Weekly SEO news: 11 May 2010

Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Google has introduced another algorithm update this month and many webmasters have seen a huge drop in traffic from Google for keyword phrases that are three or more keywords long (so called "long tail keywords"). How does this affect your website?

In the news: search numbers for April, Google announces new features, Google reviews are missing in Map results and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Mayday: how Google's May update will affect your long tail rankings

In an online forum, webmaster discussed their experience with Google latest ranking algorithm update that has been given the name Mayday. If your website gets fewer visitors from Google, the update could be the reason for that.

What exactly has happened?

Many webmasters have seen a huge drop in traffic from Google for keyword phrases that are three or more keywords long (so called "long tail keywords").

Google algorithm update

Some webmasters have lost 90% of their traffic from Google because they cannot be found anymore for the long keyword phrases.

The ranking drop did not happen to spammers. Among the affected websites was a 13 year old site with a Google PageRank of 7 and 400,000 backlinks.

Why did it happen?

It seems that this is not a penalty but a change in Google's ranking algorithm. Google might now be able to index longer keyword phrases more accurately. There's a new Google patent that deals with this topic.

Identifying phrases requires a lot of computing power and a lot of memory. A webmaster explained it in the discussion:

"For example, on the assumption that any five words could constitute a phrase, and that a large corpus would have at least 200,000 unique terms, there would be approximately 3.2.times.10.sup.26 possible phrases.

Clearly more than any existing system could store or otherwise programmatically manipulate."

It seems that Google guessed the best pages for long keyword phrases until recently based on other signals and keywords on the indexed pages.

The new Google patent indicates that Google now has the computing power to index longer keyword phrases on web pages instead of guessing them.

Do you have to change your web pages now?

If you experienced a decline in traffic to your website from Google you might have to change your web pages. For example, if you want to be found for "personal injury lawyer london" then these words should appear in that order on your website.

If you use other variations such as "london lawyer personal injury" then you'll probably get listings for that variation but not for other word combinations.

If you want to know how to get top 10 rankings on Google for the keywords of your choice, analyze the web page that you want to see in Google's search results with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer.

IBP's Top 10 Optimizer will tell you how to change your web page so that it will get top 10 rankings on Google for the keywords of your choice.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

StatisticsSearch numbers for April

"Google lost ~70 bps of search share in April vs. March, while Yahoo! was the main beneficiary, up ~80 bps. Excluding the impact of all adjustments, Google gained ~50 bps of share, Yahoo! was down ~25 bps, and Microsoft dropped by ~20 bps."

Google announces new features

"We introduced a new way to view search results for sites with lots of images. Each result will now include a strip of images from the website, so you can get a better preview of what each page has to offer. [...]

This week, we released a new version of Goggles with translation capabilities built in. To use it, point your phone's camera at a foreign word or phrase and use the 'region of interest button' to draw a box around specific words."

Some Google reviews in Google Maps results are missing (discussion)

"All of my google reviews are gone, I had 134 reviews- but only 97 are showing reviews from citysearch,ratemds, judysbook etc but all my google reviews are gone. Where did they go what happened to them? [...]

In the past, the reviews became 'disassociated' from the 'cluster' of information about a given business but if the business hasn't changed critical information in their Google listing like phone number or business name, they usally are reunited with the business listing over time (2,4,6, or even 8 weeks)."

Maile OhyeInterview with Google's Maile Ohye

"Speed is now a factor in rankings because we’re trying to best serve users, and studies show that users are happier with faster sites and less satisfied with slow sites. More satisfied users are shown to spend more time on the internet. [...]

I think having a solid site: great content, good experience for users (intuitive navigation, responsive), descriptive page titles, standardized URL structure, etc., is of primary importance. A strong site is the foundation where you’ll likely make your online conversions. Once this foundation is established, the social media approach helps drive traffic, builds excitement (and inbound links), that you’ll be able to capitalize on with your solid site."

Search engine newslets

  • Search engine Teoma is back. But will anybody notice, much less care?
  • Discussion: my client's [Google Maps] listing gets hijacked almost every day.
  • Video: why is Google still taking notice of DMOZ?
  • Google results including KML files and custom map results.
  • WPP wants close probe of Google's Admob buy.
  • Google attorney slams ACTA copyright treaty.
  • Google: just buy Salesforce already.
  • Google searches for a use for its cash.
  • The Google design, turned up a notch.

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3. Success stories

"The site is now at the top position on Google."

"Three months ago, I created a website for my guitar teachers. I wanted to be at the top of Google and other search engines. I heard of IBP and started to work with the tool to get a good position.

Today, after 3 months, the site of my guitar teaching in Hannover is now at the first position on Google. Many thanks to IBP and the developers."
Carel Ahrens, www.gitarrenunterricht-hannover.com

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4. Previous articles

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