Weekly SEO news: 12 April 2011
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Search engine optimization is very similar to wealth building. If you do the wrong things and listen to the wrong people, you might lose everything and you might be left with nothing. This week's article goes into the details.

Also in the news: you shouldn't overdo URL removals, Google's page speed checker is now available online, how long you should use URL redirects 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. Why SEO is like wealth building

Search engine optimization is very similar to wealth building. If you do the wrong things and listen to the wrong people, you might lose everything and you might be left with nothing.

1. Time is a factor

If you are young and invest your first dollars then you won't become a millionaire overnight. It takes some time to build your wealth and if you invest regularly, you will earn more than people who invest only once. If you invest too little, you won't get the same results as people who are serious about building wealth.

Search engine optimization works exactly like that. If your website is young, then it will have only a few rankings. You have to optimize the pages and the backlinks of your website and you have to do it regularly. The more time you invest in optimizing your site, the sooner you will get results.

2. First things first

When you start investing, you cannot participate in the big deals that require a lot of money. It's the same with SEO. If your website doesn't have many rankings yet, then it doesn't make sense to target very competitive keywords such as "mp3" or even "credit cards".

The big players in your niche have the high rankings for these keywords and they have several advantages (more backlinks, more visitors, more trusted by Google, etc.).

Start with very targeted keyword phrases that consist of 3-4 words. It is much easier to get high rankings for these keyphrases and you will also get higher conversion rates with very targeted keyphrases.

The more rankings your website has, the easier it will be to get high rankings for more competitive keywords. Then you can start to compete with the big guys for the more general keywords.

3. You have to be careful

There are many people who promise to make you rich overnight. Others promise incredible profits. The more aggressively you invest, the more likely it is that you will lose everything.

It's the same with SEO. If you use aggressive (and often shady) SEO methods then you put your website at risk. Aggressive tactics often deliver great results for a short period. Unfortunately, all of them also lead to massive problems with Google. Many websites have been banned from Google because they used spammy SEO tactics.

If you see offers like "thousands of backlinks with no work" or "fully automated SEO solution" then you should be very careful. In both finance and SEO, there are many snake-oil salesman. Don't fall for them.

Getting your website on Google's first result page isn't rocket science. It requires some work but it is possible if you do the right things in the right order. Use search engine optimization methods that are approved by search engines to make sure that your website gets lasting results.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Matt Cutts Google's Matt Cutts: don't overdo URL removals

"If you have a lot of urls that you don’t want in Google anymore, you can make the pages return a 404 and wait for Googlebot to recrawl/reindex the pages. This is often the best way. [...]

What I would not recommend is sending tons (as in, thousands or even tens of thousands) of individual url removal requests to the url removal tool. [...]

If we see that happening to a point that we consider excessive or abusive, we reserve the right to look at those requests and responding by e.g. broadening, canceling, or narrowing the requests."

Google's page speed checker is now available online

"Page Speed Online analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster. Reducing page load times can reduce bounce rates and increase conversion rates."

Editor's note: page speed is only one of many ranking factors. If you want to find out if your web pages have all elements that are necessary for first page rankings on Google, analyze your website with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer.

GoogleGoogle announces the +1 button

"When you do a search, you may now see a +1 from your slalom-skiing aunt next to the result for a lodge in the area. Or if you're looking for a new pasta recipe, we'll show you +1's from your culinary genius college roommate. [...]

We'll be slowly rolling out +1's, starting in English on Google.com. If you can't wait to start seeing +1's, we'll soon let you opt-in to the launch by visiting our experimental search site."

Editor's note: If you want to be informed when the +1 button is available for your site, fill out this form.

When I change domains, how long should I leave the redirects in place?

Google's Matt Cutts answers that question in a video. Google needs several months to decide that a website really has moved from domain A to domain B.

Only if every single page of the old domain redirects to the new domain then Google might decide to use the new domain as the main page. If Google gets mixed signals (some pages return a 200 OK code while others redirect) then Google won't change anything.

Editor's note: if your old domain has backlinks that redirect to your new domain then you shouldn't remove the 301 redirects at all.

Google's music search engine quietly vanishes from the web

"Now, as I'm sure you're well aware, Google has bigger plans when it comes to digital music than mere search, so perhaps the Google.com/music link to the former Music Search product landing page was quietly removed to make way for another, more appropriate landing page? Or did someone just quietly pull the plug hoping no one would notice?"

Search engine newslets

  • Google doesn't like scraped content.
  • Google officially ends support for QR code in Places.
  • Google improves similar image search.
  • Bing testing new home page designs.
  • Yahoo's Bartz slips in employees' eyes.
  • Google releases a new AdSense ad format.
  • Responding to negative feedback online benefits companies.
  • Will Google give a higher rank to a website which runs AdSense? Answer: No.

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3. Success stories

"We are now on the front page of Google."

"For over 5 years we've been struggling to get any decent rankings on http://www.presentationguru.co.uk and spent thousands on pay per click campaigns and local online advertising.

Using IBP was a big leap into the dark, it was a lot of work to get the sites score up, but it almost became a strategic plan as to where we should be spending our resources.

I am delighted to say that over the past months the site has leapt up the rankings, we are now on the front page of Google for 11 of our chosen keywords, no mean feat given the level of competition in our industry, and look forward to even better rankings in the coming months. "
John Davies, www.presentationguru.co.uk


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4. Previous articles

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