Show Non PR Links Bookmarklet | January 21, 2005

After a brief discussion on a local mailing list this morning, I created a simple bookmarklet that will highlight links using Googles new rel="nofollow" comment spam prevention method.

Show Non PR Links

To install this bookmarklet, simply drag the link to your bookmarks/favourites bar. It’s been tested on Safari, Firefox and IE6 but should work on any modern browsers that support the DOM. If you want to test it out now, click on the bookmarklet and this link should highlight.

If you’re interested in how this bookmarklet was created, it’s very simple.

// grab all the links on the page
var links = document.getElementsByTagName('a');
// loop through all the links
for (i=0; i < links.length; i++){
  //check to see if the rel attribute is set to nofollow
  var theLink = links[i];
  if(theLink.getAttribute('rel') == 'nofollow'){
    // set the desired styles
    theLink.style.backgroundColor = 'red';
    theLink.style.color = 'white';
    theLink.style.fontWeight =  'bold';
    theLink.style.textDecoration = 'none';
  }
}

This code was then pasted into the Bookmarklet Crunchinator and spat out as a loverly bookmarklet.

Comments (12)

Google's Comment Spam Prevention Method | January 21, 2005

As I’m sure most of you are aware, Google have introduced a means of preventing comment spammers getting any search ranking benefit from your site. Google works by assigning every page in it’s index a value known as a Page Rank (after co-founder Larry Page). Page Rank (or PR) is essentially a measure of a sites popularity and is worked out based on the PR of the other sites linking to that site. Because blogs tend to have lots of incoming links, they often attract a high PR and are a prime target for unscrupulous site owners intent on increasing their own sites visibility. By adding comments on high PR sites with links back to their own site, they hope to give the target site a PR boost.

To counter this Google are making use of the rel attribute. By adding rel="nofollow" to your outbound links you’re telling Google not to count your vote towards the sites final PR. Most of the better known blog publishing organisations have already released plugins for their applications to automatically add this attribute to sites left in comments., and more will follow.

Site owners hope this will go some way to help prevent comment spam. It seems logical to assume that if the benefits are taken away, people will stop, and for casual comment spammers it probably will. However the vast amount of comment spam–like regular spam–is automated so it’s possible that as effectiveness decreases the amount of automated comment spam may actually increase.

As well as stopping spammers, it gives the site owners more control over who benefits from a link on their site. On several occasions I’ve had designs stolen and I’ve reluctantly posted links to the perpetrators knowing that the link would give them a PR boost. Now site owners have the ability to link to whoever they want without giving that site a PR boost.

On the surface this seems like a good idea. However I wonder if people will go overboard. Not wanting to give away their precious PR, many site owners may mistakenly start applying this attribute to all their links. I say mistakenly because outgoing links are also beneficial to your own PR in a roundabout way. Alternatively some people may still link normally to high PR sites but try to minimise PR leaching by applying this attribute to low PR sites. I’m sure some clever SEO’s are already thinking of ways to use this attribute to maximise a sites PR.

The other concern is that people will start selectively using this attribute depending on their feelings for a site. Rather than all links being created equal, some will be more important than others. You could probably forgive web developers for using this attribute when linking to Microsoft but how would you feel if the next time somebody linked to your blog they used this attribute because they didn’t like something you said in recent post? I could see things getting messy fast and this anti spam method could have far wider implications.

Comments (2)

Google PageRank Explained and Uncovered | March 31, 2004

Google Page Rank is a very interesting thing. On the surface, it’s quite easy to understand. The Page Rank (or PR) of a site is related to the PR of all the sites pointing to it. Each page pointing to your site gives you a little bit of PR. Thus, the more sites you have pointing to you, the higher your PR will be. Sites with higher PR’s have more PR to give, so it’s beneficial if you are linked to by sites with a high PR.

However, scratch the surface and things get much more involved. There are quite a few articles about PageRank. However, here are a couple of the better ones.

If you wanted to check your page rank, you previously had to download the Google toolbar, something that was only available for IE on PC. However you can now check your page rank on the web, using this handy Page Rank Calculator

Comments (5)

AllTheWeb R.I.P. | March 26, 2004

It's official. AllTheWeb is now dead. Searches on AllTheWeb now use Yahoo's new crawler. They've even managed to bugger the layout of, what was once, a really nice CSS based layout.

Goodby AllTheWeb.

Comments (4)

AllTheWeb Bites the Dust? | March 4, 2004

When I started using the web, there were a large number of popular search engines and directories to choose from. I started using WebCrawler, Magellan, then I moved to Yahoo, AltaVista, Lycos and HotBot. I’d have a favourite, but would still tend to use 2 or 3 search engines at any one time. Then along came Google and slowly word of mouth made it the Search Engine of choice for the majority of web users.

As more and more people started to use Google, the other Search Engines began to loose market share and either fold or get subsumed by other search services. A few smaller search engines like Teoma appeared, but they never managed to achieve popularity of Google.

Apart from Google, the only other Search Engine I use is AllTheWeb. AllTheWeb is a great search engine and is definitely on par with Google in terms of usability and relevancy. In fact, as Google’s results seem to be getting worse and worse by the day, I always saw AllTheWeb as a real competitor to Google. So it’s a shame that Yahoo, who acquired AllTheWeb a while back, look like they are going to drop AllTheWeb.

Rather than improving their position in the market, by dumping AllTheWeb, Yahoo seems to be getting get rid of Google’s closest competitor, in terms of size and relevancy, if not in market share.

Comments (8)

Just a Bit of Fun, or a Very Clever Search Engine Marketing Campaign? | August 12, 2003

Somebody posted this site to the bnm list today and my first impressions were that it was just a bit of a laugh. That's until Jamie pointed out the link to us page.

Now no site just designed as a bit of fun would go to the bother of having a linking policy. This is something you'd only do if you really wanted to rank in the search engines. Looking at the link code provided, you can see that this site really wants to rank well for the terms "Java and .NET Training". Examining the site in more detail you can see that the pages are stuffed full of search terms related to software developer training.

But why on earth would a spoof site want to go to all this trouble to rank highly for programming training search terms. Well if you look at the url, you'll see that the spoof site is actually in a sub directory of a real site. And what does the real site do? You got it, they are a software developer training company!

So it would seem that this funny little spoof site is actually a very clever search engine marketing plan to increase the ranking of the parent site, by increasing their link popularity.

And it seems to be working. If you so a search on Google for "java and .net training" they come up number 3 rd. A variety of similar searches all come up with top 3 ranking in Google.

Very clever.

Comments (1)