The Axandra newsletter archive - 24 August 2004
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at block-level link analysis, a new web page ranking method by Microsoft.

In the news: Yahoo launches its own blog, AskJeeves expands to Japan, 70% of web surfers ignore paid links and more.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your web site. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Facts of the week: Block-level link analysis - what does it mean to you?
Microsoft's research lab has released a paper in which they discuss a new way to rank web sites. The new method is called "block-level link analysis".

What is block-level analysis?

    It's Microsoft attempt to deal with the faults in PageRank and HITS (Hyperlink Induced Topic Search):

    Link Analysis has shown great potential in improving the performance of web search. PageRank and HITS are two of the most popular algorithms.

    Most of the existing link analysis algorithms treat a web page as a single node in the web graph. However, in most cases, a web page contains multiple semantics and hence the web page might not be considered as the atomic node.

    In this paper, the web page is partitioned into blocks using the vision-based page segmentation algorithm.

    By extracting the page-to-block, block-to-page relationships from link structure and page layout analysis, we can construct a semantic graph over the WWW such that each node exactly represents a single semantic topic. This graph can better describe the semantic structure of the web.

    Based on block-level link analysis, we proposed two new algorithms, Block Level PageRank and Block Level HITS, whose performances we study extensively using web data.

How does it work?

    In short, the new ranking system assumes that all links on a web page are not equal. The idea is that a web page can be divided into blocks that have different topics.

    The weight and the relevance of a link is determined by its location within the blocks. By dividing a web page into blocks, web pages are no longer the smallest unit when doing a web search.

Does this mean better search engine results?

    Will this method deliver better search results than today? This has yet to be proved. One problem might be that computers only see the text on a web page and that human surfers see a combination of pictures and text.

    The same web page may look different to a search engines spider and to a human visitor.

What does this mean to me and my web site?

    This new concept is still in the beta phase and not yet official. While it might improve the way search engines rank web pages, we still have to see if Microsoft really uses this algorithm in its new search engine. At the moment, you don't have to react to this new ranking method.

    Today, Google and Yahoo are the most important search engines. To optimize your web pages for the latest ranking algorithms of Google, Yahoo and other major search engines, take a look at the highly recommended software program IBP.

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2. Search engine news of the week

Yahoo launches its own blog

    Yahoo now also offers a blog that aims to provide "A look inside the world of search from the people of Yahoo!".

Lycos offers people and discussion search

    "Terra Lycos introduced two search tools on its Lycos US Internet site [...]

    The new People Search tool allows users to locate others by searching white pages listings, the Web and alumni and professional information resources. [...]

    Discussion Search, currently in beta, scans Yahoo Groups, MSN Groups and .org domains, offering forum and message boards on a wide variety of specific topics."

Ask Jeeves knocking on Japan's door

    "Ask Jeeves on Monday unveiled a Japanese Web site, the search company's first international venture in four years.

    The fifth-largest search site in the United States has formed a joint enterprise with Tokyo-based software company Transcosmos to launch the site, called Ask Jeeves Japan."

MSN suspends search beta

    "This week, MSN has been tweaking its services line-up by rolling out a couple of new services and temporarily withdrawing the test version of its new MSN search engine. [...]

    MSN removed the alpha release of its forthcoming algorithmic search engine from the MSN Sandbox site. [...] MSN is planning to launch another preview release of its MSN Search engine later this year."

Google's BlogSpot loses ads, gains navbar

    "Google this week removed the ads from the top of all free hosted BlogSpot blogs, previously delivered as part of Google's AdWords contextual ad program, and replaced them with a Blogger navigation bar that includes a search box. [...]

    The move adds to signs that Google is having difficulty with its contextual advertising program."

Search optimisation makes a comeback

    "Traditional search engine optimisation (SEO) looks set to make a comeback as the paid listings market becomes saturated and cost-per-click (CPC) rates rise.

    [...] Many users - as many as 70% - don't look at paid listings at all, while new software is capable of stripping out paid search ads. [...]

    I think people are starting to recognise that they have to focus as much on natural search as paid search."

Lawsuit claims free speech for online casino ads

    "An Internet company that publishes information about online gambling has asked a federal district court in Louisiana to decide whether advertisements for Internet casinos are protected forms of speech."

Search engine newslets

  • is a new non-profit search engine that wants to deliver better results than Google.
  • Click here for Google's 2004 Summer Olympics Doodle

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3. Articles of the week

Google at bottom of ISS governance ranking

    "Google tried to democratize the IPO process through its unusual auction, but its corporate governance is anything but shareholder-friendly, according to an influential proxy adviser.

    Institutional Shareholder Services has relegated newly public Google to the governance basement, ranking the search-engine company lower than any company in the S&P 500 stock index."

Google Shares May Flood Market

    "More than 10 times the amount of Google Inc.'s 25 million share initial public offering could hit the public market over the next six months as various lock-ups on stocks expire, Barron's said in its Aug. 23 edition."

Traffic tapers on MSN pages

    "Microsoft Corp. may be the king of the desktop, but the software company's online portal, MSN, is being soundly beaten by rivals Yahoo! and Google on several fronts."

Google, now wealthier, enters new corporate phase

    "Google Inc. will have plenty to celebrate at its annual company summer picnic Friday - its debut as a public company gave it an immediate cash infusion of $1.16 billion, not to mention all the millionaires it made of employees and insiders. [...]

    Rivals chipping away at Google's dominance range from small startups like Vivisimo Inc. - with ambitions that echo Google's - to tech titans like Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which have been beefing up search features on their popular Internet portals."

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4. Recommended resources

More top ratings for IBP and ARELIS

IBP and ARELIS both have received the "Excellent" award from

If you haven't downloaded these programs yet, click this link.

"IBP 4 is like having a staff of employees."

    "IBP 4 is like having a staff of employees to prepare your website, build your keywords strategy, and submit your site. We wouldn't recommend starting a business without it. Thanks for the excellent work."
    Stan Hewitt,

"IBP is pretty amazing."

    "I purchased the IBP software almost two months ago and must say it's pretty amazing. [...] I'm happy to report I now have 40 keywords and phrases moving up the ranks and several on page 2 of search results. This of course has brought more traffic to my site."

    Thanks again for such a great product. The next purchase of course is the link exchange software."
    Jim Staley,

Want to be mentioned in this newsletter?

    Just send us some words about your successes with IBP or ARELIS and you might get featured in this newsletter along with your web site address.

A reliable web host is important to your search engine rankings

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5. Previous articles

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