Weekly SEO news: 3 May 2011
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Google has become pretty good in detecting low quality web pages and links. If you use a link service that promises a lot of high PR links for little money or if you participate in a fully automated linking system, chances are that Google will penalize your website because you are trying to trick them. What can you do to get "natural" backlinks?

Also in the news: Google does not like long img alt attributes, Google says that you shouldn't use the marquee tag, traffic is down 40% for some sites because of Google's Panda update and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Four ways to get natural backlinks

Google has become pretty good in detecting low quality web pages and links. If you use a link service that promises a lot of high PR links for little money or if you participate in a fully automated linking system, chances are that Google will penalize your website because you are trying to trick them.

Just use common sense: if you can find that automated linking system, Google can find it too. Do not try to trick Google.

If you want to get better rankings on Google, the links that point to your website should be from related websites and from sources that would "naturally" link to your website.

1. Create a linkworthy website

If your website is only a collection of affiliate links then you cannot expect that other webmasters will link to your site. Create a website with good content.

People like to link to "How to" articles, top 10 lists and controversial statement. The more interesting your web pages are, the more likely it is that other websites will link to your site.

2. Solve other people's problems

Do you have an article on your website that solves a specific problem? Contact related websites and point them to the interesting content on your site.

Contact the webmasters of sites that are related to the topic of your website and bloggers who have written about that topic. Inform these people about your article. Chances are that these websites will link to your site. You can find related websites and blogs with this tool.

3. Put your website into the right context

The direct effect of links from Internet directories has decreased but they are still a very good way to put your website into the right context.

If many Internet directories list your website in the right category, then search engines will know that your website is related to that category and it will be much easier to get high rankings for keywords that are related to that category.

4. Get links to different pages of your website and vary your link texts

The structure of a natural backlink pattern depends on the website. Some websites get the most links to the home page. Other websites get many links to specific pages.

In general, the websites that link to your website should use the keywords for which you want to get high rankings in the linked text. The texts should vary. If all web pages use exactly the same text to link to your site, this will look unnatural.

Getting the right kind of backlinks is very important if you want to get high rankings on Google and other search engines. Create interesting and linkworthy web pages and optimize the content of these pages for search engines.

When you are sure that your web pages are user-friendly and interesting, get the right kind of links to your website and your rankings will increase.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

John Mueller Discussion: Google does not like long IMG ALT attributes

Google's John Mueller commented on long img alt attributes in an online discussion:

"For many (all?) of your products you're including a full copy of the - sometimes long - title as the alt-text for all of the product images on the page.

Keeping in mind that the alt-text is meant to be an alternative text that could be shown in place of the image (and accordingly, it's indexed as part of the page), it could be confusing to see the exact same text over and over again.

Search engines generally aren't impressed by seeing the same text that many times, so I'd simplify that a bit by perhaps using the full text for the main product image, but not reusing it for all of the smaller detail-images."

Google's John Mueller: don't use the marquee tag

"One other thing that you may want to look into is removing the 'marquees' on your pages. To users, they show only a very limited amount of information, to search engines, it looks like you're using them to stuff in as many related keywords as possible. [...]

Search engines are pretty good at determining the relevant keywords of a page, there's no need to list every word like that."

Demand MediaGoogle traffic to Demand Media sites down 40 percent

"eHow, Demand's largest and most important site by far, is down 29 percent; it now accounts for 0.29 percent of Google's downstream. [...]

Other content farms have taken it on the chin as well. Mahalo's Google traffic is down 78 percent, Associate Content's is down 61 percent and Examiner.com is down 51 percent.

CNN: Why Google threw Overstock in the penalty box

"Overstock got itself in trouble in late February for 'noncompliance' issues. The company offered student discounts to colleges in return for links pointing to its site. Google puts a premium on .edu domains in its search formula, and it viewed Overstock's move as an attempt to artificially inflate Overstock's search visibility."

Smartphone user study shows mobile movement under way

"Search engine websites are the most visited websites with 77% of smartphone users citing this, followed by social networking, retail and video sharing websites. Nine out of ten smartphone searches results in an action (purchasing, visiting a business, etc.). 24% recommended a brand or product to others as a result of a smartphone search."

Search engine newslets

  • Video: Does Google support cross-domain rel="canonical"? Answer: yes, but a 301 redirect is preferred.
  • Bing announces significant improvements to instant answer and news searches.
  • Google tests very large sitelinks and voice activated search.
  • Google finally removes the PageRank display from the Google toolbar.
  • Facebook launches social deals with ad opps.
  • The truth about Facebook's Groupon clone.
  • Google puts your address in the SERPS, shows it to your social circle.
  • Google algo twist tweaks gray lady.
  • A hint of what Google's social network might look like?
  • Google's John Mueller talks about sitemap crawling.
  • Google begins charging for calls from ads.

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3. Success stories

"IBP made all the difference"

"For years www.ExpertBoxing.com received only 100 visitors a day. I wrote great articles and content regularly but still couldn't get my website ranked on Google.

It wasn't until I started using IBP that my SEO started knocking out all my competitors. I was always a hard worker but IBP made all the difference.

Intelligent analysis, keyword research, competitor comparisons, the whole shebang. Within a matter of months, I ranked on the first page of Google for every boxing-related search phrase I could ever want. My site is now growing at a rate of 15% every month. My Adsense earnings are hitting records every month and I couldn't be any happier."
Johnny Nguyen, www.ExpertBoxing.com


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