Weekly SEO news: 13 May 2008
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at a possible -60 penalty on Google. Which websites are penalized? How can you avoid getting penalized?

In the news: Yahoo releases "glue" result pages, Google releases Friend Connect, Google's Matt Cutts reveals what Google knows about spam and much more.

Table of contents:

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

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Google's -60 penalty and how to avoid it

During the last weeks, people in online forums observed some strange Google result changes. Rumor has it that there is a new -60 penalty that Google applies to websites in which it has lost trust.

What has happened?

Some webmasters found websites that were listed on position 61 in Google's search results that had Google Sitelinks below their listing.

Google Sitelinks -60 penalty

Normally, Google only displays Google Sitelinks for the first search result.

Many webmasters believe that the website that was listed on position 61 with the Sitelinks was the number 1 result for that keyword but had been penalized by Google.

What does Google say about the -60 penalty?

In a Google Groups discussion about showing Sitelinks for #61 results Google employee John Mu referred to a -60 penalty discussion.

Google hasn't officially confirmed that a -60 penalty exists. However, Google employee John Mu indicated in a discussion about the -60 penalty in the official Google groups that Google penalizes websites if they contain certain spam elements.

Which spam elements trigger the -60 penalty?

It looks that Google applies this penalty to websites that buy links.

Many of the websites that seem to have been penalized had many inbound links from websites that linked to them from every single page of their website (so-called site-wide links). Sitewide links are an indicator of paid links, which Google sees as an unwanted way to artificially inflate search engine rankings.

The head of Google's anti-spam team Matt Cutts has often said that websites that buy paid links will be penalized and it looks as if Google tries to do the job properly.

If this penalty for paid links really exists then even websites that follow Google's rules can get in trouble. Your competitors could harm your website simply by buying links or by creating mini-net websites with sitewide links to your website.

Instead of penalizing seemingly "bad" links, Google should simply ignore them. That way, people could not harm competitor websites. If you don't want to get in trouble with Google, you should only use ethical search engine optimization methods.

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2. Search engine news of the week

Yahoo releases glue result pages

Yahoo India released the new "glue" result pages. These pages combine classic search results on the left hand column with more visual information in the middle and right section of the page.

For example, take a look at the search result for football. This might be a test that Yahoo will extend to the main Yahoo.com page.

Google announces Friend Connect

"Visitors to any site using Google Friend Connect will be able to see, invite, and interact with new friends, or, using secure authorization APIs, with existing friends from social sites on the web, including Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo, and more."

Powerset previews search engine seen as threat to Google, Yahoo

"In a newly-opened online showcase, search engine specialist Powerset is now previewing a contextual search engine seen by some as a possible threat to Google, Yahoo and other major players through its support for 'conversational phrasing.'"

Search engine newslets

  • Yahoo adds geography to search ads.
  • Google is a malware site (says Yahoo).
  • Cast your vote for the Doodle 4 Google competition.
  • Is Google trying solid-state disks?
  • Romans spotted fleeing Google Street View cars.
  • Viewzi takes visual search to another level.
  • Microsoft officially hiring Google killers.
  • Google faces human rights votes.

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3. Articles of the week
What Google knows about spam

"If you didn't attend Web 2.0, you can watch [Matt Cutts'] ten-minute keynote about 'What Google Knows About Spam'."

Yahoo comes up short against Google with a group that matters

"The reason for Yahoo's anti-coolness, of course, is Google. I asked how many of the students use Google every day. All hands shot up. How many use Yahoo every day? Two hands. [...]

And Microsoft? The company once dubbed the 'evil empire' by techies has whole new street cred among young people, and the reason for that isn't Windows and it isn't Office. It's the Xbox."

Security flaw turns Gmail into open-relay server

"A recently-discovered flaw in Gmail is capable of turning Google's e-mail service into a highly effective spam machine. [...] Gmail is susceptible to a man-in-the-middle attack that allows a spammer to send thousands of bulk e-mails through Google's SMTP service without fear of detection."

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4. Success stories

"My new site was ranked at number 9 on the first page of Google."

"I created a website on the weekend and optimized it using IBP and got my home page to a score of 91% simply by following all of the instructions and linked it to two other sites I own.

I was astonished that by Wednesday my new site was ranked at number 9 on the first page of Google. Unbelievable! From no site on Friday to the first page of Google by the following Wednesday! There is no way I could have done this without iBusinessPromoter. Thanks a lot!"
Earl Gardner, www.AlchemyDigitalMedia.com

"Within a week after that I was in the top 4!"

"I have to admit I was skeptical about your software. However within a few days of using it my site got into the top 10.

Within a week after that I was in the top 4!!! And my score was only a 87% with your software! I will still work on the perfect 100 but I am still impressed!!! You guys made it easy!"
Dale Thomas, www.NationWideIncome.com

Share your success story with us

Let us know how IBP has helped you to improve your website and we might publish your success story with a link to your website in this newsletter. The more detailed your story is, the better.

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5. Price raise on June 1st - Create a French version

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We're looking for a native French speaker who wants to create and manage iBusinessPromoter.fr.

What you should do:

  • Translate all iBusinessPromoter.com web pages to French
  • Translate the order pages to French
  • Find popular SEO related French keywords to insert them on the iBusinessPromoter.fr web pages
  • Check the French translation of IBP

What we offer:

  • You will earn 35% of all sales that are generated through iBusinessPromoter.fr.

What you should know:

  • You should know how to create HTML web pages. Ideally, you manage your own website and you know how to manage websites.
  • You should know the French SEO terminology.

If you're interested, please don't hesitate to drop us a line.

Price raise on June 1st

We will increase the IBP price by 20% on June 1st. Any orders placed between now and June 1st will be honored at the lower price.

If you order IBP now, you will save 20%.

There is no risk with our unique Top 10 Google Ranking guarantee (valid for a full year!) and our 30 day money back guarantee.

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6. Previous articles

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