Weekly SEO news: 25 October 2005
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at Google's current ranking algorithm update and what you can do to get your site listed with the new algorithm.

In the news: Google's Web Accelerator might be back, Overture eliminates its minimum spend 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: Google's current ranking algorithm update
You have probably noticed that Google is currently updating its ranking algorithm. This seems to be a major update because many webmasters have seen big changes in their rankings.

The PageRank of www.MSN.com dropped to PR2 in this latest update so there really seem to be some big changes in the new algorithm.

Google engineer Matt Cutts more or less declines that this is a big update in his blog:

"These days rather than having a large monolithic update, Google tends to have smaller (and more frequent) individual launches. [...]

My point is that more than ever, we are constantly working to improve our algorithms and scoring. Some changes are hardly noticed at all. Some changes (e.g. user interface improvements) are more visible. Some changes have nothing to do with spam [...] Some changes do try to decrease spam or increase core quality. [...]

And again, these PageRanks and backlinks have already been incorporated into scoring a while back (Google updates PageRank continually and continuously), but some people just love to look at PageRanks.)"

What has changed with this update?

Only Google's engineers know exactly what has been changed with this update. However, it seems that some factors seem to be important in this update:

  • Hidden text spam seems to be more penalized. While most search engines consider white text on white background spamming, it seems that Google now also recognizes text that is hidden in invisible CSS layers.
  • Links from automated link exchanges and text link advertising systems seem to count less.

As with every algorithm update, Google tries to remove the spam from its database with this update.

What should you do now?

First of all, don't panic. If your web site rankings have dropped, wait another week to make sure that the index update is over. If your web site is still not listed, take a look at what you might have done wrong.

If you use CSS to hide text on your web pages, consider removing that hidden text from your pages. Google doesn't seem to like that at all. If you use other techniques that might be considered spam, remove them from your pages.

If you have a links page, do not use a link exchange system with a central server but host your link pages on your own web site. Being part of a centralized system makes your web site vulnerable if the centralized system is considered spam.

After having removed the spam elements from your pages, do the following:

  1. Optimize

    Use IBP's Top 10 Optimizer to optimize your web pages for the new Google algorithm. The optimizer uses the current ranking algorithm to find out which web page elements Google wants to see on a web page for your keyword and your web site.

  2. Diversify

    We've said it before in this newsletter: don't put all eggs in one basket. Although it is very likely that you'll get high rankings on Google if you follow the tips above, you shouldn't focus on Google alone.

    Yahoo and MSN can also bring you qualified traffic. These search engines might not be as popular as Google but they are large enough to bring you so many customers that you could even do without Google. The key to a successful online business is to get qualified traffic from all big search engines.

    If you have web pages that are optimized for Google and Yahoo and MSN and Ask Jeeves then you won't get hurt so much when one of these search engines drops your rankings.

If your web site rankings on Google have dropped, don't panic and follow the tips above. Chances are good that you'll get your high rankings back.

If you worry about the dropped PageRank of your web site, you shouldn't care too much about it. If a major web site like www.MSN.com gets a PageRank of 2, the green bar shouldn't get too much attention.

2. Search engine news of the week

The Google Web Accelerator is back with a vengeance

"Google has reintroduced their Google Web Accelerator with a vengeance. It was evil enough the first time around, but this time it’s downright scary."

Yahoo! Search Marketing (Overture) eliminates minimum spend

"We've eliminated the $20 monthly minimum spending requirement for Sponsored Search. Previously, all Sponsored Search advertisers were required to spend at least $20 a month in click-through charges. Now, whether you are considering becoming an advertiser or are currently an advertiser, you can choose to spend as much or as little as you like, with no minimum to meet."

Froogle updates site - Starting to look like a comparison engine

"As one industry insider stated in an email, Froogle’s new layout is 'very comparison engine-esque!'"

Marketers shift budget to local sites

"Media buyers and planners reported spending 18 percent of their clients' online display ad budgets on local media, including Web sites of local TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers. In the first two quarters, executives said they spent just 13 percent of display budgets at local sites."


Search engine newslets

  • Google has added a new sub domain.
  • Find out what search engines can see in your Flash files.
  • On a lighter note: The secret behind Google's success - The instant massage.
  • Google Earth digs deeper.
  • Google blamed for splogs.
  • Google VP looks to a URL future.
  • Google and Yahoo stir internet stocks.
  • LookSmart will be delisted from the NASDAQ.
  • Publishers paste Google.
3. Articles of the week

Another approach to the search engine

    "Two local firms are seeking to profit through specialized search engines that offer alternatives to Google and Yahoo, the biggest gateways to the Internet for millions of people hunting for information daily."

David vs. Google

    "How a mathematician from New Jersey wants to overcome the world's biggest search engine: a trip into the world of algorithms."

Yahoo, Google deep in thought
(reg. required)

    "Internet users stand to benefit as search giants compete to hire top scientific talent. [...] If Google and Yahoo share broadly the fruits of their research -- and both Raghavan and Eustace say they will -- their labs will become assets to the valley as a whole."

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4. Recommended resources
"IBP is simply the most complete, most effective SEO software available on the market"

"We were wowed when we came across Axandra's SEO software.

The SEO software released by Axandra is simply one of the most impressive, and more importantly, effective bits of SEO software that we have come across. [...]

The software in its current form today is simply the most complete, most effective SEO software available on the market. This is much more than software to help manage links, this software will tell you what your top competitors are doing.

We highly recommend all website owners to at least give the trial a shot. "
Mark Daoust, review on www.site-reference.com

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