December 03, 2006

Google Rankings Now Fixed For WikipediaWatch

Shortly after my previous post was published, and echoed at Google Blogoscoped (a popular Google-oriented blog, ranks #44 of all blogs on Technorati), whatever Google penalty flag which affected the Wikipedia Watch site was removed. Search position for relevant terms skyrocketed. It's clear this wasn't a transitory problem, as it had persisted for months. The most likely explanation is someone at Google who had the power to clear the flag, saw the Google Blogoscoped item, and fixed the false positive.

I will not flatter myself to think they saw my post! In terms of audience, the Google Blogoscoped echo only sent around 39 hits. Now, all readers gratefully accepted, but it was a revealing statistic. Another data-point in what I think of as The Meaning Of Exponential Distribution Of Attention.

From another angle, this case was an example of the problems of Google's spam algorithms, and needing to "know someone" to get a problem fixed.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in google , statistics | on December 03, 2006 10:46 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

Subscribe with Bloglines      Subscribe in NewsGator Online  Google Reader or Homepage


> I will not flatter myself to think they
> saw my post! In terms of audience, the
> Google Blogoscoped echo only sent around
> 39 hits.

The first link will be clicked on the most, the second link much less, the third even less etc. (Of course, there's other factors in play here, but that's roughly correct for a typical post, at least on this type of blog... e.g. Boing Boing has a different linking style where the last link is the most important).
And those first-link clickers also only tend up to be a fraction of those reading the blog post (which may itself be only a fraction of those who read the post's title, e.g. in RSS readers). And of those who read the post, only a small portion will write a comment.

In other words, the further away the "thing" is the more the attention drops, and the more it requires action, the less likely that action will be. This, of course, is not a one-directional thing -- the link to Google Blogoscoped in this post, I assume, will only be clicked on by a small portion of the readers of the post (other than it having value in terms of ranking on search engines, as we know).

That's why it's so important to create chunks of microcontent that will be able to live on their own (e.g. descriptive title), as well as making sure the first link is the "center" of the story whenever possible (in this case, I went for Daniel Brandt, who I suppose got something like 500 referrers out of it - dunno, but that's about the rate lately for Google Blogoscoped).

Posted by: Philipp Lenssen at December 8, 2006 12:32 PM