Tumblr & Posterous are Invigorating the Link Graph

by on July 7, 2010 | posted in SEO Theory

A year ago, Rand Fishkin estimated that Twitter would cannibalize the link graph. People were linking out less due to the arrival of Twitter, and due to the no-follow nature of their links, organic search results became tainted. Often times the best content would get few to no links even though it attracted hundreds of retweets, and as such, organic search results suffered.

Quietly, though, two little bastions of organic-search-result legend began rising in the darkness – Posterous and Tumblr. Similar to Twitter in that they allow short-form and ease-of-use blogging, they differ in that their links allow passage of value unbeknownst to the blue bird platform.

Both platforms are rapidly growing in size, and due to their increased popularity, the link graph is benefitting. It’s never been easier to share that you like a link or post, and now, there’s no need to create a specialized post to wrap the linkbaitable content – you currently have the ability to drop in the link on your Tumblr or Posterous page in the blink of an eye, and still not have it offset the experience of your blog.

Rise and Fall of the Link Graph

The search engine timeline has brought various ebs and flows in true algorithmic effectiveness. At Google’s inception in 1997, the algorithms were rather porous and thus didn’t efficiently conceptualize how search should be approached. As it entered an immediate stage of development and was more accurately reaching a level of accurate assessment of the link graph, Twitter debuted.

As growth spiked, Twitter began cannibalizing the link graph, creating disorientation of a rather efficient algorithm.  This year has shown the first signs of Google accounting for Twitter’s presence on the web, with the arrival of real-time search and looming (and perhaps current) implementation of tweets in organic search results.

And sure enough, as Google began doing this, Tumblr and Posterous starting gaining some real steam, allowing the services to “take back” some of the link graph Twitter had been cannibalizing. Arriving back in the present, we see both of these microblogging units starting to power the web, offering positive substantiation for the future totality of the link graph.

These two microblogging platforms unfortunately still can’t account for the entire impact of Twitter, but they offer a strong lean towards positive development of an accurate, complete search experience.

The Link Graph’s Future

Combined with a strong (but not overwhelming) algorithmic strategy by Google to begin implementing tweets into the organic search results,  there is a strong possibility of a “search utopia” being achieved, wherein the algorithm, and the outside forces that influence it, coalign to offer a comprehensive and accurate view of the web.

This is a great thing for all parties involved, as Google improves their user experience and makes more money, while we receive the benefits of an improved and efficient search engine.

And then, the Lord said – “let there be links”.

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  • http://www.heroicdestiny.com David Crandall

    When I first came across Tumblr (and later Posterous), I immediately thought “how cool”. I feel like they sit somewhere between Twitter and a “traditional” blog. Because of this they seem to require less commitment to a particular theme than a true blog while allowing more engagement than Twitter.

    I think they are just now coming in to their own and I am excited to see if they will affect the online landscape like the two systems they sit between (Twitter and Blogs). Just this week I turned a few people on to Posterous and am considering integrating one in to my own branding.

    Cool stuff!

    • http://www.rosshudgens.com Ross Hudgens

      Thanks Dave. I am actually not a fan of using micro-blogging platforms because you don’t “own” the content. If you can find a way to integrate it into Heroic Destiny, I greatly recommend it. But until then..

      • http://www.heroicdestiny.com David Crandall

        Wasn’t actually aware of the not “own”-ing part. Will have to look in to that a bit.

        I’ve thought about adding them under a subdomain and use it as a tool to post quick messages or videos on topics to generate engagement. Something that sits between the informal 140 characters of Twitter and the formal message/mission/theme of the established blog. My thought is that it would provide a nice layer between the two extremes and help people feel more comfortable engaging.

        • http://www.rosshudgens.com Ross Hudgens

          Subdomain definitely works, see http://blog.dustincurtis.com for an example Posterous blog. I just don’t like the idea of what I’ve created potentially disappearing or not creating value for my own property (domain) instead of for someone else. I think it would most properly exist without your own domain, I just haven’t had enough time to try and find a way to implement it.

  • http://twitter.com/magicrob Rob Duckers

    As a Tumblr user and SEO this makes me proud! Oh, note that I don’t use my tumblr for SEO-focused blogging, but that’s a whole other story…

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