Weekly SEO news: 6 December 2011

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

Last week, a new Google patent application was published that shows how Google might evaluate references on the Internet. The more Google trusts a source, the higher the influence of the reference. You might want to take another look at your links and Google's +1 button.

Also in the news: Google announces algorithm updates and design changes, software activists take on Google, there's a bug in Google's keyword tool 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. New Google patent: does your site have references from trusted agents?

Last week, a new patent application was published that shows how Google might evaluate references on the Internet. The more Google trusts a source, the higher the influence of the reference. You might want to take another look at your links and Google's +1 button.

What is a reference?

There are two main ways in which people can reference other people's websites:

  • links from one site to the other
  • clicks on buttons such as Facebook's "Like" button or Google's "+1" button.

Google uses these references to calculate the relevance of a website for the search results. The more and the better the references are, the higher your website will be listed in Google's search results.

Not all references are equal

The patent application explains it as follows:

"Not all references, however, are necessarily of equal significance. For example, a reference by another agent with a high reputational score is of greater significance than a reference by another agent with a low reputational score.

Thus, the reputation of a particular agent, and therefore the reputational score assigned to the particular agent, should depend not just on the number of references to the content signed by the particular agent, but on the importance of the referring documents and other agents.

This implies a recursive definition: the reputation of a particular agent is a function of the reputation of the content and agents which refer to it."

For example, someone who shares high quality information on a regular basis might become a "trusted agent". References of that person will have a higher influence on the referenced page than references from other people.

What does this mean to your website?

The Google patent indicates that it does not make sense to buy links or +1 clicks in bulk. Low quality backlinks and +1 clicks from people who will click the +1 button on any website won't help your search engine rankings.

If you want to get higher rankings on Google, you need backlinks from high quality websites and you must make sure that only people who like your website click the +1 buttons on your site (click here for instructions on how to add Google's +1 button to your site).

If you're a regular reader of our weekly newsletter, you know that quality is much more important than quantity. Don't fall for quick-fix SEO solutions that promise hundreds of backlinks in a short time with no work. These backlinks won't help your website and it is likely that Google might consider them spam.

Try to get high quality backlinks and encourage your website visitors to share your website on social websites. If you want to check the current optimization status of your web pages, analyze them with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer.


2. Search engine news and articles of the week

GoogleGoogle announces more algorithm changes

"New 'parked domain' classifier: This is a new algorithm for automatically detecting parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites that are seldom useful and often filled with ads. They typically don’t have valuable content for our users, so in most cases we prefer not to show them. [...]

We added new signals to help us make better predictions about which of two similar web pages is the original one."

There's a bug in Google Webmastertools

"This is a bug in the way we show the data in Webmaster Tools. In short, these links are from your site's IP address, which we incorrectly show (with the '0' and the last two octals swapped).

These links would not be a reason for any changes in crawling, indexing, or ranking that your site might be seeing - it's completely normal to have 'links' from your server's IP address."

Editor's note: If you want to get a detailed overview of the links that point to your website (and other websites), check your domain on SEOprofiler.com.

Free Software activists to take on Google with new free search engine

"Free software activists have released a peer-to-peer search engine to take on Google, Yahoo, Bing and others. [...]

The free, distributed search engine, YaCy, takes a new approach to search. Rather than using a central server, its search results come from a network of independent 'peers,' users who have downloaded the YaCy software. The aim is that no single entity gets to decide what gets listed, or in which order results appear."

GoogleGoogle announces a redesign

"We’re now ready for the next stage of our redesign—a new Google bar that will enable you to navigate quickly between our services. [...]

Instead of the horizontal black bar at the top of the page, you’ll now find links to your services in a new drop-down Google menu nested under the Google logo. We’ll show you a list of links and you can access additional services by hovering over the 'More' link at the bottom of the list. Click on what you want, and you’re off."

There's a bug in Google's AdWords keyword tool

"I was doing keyword research using the Google Keyword Tool and for keyphrases that I know have exact match volume the tool is reporting none. [...]

This is affected a number of big head terms like 'ipod', 'dogs' and 'wine', and definitely appears to be a bug in the system."

Editor's note: Google has confirmed the bug.

Should I spend more time on improving my content or on fighting scrapers?

Google's Matt Cutts answers that question in a video:

"My advice would be to really concentrate on the quality of your own site. Google has been trying to find and fix the problems related to scrapers and we have some good stuff in the pipeline that I'm pretty excited about.

[If you have a high quality website] then you don't have to worry much about the scrapers."

Search engine newslets

  • A new frontier for Google Maps: mapping the indoors.
  • Google chocolate.
  • Google AdWords editor: take action on top of page bid estimates.
  • Video: Will my site's ranking be hurt if I use HTTPS instead of HTTP? Answer: no.
  • Google AdSense: 5 things you should know about invalid clicks.
  • There's a bug with the Google Cache page.
  • WordPress takes on Google’s AdSense with new WordAds service.
  • Google Places: If you have a 2,500 mile "service area", you don't belong in local search.

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3. Success stories
"My client is on the first result page for a competitive one-word keyword!"

"Before I found IBP, I have tried to get the website of my client into the top results on Google.de for 2 years. With the help of IBP, I managed to get the website on the first result page for a competitive one-word keyword. My client outranks big brand websites. Thanks to IBP!"
Kurt Schnabel, www.First-Web.de


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