Weekly SEO news: 15 December 2009

Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Google was granted a patent this month that explains how search engines can deal with duplicate content issues.

In the news: Ads on Bing.com have a higher CTR, Google enhances Google Suggest, Google's CEO doesn't care about privacy 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. Google's duplicate content patent

This month, Google was granted a patent with the name Duplicate document detection in a web crawler system. The patent explains how a content filter from the search engine can work with a duplicate content server.


What is duplicate content?

The patent contains a definition of duplicate content:

"Duplicate documents are documents that have substantially identical content, and in some embodiments wholly identical content, but different document addresses."

The patent describes three scenarios in which duplicate documents are encountered by a web crawler:

  1. Two pages, comprising any combination of regular web page(s) and temporary redirect page(s), are duplicate documents if they share the same page content, but have different URLs.

  2. Two temporary redirect pages are duplicate documents if they share the same target URL, but have different source URLs.

  3. A regular web page and a temporary redirect page are duplicate documents if the URL of the regular web page is the target URL of the temporary redirect page or the content of the regular web page is the same as that of the temporary redirect page.

A permanent redirect page is not directly involved in duplicate document detection because the crawlers are configured not to download the content of the redirecting page.

How does Google detect duplicate content?

According to the patent description, Google's web crawler consults the duplicate content server to check if a found page is a copy of another document. The algorithm then determines which version is the most important version.

Google can use different methods to detect duplicate content. For example, Google might take "content fingerprints" and compare them when a new web page is found.

Interestingly, it's not always the page with the highest PageRank that is chosen as the most important URL for the content:

"In some embodiments, a canonical page of an equivalence class is not necessarily the document that has the highest score (e.g., the highest page rank or other query-independent metric)."

How does this affect your website?

If you want to get high rankings, it is easier to do so with unique content. Try to use as much original content as possible on your web pages.

If your website must use the same content as another website, make sure that your website has better inbound links than the other websites that carry the same content. It's likely that your website will be chosen as the most important URL for the content then.

If your web site has unique content, you don't have to worry about potential duplicate content penalties. Optimize that content for search engines and make sure that your web site has good inbound links. It's hard to outrank a website with good optimized content and many good inbound links.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

BingBing users still ad-crazy

"Now that December is upon us, and Bing keeps showing its ability to push Google from a technology standpoint, we decided to revisit and see how the numbers were looking. As it turns out, Bing users are still clicking on ads at a prodigious rate – in fact, the CTR of users who come to the Chitika network via Bing is over 75% higher than those who come from Google."

Google enhances Google Suggest results

"For example, let's say you want to visit the capital of Belgium, but you can't remember what it is. Type 'capital of belgiu' in the search box and you'll immediately find your answer (Brussels) before you're even done typing. Similarly, you can type, 'weather brus' and quickly decide how much warm clothing to bring (a lot!). [...]

This kind of information will appear in Suggest either above or below the suggested search terms for a variety of queries."

Marissa Mayer Marissa Mayer: an omnivorous Google is coming

"Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president for search products and user experience, shares her unparalleled insights into the future of internet search engines. [...] According to Mayer – the ideal will be to get access to your friend’s updates in search. [...]

There may be more privacy concerns and complaints from publishers coming but Mayer and Google won't be deterred. An omniscient, omnivorous Google is coming and it knows what you want, even if you don't. "

Google employee says: don't trust Google's site performance reports

"The 83s number is bogus. Your site's toolbar traffic dropped by more than an order of magnitude in the last few days. You should ignore the average for now. We'll soon be showing site owners some indication of how trustworthy the numbers are, so you can decide when to ignore it and when not to."

Google CEO on privacy

"A CNBC interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt suggests the search giant Google shouldn't get off easy, and users should be wary of what Google knows about them -- and with whom they can share that information. [...]

Your information could be made available not only to curious searchers or prying friends, but also to the authorities, and that there's little recourse for people worried about unintentionally 'oversharing' online."

Related: The Firefox browser developers recommend to use Bing instead of Google, Google CEO Eric Schmidt dismisses the importance of privacy

Search engine newslets

  • There seems to be a mass Google Toolbar PageRank update.
  • Google introduces URL shortener for Google products.
  • Google tests infinite scrolling on some image searches.
  • Google’s New Year countdown surprise.
  • Google faces a different world in Italy.
  • Google is failing more.
  • Why Google allows Target.com to spam results.
  • Is Google moving in the wrong direction?

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3. Google Universal results and Google custom result

If you check the position of your website in Google's search results with IBP's ranking checker then you can now choose if IBP should also consider Google Maps and Google News results.

IBP enables you to choose whether you just want to check the regular website results or if you also want to include the local search and news results. You can download the trial here.

IBP Windows 7

IBP can also check Google custom results or the regular Google results by automatically deleting the customization cookies.

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.

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4. Success stories

Tell us how IBP helped your business and 230,000 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.

Click here to tell us your story.


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5. Previous articles

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