Maybe you’ve seen this kind of trackback show up on your blog comments or in your Akismet filter:
[Your Blog’s Name] [verb] an [adjective] post today on [link to your blog article]. Here’s a quick excerpt:
If you go to the blog in question you’ll find an excerpt from your article that’s about 350 characters long in the post and you’ll probably also find Adsense ads and perhaps an affiliate offer or two on the page. It looks like a normal blog for the most part except that it is obviously generated by a scraping process, not an actual person.
Many people get annoyed by this. I’ve seen several posts recently decrying this kind of automated blog. They want to report them to somebody, anybody. However, this kind of scraping is actually beneficial to your blog. Here’s why.
1. It Validates Your SEO and Keyword Targeting Efforts
Getting noticed is always tough for a new blog, but, with a little basic SEO work you can indexed and splogged within a day of starting activity. Here’s an early post on OpTempo where I described this: One Day Old and Already Scraped and Spammed.
If splog software is noticing you this means that you’re indexed in Google and your feeds are pinging well. Your site is getting noticed and splogging lets you know this.
If you continue to get splogged, that means your posts are hitting popular, well paying, keywords. Once again, this helps validate your own keyword targeting efforts.
2. It’s a Free One Way Backlink
Google, Technorati, and others work off of backlinks. More backlinks means higher Google PageRank and higher Technorati authority for your blog in the long run. Excerpt splogging helps you gain backlinks and thus they improve your ranking as a result. The more splogs following your blog the better off you’ll be.
3. Dupe Content is No Problem
Many fear that being splogged like this will trigger a Google duplicate content penalty. However, this is highly unlikely since the excerpt is generally only about 350 characters (much like the Blogging Zoom excerpt, BTW) and blockquoted. The Googlebot is smart enough to tell that this is simply a quote from another site and not original content. In fact, since you’re being quoted, this may even increase your ranking as an authority site in Google’s algorithm according to some “Why Wikipeida ranks high” theories I’ve heard.
4. There’s Not A Lot You Can Do Anyway
This kind of quoting is allowed under US and most other countries copyright laws. Short excerpts of an original work are allowed as fair use. This means that copyright complaints will fall on deaf ears.
Will Google suspend Adsense accounts for such blogs or de-index them? Maybe, maybe not. They certainly don’t suspend those who use article farms for content, although they may get a dupe content penalty. Also since these splogs are within copyright law they’re unwilling to do anything on that front, since that could, in turn, affect manually edited blogs that quote news articles or other bloggers.
About all you can do is mark the trackbacks as spam in Akismet. This is probably the most effective response you can have.
What are your thoughts on “quick excerpt” splogs? Leave me a comment and let me know.