WordPress Plugin: Show Top Commentators

There are many great plugins available for WordPress users, but very few are so important that they should be used on pretty much every blog. The Show Top Commentators plugin is one of these that every blog that accepts comments should use.

Why? Last week, I eluded to the importance of this plugin for getting users to comment, but didn’t expand on the reasons why. If your site wants to get the readers involved, it is important to have this plugin because frequent commentators will be rewarded with a link to their site. Unlike WordPress comments (which by default all links are set as nofollow), the search engines spiders will count the links in your sidebar as an outbound link (the equivalent of buying a link from this site).

John Chow recently took this a step further, explaining a better way to take advantage of this plugin:

Looking at my Top Commentators lists, I can see that, from a SEO standpoint, three commentators are doing it right and the rest are doing it wrong. Getting a link on the Top Commentators list offers more SEO benefit than traffic benefits. It’s the same as buying a text link. The link sends you traffic but its main purpose to help you improve your Google ranking. Knowing this to be the case, then the anchor text for the top commentator link should be anything but your name (unless your name is very descriptive).

If you’re going to go after the top commentators position on a bunch of blogs, then it’s to your advantage to link back to your blog with something other than your name or blog name. Webmaster Labor is doing this correctly with Cheap Custom Content and Article Checker. Yes, he holds two spots on the Top Commentators list. Pretty evil, huh?

While it is great to have your name on a bunch of top commentators lists, you have to keep in mind that these links are more for SEO than traffic. Ask yourself what anchor text do you want to rank for and use that as your name. You’ll still get traffic, but your Google ranking will increase.

So, for example, if I wanted to improve my search engine ranking with the term “Technology Talk”, I would want to use the word Technology Talk as my name when I was placing comments on various blogs, so that it would read that way on that blogs sidebar when I was a top commentator.  This may also draw more clicks over to my site as a little bonus.

As you can see, if you encourage commenting on your website, this is definitely a cornerstone plugin for WordPress bloggers.  It encourages comments, as well as gives commentators an opportunity to reward themselves with a linkback to their site on the blogs sidebar.  I also recommend editing the plugin to allow 10+ top commentators, rather than the default 5 it starts with.

I’ve Been Selected as Hero of the Week

Reginald Adkins of the weekly hero blog has posted an interview with me that was recently conducted after I was selected as the Hero of the Week.

If you want to know more about myself or this site, feel free to click over and check it out.  Thanks for the selection Reginald!

I’ve Been Selected as Hero of the Week

Reginald Adkins of the weekly hero blog has posted an interview with me that was recently conducted after I was selected as the Hero of the Week.

If you want to know more about myself or this site, feel free to click over and check it out.  Thanks for the selection Reginald!

Yahoo Has a Sense of Humor?

While doing my daily browse of Digg, I ran across an interesting Flickr picture:

Did Yahoo do this on purpose to show a sense of humor?  Or is this something Google did as a sort of anti-advertising ;)

For those who don’t get the joke, the Yahoo advertisement is placed right next to the 404 yard marker.   According to Wikipedia, the 404 error message is defined as an HTTP standard response code indicating that the client was able to communicate with the server, but either the server could not find what was requested, or it was configured not to fulfill the request and not reveal the reason why. 404 errors should not be confused with “server not found” or similar errors, in which a connection to the destination server cannot be made at all.

Firefox 3 Alpha 4 Now Available

According to CyberNet News, it looks like Firefox 3.0 has made Alpha 4 available for download.   Unfortunately, the much anticipated Places feature is still not included, causing people to speculate that Firefox 3.0’s final release will not be ready until early 2008.

As a quick side note, it looks like Alpha 5 is available at the end of May, then hopefully we can start moving towards the release candidates.

Do You Follow Comic Strips Via a Feed?

I keep a few comic strips in my feed reader as an easy way to keep up with them without having to check a website. Today while browsing my Dilbert feed, I saw this:

It’s great to see blogging being talked about in comics! If you have a full time job in an office, you can probably appreciate the Dilbert comic.Here are a few comics you can get in feeds for free:

If you follow a comic via feed that isn’t mentioned above, feel free to post the feed URL below! :)

What is Google’s PageRank?

If you own a blog or website, you’ve probably heard of Google’s PageRank, but you may not know exactly what it is or how its calculated. PageRank is a ranking system Google uses to assign your website a score. The highest rank a site can receive is a 10.

Search Engine Land has taken the time to write a great post explaining PageRank. They cover several different related topics in the post, including:

PageRank Versus “Toolbar” PageRank

Those PageRank scores that you can see? Those are often referred to as “toolbar” PageRank. This is different from what’s often called “internal” PageRank.

Internal PageRank are the PageRank scores that Google uses as part of its ranking algorithm. Those scores are constantly being updated. In contrast, the PageRank scores that Google allows the world to see — Toolbar PageRank — is a snapshot of internal PageRank taken every few months.

What’s important here? If you’re a brand new site, you’ll likely have a low or no PageRank score reported in the Google Toolbar. That might concern you, even though it will mostly impact whether you get crawled regularly (the higher your PageRank, the more likely Google will regularly revisit your pages). It does also have an impact on your ranking ability, of course.

It’s likely that after a few weeks, you’ll have gained some internal PageRank. You might see more traffic, as a result. But outwardly, the Google Toolbar PageRank meter will still show your same old depressing score. Then a snapshot will be made, and the better score you get will reflect what’s already been happening behind the scenes.

Other topics covered include:

With Google being very secretive with their algorithms, I feel this is probably the best write up I have seen of Google’s PageRank so far. Even if you don’t own a website, it is a very interesting read.

What is Google’s PageRank?

If you own a blog or website, you’ve probably heard of Google’s PageRank, but you may not know exactly what it is or how its calculated. PageRank is a ranking system Google uses to assign your website a score. The highest rank a site can receive is a 10.

Search Engine Land has taken the time to write a great post explaining PageRank. They cover several different related topics in the post, including:

PageRank Versus “Toolbar” PageRank

Those PageRank scores that you can see? Those are often referred to as “toolbar” PageRank. This is different from what’s often called “internal” PageRank.

Internal PageRank are the PageRank scores that Google uses as part of its ranking algorithm. Those scores are constantly being updated. In contrast, the PageRank scores that Google allows the world to see — Toolbar PageRank — is a snapshot of internal PageRank taken every few months.

What’s important here? If you’re a brand new site, you’ll likely have a low or no PageRank score reported in the Google Toolbar. That might concern you, even though it will mostly impact whether you get crawled regularly (the higher your PageRank, the more likely Google will regularly revisit your pages). It does also have an impact on your ranking ability, of course.

It’s likely that after a few weeks, you’ll have gained some internal PageRank. You might see more traffic, as a result. But outwardly, the Google Toolbar PageRank meter will still show your same old depressing score. Then a snapshot will be made, and the better score you get will reflect what’s already been happening behind the scenes.

Other topics covered include:

With Google being very secretive with their algorithms, I feel this is probably the best write up I have seen of Google’s PageRank so far. Even if you don’t own a website, it is a very interesting read.

Google Now Offers to Track Your History

I’ve been reading a few posts around the blogosphere about Google History, Google’s new tracking service. According to the website, with this new service you can:

  • View your web activity.
  • Search the full text of pages you’ve visited.
  • Get personalized search results and more.

Some have mentioned that you can almost use it like a bookmarking service. It tracks every site you visit and makes it searchable. It also gives Google a lot of information, which tells a lot about you. What do they do with this information they are getting? Scoble enabled it in hopes of finding out.

But, thinking about all this attention data that advertisers would love to get their hands on, what’s amazing is that I’ve told the Web that we’re expecting to have a child in September and I still haven’t gotten any ads for cribs, strollers, clothing, food, cameras, or anything else yet. I’m really surprised that I haven’t gotten more emails or Twitters or comments telling me about all things parental. People at work say that that industry kicks in after you have the kid. That’s a bad move. I’m looking to buy a new camera now. A new crib now. New clothes for Maryam now. And lots of other things before we have the kid.

Whether its happening or not, its scary for me to think about the possibilities Google could use this information for.  It is optional and requires enabling in order to use it, so providing this information is up to the user.  It also requires installation of the Google Toolbar on the web browser to track your history.

I can’t help but wonder about the way this service could be misused.  Who is to stop me from logging into my Google account on my wife’s or child’s computer so I can track everywhere they have been? Isn’t that invasion of privacy?

Tips to Get More Text Link Sales

John Chow has posted an extremely useful list of tips to get more text link sales that I think many of my readers will find as useful as I did.

In his post, John gives several tips on how to attract links, where to list your links, and what to call your links section.   I had originally listed my Text Link Ads section as “My Sponsers”.   I have since changed it to read “Featured Sites” and within 24 hours I sold a link.

I’m not an expert at making money online, but I’ve noticed a big correlation with the sales of links and my Alexa ranking.  As a result, if you use Text Link Ads, I would recommend working on your Alexa ranking to improve link sales.