Weekly SEO news: 3 November 2009
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at paid links. Do they really have a negative effect on the rankings of your website on Google? How can you avoid these effects?

In the news: Google uses RSS feeds to find new web pages, thoughts about Google's latest algorithm update, a new Google patent 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. Paid links: do they really affect your Google rankings?

Many websites on the Internet will link to your website if you pay them for the links. Is this a good method to increase the link popularity of your website or can you get in trouble if you use paid links?

What does Google think about paid links?

Google is very clear about paid links. They don't like them. Google even has an official form that enables webmasters to report paid links to Google:

"Google and most other search engines use links to determine reputation. A site's ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to it.

Link-based analysis is an extremely useful way of measuring a site's value, and has greatly improved the quality of web search. Both the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of links count towards this rating.

However, some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results."

A recent problem

A webmaster recently reported problems in Google's webmaster discussion forum:

"Today I found that my entire site has dropped out of site in search results. I have a site that received over 2,000 search visits per day and today that has stopped."

It turned out that the website has many affiliate links and other links to advertisers that looked like paid links to Google. Unfortunately, these links were not marked as paid links and Google penalized the website for having the paid links.

What does this mean for your website?

You should avoid paid links if you don't want to get in trouble with Google. If you do buy or sell links, make sure that the links contain the rel="nofollow" attribute. By using that attribute, you show that the paid link is for advertising purposes only and that you don't want to manipulate your website rankings with the link.

While Google doesn't like paid links at all, they also make clear that links are very important:

"Link-based analysis is an extremely useful way of measuring a site's value, and has greatly improved the quality of web search. Both the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of links count towards this rating."

For that reason, you should try to get as many good links to your website as possible. The quality is more important than the quantity.

Links that point to your website are a very important factor that influences the position of your website in Google's search results. The links that point to your website should be from related websites and they should contain the keywords for which you want to get high rankings.

Do not manipulate the links to your website by buying links and do not join automated link systems to increase the number of links to your website. There are many ways to get good links (related websites, blogs, social bookmark sites, directories, etc.). IBP helps you to get them all.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

GoogleGoogle: using RSS/Atom feeds to discover new URLs

"Google uses numerous sources to find new webpages, from links we find on the web to submitted URLs. We aim to discover new pages quickly so that users can find new content in Google search results soon after they go live. We recently launched a feature that uses RSS and Atom feeds for the discovery of new webpages."

The 'Vince' update unraveled: does Google recognize brand equity?

"Could this be the smoking gun, the SEO equivalent to 'CCTV' evidence of Google's manual intervention? I'll let you decide. My place is only to present the evidence. [...]

Perhaps this wasn't an update, at least in the traditional sense. Given that this impacted such a small number of queries, it would be feasible (at the very least) for this entire update to be handled manually."

OutsideInOutside.in releases new local search features

"The new version of our site will help you you find out what’s happening wherever you are. Read on for the details of how you can use the new Outside.in to find the most relevant hyperlocal content quickly and easily—and for some information on what’s coming up next."

How a search engine might adjust rankings based upon patterns in query and click logs

"Now imagine that Google looks at the information it collects about what people do when they search, and finds in its query logs and click logs that there are a large number, a statistically significant number, of people who search for 'orange,' and then 'banana,' and then 'pineapple,' or possibly the same search terms in a slightly different order, and then tend to click on 'www.example.com/fruit.htm.' [...] Google was granted a patent on this process this past week."

Search engine newslets

  • Google: same URL listed 10 times in Google results.
  • Google: Can a few non-safe words prevent my site from appearing in SafeSearch results? (video)
  • Google introduces AdWords comparison ads.
  • Google Chrome: The fast browser with slow adoption.
  • Google Africa: Google Trader, now on the Web.
  • Google talent search: error 502?
  • Google improves real estate listings in Google Maps.

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3. IBP works with Windows 7

IBP 11 works fine with Windows 7

Do you plan to switch to Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 7? If you use IBP to promote your website, there's no reason not to update to the latest version. IBP 11 works fine with both the 32bit and the 64bit version of Windows 7.

IBP Windows 7

IBP also works with Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista. You can download IBP here.

Using current tools is very important for search engine optimization. Things that worked last year might not work today. IBP is always up-to-date with the latest algorithms of Google and all other major search engines.

Need a free keyword suggestion tool?

Find keywords in English and German on KeywordIndex.com, the new online keyword suggestion tool:

keyword suggestion tool

KeywordIndex delivers keyword suggestions, search numbers and quick links to Google Trends, Google Insights and Bing xRank.

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4. Success stories

220,000 readers will see YOUR website

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. Previous articles

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