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Zemanta related articles explained

August 18, 2009 No Comment

Increasing numbers of pages link to this blog that, when I look at the linking/referring site, list one of my posts in a box called "Related articles by Zemanta".

An example of Zemanta's related articles

An example of Zemanta's related articles

Wondering what it was all about, I asked Andraz Tori, CTO of www.zemanta.com a few questions. Here are the answers ... (Zemanta does more than just related articles - but it was the SEO benefits of the links that I wanted to explore).

How does Zemanta work? When someone writes a blog post, how does it find related articles?

We have servers that index millions of articles in the blogosphere. As you write [a post], your text is sent to our server for analysis (advanced natural language processing). Then we match your text with others we have in our index and suggest related articles.

Is the list of related articles fixed at the time of publication?

[It struck me that Zemanta might dynamically choose articles each time the page is looked at, which might mean a link to my blog eventually gets bumped by a later article.]

How it works is we give you a list of 'suggested' articles and you as an author chose which ones you want included (by clicking on them).

Then they are fixed, baked into your post.

[Excellent!]

Is this true of the '5 more fresh articles' option as well?

The ability to offer this to your readers can be can be enabled/disabled in preferences.

When clicking "5 more fresh articles", fresh articles are delivered to the reader of the blog post in real time at the moment of clicking on that link.

[So these ones, unlike the standard ones, are served up dynamically]

I notice some of the links go through a r.zemanta.com redirect. Is there a reason for this?

Yes, so we can count how many clicks there were. mostly we monitor clicks to big media sites (guardian, bbc, cnn...).

Stats are important so we know what kind of effect our recommendations can deliver.

[I've checked these redirects and they're 301s, not 302s. This is all-round good for SEO]

How did I get onto the network of blogs that Zemanta chooses from? How do you decide who to include?

  1. By using Zemanta. We check you are not a spammer and manually add your blog feed to our index.
  2. Or by being on one of the lists of good bloggers that we added automatically. We basically take suggestions on what to include, so people can nominate their own blogs: http://www.zemanta.com/fan/addfeed/

How many sites have installed Zemanta?

We have tens of thousands of active users :) and something above 100k downloads.

Conclusion

It all seems above board, and there appear to be genuine SEO / traffic benefits to the links - I'd been worried that I'd accept the pingbacks but that my link would get dropped eventually. This isn't the case.

Screnshot from http://frontofficebox.com/fob_blog/.

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