Weekly SEO news: 10 March 2009
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at nine factors that can improve the usability of your website as well as your search engine rankings.

In the news: Microsoft's new search engine Kumo starts a test run, Yahoo lowers the minimum bids for many keywords, Google might share your data without your permission 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. Nine factors that affect your website usability and SEO

Optimizing web pages for search engines does not mean creating special pages for search engines. Optimizing web pages for search engines is often the same as optimizing web pages for web surfers.

Usability and SEO

If you do it correctly, your website will be attractive to both web surfers and search engine spiders. The following list shows nine factors that can improve the usability of your website as well as your search engine rankings.

1. You should have fast loading web pages

Usability: Web surfers don't want to wait for web pages.

Search engine optimization: Search engines can index your web pages more easily.

2. Your web pages should be easy to read

Usability: It's easier for web surfers to read your web pages.

Search engine optimization: Near-white text on a white background and tiny text is considered spam by most search engines.

3. The contents of your web pages should be clearly arranged

Usability: Clear headings, paragraphs and bullet lists make your web pages easier to read.

Search engine optimization: Clear headings, paragraphs and bullet lists make it easier for search engines to find the topic of your web pages.

4. Your web page images should use the IMG ALT attribute

Usability: Web surfers with images turned off and visually impaired visitors will be able to see the content of your images.

Search engine optimization: Search engines cannot index the content of your images but they can index the content of the IMG ALT attribute.

5. You should use custom 404 not found error pages

Usability: If your 404 not found page contains links to other pages of your website or a search form then people might remain on your website.

Search engine optimization: Proper 404 error pages make sure that search engines index the right pages of your website.

6. Your website should be easy to navigate

Usability: Clear and concise navigation links that are easy to find help your website visitors to find content on your site.

Search engine optimization: Clear and concise navigation links that contain your keywords make it easy for search engines to index all of your web pages.

7. Important content is above the fold

Usability: Web surfers with small computer screens can quickly see what your web page is about.

Search engine optimization: The sooner your important content appears in the HTML code of your web pages, the more likely it is that it will be indexed by search engines.

8. Your web page titles are explanatory

Usability: If web surfers bookmark your web pages, a clear web page title will help them to find it again.

Search engine optimization: The web page title is one of the most important SEO elements. It should contain your keywords and it should look attractive so that web surfers click on it when they see your web page title in the search results.

9. The URLs of your web pages are meaningful and self-explanatory

Usability: It's much easier to remember a web page like www.example.com/support than a web page like www.example.com/123123-werwc.php?2342234.

Search engine optimization: If your URLs contain your keywords, this can have a positive effect on your search engine rankings. Dynamic URLs with many variables can lead to problems with search engine spiders.

There are many more factors that influence the position of your website in Google's search results. If you want an in-depth analysis of elements of your web page, check your website with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer.

Analyze your site

IBP's Top 10 Optimizer analyzes all of your web page elements and it tells you how to change your web pages so that your website will get top 10 rankings on Google.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

KumoDid [Microsoft's new search engine] Kumo.com go live last night?

"Kumo.com, the new iteration of Live Search, is supposed to be in 'internal tests', but apparently at least for a time last night it was live. [...] My school can access Kumo.com and see the search engine. When I went to Live.com it redirected me to Kumo.com"

Yahoo lowers the minimum bid for many keywords

"Given that certain business categories have been impacted by the current economic conditions, we've reviewed minimum bid amounts on a large number of Sponsored Search keywords and reduced the minimum bids on many terms."

The humans who will kill the Google machine

"A mild-mannered British physicist is trying to render Google irrelevant. Stephen Wolfram, the creator of Mathematica, a grandiosely ambitious piece of software, has come up with Wolfram Alpha, a grandiosely ambitious engine of knowledge."

Related: Better search doesn't mean beating Google

TwitterGoogle is "unlikely" to buy Twitter and wants to turn phones into TVs

"The wide-ranging interview [with Google's Eric Schmidt] touches upon everything from Google’s origins and how it fell upon its advertising business model by accident to how search and other technologies will change society over the next twenty years."

Google Docs shared your documents without permission

"We've identified and fixed a bug where a very small percentage of users shared some of their documents inadvertently. The inadvertent sharing was limited to people with whom the document owner, or a collaborator with sharing rights, had previously shared a document."

Search engine newslets

  • Close your competitors down on Google.
  • Google adds "exact search" option to image search.
  • Legislator moves to limit Google Maps because of terrorists.
  • Google Translate now translates PDF and Microsoft Office documents.
  • Inventor says Google settles patent claim.
  • AdSense for content bug now fixed.
  • Google doesn't seem to update the AdSense stats.
  • Why I sued Google (and won).

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3. Success stories

"We have managed to establish a niche."

"SEO is one of the hardest things to do but Internet Business Promoter makes it so easy.

It automatically looks for link partners and suggests what you need to do to improve your ranking. I simply love it. I started using IBP a couple of weeks back and I'm already seeing results. Thanks for the great software."
Sam Hagin, http://pcblogger.net/

Do you want to have top 10 rankings on Google?

High rankings on Google mean more website visitors, more customers and more sales. Watch the video for further information:

Watch the video

170,000 readers will see YOUR website

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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