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SEO Website Audit

10 Blogger Types: The Good, the Bad, and the Sleazy

July 24, 2007

These past few weeks I’ve watched how things played out in the blogosphere after breaking the story of Google’s new “unavailable_after” tag.  I have to say that what I learned was extremely interesting and educational to me!  I have been writing articles for the High Rankings Advisor newsletter and other publications for many years and have seen bits and pieces of my work get picked up in various places; however, it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame when you break an important news story.


Sharing What I Learned


As with most of my more popular newsletter articles, requests for republishing started coming in soon after it was published.  What made this one different was that many of the more popular bloggers in the search marketing space picked up the news quickly — and then things really went crazy.


A Google search this past weekend for “unavailable_after” brought up 93,000 results!  I don’t know for sure, but I imagine there weren’t any results for this phrase previously, or at least very few. 93,000 pages all mentioning unavailable_after and, presumably, my original article.  Pretty cool, eh?  Unfortunately, it’s not as cool as it appears at first glance.


The Rankings Letdown


For one thing, I kind of expected that my original article would be showing at the top of the search results, but it wasn’t even close! Although, when I looked at it with my SEO eye, I had to smack myself because there were good reasons why it wasn’t in the top.  For one, the unavailable_after tag wasn’t the focus of my article since it was a synopsis of everything Dan Crow had discussed at the SEMNE event.  For another, “unavailable_after” wasn’t even in my article’s Title tag, again, because it wasn’t the focus.


But What About the Links?


I did think that all the links pointing to the original article should have given it more “oomph” to rank for that phrase despite the fact that the article wasn’t optimized for it, but apparently they didn’t. The good news is that the article does rank #1 for “getting into Google” as one would expect, which in the long run is probably much more important!


My SEO Efforts


I was still intrigued (and slightly annoyed) about not ranking for “unavailable_after,” so I added it to my Title tag and the top headline to see if that would have any effect.  As of today, Google hasn’t re-indexed the page, so the jury is still out on that one.  I also began reviewing the pages that were showing up before mine in the search results. What I found was an enlightening look at the SEO blogosphere. Unfortunately, it wasn’t always pretty, and at the end of my review I was pretty disgusted with some bloggers.


The 10 Types of Bloggers


Here are the results of my review and the 10 types of bloggers I found.  You’ll notice that they range from good to bad to sleazy.


1. Good: People who ask permission to reprint your article and add a bio with links back as requested.


These are people who are generally looking to add some content to their own sites.  They usually republish the article in full, and are happy to add whatever bio and links you specify.

2. Good: People who republish without asking permission but at least link back to the original article.


I don’t really have a problem with the folks who haven’t asked permission if they at least have the courtesy of linking back to the original article.  Sure, it’s not as great as controlling what the links say in a bio, but it’s generally fine.

3. Good: People who blog about something you wrote and who link to your original article, providing their own unique commentary or spin to go with it.


This is the best type of blog post as it isn’t a complete dupe of yours, and it gives credit where credit is due.  Watch out, however, as sometimes these types of blog posts are critical of what you’re written.  Personally, I have no problem whether people agree or disagree as that’s the foundation for blogging.

4. Okay: People who blog about what some other blogger blogged about, and link to both the original article and the blogger’s commentary.


I probably should put this one in the “good” category — as it really is fine — but it still is irksome when the secondary blogger’s post seems to get more credit than the original piece.


5. Bad: People who blog about what some other blogger blogged about it (as in #4 above), but who link back only to the blogger and not the original.


I was surprised at how prevalent this one was.  I don’t think that most people intend to snub the original author, but it happens a lot! Sure, you could say it’s okay because the post they DO link to posts that link back to the original, but that’s just not good enough. I strongly believe that the original writer should get credit where credit is due in a more direct manner.

6. Bad: People who blog on the topic and then Digg their OWN post instead of the original.


I almost put this in the “sleazy” category, but I guess it’s sort of borderline.  It seems to me if the topic is Digg-worthy, it should be the original article or post that gets Digged.  Unfortunately, that’s often not the case.


7. Sleazy: People who don’t ask to republish but do it anyway, and don’t even link back!


When they don’t even put the original author’s name on it, I believe it’s copyright infringement.  If they do mention the author’s name, but never link back to them in some manner, it’s pretty sleazy in my book.


8. Sleazy: Scrapers who link or don’t link, but add contextual link ads and other crap to the content.


Unfortunately, this is extremely prevalent these days.  I would guess that a good portion of those 93,000 results in Google fall into this category.  I can’t imagine those pages actually get any traffic, so I’m not sure what the point is.


The next 2 don’t quite fit into the good, bad, or sleazy categories, but were additional types I noted:


9. Strange: People who blog but somehow get their facts wrong.


One post got the name of the organization (SEMNE) wrong and called it SEMPO.  I’m not sure why or how, as it was right there in black and white. I don’t believe there was any malicious intent going on, but it was strange nonetheless.  (It was corrected immediately upon notification, so that was good!)


10. Dumbasses: People who just blog it cuz everyone else is.


Good blog posts are good for a reason.  Simply writing about something because everyone else has is not a good blog post.  ‘Nuff said!


And on that note, I implore you to look at your own blogging practices to see if you fit in any of the categories above.  If so, here’s hoping it’s one of the good ones!

Post Comment

 Pamela Farrell said:

Comment @ 07/25/07 at 9:13 pm


Thank you for making me laugh. Loved your blog evaluation and hope you optimized it correctly so everyone can read it.


Great newsletters too, thanks.

 Joelle Steele said:

Comment @ 07/25/07 at 10:30 pm


Many of my fellow writers and I search the Web almost daily. We now refer to blogs as “clogs” because they clog up our search results, sending us to Web sites that have nothing to do with what we are looking for, just a lot of largely unintelligible ramblings that have little to nothing to do with what we are looking for.


What a colossal waste of our valuable time. I want to search Google and not get clogs.

 Heather said:
Comment @ 07/26/07 at 10:36 am The dumbasses comment made me laugh. You’re so right Jill!
 Tom Philo said:

Comment @ 07/26/07 at 11:05 am


Writing is an art and takes time. Blogs, by practice, often are quick and are done in a time sensitive manner - therefore done in a hurry.


This speed means a “significant majority” of people fail to take the time to properly find the relevant URLs of the original sources, and do the copy paste, and rewriting of them to insert them into a blog. Its like a bibliography in a book, footnotes and other writing elements - it can take longer doing them than writing the original paragraph! It may only take 5 minutes and three browser windows to do so, but 5 minutes is 5 minutes and so they skip it all - ctrl-C and ctrl-V are much faster. Doing the fair use bit while waiting for permission to republish would be fine, but most people are so into getting it out NOW they just do it and either ask forgiveness or just don’t care (know?) what they are doing is often prohibited by copyright laws - world wide.


I bet a lot are doing it due to generate ad revenue reasons alone for this current hot topic - and not really caring at all since they are in it for the $ not value.


My own site I put up photo and history news items and I write in my own on words what I discovered and put links back to original articles when details are in there I do not want to repeat. However most articles you cannot even do “fair use” due to the copyright restrictions they put on there - AP forbids even “fair use” of their articles sent over the wire. It has to be really significant to me or my readers before I write my own summary of it - else I skip reporting it entirely - else it is not worth my time to rewrite it to avoid copyright hassles.


Many bloggers will only go that extra step to credit, URL, rewrite, once they find OTHER people taking THEIR original stuff and republishing it and with it comes the realization of the impact it has when people take published work and “make it their own” on a web site.

 Jill said:

Comment @ 07/26/07 at 3:10 pm


Tom Gray…yep…good additional categories which I’ve also seen!

 Bobette Kyle said:

Comment @ 07/26/07 at 11:09 pm


8A: Idiot-Sleaze Non-bloggers People who create a blog, grab off-topic articles, run the paragraphs together (maybe throw in a few random sentences here and there), omit or don’t link to author, add completely irrelevant paid links, and expect the riches to roll in.

 Michael VanDeMar said:

Comment @ 07/29/07 at 4:50 pm


Jill, As of today, Google hasn’t re-indexed the page, so the jury is still out on that one. I see you at #4 right now. Not too bad, especially considering that you are right, [getting into google] will most likely get you more traffic in the long run. :)



 Jill said:

Comment @ 07/29/07 at 7:03 pm


Yeah, Michael, it was actually #3 yesterday but another one sneaked in there since then. Since the official announcement of the unavailable_after tag, there was a lot more press and Google’s blog will probably start ranking shortly as well!

 Melissa- said:

Comment @ 08/05/07 at 12:27 pm


Whew! I am glad I was in the good section! :-) I was worried at first!

 Dziningspot said:

Comment @ 08/09/07 at 3:05 am


I feel that I am Sleezy. Now I will improve looking at Jill’s points.