I Make You Smile
and you give back so much!
And this reminds me to write an entry about blog awards… with their pros and cons – particularly why you should be careful with some of them. This will not be just an SEO perspective. It also has something to do with community and relationships.
Awards: Handle With Care
Some of the awards (I do not mean now the “You Make Me Smile” award and particularly I do not doubt Kim’s intentions – go forward to the pros and you will see what I am talking about) were created as a subtle method to gain links from other sites. They are “link bait” in disguise. And you have to be really careful when you display them on your website/ web blog, particularly when they come from people you don’t know and especially when they seem to appear out of the blue and have nothing to do with you or what you do.
We don’t talk too much about those little artworks and graphics we display on our sites with pride every once in a while. Maybe we should, because you see, receiving a “blog award” is not always a reason to celebrate and reciprocate. I could give you a long list of cons, but I will reduce it to five important points.
- Blog awards might be the cause behind search engines penalties and technorati penalties – as they are seen by both the SE and technorati as “linking schemes.” With all the linking scandals and with rumours amok that Google might even be manually penalizing link spamdexing (especially paid links, but who knows what they are up to next!) we should really handle link exchanging with care.
- The site giving you an award might be a spam site, a penalized site, a scrapper site, a MFA (made for AdSense) site or anything similar that is under Google surveillance. You do not want to take a risk like this with a link back to such a site. Call it guilt by association, but once you link to a spammer, you, in effect, approve the spammer and…you become a spammer. Remember: Google shows no mercy. So take a careful look at the site that gives you the award. Look at every page and if you see anything that raises suspicion, do not link back! Save the award image on your own server and link to that location if you care that much about showing an award no one really cares about. If you do link back, check out that link once a week. They may be setting you up for a future spam attack, so be warned!
- Meme-type blog awards usually send out two link votes : one to the blogger that nominated you and one to the creator – because the image source leads usually to the original source of the award. In theory, it’s good to know where the award really comes from, but are you sure you want to give a vote to that site? Are you sure you want to associate your name with it? Sometimes you just have to bury your pride to stop your site from being deep-sixed.
- Blog awards can make your site look messy and unprofessional, especially when they do not match the site’s theme, color scheme and design.
- Using blog awards on private blogs is not that bad, but displaying them randomly on business blogs will seriously affect your credibility. Why? Because they are usually unrelated to your business, they lead your visitors to sites of questionable value. They are there to pet your ego and don’t usually add value for the users.
It’s not all about cons. In the blogosphere, these awards have a social role too, especially among amateur bloggers. They do not care about your high business standards and they ARE YOUR READERS too. If they choose to show their admiration through a blog award, it’s your social duty to respond and take the award as it came: from the heart.
Meme-type blog awards have more social pros than SEO pros.
- Most of them are a genuine sign of admiration and respect - especially when they come from your faithful readers and your online friends.
- They create buzz about you and your blog (especially when a trustworthy blogger like Kim decides to introduce you to her readers) and give you valuable, relevant traffic.
- They remind you to go back to your friend’s (reader’s) blog and see what’s new. For example, I have no idea when Kim changed the design on her blog, so obviously I needed a reminder to go visit.
- They make a great communications bridge – people love seeing they received an award and they will come to say “thank you”, link back to you (as long as they don’t read my cons) and so on.
- They make you smile… (I needed this last point for symmetry).
And now, to Mig’s personal pointers. Remember, these are just my tips. Take them as personal opinions and do as you please.
- If you are to display awards on your pages, display one award at a time, in separate entries. Do not transform your blog into a confusing showcase of animated gifs and graphics, with no continuity in topic, style, color, design. Make each award topic specific and that will increase the SEO value of your entry, and help you rank even for the link love you give… because the keywords you use in that link will also be topic specific.
- If you don’t want to link back to the site that gave you the award, don’t! Linking back should not be mandatory.
- If you create an award do not force people to copy a code from your site and paste it into the code of their sites “as is”. Every webmaster has the right to change code to ensure that his/her site remains standards compliant.
- Also, if you give an award, do as Kim did: be specific. Tell exactly why you are giving it. After all, when you give away that award, you’re telling your readers: “Look, this is a site I approve of. This is a blogger I really like.” Don’t disappoint your readers.
- If you really want to show your appreciation, it’s better link to entries you really like than giving away an award people will probably ignore.
Before You Ask for that Link, Know I’m a Relationship Blogger- Liz Strauss
Dear Emperor: A Test for Your Next Link Post - Liz Strauss… again
Why You Want To Link To Other Blogs – Dawud Miracle
Are You Abusing and Misusing Tags? – Lorelle VanFossen
On Linking Ethics – Richard Nokes