Posted February 20, 2007 1:38 pm by with 22 comments

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A few Blogger bloggers have noticed their SERPs acting funny lately—they’re not there. Of course, the first hypothesis is that they’ve incurred some penalty from the search engines. But, one of the affected Blogger blogs, thought to check their code.

A little background: Blogger has made up a bunch of really ugly generic code so they can create generic templates that work for all their blogs without every blogger having to go through the code and insert their blog’s name, meta data, posts, etc. This makes it easy on new bloggers—until Blogger starts inserting unwelcome code into your blog.

The offending line this time was Blogger’s <$BlogMetaData$> element. Blogger Help says that this element should generate the following code, for example, when your blog loads:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" 
    content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" 
content="true" />
<meta name="generator" content="Blogger" />
<link rel="service.feed" type="application/atom+xml" 
    href="" />
<link rel="" type="application/atom+xml" 
    href="" />
<link rel="EditURI" type="application/rsd+xml" 
href="" />
<meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW" />

(this last tag will appear if your blog is set to unlisted.)

The problem is that last tag, ROBOTS NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW, has been appearing on blogs that aren’t set to unlisted.

Let’s just make sure we’re clear here: Blogger, owned by Google, is inserting code to delete blogs from search engines’ indices when they don’t want to be deleted. What is this, a convenient way to remove splogs and hope that legit bloggers find the code and fix it?

Be sure to check your source code when you load your Blogger blog. ( also notes that you can hard-code your meta data into your Blogger template to replace the <$BlogMetaData$> tag as well as inserting your FeedBurner or other preferred feed URL.) This hasn’t affected all blogs, but seems to be affecting some of the blogs that moved to the new release of Blogger recently.

Via SERoundtable

  • If you’re not seeing the in your template code, expand the widget code and look for nofollow/noindex tags in the rest of the template code. I found such tags for one of my Blogger blogs.

    Set up a Google alert for your blog and you’ll know when Google starts indexing again.

  • Is it possible that they are doing this for the blogs that they host? To cut down crawler traffic.

  • Thank you!!!! This explains why I stopped ranking on my name in Google; I had used blogger to publish to my domain, and never thought they would have changed something like this.

  • With all the blog software making it so easy for people to get online, its no wonder more things like this aren’t happening.

    You never know what some developer could sneak in there.

  • I first spotted this a couple of weeks ago when I was looking at how the 2000 Bloggers thing was being treated.

    I opted to try to conteact individual blog owners directly once I realised what was happening.

    This isn’t happening on any specific type of blog, it is just people using Google default code. I have blogger blogs now running on the new blogger that were not affected, and also tried creating a new blog and didn’t have a problem. Maybe it is just a few rogue servers?

  • One the main things I have learned this year is how much it costs to be crawled on such an agressive basis. It would seem to me that this should be a given for a Google based company. Especially since they most likely share data centers.

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  • Thanks to this post I found out that this thing is affected by Blog too 🙁 I hadn’t realised cause traffic wasn’t deterioating in a major way. Off to fix this immediately! What nonsense. Google should be more attentive to such things 🙁

  • Thanks for this. There’s also problems with Google messing up indexing of a Blogger blog when it is moved (e.g. to ftp, or to custom domains). Expect to lose a few weeks traffic 🙁

  • Actually on the domains side there can be a bonus

  • How do I get to the element, in the new Blogger template I can’t find it, I reverted it to the old blogger template and saw it, but how do I know that element has the in it? Thanks.

  • You can download SearchStatus to work with Firefox. It will highlight any nofollow tags in a firefox browser (once you have it on).

    Or just go to your blog. Open the source code. utilize the “find” function to look for the nofollow tag. If it’s in the meta tags, then copy the meta tags minus the nofollow code and paste it in the Blogger template html code to replace the .

    If you find it elsewhere in the code, then note where it is and just go back to your Template code, locate it and delete the tag.

  • Andy, What is the bonus on the domains side?

    Good news is always welcome 🙂

  • All I am going to suggest is to give it a try and study all your logs etc for a while.
    I could write a nice blog post “outing” the benefits, but then they might well be nerfed

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  • A quick question, do these nofollow tags effect the comments section on the blogger? How can these be removed please?

  • Nathania, as you said in your comment above to set google alert so that we may know when its indexing the blog. Could you please help, how can we set the google alert?

  • I tried ‘custom domains’ – looks good!

    Google alerts is a cinch – just login to Google accounts and there’s an ‘alerts’ tab


  • Jordan McCollum

    @info: to remove the nofollow tags in the comments section on Blogger, go into Layout>Edit HTML. Check “Expand Widget Templates” and find the code <a expr:href=’data:comment.authorUrl’ rel=’nofollow’> . Delete the rel=’nofollow’ part.

    However, Blogger only links to Blogger profiles, not actual blogs, so the link equity isn’t really helping.

  • Jordan, anyone commenting can also leave a normal URL, as long as a blog owner allows comments from people who do not have a blogger ID

    I also advise people who have a blogger ID to use the alternate method.

    Once you have removed nofollow from blogger, you can join the no nofollow community on Bumpzee

  • Jordan McCollum

    Oh, cool. I’m always signed in, but to take advantage of that, I just have to click the radio button next to ‘Other’ and fill in the info. Good to know!

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