Google Blogoscoped

Monday, June 11, 2007

Technorati Search Results in Search Results

Google clarified they don’t like when webmasters make search results of their sites indexable, as it adds noise to search results – people click on results only to land on more results. (The Google webmaster guidelines since March this year read: “Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don’t add much value for users coming from search engines.”)

However, what about tag results? Do a Google-search for, and you’ll see ~449,000 result pages. The tags found here are general words, like “peace” or “smartphone”, but also more specific terms, like “brianstorming” or “fotango”. In fact, anything you enter into the Technorati search engine will be automatically rewritten to a URL like and when people link to these searches, they gain in their Google-ranking.

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch speculates that this SEO tactic – or oversight? – may be in connection to Technorati’s traffic numbers (my emphasis):

Technorati’s internal numbers showed massive growth early this year ... For the last several months, Technorati “tag” results have risen steadily in Google search rankings ...

The reason these terms are appearing high in Google search results is because Technorati was synonymous with tagging, and most tagging plugins for blogs default their tag links back to Technorati. Each day, tens of thousands of blogs have multiple links back to Technorati; one for each tag they use to describe their post. All of those links create massive search engine relevance and drive Technorati results higher in search results for commonly tagged words.

At Google Modules for instance, even though our URLs differentiate between tag results and search results, co-creator Alex Ksikes and I disallow the crawling of tag results (see the HTML source’s meta directive). And back when I created a tag search engine for this blog, I also prevented search bots from crawling this to not pollute search results. Indeed, technically for many sites there is little difference between search keywords and tag search results (it may be as little as another line in the server’s htaccess file). And in the case of Technorati, tag results are search results... which ought not to be made indexable per Google guidelines.

[Thanks and Niraj Sanghvi!]


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