wikispooge.

(I may just have invented that word.)

It appears that you have.

Yahoo gives a single hit for "wikispooge", your post, while Google gives three false hits (two including the string /wiki/spooge, and one for "wikisplooge". (From which we learn only that Yahoo has crawled Making Light more recently than Google, and has somewhat less-aggressive near-match algorithms.)

#28 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 06:05 PM:

At post #18, Dave Bell was trying to get a bit more detail about "Nobel 808" and "gelignite":

> one of my characters is doing nasty things to the Insurgents in the Spanish Civil War, and I wanted to know just when Nobel 808 became available.

Um...

(FX: sound of moose looking for copy of Davis)

There's a Swiss patent from 1932 for a plastic explosive made from PETN with between 10 and 30% nitroglycerin or nitroglycol.

Gelignite (60% nitroglycerin, 4% nitrocellulose, 8% wood meal and 28% potassium nitrate) was certainly commercially available at that time, since it appears in The British Encyclopedia of 1933.

> Maybe the Wikipedia text has a common source with some of the others, rather than being the primary source on the web. Wikipedia says pre-WW2.

It was certainly used extensively during WW2, but is likely to have been military use only (and secret).

> I've seen a mention of its primary component being RDX,

That's the modern version: C4. (RDX, mineral oil and an emulsifier to stop it separating out during storage.)

> and there's some description elsewhere of RDX-manufacture being set up during WW2, but that wasn't a new compound. (Called Hexogen by the Germans.)

And discovered in 1899 by Henning, who patented it for use in medicine.

(British: RDX, American: Cyclonite, German: Hexogen, Italian: T4.
Chemists: cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine C3H6O6N6.)


> Gelignite would be OK. I wonder if I dare ask in alt.engr.explosives

It's probably still full of trolls and idiots.

Hmmm... the Moose Operating Division is unable to turn up their copy of Fordham, so further research is not possible at this time.

Hope this is at least /some/ help.

Cadbury.


#29 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 07:39 PM:

Well, I have found a few bits on the web which say Nobel 808 was the same as gelignite, and a report on an accident with gelignite from the turn of the century which suggests unscrupulous manufacturers were adding stuff that led to a standard purity test giving a false reading.

I checked the link I'd found, and, while it may be wrong, C-4 and Nobel 808 are both described as RDX-based, with different plasticisers, etc. And the Nobel 808 ingredients seem old-fashioned, plant-extract rather than chemical factory. It doesn't feel wrong, but that's no guarantee.

The Wikipedia article on RDX has no specifics about production outside Britain and North America, but hints at various production processes being used in the 1920s.

Ideally, a pre-1936 plant producing RDX would be enough to let me handwave stuff.

It's my inner geek prefering to minimise the amount of handwaving here.

#30 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 10:02 PM:

#13 Dave

wikispooge or wikisplooge?
What about wikispunk?!

#31 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 03:50 AM:

Paula, people do seem to be using those root-words in overlapping ways.

But when I first encountered the term spooge, it had connotations of fakery--excessive volume.

#32 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 04:36 AM:

Cadbury @28

I managed to find a non-Wiki reference to a pilot plant at Woolwich Arsenal in 1933, and a process being developed at Picatinny Arsenal in 1925.

The Chemistry of Explosives, Jacqueline Akhavan, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2004.

This is good enough for what I need.

#33 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 02:23 AM:

Paula @30: To me, 'spooge' always seems to carry the connotation of excessive, puppyish, fawning excitement. Fanboys spooge about/over things a lot. 'Spunk' makes me think of Pippi Longstocking and Harriet the Spy (not that way). 'Splooge' sounds made-up to me; I haven't run across it in the wild used as anything but onomatopoeia.

#34 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 03:10 AM:

So "spooge" is the masculine of "squee"? Interesting.

#35 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 04:05 AM:

Earl @34: Not quite, since the word's literal denotation (hint: the same as for 'spunk' and 'jizz') intrudes into the metaphor.

A fanboy can be described as 'spooging all over' the new ish of some comic he follows, by someone observing said fanboy's squee behavior in person. Generally, someone describing such behavior as 'spooging' thinks it's kind of disgusting in its over-the-topness (imagine if getting a copy of the new ish made one literally spooge instantly, in public -- and you were watching? Like that), whereas calling it squeeing seems, to me, to denote a sort of hyperactive, cheerfully insane enthusiasm.

Kiki in Sluggy Freelance squees constantly, as an example; I don't think I've ever seen her do anything I would call spooging.

If that helps at all ...

#36 ::: Fade Manley sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 01:25 AM:

Though I cannot be entirely surprised it showed up on a post with that title.

#37 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 03:04 AM:

Yah. Say all that in one breath, while inhaling . . .

Ptui.

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