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April 25, 2006

It’s like Page Rank for blogs

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With the blogosphere growing at an exponential rate, people are looking at blogs in a whole new light. According to data from Technorati, the blogosphere doubles every 6 months. That’s enough to make me start feeling like a proud mother. There’s a lot of really great content out there (like us!) but there’s also a lot of not-so-great content (like splogs). So how do you wade through the garbage to find the good stuff? New blog search startup Sphere has officially launched its search out of beta today (allegedly, I can’t see it), hoping to revolutionize the way people use and search for blogs.

Sphere isn’t the only blog search out there, but they are the only ones using a three-point algorithm to help users find the blogs they were actually looking for. Unlike the other blog engines that race to try and index every single blog, Sphere indexes blog with an emphasis on trying to understand the content of each post.

This approach involves a unique three-point algorithm that includes an analysis of the blogs inbound and outbound links, the factors surrounding the post (like length, post frequency, related links, etc.), and something Sphere cofounder Tony Conrad calls their "secret sauce", which is designed to help filter out spam and understand what posts are talking about.

Sphere does a couple of really cool things. Our favorite is that it ranks blogs by relevance, not date. This means when you do a search, it is more likely you will be routed to an authoritative source and not the endless rantings of someone who just happens to mention a word that appeared in your query string. As if that wasn’t good enough, Sphere goes one step further, performing a full semantic analysis of blog posts to try and understand what they are about. How is this useful?

Think about it. The Bruce Clay, Inc blog has some authority when talking about SEO. So it’s likely if you do a query for search engine optimization you may see our blog in your results page. However, if you do a search for Jedi Masters, though we may mention it during an occasional rant (or two), Sphere recognizes that we are not an expert on Star Trek (or at least, not all of us) and will not rank us for that term. It is able to identify our blog as being associated with Internet marketing knowledge, not about becoming a Jedi Master. It’s unparalleled search relevancy for your blog.

It’s a very unique feature and a feature that will be appreciated for users looking to better target their blog and rank for the terms that matter to them. Blogs have an enormous reach. Users are starting to look to blogs first for user-friendly advice on topics that matter to them. Isn’t it nice to know a search for football will bring up blogs that actually know something about football and not about some 12-year-old’s middle school team? A relevance ranking system for blogs helps ensure that authoritative blogs appear in the SERP. If you didn’t think blogs were worth your time before, it may be time to have another look.

Sphere is just the latest example of users starting to see the power of blogs. If you were thinking about creating a blog to go along with your company’s site (and reap all the branding benefits), now’s the time to act. It’s not too late to join the blogosphere and get in on the action.





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