6 reasons why you shouldn't obsess about your Technorati Authority

The goods

CC License: the ryan king

In recent days I’ve seen post after post (after post after post) of atheist bloggers writing a page full of links and putting it on their weblog. I was mildly amused at first but seeing people continue to do it, I decided to write a short post on why this is not only useless, but may actually harm you. First of all…

1. Who Cares?

I’m always confused on why so many people hunt this precious authority in the first place.  I can honestly say that I have never, ever found a blog from its authority. Nor have I ever rated a blog from it. Hell, I haven’t even had my opinion improve by noticing how much authority a site has.

Your technorati authority is an ego stroke, plain and simple. Nobody gives a rat’s ass about what anyone else’s authority is but his own.

On the other hand, do you know what makes me more interested in a blog?

2. Subscribers

When I see that little feedburner icon showing a decent number of subscribers I always think something like “If so many people have subscribed to her, she must have something interesting to say”.

What makes you more interested.

  • Seeing my Authority?
  • Or seeing how many subscribers I have?

Alright, alright, you caught me. I don’t really have that many subscribers (I’d wish). These are actually vjack‘s but I borrowed them to make a point [1. Btw, does anyone consider it insane how many subscribers that man has! He must be faking it somehow…I’m certain of it! :P] .

Your subscribers are much more important than your authority and you shouldn’t sacrifice the former for the later (see point 4)

3. Punishment

When you make posts like these you may assume that you are selflessly helping others bloggers get a better authority (see point 1) but what you have to have in mind is that both Search engines and Technorati are not idiots.

When Google sees a new blog having 300 links one after another, little bells start ringing, gears start turning and sooner or later you start suffering the results. Some of you might not care but seeing as you don’t really achieve anything with it, why do it?

If this kind of thing worked, do you know what would have been at the top positions? Splogs. How difficult to you think it is for 10.000 of them to join a blogroll and jump to the first places?
Don’t be annoyed that you can’t game the system. Be happy that the system cannot be gamed.

4. Annoyance

Have you had the situation where you see a new post from your favourite blog in your aggregator, opened it and was treated to a page full of linkspam? I know I have.

Have you had the situation where you see a linkback, get all excited about it, follow it back only to discover a linkfarm? I know I have.

It is simply annoying. Don’t treat your loyal readers like that.

5. Relativity

There’s millions of blogs on the internetubes at the moment and  thousands of them are vying for this all-important technorati authority. What most don’t realise is that people don’t care who’s on the top 10 (it’s usually tech blogs and lolcats) but rather who’s the authority on the subjects of one’s interests.

Technorati can’t tell you that.

6. You’re doing it wrong

Do you know why blogrolls are generally not counted by search engines and technorati? Because they are irrelevant. A Blogroll is there to show others who else you are reading or find interesting. A generic blogroll like the Atheist blogroll is something that you are not reading. You know it, I know it and Technorati knows it.

Why is it irrelevant? Because nobody uses the damn thing. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have followed a blogroll link and the same goes for the number of times I’ve had a link to me from a blogroll. If people don’t use them, why do you expect automated ranking to consider them?

Pretending this is not the case by posting your blogroll at various places and hoping they don’t notice is just wrong.  If you do want to help other bloggers do it right.

  • Link through the main article. A link through the body text counts 100 times as much as a blogroll link. This in not only because of google algorithms but because there links are used by your readers. They are useful.
  • Link to actual posts. Linking to the main page of a blog is not very helpful and most people just bounce away. If you want to do the most good, link to the permalink of a specific article you liked and that others might also enjoy.
  • Link often. There’s not better way to drive traffic to your favorite blogs than by linking to them in your articles. Point people to insightful posts they make or comment on something they write. Not only does this improve their authority, but it helps them be discovered.
  • Don’t overdo it. Linking to 100 different blogs in one month is much more efficient than linking to 300 blogs in one day.

A final word

Before I close this post I want to make sure that I haven’t given you the impression that blogrolls are not useful. Indeed a short blogroll of someone I like does make me click the links to see what I might discover. It is the humongous lists of hundreds of links that just make me blank out.

For example, the Atheist Blogroll is at the moment at 760 individual blogs! This number is pretty much unworkable for humans without extra tools but it does not mean it’s not useful otherwise.
However boosting the technorati authority is not one of them.

If you have any objections to these points or want have another one to mention, feel free to post them in the comments.