Weekly SEO news: 9 December 2008
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at a ranking test that a webmaster did with his website. Can too many links to the home page of your website have a negative effect on your rankings?

In the news: Google has corrected a spam classifier that flagged some web pages with iframes, Google's John Mueller explains how hackers can steal your PageRank and more.

If you're interested in the top 500,000 keywords on Google ranked by AdWords bid then you should take a look at the corresponding section below.

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. Ranking test: can there be too many links to your home page?

In an online webmaster forum, a webmaster described the link experiment that he did with his websites. He tried to find out how linking to the home page affected his rankings.

Google ranking test

What did the webmaster test?

The webmaster tested the effect of links from sub pages of his website to his home page. He tried links to the home page of his website from the navigation and from the content and he tried links with and without keywords.

The test was done with a 4 year old domain name with a dedicated IP address. The web pages were HTML only. The website ranks top 5 in Google for its main, second and third keyword phrases and it has a total of 90 pages with unique content.

What were the results of the test?

It seems that too many links to the home page of your website can have a negative effect on your rankings:

  1. Linking to the home page from every page in the content with the same keyword caused a six pages drop in rankings (-6 pages).

  2. Linking to the home page from every page in the content using keyword variations caused a three pages drop in rankings (-3 pages).

  3. Linking to the home page from the navigation with "main keyword" also caused a six pages drop in rankings (-6 pages).

  4. Linking to the home page from the first 10 pages listed on Google.com for "site:domain.com/*" increased the ranking from 5th to 3rd (+2 positions).

The webmaster also observed the following:

  • Linking from the content using keyword variations was effective to a point, after which the rankings dropped.

  • There seems to be a page threshold. If the number of pages that link is even slightly above the threshold, the rankings will drop.

Does this mean that you shouldn't link to your home page?

It's hard to tell whether the results of this experiment are valid because there are too many other variables that influence the rankings of a web page.

It doesn't sound sensible that Google will downrank a web page that has a link to its home page on every page. Most users expect a link to the home page on every page of a website and even Google has a link to its home page from every page.

As Google's usual webmaster advice is to focus on the website user, it seems implausible that Google would penalize home page links.

We think that it's more likely that the ranking drops are caused by Google's change filter. If you change your web page contents, Google will temporarily downrank your web pages. This has been described in a Google patent.

High positions on Google depend on much more than the internal links on your website. If you want an analysis of all important factors that influence the position of your website on Google, analyze your site with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Google fixes spam algorithm classifier for iframes

Google's Matt Cutts commented on a broken spam algorithm in an online discussion:

"We looked into this, and the blog in question was ranking lower in our search results because of an algorithmic error that has now been fixed [...] Essentially, our search algorithm saw a large area on the blog that was due to an IFRAME included from another site and that looked spammy to our automatic classifier."

PageRankHackers stealing your PageRank

"[Hackers] can make it look like the pages of a website moved to a new domain name. In general, when search engines find redirects like that, they will more or less pass the 'value' that a page had on to the new URL. [...] So in a sense, they are trying to steal the value that a webmaster has built up over time."

Google likely to stay on top in search

"Google will more than likely extend its dominance in the search market over the next few years, as Microsoft and Yahoo are left to think about how best to catch up, search guru Danny Sullivan said Friday at the Search Insider Summit in Park City, Utah."

GoogleGoogle plasters 75% more ads on search pages... desperately seeking clicks?

"So far in Q4, Google (GOOG) is serving 3.82 ads per keyword -- about 52% more than it did during Q3. During November, Google served 4.38 ads per keyword, a 75% increase over its Q3 average. [...]

Google has put new ads on many of its properties, including Google Images, News, Finance and new types of ads on Google Maps and YouTube search."

Steve Ballmer: a deal for Yahoo would be better if done soon

"[Microsoft] said it has found a new executive to lead its charge against Google Inc. in the online search and advertising business: Qi Lu, a technologist who was previously a top executive at Yahoo Inc."

Search engine newslets

  • Microsoft offers to reduce search data in Europe.
  • Is Google ready to make (unpleasant) history?
  • New AdWords options for iPhone and G1.
  • Google Software Update sneaks its way onto computers.
  • Google on worst band in the world.
  • An update to the AdWords alcohol policy.
  • Hogan's Litvack discusses Google/Yahoo.
  • Google uses 21 times more bandwidth than it pays for.

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3. Success stories

Get your website in front of more than 160,000 readers

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. The best keywords for AdSense websites

If you run large campaigns on Google AdWords or if you run Google AdSense ads on your websites, then it is important to know which keywords work best.

You can now have a list of the 500,000 keywords for which advertisers pay the most per click on Google AdWords. (The keyword data is of November 2008.) This list is very valuable for both AdWords advertisers and webmasters who run AdSense ads on their sites.

You get everything you need to find top keywords

  • the most expensive keywords in 95 categories
  • a total of 527,776 clearly arranged keywords and ideas
  • sortable by keyword, bid price, number of searches and bid competition
  • a list with the overall top 500,000 keywords by AdWords keyword bid
  • keyword ideas for many popular categories

Some webmasters pay up to $70 per click

If you run Google AdSense ads on your website then it's important to know for which keywords you will get the most money per click.

If you optimize your website for high paying keywords, it's very likely that you'll earn several hundred dollars more than with a website that uses unpopular keywords.

Choose keywords with a high big per click and you will see an immediate increase in your profits. The keywords list will show you the keywords with which you can earn the most. Some of the keywords have a CPC (cost per click) of more than US$70!

A this time, the keywords are only available in English. Click here for further information.

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5. Previous articles

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