Weekly SEO news: 28 October 2008
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at the length of text links. The words that are used to link to your website improve your search engine rankings for these words on Google. But how long should the link text be? Which words will be considered?

In the news: Google explains its malware policy, an interview with Yahoo's Jerry Yang, click-fraud statistics and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. How long can a text link be if it should improve your rankings?

The words that are used in the links to your website have an effect on the search engine rankings of your website for these keywords. For example, if very many websites use the word "blue widget" to link to your website, it is likely that your website will get a high ranking on Google for the keyword "blue widget".

How many keywords does Google consider?

It's absolutely certain that Google considers the words in the links to your site. The question is, how many words or characters does Google count in a link? Is there an optimal length for text links? Blogger Shaun Anderson did a test to find the answer.

The test set-up

Shaun Anderson created a long text link with 50 nonsense words. Each of the nonsense words was 6 characters long. For example, he might have used a link like this:

wergsd woivsd mliwdc woiuby 3245sc plorxc werxcd ...

Then he added that link to the home page of a website that has good rankings on Google.

After some time, Shaun did a search for a keyword that the linked website ranked number one for and added the nonsense words to the search. By doing so, Google would only list the site in the search results if links to the site contained the nonsense word.

For example, if a website has a number one ranking for "buy used cars in dallas" then the website will only be returned by Google for "buy used cars in dallas wergsd" if Google has indexed a link with the text "wergsd" that points to the website.

The result: the perfect length seems to be 55 characters

55 limitOut of the 50 words in the link text, Google counted eight. Everything after the eighth word was ignored. Eight words that consist of six characters make 48 characters. The seven spaces between these six words add up to a total of 55 characters.

What does this mean for your website?

You should make sure that the important keywords come in the first 55 characters of the links that point to your website.

As many websites use the title of a web page to link to it, you should also consider the way you write your web page titles. If your important keywords are at the beginning of your web page titles, chances are that these keywords will also be used in the links to your site.

If you want to know if your web page titles are correct and if you also want to know if all other elements of your web page are ready for a top 10 ranking on Google, you should analyze your website now.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

MalwareGoogle explains its malware policy

"The server that [the webs site] runs on probably has a security vulnerability, most likely from some out-of-date software. That vulnerability has been exploited and malicious code has been added to your grandmother's website."

An interview with Yahoo's Jerry Yang, part 1: the econalypse's impact and more

"Instead of being glum, as you might expect, especially after a year of corporate turmoil that would have finally gotten to even Job–let’s review [...] Yang sounded surprisingly confident that Yahoo (YHOO) would emerge a winner after all the wrenching change is wrought at the company he co-founded."

Statue of LibertyLive image search adds Virtual Earth

"Live Image Search just added a Virtual Earth map to image results for certain major cities and landmarks. For points of interest such as Space Needle, Statue of Liberty or Pacific Beach, you'll get a Bird's Eye image of the respective location."

Industry click fraud rate hovers at 16 percent for third quarter 2008

"The overall industry average click fraud rate was 16.0 percent for Q3 2008. That’s down slightly from the 16.2 percent rate reported for both Q2 2008 and Q3 2007.

The average click fraud rate of PPC advertisements appearing on search engine content networks, including Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, was 27.1 percent. That’s down from the 27.6 percent rate reported for Q2 2008 and the 28.1 percent average click fraud rate reported for Q3 2007.

Traffic from botnets was responsible for 27.6 percent of all click fraud traffic in Q3 2008. That’s up from 25.2 percent for Q2 2008."

Search engine cache isn't copyright infringement

"That copied archive [of a website] (usually called a cache) is, according to these commenters, an unauthorized copy. Now a court has basically destroyed that argument, noting that putting content online is giving an implicit license for search engines to index and copy."

Search engine newslets

  • Google street view tidbits.
  • A new Google AdWords ad format?
  • A new (fighter) jet for Google's founders?
  • Is Google liable for typosquatting domains that use AdSense?
  • Does Google hate WordPress and other blog platforms?
  • Don't be evil? Google uses shady ad tactics to edge out competitor.
  • Baidu shares take a hit after 3Q results.
  • Ongoing phishing attack exposes Yahoo accounts.

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3. Success stories

"Thanks to IBP, we have linking relationships with hundreds of sites."

"Our site is in an extremely competitive field - Canadian online pharmacies. In this field, you can't achieve high rankings with Google just by having well-optimized pages.

Thanks to IBP, we have linking relationships with hundreds of sites, not to mention several top listings in Google!

Plus, IBP has saved me hundreds of hours in the process."
Pat Assad, DoctorSolve.com

Do YOU want to be listed in this newsletter?

Let us know how IBP has helped you to improve your website and we might publish your success story with a link to your website in this newsletter. The more detailed your story is, the better.

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4. Previous articles

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