Weekly SEO news: 7 August 2007
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at a new method that Google might use to filter annoying pages from the search results.

In the news: A guaranteed way to get a number one listing on Google (with a catch), Google's supplemental results go mainstream 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. How Google might filter annoying pages

Google recently filed a patent application with the title "Detecting and rejecting annoying documents". Here's the abstract of the application:

"A system and method for evaluating documents for approval or rejection and/or rating.

The method comprises comparing the document to one or more criteria determining whether the document contains an element that is substantially identical to one or more of a visual element, an audio element or a textual element that is determined to be displeasing."

The document describes how Google might analyze text and audio files. For example, Google might use optical character recognition tools and pattern matching against image and sound databases.

Why did Google do this?

Google probably wants to make their ad reviewing process faster. Their AdWords system accepts images ads, video ads and text ads.

Google has ad design guidelines and Google has to review all of these ads before they can be displayed in the AdWords network.

Manually reviewing these ads would take a lot of time. Given the high number of ads that Google displays, it might be impossible to review them all.

What are they looking for? Does this affect normal website rankings?

Google wants to avoid that ads are annoying or offensive. For example, they check if an ad is flashing, has repetitive movement or infinite loops. The use of streaming video and audio is also checked as well as the quality of the images.

Google also checks the content of the ads (offensive language, adult content) and many associated factors.

While it seems that these methods are currently used for ads the same criteria can also apply to normal web pages. If an ad annoys its viewers then it's likely that a web page with the same elements will annoy its visitors. For that reason, Google might also use these quality checks for the normal search results.

What does this mean to your website?

If your website contains many flashy elements, you might want to redesign it. Professional website design might be an important factor for high search engine rankings in the near future.

While professional design is important, it is also important that search engines can parse the content of your web pages. Use IBP's search engine spider simulator to check if search engines can read your web pages.

2. Search engine news of the week
A guaranteed number one listing at Google!

"I was researching some stuff at Google UK and noticed a new little feature at the bottom of the page on many of the searches I did.

Yes, you get to input the URL of a favourite page on the query subject, click the button and, of course, you're taken to your Google account to log in to your personalized search.

Next time you search for digital cameras, your favourite page is up top with a little marker."

Editor's note: This only works for your personal searches. If you want to get a top 10 listing in the results that every Google searcher sees then better try this method.

[Google] Supplemental goes mainstream

"Since 2006, we've completely overhauled the system that crawls and indexes supplemental results. The current system provides deeper and more continuous indexing. Additionally, we are indexing URLs with more parameters and are continuing to place fewer restrictions on the sites we crawl. As a result, Supplemental Results are fresher and more comprehensive than ever."

Editor's note: This probably means that web pages with many parameters are more likely to appear in the supplemental results.

"This post takes a look at how the two biggest internet players, Yahoo! and Google, approach delivering content and services around a specific area: search trend data. [...]

Yahoo! Buzz and Google Trends are yin and yang; despite all its nifty graphing and plotting, Google Trends lacks an interesting editorial hook that the Buzz Index delivers in spades."

Search engine newslets

  • Yahoo adds search suggestions to its toolbar.
  • Google is looking for business referral representatives.
  • Take a look at the Google cheat sheet.
  • Search engine Accoona files for IPO.
  • TechPro’s CEO speaks about Google Maps bulk upload abuse.
  • Answers.com seeing lower traffic.
  • MSN now offers the Space World project.
  • Google releases AdWords Editor 4.0.
  • Privacy problems: Google tells hacked Gmail users to wait it out.
3. Articles of the week
Wikia - Jimbo takes on Google

"One of the most striking research points during my prep for the article was how dependent Wikipedia (a separate entity from Wikia) is on Google traffic for its growth. [...]

Given the number of Wikipedia entries in Google results, I wonder just how dependent Google is on Wikipedia for content."

Can Zwinky save Ask?

"Analysts haven’t expected much from IAC’s money-losing Internet media and advertising unit, which includes the Ask.com search engine and Citysearch.com."

It’s an ad world

"It is only a matter of time until nearly all advertisements around the world are digital. [...]

How do we see Google, Yahoo and Microsoft? It’s important to see that our industry is changing and the borders are blurring, so it’s clear the three of those companies will have a huge share of revenues which will come from advertising"

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4. Recommended resources

"The results are remarkable"

I am a UK one-man business (copywriter) in an overcrowded market. Have been using IBP and ARELIS since I set up my site proper in January 2007 (now upgraded to Professional version).

Results? Remarkable - the site alone is generating a very healthy living. Will shortly be able to drop Google and Yahoo AdWords".
Len Smith, www.copywriting-on-demand.com

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