Weekly SEO news: 31 March 2009
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at 10 things that you should know about search engine optimization (SEO).

In the news: Google experiments with the search results, local searches are getting more important and 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. Ten things that you should know about search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is not difficult if you understand the basic concepts. If you know what to do, your website will get the best possible rankings on Google and other important search engines.

Light bulbThe following list will help you to better understand SEO or to explain SEO to your clients:

Four things you should know about link building

  1. Inbound links are very important

    The more websites link to your site, the easier it will be to get high rankings on Google. Google considers links to your site as votes for your site. The more votes your website has, the better your rankings will be.

    If more pages link to the website of your competitor, then it is likely that your competitor will get better rankings than you on Google.

  2. It is important to get the right links

    In addition to the number of links to your website, Google also considers the quality of the links. Links from unrelated websites won't help your search engine rankings as much as links from related websites that deal with a similar topic as your website.

    A link from a trusted website that itself has many links pointing to it will help your search engine rankings more than a link from a website with few inbound links.

  3. It is important to keep on link building

    Many of your competitors will continue to work on their links. If you don't keep on working on your links, your competitors will pass you in the search engine results sooner or later.

  4. Google doesn't like paid links

    Google considers links to your site as editorial votes for its quality. A paid link is not editorial. Google's anti-spam team has asked webmasters to report paid links. If your competitors report your paid links, Google might penalize your website.

Three things you should know about web page optimization

  1. Search engines rank single pages in the search results

    You should optimize a single page of your website for a single search term. Do not optimize the same page for more than one search term. It is much better if a web page is highly relevant to one search term than somewhat relevant to many search terms.

  2. Google considers all pages of your website

    Although only a single page of your website will be listed in Google's search results for a search term, Google will consider all pages of your website. If you optimize different pages of your website for different keywords that are all related to a certain topic, then Google will think that your website is relevant to this topic and it will be easier to get high rankings for your keywords.

  3. Optimized web page content and inbound links work hand-in-hand

    If your website has both optimized content and good inbound links then it will be much easier to get high rankings on Google.

    A web page that has been optimized for the search term "green widgets" and that has many links from other web pages that use the term "green widgets" as the link text is much more likely to get a top ranking on Google than a page that only has the inbound links or the optimized content.

Three things you should know about the technical aspects of your website

  1. Redirects can cause problems

    Web page redirects have been used by spammers in the past. That is why search engines don't like it much. A 301 redirect is the only server side redirect that search engines interpret as a permanent redirect.

    All other redirects (except for a meta refresh redirect in some cases) don't pass the links from the old page to the new page and they might even be interpreted as a spamming attempt.

  2. Search engines don't like duplicate content

    Google wants to list only one copy of a piece of content in the search results. If your web page contains the same content as another page on the web then Google will pick one version of the content for their search results.

    Google considers exact copies and near copies as duplicate content. Website navigation and boilerplate are usually ignored. Google compares your page's unique content with other pages and if it has a certain similarity to another page than it is considered a duplicate.

  3. You can create duplicate content by mistake

    Technically, the URLs http://example.com, http://www.example.com and http://www.example.com/index.php can contain different content. That is why search engines treat them as separate pages.

    Only link to one version of these URLs. Otherwise, the other versions might be duplicates of the other.

SEO is not a black art. If you do the right things in the right order then you will get the best possible rankings on Google and other important search engines.

Your website must have optimized content and high quality backlinks from other websites. Our popular website promotion tool IBP helps you to get both.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Google Wonder WheelGoogle's wonder wheel experiment, and more

"Google is running an experiment in their search results, apparently shown to a portion of their users. What happens is that on the search results, say for the query comic books, a link in the top blue bar will read 'Show options...'. Click it, and a side bar full of options expands to the left."

Local searches are now 12% of all searches

"Local searches online are growing at a faster pace than regular Web searches. Year over year, local search volume grew by 58% (vs. 21% for regular search) for a total of 15.7 billion searches. This represents 12% of all searches at the top 5 search portals."

Google AdWordsGoogle testing increased AdWords character limits

"Google UK are displaying extra-long titles in paid search results. According to a London-based Google account manager, they have been testing this for the last month or so. Unlike the favicon test where advertisers were unaware their favicons were being stored in Gstatic to appear in paid SERPs, there is an opportunity for advertisers to 'game' AdWords for character-stretching gain."

Google continues favicon test in AdWords ads

"I was just conducting a few searches in Google this evening when I noticed that many of the AdWords ads were sporting tiny favicons. Favicons are the website icons that normally display in the browser tab when a page is loaded. These website icons are being displayed, along the display URL in many AdWords ads."

Google stops video AdSense ads

"After reviewing our AdSense video units feature, which allows you to show YouTube content and ads on your pages, we've found that it hasn't had the impact we had hoped for. As a result, we've decided to retire this feature at the end of April so we can focus our resources on other opportunities to help publishers earn from their sites."

Search engine newslets

  • Google aims to connect ads for TV, YouTube.
  • February search term biggest movers: tax searches rise, Circuit City falls.
  • Google expands the new AdWords interface beta test.
  • Microsoft releases many new images for Virtual Earth.
  • Google layoffs don't stop hiring efforts.
  • Real-time Google Translate.
  • Times nukes itself on Google.
  • Is game playing the future ranking system for search results?

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3. Success stories

Aaron Block"This partnership has resulted in five years of profitable business."

"IBP has been our tool of choice for search engine optimization. As a result, we have excellent placement, mostly top ten on all major search engines.

This partnership has resulted in five years of profitable business and a recognizable brand."
Aaron Block, www.nfntravel.com

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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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