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Webstractions - Web Development & Design News

Commentary on new events and information concerning web development, design practices, search engines, SEO, tools, news story headlines and what's new at WebStractions.

I am not impressed easily by plugins in general, simply because there are just too many of them. But Lucia's NoOldSpamLinks Plugin for WordPress will get my award for Best Plugin of the year when it comes to be. The NoOldSpamLinks Plugin is in its infancy right now and a lot of work needs to be done to it still, but what I have seen so far is all good.

The premise behind NoOldSpamLinks is it will enable you to 'grandfather out' links to a domain that you have already posted about. Add the link to your NoOldSpamLinks list and everywhere that link appears in your posts will auto-magically change to NoFollow. Future enhancements of the plugin will account for any links in your Dofollow comment area as well.

Why would you want this plugin?
Simple. Imagine, if you will, a nice lady's blog GrannyMay. GrannyMay blogs about the retirement years and how to be financially well off when the time comes. She is a very hip senior citizen babe and knows her stuff, you have been blogging about her enthusiastically for years. Plus she has legs up to here, Chuck!

Then one day GrannyMay dies. It is sad and the blogging world mourns the loss. What is even sadder is that XXXpRoN.com just bought her domain for $1251.69 at auction, what a steal! GrannyMay has a PR6 site with hundreds of thousands of backlinks. Now everyone is linked to a hoochy-coochy site catering to Grandma fetishes. We always fantasized about GrannyMay, but this is just plain sick and you spend the rest of the day speaking to Ralph on the white telephone.

That is okay, you have NoOldSpamLinks handy and get rid of your attachment to GrannyMay by Nofollowing the links. At least in the eyes of Google, they will not be considered. It may take Google a little time to come around, but rest easy that it is taken care of --- the drastic change at GrannyMay will spur them to reassess those backlinks.

Keep an eye on the progress of this plugin. Drop by Lucia's blog, install the plugin and give him some feedback.

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While nofollow is firmly entrenched into virtually every blogging platform, there are other forces at work that continue to hammer away at the now delicate interlinking structures of blogs. Interlinking, which made blogs a formidable search engine ranking powerhouse in the past is now headed toward the endangered species list with the latest method of wrongly advised SEO madness --- PageRank leakage damming.

Whether you call it link hoarding or PR dilution, PageRank leak theories have been around for years. There have not been any solid provable studies on the effects of external links in regards to PR leakage and its relationship to how that may affect your ranking in organic search engine results. PR leaking has always been an over-hyped link baiting topic used by SEO-types who just want what you want --- more links.

The leakage theory is too overly simplistic in nature. Even the gullible find it easy to understand and that is what makes it an easy sell. As most of us know, it is more complex than that. Many variables go into the making of a search engine algorithm and the actual engineers behind the programming are not going to reveal how it works.

The latest breed of WordPress plugin allows you to set up a post or page that will hold a set of links to external websites. The linking data is conveniently maintained in the WP database. Possible uses for this plugin could be for lengthy lists of categories, archived posts, etc. But it is being promoted as the Blogroll Page Plugin. Say what?

The Blogroll Page is another erosional approach to undermine blog interlinking and some are tacking on the added value of PR leak reduction to sell it. I have no doubt that this plugin will become popular over-night due to some responses I have seen.

I don't want to be an alarmist, but if Nofollow was to fluorocarbons then Blogroll Pages are the cow flatulence that will further decay the interlinking ozone layer. Interinking is what made blogs work. When people start to over-analyze and question every link on their pages in this manner it tends to lead to paranoia. This will become problematic for not only their blog, but also to their intricate interlinking structure.

In an effort to improve the blog in the name of the almighty PageRank, they are in effect biting the hands that feed them --- the Blogroll members. And of course reciprocity will be the name of game when that hand returns the favor and stops linking back. They may even drop you from their "favorite reading" list as well if they see a trend of link hoarding out of you.

The premise behind blogs is simple. Link, and you will be linked in kind or more aptly --- United we stand, divided we fall.

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John Chow has developed a DoFollow plugin to selectively remove the rel="nofollow" extension from comment links, in which he is offering for your comments at $10 a month. He also has a plan to sell the plugin and/or set up an affiliate program to peddle the gimmick.

Yes, I said gimmick and you will also notice that I emphasized the term "paid" in this post title too.

There are quite a few reasons why you should not buy into this scheme. Anyone who does will just be throwing their money away. This is no more beneficial to the subscriber than tits on a boar.

Let's say you "rent" your comment link for a few months. And remember, it is rent. If you don't pay it, you get evicted and NoFollow is taking up residence on your sofa.

Links will not pick up any juice right out of the gate either. Once they "stick" for any duration, then they may give you some benefit. But looking at a page with close to 200 hardcoded links without any comments, how much value will that be? And once it does stick, it will be buried in the archives and off of page one.

Comment links are not the same as site-wide links. Site-wide links will overpower your comment link without even lifting a finger. Chow's site has approximately 3,140 pages indexed by Google. By his admission, a site-wide link costs $240 a month -- do the math, that is only 7.6 cents per link. How many comments will you have to make to bring your margin down.

If you look at this gimmick in the right light, John Chow is not really selling you the NoFollow removal. You are paying him to comment. John is fully aware that you will be commenting (or not) on a daily basis just to get your link in there. This is reverse pay-to-comment mentality.

Lets talk about that plugin a little bit. This would be a first wouldn't it -- a WP plugin you would have to actually buy? This goes against the grain of WP itself doesn't it?

The selling of the plugin is far more evil than duping some of John's more ignorant readers into the link renting. And I wouldn't doubt if some pissed off blogger hacks the plugin and offers it up on one of the more popular download sites.

But John better revise that plugin to include the microformat rel="paid". After all, they are paid links and Google's Matt Cutts is looking very closely at them. That goes for the site-wide links too.

There is a mechanism in place via the Google webmaster console to report paid links. Albeit, it is not an official one and is being run through their spam reporting system. Currently the main purpose of reporting is so that Google can augment their existing algorithms.

And what does Matt think about paid links?


... link sellers can lose trust, such as their ability to flow PageRank/anchortext. Also, we’re open to semi-automatic approaches to ignorepaid links, which could include the best of algorithmic and manual approaches.

I even mentioned earlier this year that paid articles/reviews/posts should be done in a way that doesn’t affect search engines.

As someone working on quality and relevance at Google, my bottom-line concern is clean and relevant search results on Google. As such, I care about paid links that flow PageRank and attempt to game Google’s rankings.

I think I will just end this with by agreeing with Matt. 'nuf said.

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