Weekly SEO news: 15 November 2011

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

Matt Cutts, the head of Google's web spam team, announced at the PubCon conference that ad heavy websites might be penalized in the near future. What exactly are ad heavy websites and is your own website at risk?

Also in the news: Matt Cutts give further information about cloaking, Google encrypts 33% of referral data, some say that Google+ is dead and more.

Table of contents:

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Google to penalize ad heavy websites - is your website at risk?

Matt Cutts, the head of Google's web spam team, announced at the PubCon conference that ad heavy websites might be penalized in the near future. What exactly are ad heavy websites and is your own website at risk?

What did Matt Cutts say at the conference?

Matt CuttsMatt Cutts said that Google was testing algorithms that determine how much content is available above the fold on a web page. He warned that websites that have ads that obscure the content could get in trouble.

You should ask yourself if your website visitors see the content of your website or if there's something distracting or annoying on the page.

Google is serious about eliminating these pages from the search results

Google's Panda algorithm update already focused on low quality pages that were created around ads. Matt Cutts' announcement suggests that Google is working on more algorithms that remove these pages from the search results.

What is an ad heavy web page?

An ad heavy web page is a page on which it is difficult to find the actual content. A typical ad heavy page can look like this:

You should not do it like this

What does this mean to your website?

If it's hard to find the actual content on your web pages, you should redesign your website. Make it easier to find the content of your web pages and do not plaster your pages with third party ads.

Google is serious about eliminating spam and low quality pages from the search results. If you want to get lasting high rankings, only use ethical search engine optimization methods. Optimize your web pages with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer to make sure that Google gets what they want on your web pages and try to improve the backlinks of your website.


2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Matt Cutts gives further information about cloaking

"Cloaking is showing different content to Googlebot than to users [...] the question naturally emerges about how to treat Googlebot? [...]

The main questions that the webspam team -which is responsible for enforcing our quality guidelines about cloaking- will ask if we get a spam report concerning a page is - Is the content identical between user agents? (If the answer is yes here, you're fine.) - If not, how substantial are the differences and what are the reasons for the differences?

If the reason is for spamming, malicious, or deceptive behavior--or even showing different content to users than to Googlebot--then this is high-risk.

For example, we already provide ways for servers returning Flash to show the same page to users and to Googlebot, so don't do this for Flash. Anything beyond [minor differences] quickly becomes high-risk."

GoogleGoogle now encrypts up to 33% of search referral data

"Why Google has chosen to restrict our view is beyond me. It seems to go against its aims to improve the web experience. [...]

The hideous ‘not provided’ is now showing as our top search referral. It has usurped our brand terms. It represents more than 10% of our total keyword referrals. And I fear it will worsen, as Google convinces (or requires) more people to log in to its products."

Yahoo! and Microsoft ready to move ahead with the Search Alliance in Europe

"As we start combining Yahoo! and Microsoft search market places in Europe we will work closely with advertisers, publishers and developers on a customised plan designed to make the transition as easy and efficient as possible."

YahooEconomist: Yahoo searching for a future

"If Yahoo had its own personal profile on Facebook, its relationship status on the social network would read 'It’s complicated'. [...]

If Yahoo is going to be carved up like a turkey at Thanksgiving, the sooner such a decision is taken the better."

Slate: Google+ is dead

"The real test of Google’s social network is what people do after they join. As far as anyone can tell, they aren’t doing a whole lot. [...]

A social network isn’t a product; it’s a place. Like a bar or a club, a social network needs a critical mass of people to be successful—the more people it attracts, the more people it attracts."

Search engine newslets

  • Bing: Getting flagged as malware? Some insights.
  • Forbes: Google's piracy liability.
  • Google tests thumbnails for some results on the result pages.
  • Infographic: when do people share links on social websites?
  • The value of a top 10 ranking on Google.
  • Ten recent Google algorithm changes.
  • Google patent on displaying breadcrumb links in search results.

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3. Success stories


"Well worth every penny spent."

"Since using IBP for six months we have been able to take a website/business focused on providing candid wedding photography in London, England from a handful of monthly visitors to over 1000 unique visitors per month with Google PR3.

On Google.co.uk we now rank 6-10 for a very targeted keyword and using IBP to target local search terms has been invaluable. For some local keywords, our website can be found on position 1-3 on Google.

IBP has given our business the visibility online to grow and establish an excellent reputation. Well worth every penny spent."
Jiggy, www.rikpenningtonphotography.com

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4. Previous articles

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