Weekly SEO news: 13 December 2011

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

2011 has been a very busy year for Google. Much has changed and if you want to make sure that your website gets enough visitors, you have to keep up with the latest changes. This week's article shows the most important Google changes that you should keep in mind.

Also in the news: SEO is the most effective marketing channel for small businesses, Matt Cutts says that Google's quality raters cannot harm your site, Google dominates online advertising and more.

Table of contents:

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. The most important Google ranking algorithm changes in 2011

2011 has been a very busy year for Google. Much has changed and if you want to make sure that your website gets enough visitors, you have to keep up with the latest changes. This week's article shows the most important Google changes that you should keep in mind.

Google changes 2011

1. Low quality websites are filtered

Google released several ranking algorithm updates in 2011 that tried to filter low quality websites from the search results.

Scraper websites or websites with low quality content don't get high rankings anymore. Due to these changes in Google's algorithm, some websites saw a traffic drop of 75% or more.

To do: don't try to promote your website with quick-fix solutions. Quality is more important than quantity.

2. Search has become social

Social signals such as the number of Google +1 clicks, Facebook mentions and tweets now influence the position of your website on Google's result pages.

To do: add social sharing buttons to your website and encourage your website visitors to mention your website on social networks.

3. Search results are more than just links

Most result pages on Google show much more than a list of 10 web pages. Search results now include images, videos, news, local results, etc.

To do: use a holistic approach to promote your website: optimize the content of your web pages, get good backlinks to your website, offer local services, submit videos about your business to Google to make sure that your website gets listed in all possible places on Google's result page.

4. Page speed has become a ranking signal

Searchers tend to be happier if they get what they want as quickly as possible. Although site speed is only a minor factor in Google's ranking algorithm, it makes sense to optimize the performance of your pages.

To do: make sure that your web pages load as quickly as possible.

5. It's not just Google: Yahoo/Bing is getting more important

Although Google has the biggest market share, Yahoo and Bing now have a combined market share of about 33%. If you're not getting 33% of your traffic from Yahoo/Bing than you should start to optimize some of your pages for Bing.

To do: if you want to get 33% more visitors, optimize some of your pages for Yahoo/Bing. You can do this with the Top 10 Optimizer in IBP.

Much has changed in 2011. We continually update our website promotion tool IBP to keep it up-to-date with the latest search engine algorithm changes. The latest version of IBP works with Google's latest ranking algorithm and it also works with Yahoo and Bing.


2. Search engine news and articles of the week

SurveySEO is the most important marketing channel for small businesses

"The question asked was: “If you had to put all your marketing time and budget into only one channel, what would it be?” Search Marketing (SEO + SEM) jointly got 43% of responses.

Interestingly SMBs are giving up on traditional media advertising as their most important marketing channel. Note that the question was not asked to determine which is the best performing channel, but which channel to keep if you had to pick only one. If the question was about performance, I would say SEO and SEM would be at 70-80%, if not higher."

Editor's note: the survey confirms that SEO is a marketing method with a high return on investment. If you haven't done it yet, download our SEO tool IBP now and optimize your web pages.

Matt Cutts: a single quality rater cannot harm your site

"Scott Huffman is quoted saying that our search quality raters do not directly affect our rankings. That’s correct. [...]

Even if multiple search quality raters mark something as spam or non-relevant, that doesn’t affect a site’s rankings or throw up a flag in the url that would affect that URL."

The other Googles: succeeding on foreign search engines

"In China, for example, Baidu is the most popular, with a reported 75.5 percent market share during the fourth quarter of 2010. Likewise, Naver is the market leader within South Korea and Yandex and Seznam are the market leaders in Russia and the Czech Republic respectively."

GoogleReport: Google dominates online advertising

"Internet advertising is now clearly dominated by Google, which has increased its share of the internet ad market from 34.9% in 2006 to 44.1% in 2010.

Over this time Google has tightened its grip on global search (raising its share of searches from 72% in 2006 to 85% now) and established a lead in traditional display and online video with the help of the acquisition and development of companies like DoubleClick and YouTube.

In addition, its three main early competitors (Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL) have failed to match this pace of development and lost a lot of ground; their combined market share fell from 33.1% in 2006 to 13.8% in 2010."

Discussion: can you lift a Panda penalty just by moving sub-domains?

"I moved a half dozen pages that were drawing a few hundred visitors a day from Google on my pandalized (down 80%) site to my Panda pleased (up over 300%) site this weekend. [...]

Of the half dozen pages, three were slightly above their pre-Panda level (year-over-year) on Monday, and three were around 20% under. The average Google traffic for the six pages Monday was around 250 visitors each."

Social media integration survey

"38% of British & American companies are still in their infancy when integrating social media in their company. 12% have fully integrated the new media.

Companies from the financial and health industry are lagging behind, whereas Tech & Telco and the media sector are ahead. The main barrier to change is the unclear financial return, there is a positive correlation between the extent of social media integration and the financial results."

Search engine newslets

  • A year of curiosities: Australia’s top Google searches 2011.
  • Twitter's 2011 year in review.
  • Verizon Wireless blocks rival Google Wallet, citing security.
  • Longtime Google policy guy Andrew McLaughlin headed to tumblr.
  • Google has rebooted its UK engineering centre.
  • Forbes: how Google insulted an entire nation.
  • Google launches Schemer.
  • Opinion: Google admits 'organic results' are filler to pump deceptive ads at consumers.
  • Former Bing product lead: why personalized social search is unrealistic (for now).

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3. Success stories
John"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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