Why Google shouldn’t care about Paid Links

Over the last week there have been stories popping up about Google manually lowering the displayed Pagerank of some blogs, because they were selling links. One of the blogs affected by this was that of Andy Beard.

I know that most of my readers are either bloggers or have an interest in becoming a blogger. Most of you read Andy’s blog at least from time to time, so you know that if there is one guy who doesn’t put up links to sites, just because they offer him money, it’s him.

Unlike The Stanford Daily (PR drop from 9 to 7) Andy doesn’t sell unrelated sitewide links. Heck, he doesn’t even sell related ones.

It seems that he got punished for some sponsored reviews he did. They were all balanced, informative for his readers and relevant to the topic of his blog. His PPP profile even states that he highlights “both good features and flaws constructively and offers suggestions for improvements”.

These reviews were simply blog content, and since they were about a website, they had links to the source. This is not link selling, it’s basic journalistic practice.

That’s what really pisses me off!

  • You want to penalize bloggers for unrelated links in the sidebar? Go ahead.
  • You want to punish bloggers for reviewing and linking to unrelated websites? Have fun.
  • You want to tell bloggers that they can’t write a post for money, which you would have no problem with if it was unpaid? Are you nuts?

Payment shouldn’t be a criterion to evaluate the worth of a link, but relevance should be.

The only website I’ve reviewed on this blog so far was Dosh Dosh. I admire Maki’s ability to write his signature articles, so I wrote about his blog and even put in some deep links. Would they be less relevant if he had paid me? No. I’ve never done a directly paid post, and I don’t think that’s gonna change. But if I did, I’d do it like Andy and only choose sites & products relevant to my blog.

I don’t like to read about day trading on SEO blogs, and I don’t want gadget blogs to tell me about headache treatment.

If it is possible to base the price of an AdWords ad on a quality score, then Google should be able to judge links by something that really counts - relevance.

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Stumble into the Weekend 10/05

It is Friday, the weekend is approaching and guess who’s back to tell you what he stumbled upon?

Oh please. Stop guessing. Seriously. It was just a lame introduction phrase.

As every other Friday, I’m going to list a couple of posts I read, liked and stumbled this week.

  • Alex ended his 5-part-series about the basics of blogging with a “succeed at blogging by being nice” post. While I agree that being nice is almost always the best way to deal with people, you should be careful about the hugs. Make it short. There’s no cuddling before you took me out to dinner.
  • Did you leave your category descriptions empty? I did, and gave up some SEO potential. Read Garry’s “SEO Tip - Categories and Category Descriptions” and you will understand why. Good job, Garry.
  • Over at Vandelay Design you can read “13 Ways to Create Unique, Original Blog Content“. The one tip you can never stress enough: Keep a journal. I started it when I was preparing to write a short story, and since then I’ve almost never been without a notebook or something similar.
  • Dee wrote a post about “What Everybody Ought to Know About Link Building” at nbb. I’m not sure I unterstand him completely, but I’m getting the impression that it takes time ;-).
  • My last recommendation is more practical. Mark gives us a basic tutorial on “How To Make A Basic PHP Widget“. Something to get your hands dirty during the weekend. Have fun.

That’s it for today. Follow the links and read the posts. If you like them, why not show them a little StumbleLove? Don’t forget Alex’ advice: Succeed by being nice. Oh, that rhymes. I’m such a poet.

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Theme Edit at Bloggersjourney.com

If you are a regular visitor, I guess you’ve already noticed it. I’ve edited the theme to make it a bit lighter and less cluttered. If you notice anything that doesn’t seem right, please let me know. I’ve tried to correct all flaws, but just in case I missed something - don’t be shy, use the contact form ;-).

What’s changed?

  • The theme is a bit wider now.
  • As is the left sidebar. The right one lost some width.
  • I got rid of some dead weight and concentrated all sidebar elements in the left one.
  • Moved the widgets for MyBlogLog and Blogcatalog into the footer.
  • The massive ad block is gone and all 125×125 ads are now in the right sidebar. It’s less intrusive.
  • I even put up an Adsense skyscraper in the right sidebar to keep it light over the fold.

I know, it’s not as big a change as some of the big blogs have had, but then again, I’m not a pro, so ordering a new theme from Nate is out of the question. Plus I prefer to keep it light and I think I’ve achieved that.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Are you planning on editing or changing your theme?

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Create a favicon - it’s never been easier

Give your Blog a Favicon

I’ve shown you how to create a favicon using a favicon generator before. That was easy. If it wasn’t easy enough, or you were afraid that you might screw up your blog, Cindy from Digital Ramble has the right solution for you.

The Favicon Manager WordPress Plugin

This is a simple, tiny plugin. It’s very easy to install.

  • Copy it into you plugins folder.
  • Go to your plugins menu and activate it.
  • You options menu has a new section called Favicons. Go there.
  • Enter the location of your favicon and check the feed options.

That’s it. You’re done. It doesn’t get easier than that.

Go to Digital Ramble and get Cindy’s plugin. There’s no reason for you not to have a favicon.

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Stumble into the Weekend 09/28

It’s Friday again. Have shown a bit of stumbling support for your favorite posts? If you’re planning on doing it over the weekend, I have some suggestions for you.

  • Daniel gives 10 tips for writing better posts on Daily Blog Tips. Check them out and follow his advice. I’m sure I can use it. *g*.
  • Skellie writes about criticism, both constructive and destructive, and how to deal with it. Keep it cool, and be reasonable. Thumbs up.
  • As I’ve written before, I find the whole area of affiliate marketing really interesting. So when I read this list of 49 tips on Adwords that Googlelady put on her blog, I just had to stumble it. Take your time, it’s a comprehensive list.
  • Speaking of comprehensive - Maki wrote “How to Set up Google Custom Search for Your Website and Make Money” over at Dosh Dosh. He explains every step, so you might want to give it a try (and a thumb up, while you’re there).
  • I wanted to write about Google’s Webmaster Tools for some time, but never really found the time. Thanks to Eric from Search Engine Journal I don’t need to anymore. I’ll just refer you to his post “Google Webmaster Tools: A Comprehensive Guide“.

Okay, these are my 5 tips for your reading pleasure. I hope you’ll find them helpful and stumbleworthy.

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