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November 8, 2004

Linking in a Meritocracy

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One major problem with link–based algorithms is that positive publicity and negative publicity have the same effect on a website’s rankings: it increases their link popularity. So how can you direct your readers to a webpage without explicitly endorsing it?

Technorati developers have come up with a new VoteLinks specification that allows you to “vote-for”, “vote-against” or “vote-abstain” for a website that you are linking to. Technorati has already incorporated this information into their redesign, listing which blog entries have received positive or negative links from other blogs in the blogosphere.

Meanwhile, an Aussie blogger name Lachy has come up with some intriguing ways to describe link relationships in XHTML.

What to keep your eye on: the W3C integrating endorsement data into the W3C’s XLink and RDF standards.

Until then, linking to webpages that you do not want to endorse without increasing their rankings in the major search engines remains tricky. Some strategies:

  • Provide your readers with an unlinked URL and require them to copy–paste the URL into a browser to see the webpage.
  • Javascript your link in a non–standard fashion.
  • Add a redirect code to the link to reduce the amount of PageRank that is passed.

Somehow adding metadata to your links seems so much easier and user–friendly than any of the options above… Hopefully this catches on.

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