MyBlogLog widget comes up short

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I have to say that the MyBlogLog widget is probably one of the most widely used widgets there is, and for that they deserve a lot of credit. It’s not easy coming up with a widget that nearly every blogger will want to use.
This last year, widget marketing has really taken off and I think it’s safe to say that it will only continue to grow through the coming year and why shouldn’t it? It’s a great way to enhance the user experience by providing users with useful tools, all while getting free exposure for your business.
The problem with a lot of the widgets is that they aren’t search engine friendly, and that’s exactly where the MyBlogLog widget comes up short. The code that is used to place the widget on the sidebar of a blog is JavaScript; therefore they aren’t getting credit for all those back links to MyBlogLog. It’s a shame too; my guess is that the widget would be good for at least several hundred thousand inbound links. So, my free advice to the folks over at MyBlogLog is to update the widget with some search engine friendly code, better late than never.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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  • StrangeProgress

    Oh absolutely they should. Do you think it was a decision they made initially though? I suspect the consequences of both options would have been weighed up prior to launch?

  • Chris Winfield

    Cameron – great catch there. They are running at about 70K+ links already (based on Yahoo) but you’re absolutely right that the number would be triple that at least.
    Good to see Scott here being so proactive too (a good example of why mybloglog has taken off so much).

  • Cameron Olthuis

    Matt – In my opinion I don’t think the options were ever weighed. I don’t see the downside of it so if there was a decision to make it would’ve been pretty simple. Maybe Scott can chime in though because I have no idea to be honest.
    Scott – thanks for your response. I agree that you’ve done a decent job overall with SEO. Interesting to see that Techcrunch page. Again, compliments on a great widget, one of the more widely used ones I’ve seen.

  • Doug Karr

    I don’t think it’s come up short, I love it. Visually, I’m able to quickly identify new visitors to my blog and go visit theirs. I love it.

  • engtech

    Hi Cameron,
    This is a pretty bad idea.
    Read up some more on why the rel=”nofollow” exists, why all links in comments are nofollowed, and what search engines think of paid advertisements (which is part of the reason most ad code is done in javascript).

  • Cameron Olthuis

    Engtech – Thanks, I am pretty familiar with the nofollow attribute and when and where it should be used. And I agree that it should be used on paid advertisements in most cases. However, this isn’t a paid ad, it’s a widget. I have never seen any evidence that would lead me to believe it is bad for a free widget to not use normal text links. If you can show me otherwise I would be happy to reconsider my suggestion to MyBlogLog.

  • engtech

    My first argument against it is that it would be only a snapshot of the moment when the search bot visited the page. It isn’t something like the comment log (which the community has already decided to mark as nofollow) that is continually added to — it’s a dynamic list of the last 20 MyBlogLog readers.
    Second, the links go to the MyBlogLog community member page… so it wouldn’t do anything to improve SEO for the sites in question. You would be adding link juice to mybloglog, that’s it.
    Third, I’ve already seen people spamming MyBlogLog using private messages, alluring images, community comments, false communities, etc. And that’s for purely organic click-throughs. If there was real “link juice” behind it, things would get a lot more messier.

  • Cameron Olthuis

    Engtech – Well the most important link is the one that goes to the MyBlogLog homepage, it’s at the bottom of all of the widgets.
    Deep links also help a sites overall rankings. Not to mention they could start to rank for terms like “techcrunch” for example. It wouldn’t be meant to improve the SEO of the site using the widget.
    You do have a point about the spamming. There are ways around that though.

  • Strange Progress

    Yes it was the spamming aspect that I was thinking of when I mentioned they must surely have weighed up their options on initial launch.
    It would be nice, as it would generally reward the active members of any given site, but would also be rife for abuse as we see time and time again with each new potential linking system.

  • Abhilash

    Cameron, I’m with you on this one (imagine that).
    The 3 arguments against modifying the widget seemed incomplete to me:
    A)”Snapshot of visitors”: this seems irrelevant to whether or not the widget should offer backlinks to MBL.
    B)”Only Links to Member Pages”: This is exactly a reason why you WOULD want the widget to provide non-js links. You’d see a ton more usership/adoption, whether the links were nofollowed or not.
    C)Spam: this is the most legit argument, and Cameron was sly enough to duck the question.
    If you read Lawrence Coburn, you’ll see that this notion of SE-friendliness is atop his list of essential attributes for widget success. Anyone wanting to do some widget marketing is absolutely going to invest in generating link love out of its adoption. (In fact, widget development would be entirely substantiated if only for this reason).
    Good catch, Cam.

  • sri

    Hey cameron,
    Why do you think they need backlinks?
    They are getting needed traffic and the site name is on everybody’s lips. There is no reason for them to get their PR up and are make their widget search engine friendly.
    Does google, yahoo need their sites to be search engine friendly?
    In any case, PR algorithm looks like a lost cause and soon may loose its importance.
    Best regards

  • Cameron Olthuis

    SRI, I don’t think they “need” the backlinks. But with how simple it is to make the difference, why not? It would just help their search engine visibility that much more, which would equate to more traffic, which would equate to more members.
    PR really has nothing to do with it and I never once mentioned it. Links are still important though and probably will be for some time. But you’re right, for the most part PR is irrelevant.