23 July, 2008

Is Google Algorithm Relevant to African Content

This post is in the way of a question for good reason and i hope Google Africa will have an answer to it!I write around four blogs, but siku-moja is my main blog, the number of backlinks to this blog the last time i checked was around 170, im sure it has grown!This blog is featured and has been featured in various forum's relevant to the African Diaspora i.e:
  • Blog Africa
  • Global Voices online
  • Afrora
  • Kenyaunlimited
  • A post in Mashada
  • Kenyaimagine
  • World bank Blog etc...
the list is exhaustive yet its page ranking indicating its relevancy dropped from 4 to 3 and now two.I was left wondering, well i have enrolled to Google Webmaster and closely follow the webmaster guidelines including assigning the "rel="no follow"" attribute to outgoing links.I continue to avoid black listed Directories.I further disclose any posts that are sponsored by advertisers.I have 77 subscribers to my feed.The site is listed in various reputable human edited directories, one would think that with this background this site would we well ranked.The truth is that my dormant blogs have better page ranking than this blog!

Perhaps that just my case, so i decided to visit some of the authoritative A-list blog sites in Kenya to see how my fellow bloggers are ranked and this is what i found( i am of the opinion that the Google algorithm is not authoritative in Africa and rates sites in a manner that does not capture "the African Spirit" or experience online:
  1. Bankelele Page Rank 2
  2. Al Kags 5
  3. Afro Musing 5
  4. hapa Kenya 3
  5. Jikomboe 6
  6. Gathara's World 4
  7. Wanjiku Unlimited 0
  8. Kenyan Pundit 6
  9. Mentalacrobatics 5
  10. Kikuyu Moja's Realm 4
Some of this bloggers are the best in Kenya , have been around for quite some time, write quality posts and are leaders in their niche.I believe its absurd to rank them using the same algorithm that Google will use for blogs in America or the rest of the world.For one i admire Bankelele and his financial blog and believe he more than anything deserves a better page rank.What is relevant and authoritative in Africa may not be perceived the same way in the west.I understand that sometimes google uses human editors /website assesors or raters to be able to rank websites(sometime back i actually received an invitation by a company named Lionbridge UK to manually assess somewebsites and was required to pass a test before being enrolled,though Google denies outsourcing this task).

Its time we advocated for google to rank African websites according to their relevancy in Africa and how the same is perceived locally.I know that is quite a task but getting their current algorithm was indeed a task but they were succesful,i therefore believe such a move is within their means.As they continue to open more offices in Africa , i hope they will also continue to customize the African experience online!


  1. i found this article via afrikeo, the actual link www.afrikeo.com/big/country/Kenya
    and I must say its a search engine for african content just like your cry if Google works here, we now have something from Africans by Africans. you can search, you can browse by country or just view all by time: news, blogs, classified and maybe forums will come later

  2. Your dormant blogs have a better page rank than the active one?! Something is not adding up with google here.

    Couldn't help laughing at myself. Pagerank is google's way of deciding a page's importance. And yours truly is at 0. hahaha.

    Thanks for having yours truly on your list of A-list blog sites!

  3. There is definitely something that Google dislike in your blog...

    Anyway,it is just a question of optimisation.

    Google Webmaster will help you a lot. About the nofollow issue, things have changed, an abusive used of nofollow can trigger an alert to Google so still use normal outgoing links.

    Indeed, Google is sometimes using human editor but it is very rare as they prefer to use their algo... In fact, they usually perfom 7 to 8 algo modification per year on specific domain so it is probable that they are also playing with blogspot domain for testing purposes.

    Your homepage has a PR of 2 like you said. You need to investigate further and find out what is wrong.

    Personnally, I would start by removing all these banners/buttons at the sidebar and other JS stuff, your page were very very slow to load !! They are really bad so go through each of them and see if they are really necessary.

    It is a big problem indeed especially when you are indexed after afrora and blogcatalog when doing a search for a specific keywords (like "A Little Nairobian").

    Good luck.

  4. How Google ranks pages and websites is still a BIG mystery. There are a bunch of personal blogs that are given a high PR like 5 or 6 for starters, specially non english ones and with no or little link backs. Maybe this is because Pay-per-post companies does not accept blogs written in native languages and Google hates payperposts. They punish blogs doing sponsored reviews and PPP's by ripping their PR's. So the only way to get your PR back is by having an enormous amount of backlinks.

    I also think that uniqueness of the topics posted is also key to high pr. If a topic is being published or talked about on many sites, this will prove irrelevant to Google. I have a few pages in my blog that was given a higher PR than my main page because when I searched Google for the topic, that post is the only relevant one.

    Still it's a mystery.

  5. hi, anonymous Tommy! thanks for the tip, i will follow through!But i dont think the adverts should be the issue, the Kenyan daily nation website has lots of them but its not an issue, what should matter most is the content and thats where google goes wrong and its unfair,i moved from payperpost to social sparks(how else do you expect us to monetize adsense barely delivers) which is a google friendly site, hope that improves stuff.But i believe the google monopoly is unhealthy!they can formulate rules that may be unfair and if you dont like it.you can go burst....theres no just and equity in that ?where the freedom to choose and inform or be informed...googzilla?

  6. I am not anonymous, you have my name and email :) Anyway, Tommy (a.k. Peperuka)...

    It's not the add the prob, but the quality of your code (full of JS). Make sure that Google can read your page from top to bottom.

    AgentOrange is right, pay-per-post can flag Google, especially you are have a lot of them.

    "So the only way to get your PR back is by having an enormous amount of backlinks." - Try Knol (launched yesterday by Google), it is new and high in PR and nofollow (Knol are even placed before Wikipedia). Find a niche topic and write stuff there or post comments.

    Keyword density and a bit of digg-like that provides hard backlinks did the trick for my blog (not in English though).

  7. Thanks for the breakdown, though I don't understand how page rank is calculated

  8. thanks Tommy for the updates, pole i went searching for your google profile and you remained anonymous!but thanks for the tips.unfortunately java script is valid programing language and most widgets on the web now contain java codes-Google has to STEP UP TO THE TIMESS!bankelele u are welcome

  9. That's because I do not have a blogger account... I comment on your blog using my Google account.



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