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Less Traffic To Our Blogs?

I've been advising bloggers about an essential and sensitive subject - getting more traffic to their blogs - for years. Such a simple activity - post accurate, relevant, and useful articles - and advertise responsibly - the search engines will see you - and the readers will come. But there's a problem here, similar to the chicken and the egg paradox.
If more search engine visibility depends upon more readers, and more readers depends upon better search engine visibility, how do you start the process?


Where did the first chicken come from, anyway?

With Blogger, there is a way around the paradox - the "Next Blog" link, driven by the "Recently Updated Blogs" list. When you post to your blog, your blog goes onto the "Recently Updated Blogs" list. People using the "Next Blog" link access the RUB list, and there they are reading your blog. The more that you post, the more readers you get from "Next Blog".

But, there's a limitation here. Recently, Blogger started making the "Next Blog" link more "family friendly". This effort, prompted by thousands of complaints from people tired of seeing material not suitable for minors - or in some cases - for anybody - was welcomed by many bloggers. Many malicious or unsuitable blogs, detected as spam blogs - simply disappeared from visibility.

But this effort has side effects, not welcomed by all bloggers. The Google spam blog detection is fuzzy, and it's prone to both false negative detection and false positive detection. The former means that not all spam blogs will be detected, and the latter means that not all blogs detected will be spam. This is similar to known problems with automated locking and / or deletion of spam blogs, and with TOS actions against accounts used for setting up and maintaining such blogs.

In my opinion, locking out spam blogs, from "Next Blog" links or from the Recently Updated Blog list, can be tuned to produce false positives, and eliminate false negatives. Locking and / or deletion of blogs, on the other hand, must be much more carefully balanced, as too many false positive detections will lead to too many complaints from owners of blogs falsely locked or deleted. Check the normal forum activity, in GBH: Login Issues and GBH: Publishing Trouble, if you don't understand this problem.

Exclusion of a non spam blog from "Next Blog" links or from the Recently Updated Blog list will be much easier to get away with, even with egregious false positive detection, simply because many blog owners don't know or care about "Next Blog" and the Recently Updated Blog list, nor is it easy to measure "Next Blog" activity. With that in mind, Blogger will likely tune their scanning with the goal of eliminating false negatives - excluding all malicious blogs from "Next Blog" and the Recently Updated Blog list - and there will be many more false positives.

So enjoy the cleaner and more useful "Next Blog" link, but note that there may be a price.

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