Weekly SEO news: 25 April 2006
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at Googlebot and Mediabot and how they can influence your search engine rankings on Google. If you're not careful, your site might get in trouble.

In the news: Google experiments with new search results, Yahoo has announced an index update and much 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: Googlebot and Mediabot - Can you get in trouble?

On the PubCon Publishers Search and Marketing Conferences in Boston, Google's Matt Cutts revealed interesting information about Mediabot and how it could influence your Google rankings.

What are Googlebot and Mediabot?

Search engines use software programs (so-called bots or spiders) to index web pages. These bots follow all links they can find on the Internet to index web pages for their search engines.

The name of Google's bot is Googlebot. If you see an entry with the name Googlebot in your web site statistics then Googlebot has visited your web site.

In addition to Googlebot, Google also operates another bot with the name Mediabot. Mediabot is the bot that is used by Google to index web sites that display AdSense ads. Google indexes these pages to find out which ads Google should display on these pages.

What's the problem with Mediabot?

Until recently, Google has denied that displaying AdSense ads on your web pages has any effect on your Google rankings. However, some webmasters noticed that web pages that have only been visited by Mediabot and not by Googlebot showed up in Google's search results.

Google's Matt Cutts confirmed at the Boston PubCon 2006 that the MediaBot pages can also be used for Google's main index:

"Pages with AdSense will not be indexed more frequently. It’s literally just a crawl cache, so if e.g. our news crawl fetched a page and then Googlebot wanted the same page, we’d retrieve the page from the crawl cache. But there’s no boost at all in rankings if you’re in AdSense or Google News. You don’t get any more pages crawled either."

How can this get you in trouble?

If you serve different pages to Googlebot and Mediabot then Google might ban your web site because you use cloaking on your web site. Cloaking means that you're showing different pages to users than to search engines.

As Mediabot analyzes the web pages you serve for your visitors it's easy for Google to find out if you present extra pages for Googlebot. If you do something special for Googlebot then Google knows that you're cloaking.

What does this mean to you?

You shouldn't use cloaking or any other unethical search engine optimization method for your web site. Search engines will detect it sooner or later and they will ban your web site from their indexes.

Don't try to cheat search engines. If you want lasting results, you should concentrate on ethical search engine optimization. Ethical search engine optimization leads to a symbiotic relationship between webmasters, search engines and web surfers so that everyone wins.

2. Search engine news of the week

Google tests expanded search option

    "Google is testing an enhanced search feature that presents users with additional result information. [...]

    The feature appeared at seemingly random moments with online searches, and appears to be related to the Orion technology that Google acquired earlier this month."

    Editor's note: Further information about Google and Orion can be found here.

Yahoo has announced another index update

"We rolled out an index update last night. As usual, you may see some changes in ranking as well as some shuffling of the pages that are included in the index."

$2bn boost for Franco-German search engine projects

    "German companies led by Bertelsmann, Europe’s biggest media group, are expected to join Quaero, the search engine project."

Exalead enters the search ring

    "Exalead, based in France, hopes to make a big mark in enterprise search as well as in consumer Web search. [...] AOL France is a marquee customer, using Exalead to power Web search for French subscribers for the last four years. In the U.S., the company is just getting started."

Search engine newslets

  • See screenshots of a Google results page test.
  • GenieKnows.com now offers local search.
  • Now even Bill Gates asks Jeeves.
  • Ask.com names new CEO.
  • Russian search engine body created.
  • Google pitches business search as 'command line interface to the world'.
  • Google now sells chocolate poker chips.
  • Artist's family asks Google to take down 'painted' Miro logo.
3. Articles of the week

A frank interview with Jim Lanzone (formely Ask Jeeves, now MSN Search)

"This time our victim is Jim Lanzone, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Ask.com. I've known Jim for quite a while, and always appreciated his passion for defending, well, the underdog."

Why marketers need to take search seriously

"What's missing in most marketing plans involving TV commercials? A search component. [...]

Once online, 80% of Internet traffic begins at a search engine, according to a Harris Interactive poll. And 41% of Web users find brands through search rather than just by typing a URL into their browser."

Ganging up on Google

    "A phalanx of foes -- from eBay to search rivals and Uncle Sam -- is lining up to keep the search giant in check."

Google's China problem (and China's Google problem)

"Yet Google's conduct in China has in recent months seemed considerably less than idealistic. In January, a few months after Lee opened the Beijing office, the company announced it would be introducing a new version of its search engine for the Chinese market."

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4. ARELIS and IBP beta version available

We're currently developing the new generation of our web promotion tools ARELIS and IBP. We've just opened the test of the new version to the public, and you can be among the first to test the new generation.

What's new?

Both ARELIS and IBP have been integrated into one user interface. IBP and ARELIS are still two independent programs but it is now much easier to work with both programs on the same web site.

In addition, the new Top 10 Inbound Link Optimizer tool will help you to get better search engine rankings.

What's the catch?

Expect problems when testing the new version. That's why it is called a public beta test. Only if you're comfortable testing pre-release versions that are not intended for daily work, you should download the test version.

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5. Recommended resources

Another Editor's Choice Award for IBP

"IBP is the multi award winning web site promotion tool that helps you to get more revenue with high search engine rankings in Google, Yahoo and all other major search engines.

The suite of 10 professional website promotion tools includes a search engine submission tool, a search engine ranking checker, a top 10 optimizer and a keyword generator. IBP creates professional reports in PDF, HTML and Microsoft Word format."
Review on RedSofts.com

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6. Previous articles

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