Weekly SEO news: 2 September 2014
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Some days ago, Igor Rondel, Principal Development Manager, Bing Index Quality, published a blog post about the way Bing treats web spam. His post explains how Bing detects, processes and filters out search spam from their index.

In the news: no more authorship results on Google, 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search, Yahoo is testing a new interface, a Google patent targets web spam, 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. Bing explains how they detect, process and filter out search spam
Some days ago, Igor Rondel, Principal Development Manager, Bing Index Quality, published a blog post about the way Bing treats web spam. His post explains how Bing detects, processes and filters out search spam from their index.

Web page elements that help Bing to detect spam:

Bing tries to understand the spammer’s motivation. As most spammers want to make money, Bing analyzes the following:
  1. Quality of content

    According to Igor Rondel, spammers generate content targeted at search engines and their algorithms, whereas legitimate SEOs generate content for their customers.

    In most cases, spam pages have inadequate content with limited value to the user. "There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of signals used to make this assessment, ranging from simple things like number of words on the page to more complex concepts of content uniqueness and utility."

  2. Presence of ads

    Presence of ads doesn’t make a page bad. Bing's algorithms check how many ads appear on the page, the type of ads (e.g. banner, grey-overs, pop-ups), and how intrusive/disruptive they are.

  3. Positional & layout information

    Where is the main content located? Where are the ads located? Do the ads take up the prime real estate or are they neatly separated away from the main content (e.g. in the header/ footer or side pane)? Is it easy for users to mentally separate content from ads?
Popular spam techniques that Bing does not like
Igor Rondel listed some spam techniques that Bing does not like. For example, Bing considers the following spam:
  • stuffing page body/url/anchors with keywords
  • performing link manipulation via link farms, link networks, forum post abuse
  • including hidden content on the page not meant for human consumption.
These are the same things that Google does not like. If you want to avoid a penalty, better avoid these methods.
How spammers create content
According to Bing's Igor Rondel, there are many content generation methods that spammers use:
  • copying other’s content (either entirely or with minor tweaks)
  • using programs to automatically generate page content
  • using external APIs to populate their pages with non-unique content.
Bing's algorithms try detect these and similar mechanisms. To amplify this, they also develop creative clustering algorithms (using things like page layout, ads, domain names and Whois-type information) that in a way act as force-multipliers to help identify large clusters of these mass produced pages/ sites.
Do not use spam techniques if you want to get high rankings that last. Bing and Google have big anti-spam departments and your website will be penalized if you use spam techniques.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week
Google's John Mueller: no more authorship results
"We've also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we've made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results. [...]

In our tests, removing authorship generally does not seem to reduce traffic to sites. Nor does it increase clicks on ads. We make these kinds of changes to improve our users’ experience. [...]

Search users will still see Google+ posts from friends and pages when they’re relevant to the query — both in the main results, and on the right-hand side. Today’s authorship change doesn’t impact these social features."

StatisticsStudy: 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search

"Is SEO your primary content channel? It should be. 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search. Rich media flattens the click distribution curve on SERPs. Over 40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic."

Google authorship may be dead, but Author Rank is not

"Google Authorship was primarily Google’s way to allow the authors of content to identify themselves for display purposes. [...]

Separately from Google Authorship is the idea of Author Rank, where if Google knows who authored a story, it might somehow alter the rankings of that story, perhaps give it a boost if authored by someone deemed trustworthy. [...]

Don’t worry too much about Author Rank. It’s only confirmed for a very limited part of Google Search. Maybe it will grow beyond that. If it does, it’ll be only one of many SEO ranking factors that go into producing Google’s listings."

GoogleYahoo! is testing a new interface

"The test is very similar to Google for tablets interface. Here's how you can enable the experiment: Go to Yahoo.com and load your browser's developer console. Press Enter, refresh the page and you'll see the experiment."

Google patent attacks reverse engineering of local search listings

"The context is local search, where some business owners might be striving to show up in results in places where they don’t actually have a business location, or where heavy competition might convince them that having additional or better entries in Google Maps is going to help their business.

The result of such efforts might be for their local listings to disappear completely from Google Maps results. The category Google seems to have placed such listings under is 'Fake Business Spam.'"

Search engine newslets
  • Google tests new site search box.
  • The new Bing interface will incorporate search cards, like Google.
  • Google tests different colors for stars in search results.
  • People trust Google more than the government.
  • Google Blog Search now within Google News Search.
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4. Previous articles
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