Weekly SEO news: 12 January 2010

Welcome to latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Google has announced a major change in the way that they handle search results by including synonyms for some words that may be used in queries. How does this affect the position of your web pages in Google's search results?

In the news: The global search market grew 46 percent in 2009, Google adds "answer-highlighting" to its search results, and Bing improves your search privacy.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. How do synonyms in Google results affect your rankings?

Google has announced a major change in the way that they handle search results by including synonyms for some words that may be used in queries. How does this affect the position of your web pages in Google's search results?

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Why is it important that Google can deal with synonyms?

Google aims to display the best results for your search. For that reason, it is important that Google's algorithm understands the words that are used in the search query. An important part of understanding the words is to understand synonyms.

Synonyms are words that can mean the same thing, for example "pictures" and "photos". People searching for "sunset pictures" are probably also interested in web pages that contain the words "sunset photos".

A problem is that words that can have different meanings. For example, the word "case" can mean "occurrence", "instance" or "example". It can also mean "box" or "container".

The word "guitar box" might be a synonym for "guitar case" but "O.J. Simpson box" is not a synonym for "O.J. Simpson case". Google's measurements show that synonyms affect 70 percent of user searches across the more than 100 languages Google supports.

What has changed?

According to the posting in Google's official blog, Google has improved the way that they detect synonyms. For example, the algorithm can now find 20 possible meanings of the search term "GM".

GM can mean General Motors, George Mason in [gm university], gamemaster in [gm screen star wars], Gangadhar Meher in [gm college], general manager in [nba gm] and even gunners mate in [navy gm], etc.

Google also made a change to how the synonyms are displayed. The searched words and the synonyms are now displayed in bold in the search results. Web pages that contain only synonyms of the searched word can also be displayed in the search results.

Do you have to change your web pages?

If you optimized your website as explained in previous issues of our newsletter and as explained in the IBP manual then you don't have to change anything. Here's a reminder:

1. Think out of the box.

Don't just use the technical terms that you use in your company. Think about the words that other people would use to describe your product. For example, don't just use "rhinoplasty" but also "nose job" and "nose surgery".

IBP's keyword research tool will help you to find the best keywords for your website.

2. Optimize different pages of your website for different keywords.

The more pages you optimize, the better. It is much better if one web page is highly relevant to one keyphrase than somewhat relevant to many keyphrases.

Don't stuff a single page with keywords. The keywords should fit naturally in your web page content. Use IBP's Top 10 Optimizer to find out where on your web pages you should use your keywords.

Different people use different words to find the same things. Use different ways to talk about your website topic and optimize as many pages as possible of your website.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

GoogleGlobal search market grew 46 percent in 2009

"The total worldwide search market boasted more than 131 billion searches conducted by people age 15 or older from home and work locations in December 2009, representing a 46-percent increase in the past year. This number represents more than 4 billion searches per day, 175 million per hour, and 29 million per minute. The U.S. represented the largest individual search market in the world [...]"

Google highlights answers and expands snippets for events

"Last year at our second Searchology event, we announced Google Squared and Rich Snippets [...] Today, we're kicking off the new year with two improvements based on those technologies. First, we're applying the research behind Google Squared to add a new "answer-highlighting" feature to search, and second we're expanding Rich Snippets to include events."

Friendfeed results appear in seconds on Google result pages

"I just got my phone's stop watch ready and posted the following sentence into Friendfeed [...] Refreshing web search twice in brief intervals, the sentence was already appearing, and I hadn't even pasted my explanatory comment to Friendfeed yet. The watch showed 13 seconds had passed, but it might have been appearing earlier."

GoogleBing adds breaking news & trending queries to autosuggest

"Our research shows that approximately 45% of search queries result in either a user conducting an immediate re-query, or abandoning the page altogether. [...] we recently incorporated breaking news and hot trending queries within autosuggest. Updated every 15 minutes [...]"

Microsoft boosts Bing search privacy

"Microsoft [...] will delete the [IP] addresses logged by its servers for Bing search queries after six months [...] Google said it would start anonymizing IP addresses after nine months [...] and cookies after 18 months. However, Google's anonymization method, removing the last of the four sets of numbers in an IP address, has been criticized as insufficient."

Related: Microsoft to delete Yahoo search data after 3 months.

Search engine newslets

  • Twitter debuts Twitter Local Trends.
  • A real Yahoo search update for January 2010?
  • Bing now cooks up recipes.
  • Google's A-Z of how-tos.
  • Hungry for new content, Google tries to grow its own in Africa.
  • Google co-founders to sell shares.
  • Visualize dissent: Turkish users protest censorship using Google Maps.
  • Google is now doing behavorial targeting in Gmail ads.
  • Queries with removed or censored results in Google.
  • Privacy: How to hide from Google.

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3. Success stories

Robert Harnischmacher"We beat Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco and IBM - thanks to IBP!"

"When we started developing the concept for a website that provides vendor-independent reviews of web conferencing solutions, we knew we would be facing strong competition on Google.

We had to outweigh the marketing power of Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco and IBM. By using IBP's sophisticated keyword and competitor analysis tools, we managed to be listed on Google's first results page for our most important keywords.

For the German version of our website, we even achieved top 3 ranking for the most important single word keyword."
Robert Harnischmacher, www.webconferencing-test.com

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Click here to tell us your story.


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4. Previous articles

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