Weekly SEO news: 2 October 2012
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

In an online discussion, Google's John Mueller explained why a website won't regain its old rankings after a penalty. Even if the penalty is lifted, the website still might have bad rankings. What can you do to make sure that your website is not affected by this?

In the news: Google announces another algorithm updates, ecommerce websites get slower, long keywords convert better and more.

Table of contents:

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Official Google statement: manual penalties and your rankings

In an online discussion, Google's John Mueller explained why a website won't regain its old rankings after a penalty. Even if the penalty is lifted, the website still might have bad rankings. What can you do to make sure that your website is not affected by this?


1. Google will lift a penalty if you take action

If your website has been penalized, Google will remove the penalty if you remove the elements that led to the penalty:

"After re-evaluating [a] site’s backlinks we are able to partially revoke a manual action. There are still inorganic links pointing to your site that we have taken action on. Once you’ve been able to make further progress in getting these links removed, please reply to this email with the details of your clean-up effort."

2. A lifted penalty does not lead to higher rankings

If your website has been penalized by Google, it won't get its old rankings back when the penalty is lifted. According to Google's John Mueller, this has two reasons:

A) The previous high rankings were not justified. The unnatural links do not count anymore. If your website does not have other good links, it won't get high rankings:

"The primary manual action that is affecting your site is that these unnatural links are being ignored. Yes, when links that were once counted in your ranking are no longer counted and never will be counted in the future, that will have an impact on your rankings for a long time."

B) There are other factors that influence the position of your website. Google uses many different signals to calculate the position of a website. Now that the unnatural ranking boosters don't count anymore, the other signals influence the position of your website:

"Keep in mind that the manual action here might not be the strongest element affecting your site's performance, we use over 200 factors."

What does this mean for your website?

Using spam tools to artificially increase the number of backlinks to your website doesn't work and your website will be penalized if you use these tools. For example, spam tools automatically create forum profile backlinks, blog comment links, etc. Avoid these tools if you don't want to risk the rankings of your website.

If you want to get high rankings that last, use search engine optimization methods that are compatible with Google's requirements. Of course, it takes longer to get high rankings with these so-called white-hat SEO methods.

The advantage of white-hat SEO methods is that they lead to high rankings that are immune to Google's anti-spam ranking algorithm updates. Use IBP to make sure that your website gets the best possible rankings. IBP only uses white-hat SEO methods that lead to lasting results.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Matt CuttsGoogle's Matt Cutts announces algorithm update

Google' Matt Cutts announced on Twitter that Google will be rolling out an algorithm change that will reduce low-quality ‘exact-match’ domains from showing up so highly in the search results:

"Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality 'exact-match' domains in search results."

New study: ecommerce page speed and web performance (fall 2012)

"Pages are getting slower, not faster. The median page load is 9% slower than it was in our November 2011 survey of the same sites.

Internet Explorer 10 rendered pages faster than other browsers. IE10 served pages 8% faster than Chrome 20."

GoogleGoogle announces the Google tag manager

"Google Tag Manager is a free tool that consolidates your website tags with a single snippet of code and lets you manage everything from a web interface. You can add and update your own tags, with just a few clicks, whenever you want, without bugging the IT folks or rewriting site code.

It gives marketers greater flexibility, and lets webmasters focus on other important tasks. Take a quick look at how easy it is to set up an account and manage your tags."

Why word count matters in search query optimization

"It can be tempting for marketers to optimize results for shorter queries and ignore the long tail, but how much traffic is overlooked this way? [...]

Looking at the data, we can see that hits from these longer queries. despite making up a minority of the queries, perform better among users. The CTR on impressions from queries longer than thirty characters is a full 40% more than the CTR from impressions with shorter queries – so, despite being 30% of volume, they have the potential to be a good deal more than 30% of the revenue."

Reading may influence Google author rank

"The new Authorship bounce presentation shows that engagement is used as a measure of author satisfaction and may contribute to AuthorRank. It also debunks bounce rate signal claims, sheds light on entity relationships and exposes weaknesses in the structured data testing tool."

Search engine newslets
  • Fewer than 1% of sales can be tracked back to social media.
  • Bing adds Klout score to social sidebar.
  • Google announces underwater panorama pictures for Google Maps.
  • Is Twitter telling Google and Bing it wants to be indexed more?
  • Google merges Google Trends and Google Insights.
  • Google faked an address in its ad slamming Apple Maps.
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3. Recommended resources

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