Weekly SEO news: 22 December 2009

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

Google's Matt Cutts recently suggested that the speed of a web page might become more important in Google's ranking algorithm. How will this affect your website and what can you do to improve the speed of your website?

In the news: Google Answers might be relaunched as Google Guru, Google plans a netbook, what search looked like a decade ago 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. Will web page speed become a more important ranking factor?

Google's Matt Cutts recently suggested that the speed of a web page may soon get more attention in Google's ranking algorithm. It seems that Google focuses on fast websites to make the searching experience better.

What can you do to make your web pages faster?

Of course, you should start by choosing a reliable web host that has a good connection to the Internet. Your web server should be easy to reach and it shouldn't have any down time.

In addition to choosing a fast web host, you can do the following to make your web pages faster:

  • Combine external JavaScript code files into one file. The fewer files the server has to request, the faster your web pages will load.
  • Compress your JavaScript code to make the JavaScript file smaller.
  • Combine external CSS files into one file and compress your CSS files.
  • If your web server supports it, enable gZip compression (your web host can do that for you).
  • Use as few images as possible on your website and compress your images. Most graphic tools enable you to choose the compression rate when saving an image for the web.
  • Put tracking codes and other JavaScript snippets at the end of your web pages.

Analyze your web pages with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer to get an idea of the speed of your website. In addition, to many other web page elements, the top 10 optimizer also analyzes the speed of your website and it will tell you if your website is slower than the websites of your competitors.

Is it a good idea to use the loading time in the ranking algorithm?

While fast loading pages are good for web searchers, using the page loading time in the ranking algorithm can cause problems for smaller businesses:

  • Businesses will be forced to choose a fast (and probably expensive) web host if they want to be found in the search results.
  • People with a low income or businesses from a country with slow Internet connections won't be able to compete with companies that have more money.
  • Big corporations that have a very good connection to the Internet will have an advantage.
  • The big websites will get bigger and the small websites will get smaller.

The role of the page loading time in Google's ranking algorithm isn't clear yet so the above points are speculation at this time.

Optimizing the loading time of your web pages is a good idea, no matter how large the effect of loading time on your website rankings will be. The faster your web pages load, the more visitors of your website will be able to see the contents of your pages.

Web surfers are impatient people. The average web surfer wants immediate results. For that reason, your website should be fast loading and it should also contain clearly arranged content that makes it easy to read your pages.

IBP's Top 10 Optimizer will also assign a Flesch–Kincaid readability score to your web pages after analyzing the content of your website. The higher the score, the more difficult to read are your web pages.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Google Guru Will Google Answers be relaunched as Google Guru?

"Chris [...] spotted a new service on his Google account services page: 'Google Guru' [...] Google Russia and Poland already have user-powered questions and answers services. So does Thailand, apparently, and there the URL contains the name guru, too – along with a somewhat similar green question mark favicon: guru.google.co.th/guru/. Should we expect this to be rolled out in English?"

Yelp walks away from Google deal, and half a billion dollars

"Jeremy Stoppleman, the CEO of Yelp, has walked away from an all-but-signed deal to be acquired by Google for more than half a billion dollars. [...] Yelp is a local reviews website covering almost 40 states."

AltaVistaWhat did search look like a decade ago?

"Search engines have evolved tremendously since they first started appearing on the Web more than a decade ago. [...] I remember visiting these pages when I put my first site up on the Web, and decided to share some screenshots."

The trouble with tailoring a web search

"Search engines never became successfully specialized. There is no sizable conservative, black, Christian, gay, Jewish or upper-class search engine, which is certainly not true in nearly every other form of media — whether film or music, books or magazines. [...] Instead of sort of trying to do these crude classifications based on some demographic cut, I want to be the best at understanding your user intent."

Search engine newslets

  • Google's subsidiaries allow company to avoid £450m tax on UK advertising.
  • Take a look at Google's Holiday logos.
  • Small design firm sues Microsoft over Bing name.
  • New features in Wolfram|Alpha.
  • Google's unofficial dictionary API.
  • Google defends itself in Italian court.
  • French court rules against Google over book copying.
  • Google Chrome OS in context of the Google distribution chain.

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3. Google Universal results and Google custom results

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

"Now a program that I thought was good, just went 'off the charts'."

"Wow I am stunned. I've used your program for years and use it weekly for other things and never realized IBP could do this. [Load hundreds of URL's that should have a link to my site, go out and see if the link is still on that site and check if the site is using a no follow tag in relation to my link.]

I have been trying to find a program that would do this link checking task. I can't believe I didn't realize your program did what I've been trying to find a program to do. Thanks again. Now a program (IBP) that I thought was good, just went 'off the charts'. This is the best Christmas present I could have ever had. Thx."
Charles Power, HomeBusinessJournal.net

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5. Previous articles

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