Weekly SEO news: 28 February 2012

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

Yesterday, Google announced 40 changes in the ranking algorithm. The most important changes were another Panda update and changes in the way Google evaluates links. How do these changes affect the rankings of your web pages?

In the news: migrating your website to a new domain name can cause problems, even if you do everything right, Bing announces 'Linked pages', Google vs. Baidu and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Official Google announcement: changes in the algorithm

Yesterday, Google announced 40 changes in the ranking algorithm. The most important changes were another Panda update and changes in the way Google evaluates links. How do these changes affect the rankings of your web pages?

Google changes

Google's Panda 3.3 update

Google announced the following:

"Panda update. This launch refreshes data in the Panda system, making it more accurate and more sensitive to recent changes on the web."

This sounds similar to the Panda update that Google released in January. That update was described as a 'data refresh'. That means that Google probably didn't add new ranking signals.

New backlink evaluation

Google's announcement about the new backlink evaluation leaves much room for speculation:

"Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable."

Google does not go into more detail and it's hard to tell what the exact method of link analysis that they used for several years is. It's likely that they probably turned off a method that is abused by many spammers.

Many more changes

In addition to the changes above, Google announced many more changes: more coverage for related searches, a tweak to the categorizer for expanded sitelinks, less duplication in expanded sitelinks, more accurate detection of official pages, improved local results and more.

What does this mean to the rankings of your web pages?

Google is working hard on eliminating spam from the result pages. If you use spammy techniques to promote your website, chances are that your rankings will drop.

The backlink evaluation change indicates that Google found a way to deal with manipulated backlinks. If you participate in automated linking schemes, your website might get into trouble.

If you want to get lasting results on Google, you have to use ethical search engine optimization methods that play by the rules. Do not use automated linking systems but try to get high quality backlinks to your website.


2. Search engine news and articles of the week

GoogleGoogle: migrating your website can take a lot of time

Even if you do everything right, it can take a lot of time until Google ranks your new domain. Google's John Mueller commented in a discussion:

"We worked hard to make our systems as fast and as pain-free as possible when it comes to site moves, so it's particularly frustrating for us to see situations where algorithmic fluctuations from such a change last longer than we'd want.

Looking into your site, the issues you're seeing are very likely to settle down over time, as our algorithms get used to the new content and are able to migrate all associated signals properly.

Looking into the details, one thing I noticed was that the domain that you moved to was historically more attached to the UK than the US for some reason. Your site, however, appears to be only focused on the US, right? If that's the case, one thing you can do is to set the geotargeting setting in Webmaster Tools to confirm the US-targeting."

Bing announces 'Linked pages'

"With Linked Pages, we’re letting you link websites related to you in search results. Now your friends looking for you online can find what you want them to find. You can also link pages to your friends to help them shine on Bing as well."

GoogleInterview with Dan Austin, a Google Maps spam fighter

"Google Maps, like all other Google products, is constantly reinventing itself. It seems like every iteration breaks something even if it ‘improves’ something else. Google is also dependent on a wide variety of sources to construct its map system, and stitching it all together, while a remarkable technical feat, means that there’s a lot of bad data."

Sizing up two Internet giants: Google vs Baidu in China

"Baidu is simply killing Google in its core market, search. Yet outside of China little is known of the company, which s very much like Google but with key differences. [...]

Baidu has more than 50 communities and services online, including maps, an encyclopedia, a mobile OS and more. Baidu prioritises paid search terms above organic results without any limitation on the number that appear."

Yahoo rallies for better search metrics

"Advancements in search and marketing technologies point to inadequacies in long-established methods to accurately measure query volume. Yahoo has begun to test the ability to start a query on one device and continue it on another. For example, searching for a local restaurant on a desktop PC, finding a location and saving the search to continue it on a mobile device, such as iPad or smartphone."

Search engine newslets

  • Using schema.org markup for videos.
  • Google to sell heads-up display glasses by year’s end.
  • Google is closing the AdSense for domains program.
  • 11 Google job titles you won't believe actually exist.
  • Google improves related searches for images.

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3. Success stories

"Hello guys, just wanted to let you know of my story"

"Purchased IBP Standard edition on January the 5th, 2012. I really had absolutely no idea about Search Engine Optimization, how it should be done, where it should be started etc... I only knew that 'somebody needs to optimize your website if you want to get good results in searches'.

I had a website which I built myself, no big deal - plain HTML with only just text and pictures. It's www.telefoane-ieftine.biz. I use it to sell mobile phones in my country - Romania.

So I started everything from the beginning as the IBP recommends. By the way, the manual which comes with the software is so easy to read and understand and provides a lot of useful information to beginners.

The IBP manual was my first step to understanding what SEO is about. Generated an optimization report with the IBP software and then I began to improve every feature of my website according to the suggestions that the report offered.

By making small changes according to the suggestions, gradually the percentage to which my site was optimized for certain search terms on Google.ro began to increase.

Whenever you generate a report in the IBP it will show a percentage to which your website is optimized for a certain search term. All you need to do is keep an eye on that report and do according to the suggestions because the report touches all aspects of a good optimization.

Today it's February the 22nd, 2012 and with last night's Google SERPs update my website climbed to the first page on Google for two of my main search terms.

I have to say that in this 1 month and a half I have learned a lot about SEO. I even tried bad practices which I read about on the internet, but they were no good and almost resulted in my site getting banned.

Google detects bad practices very fast. My advice is: always do what the IBP report says, the IBP software is created to follow industry guidelines and it always teaches you to employ best practices so as to avoid getting your site penalized or banned by Google.

If you do things chaotically, you risk penalty from Google and then it is very hard if not impossible to come back. That's why I recommend the IBP software, because it gives you a good plan to follow in order to get your site ranking high in Google searches."
Andrei Cosmin, www.telefoane-ieftine.biz

Tell other readers of this newsletter your success story!

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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