Weekly SEO news: 27 March 2012

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

Last week, Matt Cutts, head of Google's anti-spam team, announced that Google is working on a penalty for over-optimized websites. What does this announcement mean to your website and how should you react to this announcement?

In the news: Google announces another Panda update, paid blog networks don't work anymore, you might have to hide your location on Google Places, how Bing removes junk from the result pages 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. How to react to Google's over-optimization filter

Last week, Matt Cutts, head of Google's anti-spam team, announced that Google is working on a penalty for over-optimized websites. What does this announcement mean to your website and how should you react to this announcement?

Matt CuttsHere's what Matt Cutts said in detail:

"We don’t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit.

All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over-optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now."

Does this mean that you shouldn't optimize your web pages anymore?

risky SEO methods

This announcement is aimed at people who are trying to push the limits too far. Of course, it is perfectly okay to add your keywords on your web page and it is also perfectly okay to exchange links with other websites.

Actually, all of these methods can have a very positive influence on the Google rankings of your website. The problem starts when these elements are overused. This usually happens when you use fully automated tools and services to promote your website.

For example, it is likely that the following SEO methods will get your website in trouble:

  • automated link exchange networks that add your link to hundreds on other websites
  • tools that automatically create fake forum accounts and comments with a link to your site
  • tools that automatically create keyword rich web pages for you on your website
  • participating in paid link schemes

Fully automated solutions always mean spam when it comes to SEO

Google wants to show high quality web pages in the search results. Web pages that have been created automatically cannot have the same quality as a web page that has been created by a human editor.

Fully automated solutions lead to low quality links and content that is not helpful to the average web surfers. Businesses that "optimized" their websites with these methods are the ones who will be hit by the new ranking filter.

If you see the words "fully automated" and "hundreds" or "thousands" in one sentence that you can be sure that the advertised product or service is spamming and your website will get in trouble if you promote it with these methods.

Don't panic and create a symbiotic relationship with search engines

safe SEO methods

If you haven't used the spam methods described above to promote your website, then your Google rankings won't be in trouble.

Optimizing your web pages remains very important because you have to show Google and other search engines that your website is relevant to a particular keyword and that your website has a high quality.

The key is to focus on the user. If you optimize your web pages with the tools in IBP, you will create web pages that are beneficial to your business, web searchers and search engines.

Secure your Google rankings by using white-hat SEO tools

If you want to be on the safe side, optimize your website with the tools in IBP:

  • IBP only uses so-called white-hat SEO methods that play by the rules.
  • IBP does not use any shady techniques that can get your website in trouble.
  • The Top 10 Optimizer in IBP will warn you if your web pages are over-optimized.
  • The tools in IBP lead to lasting results.

Optimizing your web pages is important but you have to make sure that you play by the rules. If you do it correctly, search engine optimization leads to lasting high rankings, more customers and more sales.

If you're pushing the limits too far, your website will get in trouble sooner or later. If you want to get lasting results, only use white-hat SEO methods.


2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Google PandaGoogle announces another Panda update

Google has announced another Panda update on Twitter. According to the announcement, Google estimates that about 1.6 percent of queries are affected by this "Panda refresh."

Paid blog networks begin to cause trouble

"Let’s talk about what’s happening with this massive deindexing of paid blog network sites [...] Ever heard of services like LinkVana, BuildMyRank, Authority Link Network, etc? Those are paid blog networks. You either pay a monthly fee or 'pay' by adding your own sites into the network. [...]

Google identified an 'overwhelming majority' of their backlink network sites – and Google de-indexed those sites. [...]

This has been happening to MANY of these backlink blog network sites and services as Google is getting very active about removing these network sites from their index – and making the links from those sites useless."

Editor's note: this confirms the warning explained in today's article. Do not use automated or paid linking schemes. If you want lasting results, you need real backlinks. Blog links are fine but they shouldn't be paid.

Google PlacesGoogle Places: you might have to hide your location

"If you don’t serve clients at your location and only serve them on site it is necessary to hide your location in the Places Dashboard. [...]

If you don’t hide your address, your listing may be removed from Google Maps."

How Bing removes junk from the search results

"Equally annoying is when you end up on a page for a domain that was just registered and is plastered with ads without any useful content. These are different types of junk links that we refer to as dead links, soft 404s, and parked domains. Let's explore how Bing detects and removes these sites from the search results."

Upcoming changes in Google’s HTTP Referrer

"Starting in April, for browsers with the appropriate support, we will be using the 'referrer' meta tag to automatically simplify the referring URL that is sent by the browser when visiting a page linked from an organic search result. [...]

You may start to see 'origin' referrers—Google’s homepages (see the meta referrer specification for further detail)—as a source of organic SSL search traffic."

Search engine newslets

  • Wikipedia pages appear on the first result page for 60% of informational and 34% of transactional search queries.
  • Firefox making the switch to default HTTPS Google search.
  • Google Analytics now tracks social media.
  • Google hasn't explained why users would want a unified online identity.
  • Google might not be top dog forever says father of the internet.
  • The case against Google.
  • Paul Graham, the commons, and how Google stopped being Google.

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3. Success stories

IBP March offer expires

Our March offer expires soon. If you want to get IBP for a discounted price, order now.

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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