Weekly SEO news: 26 October 2010
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Getting listed on Google's first result page is great but it won't do your business any good if nobody clicks on your listing in the search results. This week's article contains several tips on how to improve your snippets so that searchers click on your listing.

In the news: Google confirms indexing problems, Google might rewrite your title tags, Google gets more social, Google gets another patent for web page classification, Google about online reputation management 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. How to make people click on your search engine listings

Getting listed on Google's first result page is great but it won't do your business any good if nobody clicks on your listing in the search results.

search listings

You have to convince searchers to click on your listings. There are several things that you can do to increase the number of clicks on your listings.

1. Use your keywords in the title and the description

Google, Bing and some other search engines make words appear in bold that match the search query in the search results. Your listing will stand out if it contains bolded words.

2. Use compelling web page titles

Add a call to action and your unique selling proposition in your web page title. The web page title is the only text that search engines usually won't change in the search results:

  • Make sure that the titles of your web pages are descriptive. It should be clear what to expect on the pages.
  • If possible, add a call to action and benefits in your web page title.
  • Put the most important information at the beginning of the title. Search engines might shorten the title in the search result pages and people might not see the complete text.
  • If you're not a major brand name, avoid your company name in your web page titles.
  • Do not use the same title for all of your web pages. This is a mistake that many beginners make.

If the titles of your web pages are too short or only a collection of keywords, Google might rewrite them (see news below).

3. Optimize your web page descriptions

Although Google will create a new description snippet for your website it can help to optimize the meta description of your web page for other search engines that display the description.

Just like the web page title, the description should include a call to action and it should tell searchers why your website is better than others.

boring listing

4. Try to get Sitelinks and breadcrumbs for your website

Listings that contain Sitelinks or breadcrumbs stand out in the search engine results. Check your website design and the navigational elements on your web pages to make sure that Google finds the correct pages for Sitelinks and breadcrumbs.

Always keep in mind that you optimize your web pages for real people. It does not make sense to get top 10 listings if searchers don't find your pages interesting. To get your website on Google's first result page, analyze it with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

John MuellerGoogle seems to have indexing problems

In an online discussion, Google's John Mueller has confirmed that Google currently has indexing problems:

"This issue should be resolved soon, but it will take a several days for everything to catch up and for these changes to be visible. I'll provide another update after the weekend.

In the meantime, there's no need to make any changes on your side. Content from your sites will continue to be indexed during this time (though perhaps at the moment not as quickly as before in some cases). [...]

I've been in contact with the indexing and diagnostics teams since your initial reports -- we are taking your reports seriously and doing what is necessary to resolve this problem as soon as possible[...]

The issues from this thread, which I have reviewed in detail, are not due to changes in our policies or changes in our algorithms; they is due to a technical issue on our side that will be visibly resolved as soon as possible (it may take up to a few days to be visible for all sites though).

You do not need to change anything on your side and we will continue to crawl and index your content (perhaps not as quickly at the moment, but we hope that will be resolved for all sites soon)."

Google adds recent updates, shared by links in search results

"Google is making search results a little more social. The company's main search results are incorporating real-time results, displaying how many times people have shared news articles and highlighting how many social-network mentions a particular topic has received. [...]

Next to news stories, meanwhile, there is now a 'shared by' link that displays how many times people on social networks have posted about that story. Click on the link and it will also take you to Realtime Search results about that topic."

Google has received another patent for web page classification

"Information kept about a searcher's web history, including browsing and searching, can be used to identify categories that a searcher might be interested in. The profile classification information about queries and documents could be used together with that searcher’s profile to boost some search results. [...]

What's important about this patent filing is that it describes how actual user-based data might be used to help make decisions about how pages may be classified by the search engine. The older patent on the classification of pages from Google, that I mentioned at the start of this post, appears to have evolved to consider how people search and select pages, and how aggregated information about searcher behavior can be used to classify those pages to improve processes like personalized search."

John MuellerGoogle will rewrite your title tags for the result pages

Google's John Mueller wrote about rewriting title tags in an online discussion:

"In general, when we run across titles that appear to be sub-optimal, we may choose to rewrite them in the search results. This could happen when the titles are particularly short, shared across large parts of your site or appear to be mostly a collection of keywords.

One thing you can do to help prevent this is to make sure that your titles and descriptions are relevant, unique and compelling, without being 'stuffed' with too much boilerplate text across your site."

Google on manipulating search for online reputation management

"Google would prefer it if business owners actively managed their brands through online reputation management rather than demanding Google remove search results, which goes against the very essence of Google and probably isn't going to happen. [...]

Does 'proactively publish information' mean that Google condones manipulating search results? We have to look closer at the nuances of online reputation management."

Search engine newslets

  • Google Maps adds historical images of London.
  • Google Maps does not work with some IE versions.
  • Video: Can I tell Google not to display the date in my site's snippets? (you can't)
  • Google's CEO Schmidt: Don't like Google Street View photographing your house? Then move.
  • Google automatically creates your AdWords ads with Google Boost.
  • Meet Google's new search boss: Udi Manber.

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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


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4. Previous articles

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