Weekly SEO news: 8 November 2005
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking another look at Google latest ranking algorithm update and what you can do to benefit from it.

In the news: Yahoo also updates its algorithm, further information about Google's latest patent application and much 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 ranking algorithm update continues
As mentioned two weeks ago, Google is currently updating its ranking algorithm. Webmasters have given this ranking algorithm update the name 'Jagger'.

The Jagger update is currently in its third stage which means that it will soon be over. If your rankings on Google fell over the last month, you website has probably been affected by this ranking algorithm change.

What has Google changed in the ranking algorithm update?

Google wants to make its search engine results pages more relevant by removing some of the spam. It seems that the following elements are the most common reasons if your Google rankings dropped:

  • hidden text on your web pages (especially text that is hidden in invisible CSS layers)
  • paid links or other links that are considered outside of Google's quality guidelines
  • overuse of internal links or anchor text as the sole source of optimization

What can you do if your website rankings have dropped?

First of all, check if your web page use elements that might be considered spam. Your web pages might contain spam elements that you're not aware of.

  1. If you use CSS on your web pages, search for style sheets that might be interpreted as spam attempts. Style sheets that contain visibility: hidden; might cause problems.

  2. Make sure that you have links from the right web sites. While it is not important if a link is a reciprocal link or not, it is very important that the links are from related sites.

    Links from or to unrelated web sites probably won't negatively affect your rankings (if they did, your competitors could easily harm your rankings) but they also have no positive effect. Make sure that your incoming links come from related web sites.

  3. Do not overuse the same keyword in links to your web site. Better use different but related link texts for links to your site so that the links to your website look natural.

After having removed the spam elements from your pages, continue by optimizing and diversifying. Details can be found in our first article about this Google algorithm update.

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 haven't done it yet, take a look at our free SEO book to learn more about ethical search engine optimization.

2. Search engine news of the week

Yahoo announces a ranking algorithm update

"We will be making changes to the ranking of our index tonight. I would expect that this update will be mild and quick compared to recent ones but will impact the ranking of some sites."

Google, Yahoo unveil cell phone services

"Yahoo is introducing a mobile phone with SBC Communications Inc that will link mobile phone services to Yahoo users' accounts, address books and preferences. [...] Google is tailoring some of its services for use on wireless devices and starting today users of more than 100 types of mobile phones can access Google's map database."

Google patent for user targeted search results

"Google has filed a patent for user targeted, or attention targeted, search results which will change the ranking of Google's organic results per each individual user based upon that user's search behavior, location, sites visited, and even 'typing behavior'. [...]

Such profiles are created by Google and gathered from previous queries, web navigation behavior via tracked links and possibly sites visited which serve Google ads, computers with Google Applications installed such as Desktop Search, Google Wi-fi Connection or Sidebar, and personal information which Google identifies which may be 'implicitly or explicitly provided by the user.'"

Editor's note: We already mentioned this patent four weeks ago in our main article.

Yahoo plots mapping competition for Google

"Online mapping is hotly contested territory, since it's one of the most used features on the Web--this has created a culture of one-upmanship between the Internet behemoths."


Search engine newslets

3. Articles of the week
Local search: just about ready

    "The improvements the engines (really, Google and Yahoo!) have made will draw consumers into the experience. [...] This time, as we talk about local search's growth, we can expect advertisers and consumers to see something of value and be more inclined to participate."

    Also see our our 1 November newsletter: Are you ready for local search?

Google strikes fear into firms

"As Google increasingly becomes the starting point for finding information and buying products and services, companies that even a year ago did not see themselves as competing with Google are beginning to view the company with some angst — mixed with admiration."

Yahoo! gives it to Google down under

"When you're the champ, everybody takes a shot-and sometimes it's a shot below the belt (the belt being the equator). Yahoo! Australia and New Zealand gives a bloke a second option if, for some strange reason, they want search for Google on Yahoo!"

A Journey to the center of Yahoo
(registration required)

    "Yahoo is ever conscious of Google and determined to match it, but in the long run its plans for search seem quite different."

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates talks to Computing

    "Which Google products are you talking about? Seriously? Other than search, which are you talking about? Google Talk? Wow. A total 'me too' product. Even Gmail – what is the unique thing?"

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4. Recommended resources
How to optimize your website for Google's latest ranking algorithm

Optimizing your website for Google's latest ranking algorithm involves three steps:

  1. Remove all possible spam elements from your web site.

    If your web pages contain spam elements, all other search engine optimization efforts can be in vain. You must make sure that your web site is spam free. A list of things that search engines consider spam can be found here.

  2. Optimize your web page content for Google's latest algorithm

    Download IBP and use IBP's Top 10 Optimizer to optimize your web page content for Google's latest ranking algorithm. IBP's advice is based on the analysis of the web pages that currently have top 10 rankings for your keyword on Google.

    That means that IBP's advice contains up-to-date information about the things you need to do to get high rankings with Google's brand new ranking algorithm.

  3. Get high quality links

    Links from related web sites increase your search engine rankings and they bring you targeted visitors. A link from another web site is a high quality link if that link is clicked by real people who are interested in what you have to offer on your website. Use ARELIS to get that kind of links.

Remember that you shouldn'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.

IBP also works with Yahoo, MSN and all other major search engines.

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