Weekly SEO news: 9 May 2006
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at a new Yahoo patent application that deals with PageRank, TrustRank and link spam. Read below how this will affect your web site.

In the news: A new study confirms the importance of search marketing, Yahoo updates its PPC ad system 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: PageRank, TrustRank and your web site

Yahoo has filed a new patent with the name "Link based spam detection". It's another attempt from Yahoo to improve the relevancy of their search results by detecting links from link farms and other shady link sources.

Yahoo uses PageRank and TrustRank to rank your web site

Yahoo mentions both PageRank and TrustRank in the patent application. That's interesting because both terms are trademarks of Google:

"PageRank is a family of well known algorithms for assigning numerical weights to hyperlinked documents (or web pages or web sites) indexed by a search engine. PageRank uses link information to assign global importance scores to documents on the web.[...]. The PageRank of a document is a measure of the link-based popularity of a document on the Web.

TrustRank is a link analysis technique related to PageRank. TrustRank is a method for separating reputable, good pages on the Web from web spam. TrustRank is based on the presumption that good documents on the Web seldom link to spam. TrustRank involves two steps, one of seed selection and another of score propagation. The TrustRank of a document is a measure of the likelihood that the document is a reputable (i.e., a nonspam) document."

Although Yahoo uses the terms PageRank and TrustRank in the patent application, it's likely that the algorithms are not identical to the algorithms that are used by Google.

How Yahoo tries to identify spam sites by using PageRank and TrustRank

In the patent application, Yahoo explains how they want to find spam farms with the help of PageRank and TrustRank:

"A spam farm is an artificially created set of pages that point to a spam target page to boost its significance. Trust-ranking ("TrustRank") is a form of PageRank with a special teleportation (i.e., jumps) to a subset of high-quality pages.

Using techniques described herein, a search engine can automatically find bad pages (web spam pages) and more specifically, find those web spam pages created to boost their significance through the creation of artificial spam farms (collections of referencing pages).

In specific embodiments, a PageRank process with uniform teleportation and a trust-ranking process are carried out and their results are compared as part of a test of the "spam-ness" of a page or a collection of pages."

What does this mean to your web site?

Search engine engineers are not stupid. The search engine algorithms are evolving faster than ever. For that reason, it is important that you don't use "quick fix" solutions to get links to your web site.

If a service promises hundreds of links to your web site with no work or efforts on your part, then chances are that these links are from a link farm. Search engines don't like link farms and some web sites even get penalized by participating in a link farm system.

Focus on organic link building and get high quality links that are beneficial to you and your web site visitors. If you use that kind of links then you don't have to be afraid of spam filters. With these links, search engines will see your web site as a useful resource and they will give your site high rankings.

2. Search engine news of the week

JupiterResearch: Few organizations have dedicated search staff

    "Despite the effectiveness of search marketing and its growing importance in overall marketing campaigns, many companies are not dedicating full-time staff to the channel, according to the study."

    Editor's note: If you're looking for the best tools for in-house SEO, click here.

Yahoo! has Google in its sights with new advertising system

"Yahoo! launched its fightback against Google yesterday with the launch of a new internet advertising system. [...] Our challenge is to continue to invent something that we originally led."

Microsoft targets Google, Yahoo with online ad platform

    "Microsoft [...] launched its online advertising platform in the United States, a milestone in the company's struggle to catch up with Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. in the multi-billion-dollar search advertising market."

Google Health: Probably coming next week

    "Health is an interesting one -- keep your eye out for that next week. [...] Considering that hint, though, an announcement of a Google Health site seems a good bet."

Search engine newslets

3. Articles of the week

Encouraging search engine spam

    "The commercial Web search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN Search, Ask, etc.) are far from perfect. To be effective, most information retrieval systems must strike a balance between precision and recall. Irrelevant results inevitably appear in search engine results.

    Irrelevant results, sometimes referred to as false positives, are actually a normal occurrence, though I wouldn't base my Web site business on search engine errors."

Engine, engine number 9

"Last week’s announcement that Amazon’s A9 engine jilted long, long-time search partner Google for Microsoft’s Windows Live Search appears to have reignited the Hundred Years War of Search.

Just a few years ago the industry wouldn’t have been caught dead cheering on Microsoft (how easily we forget), yet Google’s fast rise to the top has made any and all competition welcome."

Doing business, the Google way

"Google's success has exceeded anyone's expectations in under eight years. With each product or service they launch, it becomes more difficult to imagine a world without them."

Google in the garden of good and evil

"Is Google good or evil? In Silicon Valley, Google's moral code is a contentious issue. To its local boosters, Google can do no ill; but to critics on both the left and the right, Google epitomizes all the worst hubris, hypocrisy, and greed of the dot.com era."

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4. Test drive the new IBP and ARELIS version

We're currently developing the new generation of our web promotion tools ARELIS and IBP. You can be among the first to test the new generation.

The most complete search engine optimization tool is coming

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?

The new version is not ready for the final release yet. 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. We value your feedback on the preview version so that we can make the final release as powerful as possible.

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5. Recommended resources

Another Editor's Choice award for IBP

Editor's Choice"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."

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6. Previous articles

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