Weekly SEO news: 10 May 2011
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Google has published some questions that will make it easier to find out if your content is good enough for Google's latest quality filter. Is your website okay or do you have to improve it?

Also in the news: Google tests a new (ugly?) result page, Google gives advice about Flash sites, HTML coding errors, backlinks, site speed 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. Official Google advice: how to check if your contents pass Google's new quality requirements

Google's latest search engine algorithm update (code name: Panda) caused a ranking drop for many websites. Google wants to reduce the rankings of low-quality content in the search results.

To make it easier for webmasters to find out if the web page content is good enough for Google's new quality filters, Google has published some questions that will help you to judge the quality of your site:

Can your web page content be trusted?

  • Would you trust the information presented in your article?
  • Is the article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to the site?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from the site?
  • Would you recognize the site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Is the website the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from the site?

Is the content of your web pages unique?

  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?

Do you check the quality of your web pages?

  • Does the article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • Does the article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Would you expect to see the article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?

Do you create web pages for your visitors or for search engines?

  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?

Do your web pages contain enough real content?

  • Does the article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Does the article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?

Even if your web pages contain great content, you still have to make sure that Google finds your web pages relevant to the right keywords. If you want to make sure that Google lists your web pages on the first result page for the right keywords optimize it with the Top 10 Optimizer.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Google Google appears to be testing a sparse, ugly new results page

"It’s great that Google appears to be trying to clean up the look of the results page, which has gotten pretty cluttered over the years as they add more and more types of information and snippets.

But the new design is too sparse. And the colors are too soft. It looks like Bing on a bad day. The weirdest thing about the test is that it actually gives you much less information on the screen. This will require users to do more scrolling and paging through results to find what they’re looking for."

Google announces Flash support in Instant Previews

"In most cases, when the preview for a page is generated through our regular crawl, we will now render a snapshot of any Flash components on the page. This will replace the 'puzzle piece' icon that previously appeared to indicate Flash components, and should improve the accuracy of the previews."

The blog post also contains general advice for Flash websites:

"Make sure that your site has a reasonable, seamless experience for visitors without Flash. This may involve creating HTML-only equivalents for your Flash-based content that will automatically be shown to visitors who can't view Flash."

Matt CuttsVideo: can coding errors affect how a page is indexed?

Google's Matt Cutts answers that question in a video: he encourages webmasters to create error free HTML pages. Although valid HTML code does not give a ranking boost, it is easier to parse for Google.

Google can handle most smaller HTML errors but some HTML errors can cause your page not to be indexed.

Video: can I tell Google about links to my site?

Google's Matt Cutts answer that question in a video: It's not possible to send Google a list of links that point to your site. Google prefers to find the links to your site on its own.

Submitting sitemap to Google also doesn't help. A sitemap also isn't a guarantee that all pages will be indexed. It's just a way to tell Google that the pages exist.

Google adds site speed report to analytics

"With the Site Speed report you can measure the page load time across your site. [...]

One effective use of the Site Speed report is to measure speed for your most critical pages. For example, you might learn that the target audience of your site is located in a geographic region that experiences slower page speed."

Search engine newslets

  • Google testing domain names in AdWords headlines in top three ads.
  • Google just leaked their +1 Chrome extension on national television.
  • Google's Panda update cripples open publishing competition.
  • Google announces Business Photos.
  • Russian search giant Yandex blows whistle on whistle-blower.
  • Scammers swap Google images for malware.

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3. Success stories


300,000 readers will read your success story!

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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