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The Changing Face of Interlinking Blogging Culture [And the Impact of Twitter]

Today at SMX Sydney Rand Fishkin and I had a pretty cool chat about how Twitter (and other factors) might have changed the landscape of blogging and the way that people link up to one another.

I was going to sit down tonight to write up some reflections on the conversation but Rand beat me to the punch and wrote it up better than I could:

“In 2006, a popular blog post or piece of content would generate a remarkable amount of blogging activity. It wasn’t uncommon for a few hundred small & mid-size blogs & news sites to pick up a story, add their thoughts and create links. Today, even very popular pieces of content in the technology sphere are lucky to have two dozen blogs and traditional websites write about them. What’s happened? Darren and I proposed a few potential theories:”

I’ll let you read what those theories and some implications of that on Rand’s post – Could Twitter Cannibalize the Web’s Link Graph. I’d be fascinated to hear your thoughts in the comments section of his post.

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. Sunil Pathak says:

    Interesting article Darren

    I agree with Rand, blogger are more self-focused self focused, you don’t get to see interesting stuff being covered by blogger now day, people don’t want to cover anything for free, even blogroll is paid only now days.

    and thanks to micro blogging services like twitter and plurk what ever little out going links we used to see on blogs is now shifted to twits and plurk time line.

    if this continue like this we wont see much traffic on blog and other news site, people will spend most of their time checking twits rather then checking their Feed readers

  2. James Sims says:

    I completely agree. Twitter needs to be mined for links and used in search engine results. Perhaps Google could establish a Twitter section, just as they now have a Blog criteria when searching. This way, Twitter traffic won’t clog up traditional Google results, rather they can be filtered and used accordingly.

  3. I think twitter has become a medium for people to become a lot more selfish with their online ventures. I would be interested to see a survey of how many tweets were genuine gestures to connect with people compared to those that are selfish blog or product promotions.
    Sam

  4. unoblogger says:

    There was a recent article on DailyBlogTips on twitter having a little over 25,000,000 users.. This is great volume of users and attracting just a fraction of these people should sustain a website.
    Yes Twitter is causing a revolution but how far it will succeed in dethroning blogs is still a question.

  5. I think twitter is defiantly having an effect on links. I see less blogs link to new stories and i keep seeing more tweets about them. But is this important? News is still getting about your posts and articles. Every site should be seeing around the same fall in natural links and about the same rise in twitter responses.

  6. Chris says:

    The reason the whole linking thing (and to some extent SEO in general) is just getting harder is that the model is broken, and Google is smarter.

    The technical aspect of blogging counts for maybe 10% at most – the 90% is having a good idea, a functional site, and producing stuff people want to read.

    Many high traffic sites are un-optimized, out-the-box installations, or bare-bones outfits. But they’re written and run by intelligent people who have something interesting to say. (Think kottke.org as a classic blogger, or in the design world, the original version of swissmiss.)

    A site run by someone who is an expert on adwords techniques and keyword targeting and tags v categories and monetizing twitter is unlikely to be interesting.

    It only appeals to other bloggers who are also hoping to make a buck and want to read up on the same stuff. Unfortunately for them, the time and effort it takes to create something financially profitable in this realm means a ROI is going to be harder and harder to get.

    To use a crude analogy, look at computers. Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive can’t strip a computer down and rebuild it. They don’t know the intricate technicalities of what’s going on under the hood. They just know what their audience likes.

    And that, not 200-page PDFs (“e-books”!) or free SEO trials or SEM workshops, is the secret of success.

    There’s only room for a handful of people who can be successful doing that, and Darren, to your immense credit, you’re one of them.

    The rest of us will just need to focus on creating something people want to read, and maybe have a couple of Problogger-type sites in the RSS feed – no more.

  7. I’m wondering how this will affect the pay per post business model. If eyes are on Twitter I see less time spent as before on typical blogs.

  8. David Cain says:

    This kind of web evolution fascinates me.

    The name of the game has certainly changed.

    Let’s see who learns to play it best.

  9. Cookiemouse says:

    Very true. Twitter seems to be changing the whole landscape of the web. I remember, Darren, when you blogged about Twitter search a while ago. These days I use Twitter search almost as much as Google. As for blogs, I think that a blog is becoming more like a home base, while all the action takes place on Twitter. Look how the http://twitter.com/twitchhiker made it all the way down under for charity, using Twitter!

  10. Karen Purves says:

    I think there is a new dimension happening with these tools moving form the early adopter phase to the early majority. Also, there are more people trying to flog stuff using web2.0 that makes the market place more dynamic – but lots more crowded and noisy.

    My own habits have changed with the use of Twitter – I read loads more blogs, comment on loads more – at the moment have stopped running my own blog while I assess how I can present my own thoughts, information and muses in an intelligent yet readily accessible way that is valuable for both readers and my business. That takes some thinking!

    I think this is a really interesting time and don’t think anyone has the answer for it will evolve….

    It will take time for more of the market to catch up and with that the relationships between the tools, the information and how they are used will change again and again and again.

    Those who understand what is happening will make great progress but there will be casualties – just as ever

  11. Ryan McLean says:

    This is extremely interesting because I have not yet become involved in twitter. Sure I have my own twitter account under my own name, and I have 100 or so followers. But I have not yet learnt to use twitter to build my blog
    It is interesting to find that it is becoming harder and harder to get some link love from the blog-o-sphere.
    Will twiiter kill the blog-o-sphere altogether or just change the way it looks.
    I think it will just change the way it looks

  12. I agree that Twitter is devouring the links that would previously have instead been blogged about. This presents a problem both for website owners and search engines.

    The site owners will still receive the initial burst in traffic when their content spreads virally on Twitter, but unlike when people blog about it, there is virtually no long term traffic in this situation.

    The search engines face the problem of having fewer quality links to work from since Twitter nofollows external links. Even if they didn’t, most people use URL shorteners, so there are few direct links anyway.

    It will be interesting to see how both sides work around the challenges.

  13. Kaushik says:

    I have written a book on how to live in harmony with life, by awakening out of the clinging mind, based on personal experience, and I started a website to promote it. I have a software background, but I made the decision not delve too far in the technology, and just allow the content to do its thing. Reading your article is nice encouragement. Google’s purpose is to give relevant results to the searcher, and technical strategies will work in the short run, but only content will stand up in the long run.

  14. @ Chris: I sure hope you are right, because I’m one of those bloggers who doesn’t know the first thing about SEO tricks and insider blogger tips… aside from a few problogger articles I’ve managed to read (thanks, Darren!)

    All the technical stuff seems like a tremendous barrier to entry for people who may have something valuable to say but lack the skills, or budget, to have the latest and greatest tricked-out website. Whether I am one of those adding value remains to be seen…

    I will say, even as a newbie, twitter has been a big help. I can’t imagine bloggers today NOT using twitter.

  15. Agent SEO says:

    Twitter is definitely changing the game for not just bloggers, but for the whole internet. It is amazing the amount of times that it gets mentioned by the media these days.

    Problem is, as soon as they mention it, they always follow it up with their explanation of why they don’t understand it (and why they think it’s stupid). Just this morning, I was listening to a popular national sports radio show and they actually referred to it as “Tweetering.”

    It is just amazing to me that so many people can’t yet see the value gained with Twitter. The name of the game is exposure, and Twitter helps you get it.

  16. Yum Yucky says:

    On a lighter note, I’m tired of the morning news with a corny news guy/woman who talks about Twitter like they’re a complete idiot as their introduction to interviewing some Twitter King who breaks it all down for the viewers. This is like everyday now. Stop it already!

  17. Rehuel says:

    Bloggers need to stay focused on their blogs. Twitter is just a promotion/marketing medium, IMHO. Yes it may true that visitors have the tendency to tweet about a good post instead of commenting on it, but that just means that you need to be more creative if you are looking for comments. Find ways to make people want to comment, either before or after they tweeted about it.

    Keep being creative, write attractive content, use the advantages of technology to promote it and always anticipate changes in the behavior and habits of your audience.

  18. Yes Pay Per Post and sponsored reviews are pretty well going down. I see the web changing a bit in the future, we need to adapt.

  19. Valerie says:

    I agree that twitter is cannibalizing inter-blog linking and I think it can be a good thing. Linking a post on another blog without adding any more than a one sentence reaction is more appropriate for a tweet than a whole blog post. I prefer to link other blog posts when I’m pulling several together, or when it fits in with my own original post.

  20. I believe search engines do index twitter for links, but I wish twitter allowed hyperlinking text withing tweets to make it more valuable for SEO

  21. Matt Blick says:

    OK Darren
    I read both posts and understand them…but…could you now do a ‘what this means (or could mean) in plain (ish) english for new bloggers’?

    I (and possibly many others) would be ever so grateful….!

  22. Karlstadunix says:

    im addicting to twitter right now, tweet every second ! :)

  23. Gabriel says:

    I love twitter. But, to fully exploit its potentials I use a variety of twitter applications. Hootsuite serves my needs at the moment because I can manage several twitter accounts via a single dashboard and, more importantly, I get to program the release of my tweets. Sweet.

  24. VlogHog says:

    Obviously, the pr people at Twitter are working overtime to get the brand out in the public.

    I don’t think Twitter will harm the traditional methods of SEO.

  25. Sarah Merion says:

    I couldn’t agree more. The rate of information already increases at exponential rates. With the use of Twitter, I can only imagine how this is going to affect (or already has) information exchange. However, Twitter only helps for existing information to be pumped through — it doesn’t (usually) allow for information generation.