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

Google has announced a new ranking algorithm update. Websites that receive many copyright removal notices might get lower rankings. Will this affect your website rankings? What do you have to do?

In the news: Google includes your emails in the search results, the rating system on Google Local might be changed, Google gives tips for A/B tests and language redirects, and more.

Table of contents:

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Google announces a new ranking algorithm update
Some days ago, Google announced a ranking algorithm update. The new ranking algorithm will also consider the number of valid copyright removal notices that a website receives.

copyright removal notice

What exactly was announced by Google?

Here's the text from the official announcement:

"Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results. [...]

Since we re-booted our copyright removals over two years ago, we’ve been given much more data by copyright owners about infringing content online. In fact, we’re now receiving and processing more copyright removal notices every day than we did in all of 2009—more than 4.3 million URLs in the last 30 days alone. We will now be using this data as a signal in our search rankings. [...]

While this new signal will influence the ranking of some search results, we won’t be removing any pages from search results unless we receive a valid copyright removal notice from the rights owner."

Domains with valid copyright removal notices can be found here.

Will there be exceptions?

Google announced that YouTube and other big websites (for example Facebook, IMDB, Tumblr and Twitter) won't be affected by this new ranking signal.

In addition to the pure number of copyright removal notices, Google also checks other factors that influence the reputation of a site.

What do you have to do to make sure that your website won't be hit?

If you receive a copyright removal notice from Google, you should  remove the content from your website if the claim is valid. If it is a false copyright removal request, send a counter notice. Google provides a link to a counter notice in the copyright removal notices.

The new copyright signal is only one of many signals that Google uses to determine the position of a website in the search results. Google's Amit Singhal said in the official announcement of the new ranking signal that Google "developed over 200 signals to ensure [their] search algorithms deliver the best possible results."

If you want to make sure that your website gets high rankings on Google for your keywords, you have to make sure that your website has all the signals that are necessary to get high rankings. IBP's Top 10 Optimizer helps you to optimize your web pages so that your website gets the best possible rankings.
2. Search engine news and articles of the week

GoogleGoogle announces June/July changes

Including many things regarding sitelinks, site clustering and page quality, Google announced the following change:

"[project codename 'Other Ranking Components'] Better ordering of top results using a new and improved ranking function for combining several key ranking features."

Is Google thinking about abandoning the Zagat rating system?

"A well known foodie, Mayer was obviously taken with the Zagat system. She was in charge of Google local when the Zagat review system was implemented and one can surmise that it was her 'baby'. With Mayer leaving the company it is entirely possible that there is no longer a strong internal advocate for the Zagat system."

BingGoogle: you shouldn't force users to a specific language

Google's Christopher Semturs explains this in a post:

"Verify that your page always returns content for all users, e.g. does not crash for GoogleBot (no Accept-Language header) or on unexpected user settings.

Make sure that each language is available under it’s own specific URL (e.g. www.example.com/de/ showing content in German).

On the main page, provide links to the language-specific URLs, e.g. as a language switcher somewhere on the page. For search engines, add the rel-alternate-hreflang annotations."

Google about A/B website tests

Google says that you shouldn't use cloaking and that you should use rel='canonical' and 302 redirects.

"If we discover a site running an experiment for an unnecessarily long time, we may interpret this as an attempt to deceive search engines and take action accordingly. This is especially true if you’re serving one content variant to a large percentage of your users."

Counting the mobile costs for Bing

 "It’s not just that Google dominates search. It’s what Google gets from those searches — streams of information about location and behavior that is valuable to advertisers and improves the quality of future searches. Bing, the search engine owned by Microsoft, is not getting that information."

Search engine newslets
  • Google to integrate Gmail in search results.
  • Yahoo! Local adds owner verification.
  • This guy's Microsoft blog will be seen as a death warrant by advertisers.
  • Yahoo's $4 billion reversal? Alibaba cash may stay put.
  • Microsoft said to plan to keep Facebook stake as lockup ends.
  • Google announces vanity URLs for Google+.
  • Google no longer pushing Google+ results says search chief.
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3. Recommended resources

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