Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Delete all your links, except to me

As part of the course re-design I mentioned last time, I have been digesting this excellent summary of Google PageRank that my students found for me a few weeks ago. I have boiled it down to this. Another way I teach my students PageRank is by entering all their semester web-programming projects into a PageRank contest, where the PageRank is determined by student recommendations entered into our class wiki.

The contest has one more week to go. You can see the front-runners vying for votes (or not) in the wiki excerpt below. They are listed in order of PageRank:

Site Link / Description Incoming Links
Quit editing this wiki, get out and do something! My site is a December calendar of events, from concerts to festivals, that would interest a college age student in Boston.

choy alliew rgm ajhlee jihong88 cohens11 xzhang08 dbrien lbdunn
A resource site for learning how to read and write basic Japanese. Learn to write both hiragana and katakana, the basic alphabet scripts of Japanese.

jasonhu gaep13 wcmundel icc arthim edflem yasmin89 kevshea slee0903 dan013 abg cnm lbdunn
The homepage of me and a friend of mine and our upcoming vegetable oil fueled cross-continental adventure.

jasonhu alliew tjpirog billba edflem yuliyab cohens11 koates andrak lbdunn
Enjoy looking at optical illusions? This website has lots of optical illusions and explains how each works!

gaep13 gillianb arthim yasmin89 timwalsh ajhlee mgro27 slee0903 dbrien jfsr lbdunn
(Firefox recommended)
A website for a startup company that i am working on. The new venture will deal with educational services targetted at students from developing countries and aims to improve the standards of education in many of these countries.

aecook gaep13 icc haysher edflem dechat eeun zucchig bross55 lbdunn eskizzle
This page is about how hip hop is dead

jihong88 cohens11 gatewood eeun jfsr edflem lbdunn

My favorite feature of PageRank is this strategy suggested by the PageRank article: "Outbound links are a drain on a site's total PageRank... But there are 'abnormal' ways of linking to other sites that don't result in leaks. PageRank is leaked when Google recognizes a link to another site. The answer is to use links that Google doesn't recognize or count."

This is true enough. To dramatize the point, I have provided my class with an Excel spreadsheet that takes the above wiki table as a copy-and-paste and instantaneously provides the resulting PageRank scores and relative class rankings. Each student can edit the resulting spreadsheet and see exactly how much his score goes up when he deletes all his outbound links and stops recommending other students' websites.

Hopefully, by the time I do the final PageRank calculation, all my students will have taken this lesson to heart and deleted all their links. You should too. Boost your visibility on the Internet by deleting all outbound links from all your blogs and other sites--except links to me. Thanks!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License and is copyrighted (c) 2007 by Connective Associates LLC except where otherwise noted.