Weekly SEO news: 01 May 2007
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at the influence of semantic analysis on your search engine rankings.

In the news: Google releases iGoogle, Ask releases a new contextual ads system, Google Checkout seems to be a failure 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. The influence of semantic indexing on your search engine rankings

Semantic indexing is getting more and more important to search engines. What exactly is semantic indexing and how does it influence your search engine rankings?

What is semantic indexing?

    Semantic indexing means that search engines try to associate certain terms with concepts when indexing web pages. For example, Paris and Hilton are associated with a woman instead of a city and a hotel, Tiger and Woods are associated with golf.

How can search engines find the relation between words?

For example, Google has billions of web pages in its index. If Google finds that many web pages contain both the word Paris and the word Hilton then Google might assume that these keywords are related. The other words on these pages could give Google a hint that this special word combination is about a woman.

Words that frequently appear very close to each other could get a tighter connection. Google has a lot of algorithms that allow them to calculate the relation between different words.

How does this influence your search engine optimization activities?

If you want to succeed on Google then it is important that you show Google that your website is relevant to your topic. Here are some things that you can do to show search engines that your site is relevant:

  • Use a meaningful site architecture

    Use a logical system to organize your website content. Create content sections that deal with different parts of your main topic and make sure that everything that is related to your topic is mentioned on your web pages.

    Make sure that your web pages are put in the right categories on your website and that it's easy to find the different categories.

  • Use web pages that use different relevant search terms

    If you're targeting the search term "used cars" you should also create pages that are relevant to "auto", "suv", etc.

  • Get links from pages that are semantically relevant to yours

    If you're selling cars then the "Cars" web page that links to your site should not be about the movie. Links from topically related pages will be semantically beneficial to your site.

  • Find out why other pages rank higher than yours

    If you ever asked yourself why another page has been ranked higher than yours although you perfectly optimized your pages for your search terms then you should analyze the inbound links of the top ranked pages.

    The number and the authority of inbound links are important. However, it's also important that the links come from semantically and topically related pages.

Don't focus on a single keyword when optimizing your pages. If you want to prepare your website for advanced search engine algorithms then you have to create a website that has been optimized for many different but related search terms. In addition, it's important that the links to your website come from topically related pages so that search engines put your website in the right context.

2. Search engine news of the week
Google expands personalization with iGoogle

"Google Inc. is stepping up efforts to allow its users to personalize how they search the Web, moving beyond the one-size-fits-all approach to search it already offers."

Ask introduces ASL contextual advertising

"How is this product different from our competitors, you ask? Three important reasons, each one a paradigm shift. [...] You won't find the standard white background with text ads. Our hybrid text + graphical contextual units will offer a fresh new look to performance based contextual advertising."

Google shareholder proposal to resist censorship

"Google's upcoming meeting has an interesting shareholder proposal dealing with free speech and censorship to be voted on at the May 10 meeting. [..., Google's] board of directors recommends a vote against the stockholder proposal."

Google Checkout struggles to compete with eBay's PayPal

"Without a strong consumer valuation proposition, Checkout has been unable to make any headway against PayPal. The chart below shows Compete’s estimate of the number of monthly U.S. based transactions processed through Checkout, and its respective market share versus PayPal."

Search engine newslets

  • MSN link search still not working.
  • Google overtakes Microsoft.
  • Meet Google's culture czar.
  • Ballmer: No. 1 regret: Being late to online advertising.
  • Baidu.com profit soars on ad sales, solid web traffic.
  • How to get bought by Google (or IBM, or Oracle).
  • Yahoo loses VP of consumer search, to Accel Partners.
  • Advertiser requests on invalid clicks.
  • Google reportedly to build data center in Belgium.
  • Three Ask.com titbits.
3. Articles of the week
Google's latest power grab (hint: it's not DoubleClick)

"I'm talking about Google's acquisition of your web-surfing history -- and the histories of millions of others. [...]

The move also means Google is building surfing profiles for individuals. Knowing where people go will allow Google to better target them with ads, behaviorally and post-search, with ads related to recent searches."

DoubleClick and Google, Part 2: The reality

"The reality of the Google/DoubleClick deal and the vision behind it may not match up. [...]

Will other publishers be undersupported within DoubleClick products in comparison to Google's partner publishers? Will Google give away publisher or advertiser ad serving, essentially buying loyalty from organizations that may have concerns about conflicts?"

Condemned to Google hell

"Don't anger the Google gods. That's the lesson Paul Sanar learned--too late--last year. Up until last fall, the 21-year-old New Yorker depended solely on the search engine to keep traffic flowing. [...]

Google Hell is the worst fear of the untold numbers of companies that depend on search results to keep their business visible online. Getting stuck there means most users will never see the site, or at least many of the site's pages, when they enter certain keywords."

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