Spam Whackers

Exposing Various Types of Spam – Offering SEO & Webmaster Tips

February 15, 2007

What Does Rel=”NoFollow” Mean?

Filed under: General — Connie @ 1:39 pm

In January of 2005 Google announced new attribute to help combat blog, and guestbook spam. Yahoo, and MSN jumped on the bandwagon, as well as many others to support the new attribute.

Since the introduction of the nofollow attribute there has been a lot of confusion in regard to it’s actual meaning in the webmaster community. Does it mean the SE will stop at any link using the attribute, and go no further? Does it mean the SE will follow the link, but not hold the site posting the link accountable if the recipient of the link is a bad neighborhood? I think you can see some of the confusion in this Wikipedia explanation of the nofollow attribute. Unfortunately, IMHO the SEs were not clear about the meaning of the attribute in the beginning.

To add to the confusion, Google has been suggesting the use of nofollow in places other than blogs, or guestbooks where people or bots can post unedited links. Matt Cutts of Google is suggesting that the nofollow attribute be used on all paid advertising links. Yahoo shows links that use the nofollow attribute as backlinks.

Vanessa Fox of Webmaster Central recently made a comment in regard to how Google is dealing with nofollow.

Avoid infinite crawls. For instance, if your site has an infinite calendar, add a nofollow attribute to links to dynamically-created future calendar pages. Each search engine may interpret the nofollow attribute differently, so check with the help documentation for each. Alternatively, you could use the nofollow meta tag to ensure that search engine spiders don’t crawl any outgoing links on a page, or use robots.txt to prevent search engines from crawling URLs that can lead to infinite loops.

Notice she points out that each SE might handle the attribute differently. No doubt because IMHO there was no absolute definition of the attribute given when it was introduced. In addition Matt Cutts of Google has suggested other uses of the attribute than what it was originally intended for. Which was to cut down on spam where a contributor (spider) could post links without the intervention of an editor.

Thanks to rustybrick at Search Engine Roundtable for pointing out that Adam Lasnik of Google has confirmed what Vanessa said in this thread at Google Groups about the nofollow attribute.

If I understand what Vanessa, and Adam are saying Googlebot stops cold when it encounters a nofollow attribute. Googlebot will not follow the link.

Thanks to the new tool added at Webmaster Central for seeing all internal links, I can check this out on Google is showing some backlinks from my shopping cart. The robots.txt file disallows the folder the shopping cart is in. Googlebot appears to be following the view cart link, and then the continue shopping link back to the page the view cart link is on. Does that make sense.

Based on what Adam, and Vanessa have stated I have added nofollow to the view cart link. So I should see those internal links start disappearing.

Here is an interesting article by Loren Baker at Search Engine News giving 13 reasons why NOFollow sucks.

My suggestion. All SEs make nofollow mean exactly that. Google says they are exactly that at this time. To bad Google has waited for a year to make any kind of statement on how they are handling the attribute. It would have stopped a lot of confusion IMHO.

i guess better late than never.

February 12, 2007

Filed under: E-Mail Spam — Connie @ 3:37 pm

I usually just delete crap like this, but for some reason it caught my attention. Not only are they sending out spam e-mail, I believe their website is the spammiest website I have ever seen.

Welcome to [links to] At the tag or the title links directly to your website. Whatever you want to sell either your business or your products/services, just put a tag or a word, it will be highlighted and it will reach to all and everybody on the net. Add your Links so that a buyer finds your Site comfortably and quickly.. Site Links are also available for exhibiting your commercial or non-profit information on the net. Get more site visitors easily, daily. Free link exchanges are also available. This will improve your ranking with the search engines.

Like most email spammers they give an option to get off their mailing list.

Under any circumstances you want to unsubscribe from our mailing list, please send email to with subject unsubscribe. By doing this you will be withdrawn from all email communications from, including e-newsletters promotions.

I wouldn’t give this spam infested site a link with a link condom applied. Hopefully, they will get some benefit from other spammers with the e-mail link.

On thing that troubles me. The e-mail was sent to a private address that very few people have.

I would not recomend their service.

February 7, 2007

Weird People’s Beliefs

Filed under: Search Engine Spam — Irony @ 8:38 am

Today, an old friend of mine contacted me on ICQ. He does from time to time. We’ve known each other online for about three years, and always discussed SEO.

Today, he asked me: “How is Google? Is it kind to you?” I replied “I don’t expect any special treatment from Google, but every time something good happens, I think of it as of a gift. So yes, I’d say Google has been good to me.”

Then he asked: “How does Google go about doorways?” This question surprised me a bit, as we had discussed this about one million and one times in the past. Of course, I said “Google bans for doorways. Why are you asking? Did you expect another answer from me?”

His reply nearly killed me. He asked: “Have you ever tried doing doorways?”

I would accept such a question from a complete stranger, but not from a person who knows me well. Coming from someone who has known me for three years and knows damn well that I would never touch anything that even smells of SE spam – it upset me a lot! He absolutely believes that everyone (no matter what they say) has tried doorways at least once because “whitehat SEO doesn’t bring you money”.

That’s like saying that everyone should rob banks because doing an honest job doesn’t bring you money.

What is so hard to understand about the fact that some people do have conscience and don’t do dishonest things just because.. well… they don’t? What is this world coming to?

Rant over.

February 6, 2007

Finding Backlinks at Google

Filed under: Links — Connie @ 11:33 am

Yesterday the Webmaster Central Blog, announced a new feature that has been added to the webmaster console. You can now check both external links to your site, as well as internal links.

Although Google is still not showing all backlinks, they are showing a lot more than if you check using the link operator.

One of the really nice features of the new tool, is that you can download the information. In regard to external links they are showing not only who links to you, but which page they a linking to, as well as the last crawl date of that link.

I got a 404 error page when trying to check internal links. Since this is a new feature I’m not surprised that there may be some bugs to work out.

February 2, 2007

Confusing Navigation – the Worst Enemy of Web Usability

Filed under: Articles by Irony,SEO General — Irony @ 2:11 am
The date of the first publication: October 16, 2006

How many times have you looked hesitantly at a website you have just come across, wondering where to go next? Basically, if the navigation of the website is confusing, all other efforts directed at improving the usability factor will fail. On the web, navigation is the key to everything.

Websites that are hard to navigate are quickly abandoned by visitors.

How do you navigate without a map?

In real life, navigating without a map is a hopeless task. The virtual world of the WWW has many things in common with the real world; that’s why most websites also have maps.

The main purpose of a sitemap is to provide a clear and easy navigational option for website users who have failed to find what they were looking for using other means of browsing through a website. As soon as your site’s page count has exceeded 15 or so pages, it’s time to add a sitemap.

Sometimes I see websites that look very usable and intuitive at first glance. A standard small menu at the top seems to provide clear, one-click access to all the important pages on the site. Assuming the site contains only 8 or 10 pages, I start clicking on the top menu links one by one, and only on the 6th visited page I suddenly (and quite by chance) discover a lot of links pointing to important content pages and learn that the site, in fact, contains about 60 pages or so. Yet just from looking at the home page of the site, I would have no idea all these content pages existed.

Of course, you can’t link to everything from your home page. It would look cluttered and perhaps even spammy if you do so. Having a sitemap is the best way to instantly give your visitors a basic idea of how large your site is, what are the most important sections of it and what kind of information they are likely to find if they take the time to explore it. Of course, when a site is large and has thousands of pages, you can only add the most important pages to the site map, but with a smaller site (up to 100 pages) there is no reason not to list all pages on the sitemap.

It’s just as important to make the layout of the sitemap intuitive and scannable. No funny tricks that might make your visitor wonder what it’s all about. No grey text on a light-grey background. Links should look like links and stand out clearly, and the colours and the font sizes should ensure good readability. More important pages can be highlighted using larger fonts, and it’s a good idea to reflect the hierarchy of the site using indents.

To maximise the effect of having a sitemap, link to your sitemap from every other page of your website, and make this link easy to find.


Consistent navigational patterns make it easier for a user to get acquainted with them. Different patterns on different pages can create a feeling of “running in cycles”. On the other hand, too often different sections of a large site require different navigational patterns, to reflect the specifics of every section. Usually, visitors expect a total 100% repeatability from the left-side and top navigation, but if you have additional navigational links in the right column of your site, certain diversity is acceptable.


Another standard way of optimising the navigation of websites (I mean optimising for users, though the search engines love it, too) is using so-called “breadcrumbs” – the short-cut links located at the top of the content part of every page and outlining the path back from the current page to the home page of the site. They ensure your visitors will never get “lost” on the website.

Unfortunately, so many websites neglect this very handy navigation element and make us wonder where we are.


Articles, tips or resources should be properly categorised. Please include resources in fitting categories and provide several alternative options for navigation. Remember, if you create a mess inside your categories, it will annoy visitors.

Help me find my way home…

The home page should be linked from every page of the site. The logo is traditionally linked to the home page, but please provide an alternative text link in the main navigation too, for better usability.

Page names

The page names should “speak” to your visitor. Ideally, it should be easy to tell what the page is about by simply looking at the URL of the page. A page name like 4867.html is not very helpful in this regard.

Often I see sites that just frame other sites, so whatever I click, the URL in the browser stays the same. Apart from being confusing, it makes it impossible to bookmark particular pages. That’s yet another reason not to use frames for regular sites.

Love and respect your visitor…

… and the visitor will love and respect you.

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