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Understanding Technorati Tags

© November 2005 Anthony Lawrence

There have been rumors that Technorati will be seo.blogsome.com/2005/06/15/google-to-buy-technorati/ (link dead, sorry) bought by Google.

If you said "That's nice - what the heck is Technorati?", read on.

If Google wants to buy it, Technorati must be important, whether most of us have heard of it or not. Basically, it's a search engine specializing in blogs but with added user input to categorize posts. That's something Google has so far paid no attention to, although there are other rumors that Google plans to allow websites to supply some demographic information for Adsense ("our readers tend to like kittens, red wine and Impressionist artists"). Technorati allows anyone to add links that are tagged with their own opinion of what a page is about. Some folks call this user driven classification Folksonomy.

Technorati accomplishes this with the "rel" tag in a link ( www.technorati.com/help/tags.html (link dead, sorry) ). I've add these to my posts here to tell Technorati what *I* think this post is about. For example, this post carries this link:

<a href="https://technorati.com/tag/Folksonomy" rel="tag">Folksonomy</a>

That tells Technorati what I think, but anyone else could tell them that it belongs in some other category too. For the creator of content, it's like playing Family Feud: you want to pick the tag that you think other people will pick when looking for whatever it is this posting is about. You can check Technorati to see how many other posts have a particular label, and of course you can use more than one label, but you are still guessing. You might ask, "Isn't that what the 'keywords' metatag is for?". Well, perhaps it should have been, and sometimes it can be, but generally, no, it isn't. I can add a keywords tage to the header:

<meta name="keywords" content="foo" />

but if "foo" doesn't appear in the content, or doesn't appear often, search engines like Google pretty much ignore it. That's their way of avoiding false advertising of page content, but in reality, sometimes a page is about "foo" even if the word itself never appears in the content. The Technorati tagging is a kind of democratic voting: if fifty people link to the page and they say it is about "foo", then by gum it is about "foo" whether Google thinks so or not.

So, while imperfect, Technorati tagging let's you describe your content and, more importantly, other readers can do the same thing if they link to it. Frankly, that's been one of Google's weak points, both in search and for advertising: they only care what they think your post is about. I hope they pay attention here.

The other confusing thing about Technorati is how they will find your pages to begin with (assuming they having picked them up elsewhere). That requires two things: "claiming" your blog at Technorati: basically just telling them that a blog is yours, and they then give you a piece of Javascript to put on your pages. They also ask that your links on your homepage include a rel="bookmark" so it ends up looking something like this:

<a href="https://aplawrence.com/technorati-tags.html"  rel="bookmark">Technorati

As Technorati also picks up tags from del.icio.us and other sources, they may index your new posts whether you do this or not.

There's plenty of help at Technorati if you are interested in doing this for your own site. Remember, if Google thinks this is important, it probably isn't smart to ignore it.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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-> Understanding Technorati Tags

Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Sierra: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Pages

Take Control of Numbers

iOS 8: A Take Control Crash Course

iOS 10: A Take Control Crash Course

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