empty blogrolls

I have noticed a subtle issue with blogrolls that people may not realize, but it makes it harder to know who is linking to you. The issue is that any site using Bloglines or Blogrolling, or any other service that uses Javascript to display a list of links, will not have those links registered on Google, Technorati, Truth Laid Bear, or any other blog linking engine.

The reason? Javascript runs on the client, meaning the client must know how to execute the language. The server sends the instructions in the form of Javascript, and browsers know what to do with those instructions so when you go to the web site in a browser you see the list of links. However, if you view the same site from the eyes of a spider or bot, you see the javascript source code and no links. You can see what I mean if you view the source of the page.

I wondered why the Truth Laid Bear ecosystem wasn’t finding links that I knew existed. Now I know why.

To solve the problem I now use PHP instead of Javascript to display the blogrolls. The change is simple as long as your server supports PHP. Instead of pasting in the Javascript code you just put the URL provided for PHP inside a readfile() function call, like so.

<?php @readfile( "http://rpc.bloglines.com/blogroll?html=1blahblahblah" ); ?>
<?php @readfile( "http://rpc.blogrolling.com/display_raw.php?blahblahblah" ); ?>

(The @ sign on the front is to silently ignore any errors.)


 (Post a comment) | Comments RSS feed
  1. Would that explain why Technorati and The Truth Laid Bear do not show the same links to me? There are some listed on Technorati that The Truth Laid Bear does not and The Truth Laid Bear indicates a few that are not on Technorati.

    Comment by Babs on August 5, 2004 @ 5:49 pm
  2. It would only explain links you can see on a site that aren’t on either one, because both Technorati and Truth Laid Bear use spiders. The only way they could pick those up would be to have a javascript engine embedded in their spider that would execute the javascript and get the links.

    I don’t think any spiders do that now.

    My guess as to the differences is that Truth Laid Bear tracks fewer blogs than Technorati.

    Comment by dan on August 6, 2004 @ 9:05 am
  3. The Truth Laid Bear shows more links to my site than Technorati. I guess this is a good thing – keeps my status up in the ecosystem.

    Comment by Babs on August 7, 2004 @ 10:26 am

Comments are closed