Weekly SEO news: 9 March 2010
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

A small error in one search engine optimization factor can destroy your efforts in all other elements. When you optimize your website for search engines, you have to consider several different factors. In this article, you'll find the five most important factors that influence your Google rankings.

In the news: most people don't care about real-time search, other people can edit your Google Business listing, Yahoo releases a PPC tool 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. Top 5 elements that you need for high rankings on Google

Getting listed on Google's first result page is the goal of many webmasters. Unfortunately, many webmasters still do the wrong things to improve their rankings.

It's not possible to get top 10 rankings on Google by focusing on a single strategy. Getting listed on Google requires you to work on all elements of your website. Here are the top 5 factors that influence the position of your website in Google's search results:

Ranking factor 1: website accessibility

It doesn't make sense to optimize your web pages if search engines cannot access your web pages:

  • Your robots.txt file should allow search engines to visit your web pages. If your robots.txt file contains errors then many search engines won't list your website.

  • The HTML code of your web pages should be error-free and your web server should return the correct response code. The contents of your web pages should be readable to search engine spiders. Details can be found here.

Before you start to optimize your web pages, check if search engines can read your web page content. You can do this with IBP's spider simulator. Double-check your robots.txt.

Ranking factor 2: site architecture

Google wants to show relevant websites in the search results. Your website shouldn't be a collection of random web pages. If you want to get top 10 rankings on Google, the pages of your website should be related.

Your web pages should show Google that your website is relevant to a certain topic. All pages of your website should be linked. If possible, web surfers should reach any page of your website with a maximum of three clicks.

The links and the directory structure of your website should make it easy to search engines to categorize the contents of your website.

Ranking factor 3: keywords

Choosing the right keywords is one of the most important steps. If you choose the wrong keywords, you won't succeed with your campaign.

  • Optimize different pages of your website for different keyphrases. The more pages of your website you optimize, the better.

  • Start with very targeted keyphrases that consists of many words, for example "find inexpensive hotels in brussels".

  • When you have top rankings for these targeted keyphrases, proceed with more general keywords such as "hotels in brussels".

  • When you have top rankings for these keyphrases, you can proceed with very general keywords such as "hotels".

In general, targeted keywords have a much higher conversion rate than general keywords, i.e. you will get more sales per visitor with "find inexpensive hotels in brussels" than with "hotels".

Also think about the type of visitor that you attract with a keyword. Are these people interested in information or do they want to buy?

Use IBP's comprehensive keyword tools to find the keywords that will work best with your site. You can find further information on how to find the correct keyword type in the IBP manual (PDF).

Ranking factor 4: content

Your website won't get high rankings on Google if it only offers articles and affiliate links that can be found on dozens of other websites.

Separate your website from the rest by creating unique and trustworthy content. Write your own articles about the topic of your website, publish them on your own website and make your website a useful resource.

Ranking factor 5: links from other websites

It is not possible to get high rankings on Google without having links from other websites.

The more links point to your website, the more likely it is that your website gets good positions in Google's search results. The links to your website should be from trusted websites.

If a web page that links to you is related to your own website then the effect of that link on the search engine rankings of your website is higher than the effect of an unrelated link.

It also helps if social bookmark websites link to your website. If many people bookmark your website on social bookmark sites, then this is a sign that your website might deserve high rankings.

A small error in one element can destroy your effects in all other ranking elements. For that reason, it is important to use the right strategy when optimizing your website.

Detailed step-by-step instructions and checklists can be found in our free search engine optimization eBook.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Eye tracking study: users largely blind to real-time results in search

"The study [...] seems to assert that real-time results so far have limited impact or appeal. While there’s enormous hype and coverage among tech-insiders about 'real time search,' the public doesn't really understand (or perhaps care) what the fuss is all about."

Yahoo Yahoo releases desktop tool for PPC management

"If you’re an advertiser running more than one campaign, you will probably welcome the new Yahoo! Search Marketing Desktop, a free offline tool that lets you spend less time on the tactical details of campaign management, and more on increasing your return-on-investment."

Your Google Business listing is at risk

"You need to watch out! I was just reading the Google Lat Long Blog and they’re telling people to edit YOUR Google business listing. This is really, really, bad. [...]

It’s so simple to claim these listings and even though Google is advertising like crazy too many businesses are leaving it up to some random visitor to edit their Google business listing?"

Related: A new way to edit places on Google Maps

ShoppingOnline shopper intelligence study released

"Overwhelmingly, consumers depend on one resource more than others to help them shop online—search engines. 3 out of 5 shoppers said that they always or often use search engines when shopping online. More consumers use search engines than they do coupon sites, retailer emails, consumer reviews, or shopping comparison sites."

Editor's note: If you want to get buyers, make sure that your website can be found for the right keywords.

Search engine newslets

  • Does the PageRank of Twitter profiles matter? (video)
  • The crazy things cities do to get broadband from Google.
  • Statistics for a changing world: Google Public Data Explorer in Labs.
  • News is a lousy business for Google too.
  • Yahoo loses exclusive T-Mobile USA search deal to Google.
  • Google may review EU drives, won't drop Street View.
  • Google tests TV search service.
  • comScore releases January 2010 U.S. online video rankings.
  • Google in 20 years (humor).
  • Studies of web searches offer preview of hiring trends.
  • Facebook ads: "Keywords" will change to "Likes and Interests" this week.

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3. Success stories

"Thanks to IBP our business is growing."

"IBP has helped us get top rankings on all the big search engines. 6 months ago our new oil and gas jobs site was not getting any rankings. We were up against some long established sites that had ranked at the top for many years.

In just 6 months using IBP we have worked our way onto front page for all our main search terms. We are now competing on an international stage and giving big multi million pound companies a run for their money.

We are a small company and really didn't think this would be possible and definitely not in such a short time frame! Thanks to IBP our business is growing and we are now seen as a main player in our industry sector."
Kevin Forbes, www.oilandgaspeople.com

Tell us how IBP helped your business and 250,000 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.

Click here to tell us your story.


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4. Previous articles

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