Weekly SEO news: 17 July 2007
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at a new search engine optimization trick that works with Google.

In the news: paid search statistics, Google and Yahoo introduce new features 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. Does image hotlinking help your rankings in Google?

Some webmaster use a new search engine optimization practice to get high rankings on Google. They hotlink images from other web servers to rank highly in Google's image search results.

How does this work?

Google's image search doesn't just return web pages from where a picture originates. For example, the first result for "Darth Vader" returns a BlogSpot web page although the original image is stored on a .hu domain.

Search for any term on Google Images and you'll always find web pages in the results that are just linking to an image from another website.

Why does this help your rankings in the normal Google results?

Google's new Universal Search system now returns images and movies at the top at the search results for some search terms. For example, if you search for "Darth Vader", image results will be the first results in the list.

A click on these images redirects web surfers to the web page on which the image is displayed. If your website has a good ranking in Google Image search then these top rankings might also be displayed in Google's regular results for that search term:

Hotlinking images: good for SEO?

Should you use this new method to improve your search engine rankings?

We do not recommend this new method. It is risky in several ways. If you don't have the copyright for an image, you are not allowed to use it on your own web site.

Hotlinking an image without asking the owner also exposes your site to the risk of defacement. The webmaster of the website that hosts the original image just needs to replace the original image with something rude and it will be displayed on your web site.

Hotlinking images is not long term strategy for high rankings on Google. If you want lasting results, you should optimize your web pages so that they can be found for your keywords. Also make sure that the right pages link to your website.

2. Search engine news of the week
June 2007 paid search market share: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft
"Google continues to dominate, with three-fourths share. For the third month running, Microsoft took one point of share from Google, rising to 6%. Yahoo held steady at 21%. These are very small share changes and should be interpreted accordingly."

Google is introducing a new meta tag for webmasters

"Google is coming out with a new tag called 'unavailable_after' which will allow people to tell Google when a particular page will no longer be available for crawling. For instance, if you have a special offer on your site that expires on a particular date, you might want to use the unavailable_after tag to let Google know when to stop indexing it."

Yahoo introduces Search Suggest

"It works like this: When you do a search on Yahoo!, you'll automatically be given suggestions based on what you have typed - as you're typing.

So, not only does this limit the number of words you need to type into a query, it may also present similar queries to shorten your searching time and get to what you're looking for quicker."

Search engine newslets

  • Google: new warnings feedback.
  • Google hotly denies deception over links.
  • Yahoo seems to allow banned sites in their paid inclusion program.
  • Online video ads: just wait.
  • Google PPA... not so great.
  • Yahoo hires first NZ employee to push Panama.
  • Google wins another copyright case.
  • Google cookies: expiring sooner to improve privacy.
3. Articles of the week

A study in contrasts: Yahoo and Google

"Yahoo is still treading water as Google zooms further ahead. [...] First, Project Panama, a years long effort to close the gap with Google in search advertising, will begin paying dividends in the second quarter, sooner than previously expected. Second, display advertising [...] would be weaker than expected, wiping out any expected gains from Panama."

China's online population explosion

"There are now an estimated 137 million internet users in China, second in number only to the United States, where estimates of the current internet population range from 165 million to 210 million.

The growth rate of China's internet user population has been outpacing that of the U.S., and China is projected to overtake the U.S. in the total number of users within a few years."

Interview with Jakob Nielsen on the future of SERPS

"Jakob is called a 'controversial guru of Web design' in Wikipedia. [...] I sound him out on his feelings about the evolution of the search interface, now that with Universal search and Ask's 3D Search we seem to be seeing more innovation in this area in the last 6 months than we've seen for the last 10 years."

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4. Recommended resources

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