Weekly SEO news: 6 July 2010

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

Most people know that being listed on Google's first result page will bring them a lot of targeted visitors and that they will get a lot of sales through that listing.

However, you also have to know what to do if you want to get these results. This week's article shows you six things that you absolutely must know about SEO.

In the news: there's either a major bug in Yahoo's ranking algorithm or they are testing the Bing integration, employees talk about working at Google, when Google updates the AdWords search numbers 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. Six things that you should know about SEO

Most people know that being listed on Google's first result page will bring them a lot of targeted visitors and that they will get a lot of sales through that listing.

Google crown

Unfortunately, some people don't know how SEO (search engine optimization) works and what they can expect. Some webmasters still expect that their website will be listed on Google's first result page after submitting the site to Google. That might have worked eight years ago but it does not work today.

1. SEO takes time

You cannot optimize your website today and expect results tomorrow or next week. Search engine optimization takes time. Search engines have to find your new optimized pages, they have to find the new links to your website, they have to update the index, etc.

2. You must change your web pages

If you want to get high rankings for certain keywords, then these keywords must appear on your web pages. It is possible to get high rankings for a keyword that is not listed on your website if lots of other websites link to your website with that keyword. That's the exception, though.

In general, the keywords for which you want to be found must appear on your web pages and they must appear in the right elements on your web pages. For that reason, you have to change the HTML code of your web pages to make it as easy as possible for search engine spiders to parse your site.

3. You need links and you need the right links

Good backlinks are the key to high rankings on Google. Automatically created backlinks usually won't help your rankings and they even might get you banned from Google's index.

As a general rule, the easier it is to get a link, the less is its influence on the position of your website on Google. The links to your website should be from related websites and they should contain your keywords in the link text.

The more attractive your website is, the easier it will be to get good links. Your website should offer linkworthy content that other people can talk about.

4. It's crucial to choose the right keywords

If you optimize the website of a rock band than you might think that it would be cool if their site was found for the keyword "mp3". That might be cool but it does not make sense.

People searching for "mp3" can be interested in anything: mp3 players, mp3 decoders, the latest Justin Bieber song, general information about the file format, etc. If these people come to your rock band website, they won't find the information they are looking for.

Optimize your website for keywords that attract the right kind of people. For example "unsigned rock band" or "rock band london".

5. You must be realistic

Getting on the first result page for a highly competitive keyword such as "mp3" is possible but your competitors will be old and established websites with a lot of backlinks. It is very difficult to outrank these pages.

If you have a website with just a few pages and your competitors have large websites with forums, communities, blogs, etc. then you must improve your website if you want to compete. Search engines want to show the best sites on the result pages.

If you absolutely want to get high rankings for a term such as "mp3", start with less competitive keywords and then proceed to the more competitive terms. Search engines must trust your website before they give you high rankings for very competitive keywords.

6. You must set the right goals

Search engine optimization is not about getting a high Google PageRank (the green bar in Google's toolbar). It is about getting high listings for the right keywords so that the right people will come to your website. The goal of search engine optimization is to increase your sales.

You don't have to be listed for any possible keyword even if they are related to your business. You have to be listed for keywords that will bring buyers to your site. It usually takes some time to find the best keywords for your website. Running PPC ads and tracking their conversions will help you to find the best keywords.

Doing the right things is difficult if you're not sure what to do. That's why we developed IBP. IBP offers step-by-step checklists that help you to optimize your web pages in the right order. IBP offers all tools that you need to get high rankings on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. You can download the free demo version here.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

YahooDiscussion: Yahoo testing Bing's search results?

"Results we monitor are looking very strange. Lots of uk, au, in and other worldly destinations mixed in with spammy garbage. Hardly seeing any US sites in results at all. Anyone else seeing this? [...]

The results do not match bing at all. I also noticed some .au and .uk sites in the first page of results. Very strange indeed. I also saw tremendous robot hits today."

Editor's note: although the new Yahoo results do not match Bing's results, this might be a first sign of the change. At this time, it does not make sense that Yahoo revamp their own algorithm. Of course, it could also be a major bug in Yahoo's algorithm that causes the new results.

What’s it like to work at Google?

"A common problem is that it’s easy to become spoiled by all the perks. Several offices have developed distinct cultures of entitlement, and people whine about the quality of the fudge on the free brownies. It’s embarrassing to be around people who have become like spoiled children. [...]

The culture here really values high-quality code. The style guidelines are incredibly strict and people are rewarded for high test coverage. All code must go through code review before the revision control system will even let you check it in. Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s way better than any large company I've ever heard of."

GoogleWhen Google AdWords updates the search numbers

"Starting this morning, when requesting keyword stats using the Targeting Idea Selector, Targeted Monthly Searches is returning a data point for June 2010, but has no count. [...]

This is the expected behavior. The monthly search volume data for the last month only becomes available about a week after the month has ended."

[Google's] Eric Schmidt talks about threats to Google, paywalls and the future

"The internet is the most disruptive technology in history, even more than something like electricity, because it replaces scarcity with abundance, so that any business built on scarcity is completely upturned as it arrives there."

Related: Google's Eric Schmidt: you can trust us with your data

Search engine newslets

  • Yahoo Suggest now supports real-time searches.
  • Google adds video suggestions to "how to" searches.
  • Google phrase search trick no longer works.
  • Google updates the PageRank numbers in the toolbar.
  • When Google doesn't return the most relevant results.
  • At Yahoo, using searches to steer news coverage.
  • Track the Tour de France on Bing Maps.

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3. Success stories

Tell us how IBP helped your business and 250,000 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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4. Previous articles

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