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Google’s Pro.blogger

update – I’ve updated this with an explanation at the bottom of this post.

I’m currently packing my bags and getting last minute things together to leave for New York in 36 hours so this post is a little unthought through – but it’s definitely something that caught my attention today because it involves Google and ProBlogger.

Chris pinged me with a post he’d written – Google Gets Caught With Their Pants Down! - a title that made me curious.

But I was surprised to find out that Adam’s post was about how Google are using the sub domain pro.blogger.com

Now before you go have a look at pro.blogger.com – what would you think it would point to?

Blogger.com is Google’s blogging platform so my guess is that they might have pointed it there – but they don’t – they show their own Google search page for the term.

Now ultimately I don’t really care what they do with their own domains and sub domains – but the result of it is that on Yahoo and MSN Search this Google Search page ranks highly (#1 on Yahoo and #3 on MSN) for the term ‘pro blogger’ (and in the top 10 on Google).

Whether they’re doing this on purpose as a way to manipulate search traffic (as Adam argues) I’m not sure – but it is a somewhat odd thing to discover.

A few other comments and reflections:

  • Google gives itself a page rank of 9 out of 10 for the page too (I wonder how that works) – if only they’d shoot a little link love directly to a real site about pro blogging…. could do with that kind of Google Juice!
  • If nothing else it’s kind of exciting to think that Google think highly enough of the term pro blogger to do something like this. Just makes me wonder why they wouldn’t direct the traffic to their blogging platform. Perhaps they think Google search is a more relevant tool for bloggers than blogger.com? (sorry – couldn’t resist)
  • It also makes me wonder a little about the search engine’s search algorithms if Google’s search page (which doesn’t mention the keywords pro, blogger, bloggers, blog etc) can rank so highly for the term simply by having it in their URL.
  • I can’t find any other .blogger.com domains that do anything similar. Just seems to be a pro.blogger.com thing (although I’ve only tried about 20-30 combinations)

What do you think about this tactic of Google? Like I say – I’m not quite sure how to react (and at first impression don’t think it’s too big a deal) but as the ProBlogger community I’d appreciate your take.

Update: I worked it out.

After a little of digging around in Internet Archive I now see that pro.blogger used to be used by blogger.com for actual pages which are now no longer active (they started using this sub-domain back in 2001).

It was some sort of a ‘pro’ upgrade package – before Google bought them. You can see some different versions of it here. It still doesn’t answer why they’d put a Google search page up here instead of point it to something relevant – but it does explain it’s Page Rank and why Yahoo and MSN gave it authority (although it’s definitely lacking some relevancy these days for terms of ‘pro blogging’).

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Amit Agarwal says:

    Earlier Google had a pro version of Blogspot which offered some unique features like the ability to remove the navbar.

    The pro version was abandoned but not the subdomain.

  2. NGeN says:

    hmm… thats really absurd… i got a little confused @ first when i read the article.. :)

  3. The Geek says:

    Any time a huge global company wants to they can take over a market without breaking a sweat… in this case by accident.

    I don’t quite understand why the page has a pagerank of 9… that part doesn’t really make sense.

  4. Jon says:

    It has a PR of 9 because it has 1.4 million backlinks!
    Seems that a lot of Blogger sites must still have a link to it, that’s probably why they put a Google search box up there, just to catch the traffic from those links.
    It certainly explains why they would outrank even Problogger.net for the term.
    I don’t think it’s a conspiracy.

  5. Jon says:

    After doing some more digging, it is clear that the old Blogger “Pro” version sites still all have a link back to pro.blogger.com.
    Go to this site, http://avoyagetoarcturus.blogspot.com/ and scroll down to the end of the left hand sidebar. You’ll see a little “Powered by Pro Blogger” logo. The image is linked to “http://pro.blogger.com/”
    Apparently there are just over 1.4 million of these image links still out there.
    Mysery solved.

  6. I thought Google was all about being relevant? Pointing that sub-domain to a google search page is not really relevant i i have to admit! They should probably point it to blogger (or to blog search or something)

    “Google search is a more relevant tool for bloggers than blogger.com?”
    haha, that made me laugh!!! :)

    *note to self: I never tried to manipulate google in any way.. but maybe I should start, since i can’t win the game, I might as well play by their rules!

  7. Mr_Gadget says:

    Hmmm, I hope they don’t steal any more of your traffic mate. It does seem a bit unfair how any of their own pages will automatically have at least a 9/10 page rank, but they were the ones smart enough to establish their system first?

    Go ProBlogger (Darren’s one)!

  8. Andy says:

    Is it not possible to contact Google about this matter and gauge their opinion or are they unapproachable?

  9. ZHereford says:

    Do you think that perhaps Google is using their leverage unfairly?
    Makes you wonder.

  10. Rhys says:

    I used to be a member of Blogger Pro. Things like the navbar wasn’t there, changing the timestamp was one of the features, as was the comments. This was before Blogger was bought by google. I had 3 months left of my pro.blogger account when Google bought it (and when they did, all features became free), but they sent me tons of blogger goodies to call it even.

    Was nice of them :)

  11. I have such mixed feelings about Google. They’re evil, but they’re one of the greatest companies for innovation since Microsoft. I can’t live without either of them!

  12. Thilak says:

    I’m not asking Google to redirect pro.blogger.com to problogger.net or any other site, but I personally feel that redirecting it to blogger.com would have been a better option. Might be a minor error by Google, I hope to see it fixed pretty soon

  13. TheOzz says:

    Jon, It looks like the number of backlinks to pro.blogger is exactly the same as for the root domain of blogger.com, and the front page of the backlink results is exactly the same. Oddly enough, I can not find a single “real” blogger.com URL with a page rank higher than 8.

    Did anyone else notice that there are several broken links on the pro.blogger/google page?

  14. Very interesting!

    So, are you going to hold your breath before they share traffic or revenue?

    LOL, I wouldn’t either!

    Don

  15. Derrich says:

    Good luck getting to the bottom of this. So much for relevancy, eh? I just tried the search (“pro blogger”). You’re back at #1. The Google “redirect” was at #5.

  16. Santosuke says:

    You should read a post I recently wrote called GOOGLE IS A WHORE, HAHA
    It’s here http://www.fashreport.com/fash_report/2007/05/just_so_you_kno.html

  17. Blaine Moore says:

    Ha ha ha! All of Google’s links on that page are 404 not founds.

  18. Davelu says:

    hmm.. i guess the rules don’t apply to them so… there.

    hhehe