Weekly SEO news: 13 September 2011
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Google has confirmed that the number of +1 clicks influences the position of a website in the search results. How does this affect your web pages and what do you have to to do make sure that Google lists your website?

Also in the news: Bing powered share of searches reaches 29% in August, some people think that there will be a major Google update at the end of this year, Google +1's and Facebook Like's are difficult to game and more.

Table of contents:

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Google +1 as a ranking factor: how it influences your website

Google has confirmed that the number of +1 clicks influences the position of a website in the search results. How does this affect your web pages and what do you have to to do make sure that Google lists your website?

Google Plus One

What is Google's +1 button?

The +1 button is Google's version of Facebook's Like button. The +1 button is displayed on Google's search result pages and webmasters can add Google's +1 button to their own web pages (instructions).

Website visitors who like a page can click the +1 button to show Google that they like it.

A web page that gets many +1 clicks obviously offers something that makes it better than average. It makes sense to show these pages higher in the search results.

It's difficult to game the +1 system

Some services offer +1 click packages. You pay a certain amount of money and the service will increase the number of +1 clicks on your web pages.

It is very unlikely that these clicks will increase the position of a web page in Google's search results:

  • You need a Google account to click on the +1 button. Google knows who's clicking and they also know which other buttons are clicked by that person.
  • These services usually use the same accounts and/or create new Google accounts for the clicks. It's relatively easy for Google to detect artificial clicks and accounts.

It's the quality of the +1 clicks that matters, not the quantity. If you buy +1 clicks for your website, it is likely that Google will find it out.

What does this mean for your website?

+1 clicks are a ranking factor in Google's algorithm and you should add the Google +1 button to your web pages. Many websites don't use the button yet so you will have an advantage if you add the button now.

The +1 button is not the only ranking signal that Google uses to determine the position of your site in the search results. Google uses many more signals.

To find out if your web pages have all these signals, analyze your web pages with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer. IBP's Top 10 Optimizer will show you:

The Top 10 Optimizer analyzes all important ranking signals that are necessary to get high rankings on Google. If you follow the instructions of IBP's Top 10 Optimizer, your web page will get on Google's first result page for your keywords.

Google's +1 button is a ranking signal that you should not ignore. Don't forget that there are many other ranking factors that have to be in place before +1 clicks will influence the position of your pages.

Use the Top 10 Optimizer in IBP to make sure that your web pages offer everything that Google needs to give your pages high rankings.


2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Bing-powered share of searches at 29 percent in August 2011

"Google accounted for 65.09 percent of all U.S. searches conducted in the four weeks ending August 27, 2011. The combined Bing-powered search comprised 28.99 percent of searches for the month, with Yahoo! Search and Bing receiving 15.89 percent and 13.10 percent, respectively. [...]

Longer search queries — those averaging five to eight words or more — increased 3 percent from July 2011 to August 2011. One-word searches comprised the majority of searches, amounting to 26.26 percent of all queries."

GoogleDiscussion: a major Google update at the end of the year?

"Larry Page has been at the helm coming up on six months. According to various reports, LP has put a lot of faith back in the algo nerds. I look for a Florida like update on the organic side before the end of the year. [...]

Google is NOT an "innovative company," relatively speaking. They are reactionary, almost panic when someone comes with a new idea, and use search to try to destroy their competitors. How? By stealing their ideas and code and giving them away for free."

Why you can’t game Google and Bing with +1s and likes

"If there is one thing a search engine is good at, it’s seeing patterns online. Like farms tend to be built around a core network of accounts. You pay someone to like your site, content or whatever, and they go out across their network and like you. It’s artificial and we know it. [...]

Interestingly, a report out from BrightEdge finds that about half of the largest 10,000 sites on the web don’t even display any kind of social sharing link or buttons at all. [...]

The search engines have flat out admitted that social signals are a ranking factors. Why would a site owner not want to include social share buttons? Let your readers do some of the heavy lifting and get your content promoted in their social networks!”

Editor's note: learn how to add Google's +1 button to your web pages and check the number of +1's and other social metrics with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer.

GoogleDiscussion: can link spammers hurt your site?

"It has always been my opinion that if Google finds crappy links to any site, the links are just devalued. But if the computer finds a 'link' between those incoming links and a site that sells links than the site is devalued. In other words the computer needs to show a connection between bad incoming links and some post that shows I caused them [purchased]."

How referral traffic improves your rankings in Google

"These results highlight the importance of concentrating on obtaining links from web pages that can convert traffic (rather than looking at the outdate metric of PageRank for example). [...]

Does referral traffic, from ‘nofollow’ links, help influence keyword rankings within Google? [...]

If Google favours the heavy traffic links then that is a good thing in my mind as this is less easy to manipulate by the spammers."

Search engine newslets

  • Google claims that 44% of total searches for last minute gifts and store locator terms will be from mobile devices this holiday season.
  • Google+ API launch still months away.
  • NY Times: closed, says Google, but shops’ signs say open.
  • Google: 'considerable progress' on fighting copyright infringement.
  • Video: Do multiple links from one page to another page count? Answer: yes, at least in the original PageRank concept.
  • If you ask Google to remove your website, they will do it.
  • The the half life of a shared bitly link is about 3 hours.

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3. Success stories

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