Weekly SEO news: 24 March 2009
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at a Google patent application. How does Google find the keywords on your website and how do they rank your website?

In the news: Live Search explains its ranking penalties, Google's Alfred Spector talks about Google's future, media giants want to top Google's search results and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. How Google analyzes the top keywords on your website

Google recently filed a patent application that deals with the keywords that Google finds on your web pages.


Google's new patent filing describes a way for website owners to view the top phrases that Google assigned to their website. The patent shows that Google finds the most important keywords on a website with a phrase-based indexing system and it describes a method that could allow website owners to add additional related keywords.

How does Google find the top keywords of your website?

All major search engines index web pages based on the individual words that they find on the page. If certain words and phrases appear together on the same page, search engines assign a topic that is related to these words to the page.

For example, the words "Paris" and "Hilton" are associated with a woman instead of a city and a hotel, the words "Tiger" and "Woods" are associated with golf.

Google's patent application indicates that Google might plan to tell you what they believe are the top keywords for your website and let you suggest changes to these phrases.

How can Google find the relation between words?

Google has billions of web pages in its index. If Google finds that many web pages contain both the word "Paris" and the word "Hilton" then Google might assume that these keywords are related. The other words on these pages could give Google a hint that this special word combination is about a woman.

Words that frequently appear very close to each other could get a tighter connection. Google has a lot of algorithms that allow them to calculate the relation between different words.

What does this mean for your website?

Google does not allow you to suggest your keywords through a form yet. That means that you must use other methods to tell Google for which keywords you want to be listed on Google's result pages. That's why search engine optimization is so important.

Here are some things that you can do to show search engines that your site is relevant to a special topic:

  • Use a meaningful site architecture

Use a logical system to organize your website content. Create content sections that deal with different parts of your main topic and make sure that everything that is related to your topic is mentioned on your web pages.

Make sure that your web pages are put in the right categories on your website and that it's easy to find the different categories.

  • Create web pages that use different relevant search terms

If you want to get high rankings for the keyword "shoes" then it's not enough to mention the keyword "shoes" on your website.

You must also use related keywords such as "sneakers", "boots", "sandals", "footwear", etc. to show Google that your website is relevant to the general topic.

  • Find out why other pages rank higher than yours

If you ever asked yourself why another page has been ranked higher than yours although you perfectly optimized your pages for your search terms then you should analyze the inbound links of the top ranked pages.

The number and the authority of inbound links are important. However, it's also important that the links come from semantically and topically related pages.

Don't focus on a single keyword when optimizing your pages. Modern search engine algorithms require you to create a website that has been optimized for many different but related search terms.

Optimize different pages of your website for different but related keywords to get the best possible rankings in Google and other important search engines.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Live SearchLive Search: getting out of the penalty box

"Most webmasters who get penalized know why it happened. They've used a myriad of overly aggressive (and often outright malicious) SEO techniques to try to egregiously manipulate their website’s position in search engine rankings.

They often go to extraordinary lengths in an effort to game the system rather than do the legitimate work necessary to compete fairly for their page rank."

The grill: Google's Alfred Spector on the hot seat

"Google's VP of research talks about where search is headed, what difference it will make and what makes his company tick. [...]

We increasingly are interested in returning not just Web pages, but multiple forms of information: images, books, blog entries, videos, tables, fax, etc. With this type of 'universal search,' for example, a picture might be the best thing to return. But it could be a table, an audio file, etc."

GiantMedia giants want to top Google results

"Major media companies are increasingly lobbying Google to elevate their expensive professional content within the search engine's undifferentiated slush of results. [...]

Some publishers concede, however, they could help themselves more too. 'Google has designed an algorithm,' one said. 'They don't owe us that we show up a particular way. They do publish a whole lot about how to make your site show up as much as possible. If people haven't taken action on it, that's their own damn fault.'"

Ballmer says Microsoft can experiment in web search

"Being the underdog in the Internet- search market has one advantage for Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer: He says his company can experiment, while rival Google Inc. plays it safe. [...]

Microsoft handled about 8 percent of U.S. search queries in February, according to ComScore Inc., a research firm in Reston, Virginia. Google accounted for 63 percent searches, with a 21 percent share for Yahoo."

Goodbye Google

"Yes, it's true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they're testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can’t operate in an environment like that. I've grown tired of debating such minuscule design decisions."

Search engine newslets

  • Search Google images by color.
  • Craigslist top search term last week.
  • Google tests enhanced suggestions for IE8.
  • Google Ventures almost ready to launch, but it is a bad idea.
  • Yahoo! appoints Elisa Steele as Chief Marketing Officer.
  • Google Voice might support number porting.
  • The next target for Google: corporate IT budgets.

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3. Success stories

"My little consulting firm has risen to totally dominate our online space."

"I started a new SEO company just over 4 years ago. IBP was the first software tool I purchased.

To say it has been invaluable would be a gross understatement. My little consulting firm has risen to totally dominate our online space for local and regional searches, and even ranks #2 for 'SEO Canada'.

Obviously, this is no mean feat, since the competition is other SEO firms! I could not have done this without IBP.

Our own online success has been a major part of our marketing strategy to our prospective clients. As we like to say 'If an SEO company can't put themselves on top, what makes you think they can put you there?'

Obviously, I use IBP on a daily basis, both for our success and for that of our clients. Thanks IBP!"
Peter Sickles, www.Alphasearch.ca

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4. Previous articles

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