Saturday, October 22, 2005


Blogger backlinks

Thanks to Technorati, I recently discovered that my Common-Place article on blogging was noticed earlier this month by the official Blogger Buzz blog. That was cool, but even cooler was that this led me to discover another post on the Blogger blog on "backlinks," the newest nifty tool to help us loyal Blogspot users catch up with our Movable Type and Wordpress peers. By enabling "backlinks," you can have something similar to "trackbacks" in the comments sections of your posts. See an example at the bottom of my recent post on skimming books.

Backlinks are similar to trackbacks but not identical. With trackbacks, users themselves can ping your blog to let you know that it has been noticed elsewhere. Backlinks just runs a search for the post on Google's BlogSearch engine and returns the results. That means you have to wait until the BlogSearch robot indexes your post before "backlinks" will appear. Still, having the backlinks is an improvement over just posting a link to Technorati search results for a particular post, because "backlinks" (like "trackbacks") actually show readers--on the post page itself--that there are references to a particular post out there in the blogosphere. As Julie points out in a recent post at No Fancy Name, with Technorati you actually have to click through a link to discover, in many cases, that a given post has no links referring back to it.

At any rate, I've enabled "backlinks" to give them a whirl. Comments on this new feature from Blogger welcome.

Collective Improvisation:
Yeah, well, I also said in my post that I _don't like_ Blogger backlinks. :)

It didn't even occur to me that you might not have known about that Blogger Buzz link. I saw it, I was proud for you, and then I promptly didn't tell you. Sorry! :(

Posted by Blogger JM on 10/22/2005 05:31:00 PM : Permalink  

Hey, I owe you an apology for not representing your full opinion. ;-)

I agree with you that it looks kinda quirky to have the "backlinks" label printed even on post where there are no backlinks. In my current template, the same thing happens with posts with no comments.

I do think the "expandable" snippets feature is kinda cool, but there are certainly kinks to work out. Maybe it's time to put that Biz Stone connection to work! ;-)

Posted by Blogger Caleb McDaniel on 10/22/2005 05:39:00 PM : Permalink  

Heh, yeah, except Biz left to work full time at Odeo.

Posted by Blogger JM on 10/22/2005 05:45:00 PM : Permalink  

Did enabling it muck up your template modifications at all? Or did you install the code by hand?

I like the idea of the feature (you can RSS feed Technorati watchlists to get a similar functionality, but it's not public and Google seems to index faster than Technorati), but I don't really want to invest a great deal of time in it right now.

Posted by Blogger Ahistoricality on 10/22/2005 07:58:00 PM : Permalink  

I did have to mess with the HTML code by hand. I followed the instructions on this help page. I also had to modify my CSS style sheets slightly to make it look right. If you're familiar with the way other Blogger tags work, it doesn't take too long.

I think the reason I had to do it by hand, however, was because I've made so many other modifications to my base template. Blogger is supposed to be able to auto-install the backlinks, I think, if you're using one of the standard templates. It's worth going into your settings and turning backlinks on and seeing what it tells you. It told me I would have to install the code myself.

Posted by Blogger Caleb McDaniel on 10/22/2005 08:39:00 PM : Permalink  

Thanks, Caleb.

I decided to go ahead and see if the automated installation would work. I haven't made quite as many changes to the basic template. It seems to be working fine. Now if they would just add a link counter, I'd be a happy blogger....

Posted by Blogger Ahistoricality on 10/24/2005 05:56:00 AM : Permalink  

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