Weekly SEO news: 21 July 2009
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at PageRank sculpting with the rel=nofollow attribute. Does it still work and can it help you to get better rankings on Google? What do you have to change on your own website?

IBP's keyword manager now supports the official Google AdWords keyword tool. You can download a preview version below.

In the news: MSN/Bing has a new bot, Google tests breadcrumbs in the search result pages, Google sometimes changes the title of a web page 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. PageRank sculpting: does it still help you to get higher Google rankings?

Google has changed the way it processes the nofollow attribute. These changes have an impact on how you can use the nofollow attribute for PageRank sculpting on your website.

What is PageRank sculpting?

PageRank sculpting is the attempt to control the link power of one website page to another page of the same website. For example, when Google finds a website with three links then the link power is evenly passed to all three links:

No PageRank sculpting

Some webmasters thought that if a web page has a high PageRank of 8 then it shouldn't pass that PageRank power to "Terms of Service" or "Privacy Policy" pages.

For that reason, some webmasters started to use the rel=nofollow attribute for these links: <a href="example.htm" rel="nofollow">Example</a>

Links that are marked with the nofollow attribute shouldn't be followed by Google. That meant that the other links on the web page benefited more from the high PageRank of the page. It worked like that:

PageRank sculpting old

In this example, link 1 passes no link power while link 2 and 3 each pass half of the available link power to the target page. The result is that the linked pages have a higher chance of getting listed in the search results.

What has changed?

Google's Matt Cutts recently made a statement about the way Google now treats nofollow links:

PageRank sculpting new

Link 1 still doesn't pass any link power but the link power of that link is simply discarded.

What does this mean for your website?

The change means that PageRank sculpting with the nofollow attribute does not work anymore and that it now makes sense to remove any nofollow links that go to your own website. You're just wasting link power by using the attribute for links to your own pages.

Do not waste your time by trying to manipulate the links on your web pages. Better concentrate on a good user experience with good web page content and an easy to understand website navigation. Websites with a good user experience usually get more links from other websites.

If you want to find out if your website has all the elements that are necessary to get a listing on Google's first result page for your keyword, check your website with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer. The optimizer will tell you whether the links and the content of your web pages are good enough for Google and it will also tell you what exactly you have to change so that web surfers will find your site on Google's first result page.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

New bot work continues at Bing

"We are busy working on our improved crawler and plan to ramp up its workload as we move toward the goal of putting it into full production. As a result, webmasters may begin seeing an increased amount of traffic from the new bot on their sites."

Google using breadcrumbs in SERPs

"Just came across a very interesting Google search result which used breadcrumb data in the URL area [...] it proves that Google is reading and understanding breadcrumb data. Weirdly in both examples below, the page title structure reflects the breadcrumb structure quite closely."

Changed titleGoogle sometimes changes the title of a web page

"There are certain situations where we'd replace a title in search results (as is happening here), for example if we find that the same title is used on a number of pages or if the title is otherwise not that good (eg 'Home'). It looks like in this case we chose a weird title -- I've passed it on to the team so that they can take a look and adjust things if possible."

(CNN.com) Link exchanges: The poor man's SEO

"Large Internet companies spend millions on consultants and technology trying to get their sites to rank among the highest results on Google. Everyone else has to rely on the poor man's search-engine optimization: the link exchange. [...] If you're a new site, absolutely you want to be doing link building. But you need to be doing that in a smart fashion."

Editor's note: You might want to take a look at this link building tool.

Bing, Yahoo! Search and ad sales efficiencies

"When comparing Bing to Yahoo! Search there appears to be a closer demographic fit which should yield more search advertising sales efficiencies. Finally, the homogeneity of search behavior is becoming evident in where searchers click-off to when executing a search."

Related: Yahoo search ad deal with Microsoft "down to the short strokes".

Search engine newslets

  • Google not liable for defamation in search results, rules high court.
  • Sorry Google, 'there's a URL for that' doesn't have the same ring.
  • Google: working with news publishers.
  • Explore the moon on Google Earth.
  • The great Google doodle triforce conspiracy.

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3. New IBP 11.5 now with Google's keyword tools

Based on user feedback we have improved the keyword manager in IBP 11 so that it now supports the Google AdWords keyword suggestion tool in many different languages.

IBP 11.5 - now with Google keyword tool

In addition to the unique keyword database of KeywordIndex.com, IBP 11.5 now also supports the keyword tools of Google AdWords. That means that you can now get the number of searches for keywords in many languages, including English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and more.

IBP 11.5 is currently available in a beta version. We plan to release the final version of IBP 11.5 within the next four weeks. Click here to get the beta version of IBP 11.5.

Note: IBP version 11.5 will be a free update for you if you have the current version.

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4. Success stories

Richard Hartley"I have several websites in the top 10 on Google."

"I have to admit, I had let the website slip. I had what I thought was a good looking website and let the delights of the Andalucian summer life take precedence over SEO.

Nine months later I was wondering why my walking and trekking website had slipped down the rankings and my competition was way out in front. Business was very spasmodic.

I had nowhere to turn. The cost of employing SEO Professionals to get me out of the mess was too costly and prohibitive. I started researching the web and found only more complications and potential minefields.

At this point I discovered iBusinessPromoter though a web search. I have to admit I was quite sceptical at first, but within the first few days of use, started to trust and gain confidence in the system they offered.

In the end it was quite simple. IBP helped me optimise my web pages, build a linking system and submit to selected high quality search engines. Within a few months of adopting iBusinessPromoter I was moving back up the rankings. My walking and trekking business in southern Spain got back on track. Now, 2 years later we have just had the best winter season for 8 years!

SEO never stops. My experience has taught me that. iBusinessPromoter held my hand throughout the reconstruction period but continues to do so to this very day. Thoroughly recommended!"
Richard Hartley, www.spanishhighs.co.uk

200,000 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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5. Previous articles

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