PageRank, BlogRush and SEO Title Tag

Ok, this is more like a news update. There’ve been a few events happening on the Internet, their effects rippling slowly until they hit me… all at about the same time.

So last Saturday, I decided to do something about them, which were basically minor updates to the blog.

1. Google PageRank

The blogosphere was rife with discussion on PageRank lately. Apparently, Google was making some changes to their algorithms and several sites and blogs were penalised with a PageRank hit.

The main reason cited for this mass update was the selling of text links. Google frowns on it, because Google has a hard time telling which links are valuable, and which aren’t.

You can still sell text links. You just need to add in the nofollow attribute, like so

<a rel="nofollow" href="yourlink.html">Your text</a>

I used to be a publisher in the Text-Link-Ads network. I joined primarily because I could append some ads into my blog feed, which was cool then. During the test period when I first stuck the php code into my blog, I didn’t like the look of the links. I couldn’t find a nice way to display them, and there’s very little I could do in their control panel.

Well, I didn’t get any advertisers anyway, and from what I remember, when the links do appear, they didn’t have the nofollow attribute. No advertisers, no control, so I took it out.

2. BlogRush Phase 2 rollout

I installed the BlogRush widget when it first came out, and sad to say, I haven’t had much traffic from it yet. Still it looks pretty cool, and I can find other bloggers with similar interests through it, so it’s still useful.

There were some massive blog accounts removed (some 10000 of them) due to the people attempting to cheat the system. I sat through the flurry of activity and experienced first hand how a new network go about fixing problems.

Anyway, one of the improvements in phase 2 (on October 31) was the expansion of categories and sub-categories. The new categories were only implemented on November 2, so I had to wait a bit. I originally placed this blog under “Computers & Internet”. It was the closest category I could find, and I got all sorts of weird posts appearing in my widget.

Thankfully, they came up with a sub-category “Programming & Web Development”. Whew…

There’s also an option to use a thinner widget because some members couldn’t fit the standard 175 pixel width into their blogs. The thinner widget is 120 pixels wide. I tried it on. Too narrow. Text too cramped. Reverted to 175 pixels.

Changing colours (or “flavors”) doesn’t require recopying JavaScript code. Changing sizes do. I checked out the differences in the JavaScript involved. Compare this partial fragment of the original

http://widget.blogrush.com/show.js

to this (the thinner version)

http://widget.blogrush.com/show_2.js

Subtle…

3. SEO Title Tag plugin

Recently, I updated this blog from WordPress version 2.2 to 2.3.1. As of now, the plugins I dropped out were Ultimate Tag Warrior, Subscribe to Comments and now the Text-Link-Ads. I installed the beta version of SEO Title Tag, and the final version was only just ready.

No major changes were required to upgrade to SEO Title Tag 2.1.0, though I had a problem with permissions for creating the table wp_seo_title_tag_tag… Being the proficient programmer that I am, I figured out the SQL statement for the database table creation from the .php plugin file. Then I went in and flexed my SQL muscles and voila, table created!

I decided figuring out why access permissions were denied in WordPress was too much of a bother on a Saturday afternoon…