Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mystified by the laziness of blog comment spammers

As your blog gets seen by more and more people, there are some annoying consequences. Not only are you almost certain to get your content scraped by someone lazy and cynical, but you're sure to get a lot of spam comments.

I find it quite depressing, to be honest. You keep seeing these pathetic, lame contributions like: "Great blog. I will return often. Keep up the great work!"

Why do these people even bother?

Of course if it's a robot doing this you can understand. But these are quite often actual people. Surely it's more energy-sapping in the long run to write these lame one and two-liners than it is to write thoughtful comments that actually contribute to the blog? Also, a lot of the spam comments they write don't even stay there, since the blogger swiftly removes them, so they're not getting any benefit anyway. And even if they do remain on the blog, they do a disservice to the URL they're linking back to. To be honest I'm completely mystified by the stupidity and laziness of these people.

So, if you do want to comment on this blog - and I do appreciate and welcome comments - please remember that I will just delete these lazy spam comments. If you have something thoughtful to say that shows you have actually read the post you're commenting on then in all likelihood I'll approve it.

Content scraper site outranking original in search engines

I wrote earlier about a content scraper site that was plagiarizing my content. I sent the webmaster a polite e-mail demanding that he stop doing this, but of course he didn't stop.

I think it's pretty funny that he's still nicking my content, since I put a post in which I listed the actual site name as the culprit. That got scraped also. So his own site includes an admission that it is plagiarized from mine.

But the really annoying thing is that his site is outranking me for some keyword searches. I suspect that this is because he's got a few stronger links pointing back to his domain or something. Or it might be because of some other factors.

I'm not going to spend all my time and energy trying to fix this problem. However I've got a few ideas on what can be done. I'll try them out and see what happens, then sum up the results here.

In the meantime: Have any other bloggers come across this problem. And what did you do to amend it?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weebly website SEO

Just a thought on the free website host Weebly: While the building tools are a dream, I wasn't sure how easily indexed sites built with this particular host actually were. Now, after being with Weebly for a while, and seeing the search engine traffic build slowly but steadily, I can say with confidence that it's definitely "SEO friendly".

Monday, November 9, 2009

Facebook is everywhere!

Usually when you search for a company name in Google News, you'll see a few stories relating to it at most. Usually it's just one at any given time - even if it's a big international company.

But what happens if you do this with the word "Facebook". You'll see pages and pages of article listings, from all over the world, dealing with many different subjects.

It seems that just about everyone on Earth now has a Facebook account, and they spend a lot of their time every day using it. Which is why it reveals so much about the way people live now, and why journalists love to write about it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Google Street View provokes complaints and concerns

Google Street View will be updated in Australia in the coming months. Because of complaints by some people who were immortalized by Google last time round, face and number plate blurring technology has been upgraded.

Aside from these sort of complaints, there are concerns about another potential form of abuse: Thieves browsing the images for places that look particularly easy to break into.

This is reminiscent of criminal exploitation of the images supplied by Google Earth.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Article spinning software is redundant

I have been using articles now for a while, and have discovered that they really do work.

Of course, it's better for SEO if you are submitting unique articles to each directory, rather than the same ones over and over again. That's why so many marketers use article spinning software to make unique versions of the same article, thereby maximizing the SEO benefit they get from each.

But frankly I can't see the point of this. If you get a machine to spin an article, then you end up with something that is pretty much gibberish, or at best very awkward to read. If you had any pride at all, you wouldn't submit that to directories to link back to your website.

If you did have some pride in your work, then you would at least rewrite that spun article so that it looks like a human created it! But if you were to do that, then why not rewrite the whole article?

And if you would go to the effort of doing that, then why not just write a whole new article from scratch? It would take about the same amount of effort - probably less, since writing something anew is more enjoyable than just finding a different way to say something you've already said.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How blogging develops good work habits

While social networking sites seem to be all the rage at the moment and are still experiencing huge growth and massive mainstream media exposure, blogging is still a great way to promote yourself and get your message out. I suspect that will always be the case.

And there's another way in which blogging is very powerful: Since a blog requires constant updating, it develops good working habits. That's a boon for writers, who often find it hard to keep themselves at their desks.

If you just write a few posts a week, before you know it you have tens of thousands of words up there. It really is amazing how this builds up.

I discovered this last night. I recently looked at one of my old blogs which has pretty much kicked the bucket and started cutting and pasting the material into a word processing file, just so I had a record of it. I could barely remember writing a lot of this stuff, and it took a long time just to save a portion of it. I did a word count and discovered that there was at least 15000 words. That was about a quarter of the entire blog.

Considering that a novel is 40000 words or more, that meant I had quite a thick book's worth of material there. And that was just one blog. I have written several of them over the years!

I don't know what I will do with that material. It was very topical, and so is now out of date. However, I can certainly rewrite a lot of it to make the observations more timeless, or rejig them with contemporary references. I might be able to sell this stuff offline as a book of essays or, more likely, use it as the raw material of articles to submit to directories and build traffic to this site and others.

And one thing's for sure: There's no way I would have amassed all that material had I not been blogging. Logging onto the internet, scouring Google News and other sites for things to write about and then venting via my blog became an almost daily ritual that I couldn't do without (and still can't).

And whatever I ultimately decide to do I'm really glad I amassed that material. It's the first draft for something - even if I'm not quite sure what!