Weekly SEO news: 1 September 2009
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at the effect of human reviewers on Google's ranking algorithm. Google employs several thousand people who manually review the search results.

Tip: IBP 11.6 beta 3 version is available. The new beta version has a much faster keyword tool and it offers many improvements.

In the news: Search activity is rising, reciprocal links do work, Google's Eric Schmidt talks about Google, a report on customer satisfaction and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Google's human reviewers: real people judge about your Google rankings

Most people think that Google purely ranks websites by using mathematical formulas. Google even has an official statement about the way that search results are calculated:

"A site's ranking in Google's search results relies heavily on computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page's relevance to a given query. Sometimes subtleties of language cause anomalies to appear that cannot be predicted."

Not everything is done by software robots at Google

If you read the above quotation carefully, you'll see that Google relies "heavily" but not fully on computer algorithms. In a recent interview, Google's Engineering director Scott Huffman explained that a lot of human reviewers (probably 10,000) manually review Google's results:

"Every day, we are looking at a random sample of grades that we think represent the queries we get from users. Evaluators look at the quality of each result relative to those queries."

Real people take a look at Google's search results and they tell Google which websites they don't like. If your website looks spammy, it might be reported to Google by these people.

Google's algorithm is constantly changing

Google constantly updates its algorithm based on the feedback of the human reviewers:

"The evaluation site ratings that we gather never directly affect the search results that we return. We never go back and say, 'Oh, we learned from a rater that this result isn’t as good as that one, so let's put them in a different order.' Doing something like that would skew the whole evaluation by-and-large. So we never touch it."

That means that a website won't be automatically removed from the search results if a human reviewer finds it inappropriate (unless it is an obvious spam page).

It does mean that Google's algorithm is constantly changing and that you have to keep your website up-to-date with Google's latest algorithm.

You have to keep an eye on your website rankings

A website that has high rankings on Google today might lose these rankings tomorrow based on Google's ever-changing ranking algorithm.

As a rule of thumb, websites with many inbound links and good content that is related to the searched keyword will remain much longer in Google's search results than websites that obtained their high rankings through tricks.

If you use spammy SEO methods, you can quickly get high rankings on search engines. Unfortunately, Google will completely remove your website from the search results as soon as they find out that you use these methods:

Spammy SEO methods

Spammy websites can be detected by Google's human reviewers and your competitors can report your spam website to Google.

If you use ethical SEO methods, it will take longer until you get high search engine rankings. However, your rankings will grow steadily and you'll get a much better performance in the long run:

Ethical SEO methods

Do not use spammy SEO methods to increase your rankings on Google. It will backfire on you.

If you want to get lasting rankings on Google, you have to keep an eye on Google's changing algorithm. You should check your website regularly to find out if it is compliant to Google's current algorithm.

If you create a website that is compliant to Google's algorithm and only use ethical SEO methods then your website will get page one rankings on Google and it will keep these rankings as long as possible.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Search activity is rising, Google remains number 1

"More than 113 billion searches were conducted in July 2009, representing a 41-percent increase versus year ago. Google Sites attracted significantly more searches than any other engine with 76.7 billion searches conducted, or 67.5 percent market share. [...]

Among the five global regions, Europe accounted for the highest share of searches at 32.1 percent, followed by Asia Pacific (30.8 percent) and North America (22.1 percent)."

Why reciprocal links will always be viable

"Reciprocal links remain a polarizing topic. [...] For some subjects, it is perfectly normal, almost expected, that the link reciprocity percentage should be extremely high, approaching 100%. The more nichified your subject matter, the more likely it is you will have a high RP (Reciprocity Percentage) with sites that have the same or similar subject matter. [...]

The reciprocal linking percentage across the top five sites is over 80%, and for the top three, it's 100%. And this reciprocity percentage is perfectly natural, believable, and in no way an attempt to fool any algorithm or improve rank."

Eric SchmidtGoogle CEO Eric Schmidt interview: his thoughts on search, books, news, mobile, competition and more

"There's so much material that we've broken the interview notes up into a few different subject areas. [...] Schmidt also spoke candidly about the Microsoft/Yahoo search alliance, Twitter (he mentioned them before I did!) and Facebook."

Report: Google users are more satisfied than Yahoo users

"The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a predictor of future success on both the micro and macro level. Google's huge 10 point jump in satisfaction from 2007 to 2008 preceded a 7% increase in search market share from 2008 to 2009. Satisfaction with Yahoo, on the other hand, dropped 2.5% from 2007 to 2008, preceding a 17.5% decrease in search market share and a 5% drop in portal market share."

A hired gun for Microsoft, in pursuit of Google

"Mr. Lu, who is 47, left Yahoo 14 months ago, but now finds himself once again leading the charge against Google. This time, he is backed by a patron that vows to spend even more than Yahoo did on the mission: Microsoft. [...]

For Microsoft, succeeding in search is vital to the company’s long-term health. For Mr. Lu, it is a mission he felt obligated to take on."

Search engine newslets

  • Aks.com's Antonio Gulli joins MSN's Bing.com.
  • Wolfram Alpha to open data feeds.
  • Google Translate now speaks 51 languages.
  • MSN ends deal with Bell Canada; both will launch separate portals.
  • Google's plan for world's biggest online library: philanthropy or act of piracy?
  • Google may hand over Caribbean journalists' IP addresses.
  • Take a look at Google's ASCII logo.
  • Rumor: are some of Google's ex-employees spamming competitors?

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3. New IBP 11.6 beta version

IBP 11.6

IBP 11.6 beta 3 is now available. The new version offers a much faster keyword tool as well as many changes that improve the stability of IBP on all computers. You can download the beta version here.

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4. Success stories

Sophie Erhard"We shine brighter than our competition."

"I deliver SEO and SEM services to small and middle sized companies since 1998. Do you remember the old times of AltaVista?

Well, it was really simple to obtain good rankings. It was not even a question. But years after years, it became more and more sophisticated. And I specialized myself in SEO services.

Many years ago, I've searched for a tool that would deliver accurate information, be reliable, monitor multiple projects and would help me to save time.

I tested many software programs, compared prices and services. And the winner was: IBP.

That was in May 2005! Since then, I've renewed my subscription each year, fully confident in the quality and the accuracy of IBP. This year again, I know I can rely on IBP to deliver a good service to my clients."
Sophie Erhard, www.123enligne.com

220,000 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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