Weekly SEO news: 21 March 2006
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at Google, your web site and CSS spam.

In the news: a company sues Google over page ranking, Yahoo and Google release new services 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. Facts of the week: Google, your web site and CSS spam

Hiding content and links in CSS code that is not visible to human web surfers has become popular among webmasters who want to trick search engines.

How does CSS spam work?

CSS (cascading style sheets) allow webmasters to specify the location of a web page element in a web browser. Some webmasters create keyword rich text that is not intended for human web surfers in a CSS element that is not visible to normal surfers.

For search engines, the invisible CSS element looks like a normal part of the web page. As the invisible element contains keyword rich text, search engines might think that the web page is relevant to the keywords mentioned in that text.

Why is CSS spam a bad idea?

Just like any spam technique, CSS spam can lead to good short-term results. However, just like all spam techniques, it's extremely risky to use CSS spam. A new post in the blog of Google's spam fighter Matt Cutts indicates that Google could detect CSS spam at least in some cases:

"[The site] had spam (specifically hidden text) on [the] pages. When Googlebot visited http://www.thepeoplescube.com/Truth.php on Sun, 05 Mar 2006 12:17:12 GMT, the page looked fine to users, but had hidden text."

Using spam techniques puts the success of your your web site at risk. It doesn't matter if you use CSS or any other technique to trick search engines. As soon as search engines find out that you're cheating them, they will ban your site.

What does this mean to your web site?

It's very important that your web site is spam-free. The most common reason why a web site gets banned from Google is spam. If your web pages contain spam elements, it's likely that they'll get banned from Google sooner or later or that they don't get listed at all.

Even if you're not intentionally spamming, make sure that your web pages don't contain hidden text or other spam elements by mistake.

There are better ways to get your web site listed in search engines

Don't try to cheat Google. Focus on your web site visitors and offer them what they need. Your web pages should offer good content and they should be useful to human web surfers.

If you have such a web site and then optimize your pages so that they can be found for your most important search terms then it's very likely that your web site will get high rankings on Google. If your web site has optimized content and good incoming links, then it is very difficult not to get high rankings on Google.

Further information on how to optimize your web pages for Google and other search engines without using spam techniques can be found in our free SEO book.

2. Search engine news of the week

Google sued over page ranking

"A parental advice Internet site has sued Google Inc., charging it unfairly deprived the company of customers by downgrading its search-result ranking without reason or warning."

Yahoo! releases local news

The new service allows you to see the news for your area.

Google to introduce finance section

    "Online search engine leader Google Inc. is devoting a section of its Web site to information about the stock market and corporate America, filling a gaping product hole as it continues to battle for Internet traffic with rivals Yahoo Inc., MSN and America Online."

Judge: Google must give index data to gov't

    "In a highly anticipated decision, a federal judge ruled Friday that Google Inc. has to provide the U.S. government with information about its search engine’s index, but denied a request for a sample of search queries."

Judge orders Gmail disclosure

    "In a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission, a subpoena is sent to Google for the complete contents of a Gmail account, including deleted e-mail messages."

Search engine newslets

3. Articles of the week
In Google's shadow

"Google Inc.'s recent foray into the enterprise search market may have raised the profile of the technology, but the tools are nothing new to Jeff Watts and National Instruments Corp.'s 3,500 employees and 25,000 customers."

'Quaero' becoming a reality

    "Nearly a year after its launch, the European multimedia search engine 'Quaero' looks more like a high-tech reality than its critics had initially taken to be."

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4. Preview of the next ARELIS version - part 7

We're currently working on a new ARELIS version. The new ARELIS version will have many new features and many improvements.

We think that it will be the best and most complete link exchange, link popularity and off-site web promotion solution. In the next few weeks, we'll show a preview of some of the new ARELIS features in this newsletter.

Part 7: Quickly work with link exchange forms

Some web sites want you to fill out a form if you want to exchange links with them. The new ARELIS version makes dealing with these web sites as easy as possible.

Whenever ARELIS finds a web site with a link exchange form, it will automatically fill out the form for you so that you just have click the Submit button:

Fully customizable category pages

If the other web site requires a reciprocal link, all you have to do is to tick the Include in link pages checkbox in ARELIS and ARELIS will take care of the rest. Exchanging links has never been easier.

It's a free update for registered users

The features above are only one of many new features that will be available in the new ARELIS version. A public preview of the new ARELIS version is planned for this month. We'll announce its official release in this newsletter.

Although the new version will have many more features than the current ARELIS version, it will be a free update for registered users of the current ARELIS version.

If you haven't tested the current ARELIS version yet, you should do so now.

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5. Recommended resources

Another award for ARELIS

"You'll get highly targeted visitors to your web site, you'll benefit from new business contacts and your web site will get a higher ranking on search engines because of higher link popularity.

ARELIS helps you to establish many high quality reciprocal links that point to your web site. It is the first software application that provides a serious, spam-free reciprocal links solution for professional webmasters. [...]

Softpedia guarantees that ARELIS 4.4.2 is 100% CLEAN, which means it does not contain any form of malware, including but not limited to: spyware, viruses, trojans and backdoors."
Review on Softpedia.com

"AxROI has been effective in lowering my ad costs and increasing my profits. I'd give it a thumbs up."

"The way AxROI works is that it allows you to find out what exactly people purchase, how much you earn from your ads, whether people subscribe to your newsletter, if they visit special pages on your site and more.

You can get that information for every banner, text link, PPC ad and every visitor who found your site through a search engine listing. [...]

I've been using it and AxROI has been effective in lowering my ad costs and increasing my profits. I'd give it a thumbs up."
Shawn Collins, www.affiliatetip.com

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6. Previous articles

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