Weekly SEO news: 8 November 2011

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

Since Google's latest ranking algorithm, the search engine rankings of many websites are worse than before. If your rankings dropped, your website might have been penalized by Google. This week's article helps you to recover from such a situation.

Also in the news: Google updates the ranking algorithm once more, Google can index AJAX comments, Google's Matt Cutts talks about cloaking 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. Has your website been penalized by Google? Here's what you can do

Since Google's latest ranking algorithm, the search engine rankings of many websites are worse than before. If your rankings dropped, your website might have been penalized by Google. This article helps you to recover from such a situation.

Step 1: check if your website has been penalized

A sudden ranking drop doesn't necessarily mean that your website has been penalized. It might be that your competitors now have better backlinks or that their websites get more mentions on social media sites.

Some of your most important backlinks might have been removed by the linking site or your website simply does not meet Google's current requirements.

For that reason, it is important to check if Google still lists your website. Search Google for "yourdomain.com" and "site:yourdomain.com". If you don't get any results, then it's likely that your website has been penalized.

Step 2: don't panic and try to find the reason for the penalty

Before you contact Google, you should try to find the reason for the penalty. There are several things that Google does not like:

  • You sold links on your website: if you sell links on your website for SEO purposes and if it is obvious that you're selling links, this might get you in trouble. Use the rel="nofollow" attribute if you sell links.
  • You used paid links to promote your website: if Google is sure that you purchased links to improve your Google rankings, they might double-check your site. Remove the paid links.
  • Fully automated backlink systems: if you participate in a fully automated backlink scheme, it is almost sure that Google will penalize your website. Remove the automated linking scripts from your web pages.
  • You use on-page spam techniques such as hidden text, keyword stuffing, sneaky redirects or cloaking.

Step 3: remove the spammy elements and optimize your web pages

Before you file a reconsideration request, you must make sure that your website doesn't contain any spammy elements. Check step 2 and remove anything that could be spammy from your web pages.

Then optimize your web pages to make sure that they offer everything that Google needs to give your website high rankings for the right keywords.

When you have done that, you can file a reconsideration request.

Google continually updates the ranking algorithm. All spam techniques on your web pages will be discovered sooner or later. If you want to get lasting rankings in Google's top 10 results, use white-hat SEO techniques that are approved by Google.


2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Google can now index AJAX content

Matt Cutts confirmed this in a tweet:

"Googlebot keeps getting smarter. Now has the ability to execute AJAX/JS to index some dynamic comments."

This means that the comments that your website users make on third-party commenting engines like Disqus, Facebook Comments or Intense Debate can now be indexed by Google.

GoogleDiscussion: does Google latest algorithm update favor big brands?

"Do we know for a fact that while we've been focusing on Panda, quietly Vince has not been updated - and perhaps even several times? Could we already be on Vince 3.0? [...]

I suspect sites can get protection from Panda if they are considered great by Vince. In my sector I've seen a number of brand sites which should have been hit by Panda get protected and even bumped up. But they were already doing better after Vince. Since Panda they went higher."

Google updates the ranking algorithm to provide fresher results

"Today we’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness."

The update affects searches for recent events or hot topics, regularly recurring events and topics with frequent updates (for example camera reviews).

Matt CuttsGoogle's Matt Cutts: cloaking is a high-risk technique

In a video, Google's Matt Cutts explains cloaking and why you shouldn't use it on your website. Here are the most important facts of the 9 minute video:

  • Cloaking means that GoogleBot gets different content than regular website users.
  • Doing this is a violation of Google's quality guidelines.
  • Cloaking is often used for deceptive reasons and it is very risky to use it.
  • There is no such thing as white-hat cloaking but geolocation and mobile detection are not considered cloaking by Google.

Google Local mixed results hit the blender

"In the past a listing preview would show a screenshot of the website for both local search results and regular search listings. Now the local search results show a smaller screen shot accompanied by a map, images found in google places, quick glance of categories, business hours, review sites with review count, and a feedback link."

Search engine newslets

  • Video: If I get links to a URL with and without a trailing slash, will my PageRank be split? Answer: In general, no.
  • Search for "do a barrel roll" on Google and the result page will roll.
  • Google ponders pay-TV business.
  • CNN: Facebook vs. Google.
  • Google tests "Sources" display in search results.

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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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