Weekly SEO news: 5 February 2013
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

In a video on YouTube, the head of Google's anti-spam team Matt Cutts talked about negative SEO. Can other companies hurt your website rankings by spamming your site? What can you do to avoid this?

In the news: A lot of confusion about Google Places, how to get listed in Bing Local Canada, 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. Negative SEO: official Google statements
In a video on YouTube, the head of Google's anti-spam team Matt Cutts talked about negative SEO. Can other companies hurt your website rankings by spamming your site? What can you do to avoid this?

Matt Cutts Video

Matt Cutts' statements are somewhat contradicting. He says that negative SEO isn't a major issue for Google. On the other hand, he says that Google offers a tool that helps you to deal with negative SEO.

1. Matt Cutts says that they try to avoid negative SEO

He says that when Google designs a new anti-spam algorithm, they try to make sure that the algorithm cannot be used to hurt a competitor. He says that they try to make sure that they are resistant against that.

2. Bad backlinks can cause problems

Matt Cutts says that Google has become better in detecting private and public link networks. Links from these link networks can have a negative influence on your Google rankings. This includes automatically created backlinks from forum profile sites, blog spam and all other links that can be created in bulk with a tool.

3. Although most people don't need it, Google offers the disavow links tool to address negative SEO

According to Matt Cutts, most businesses don't have to worry about negative SEO simply because no one will use negative SEO on their websites. That statement implies that negative SEO through spam link building is possible.

The disavow link tool enables webmasters to give Google a list of backlinks that should be ignored by the ranking algorithm.

4. Time invested in negative SEO is better invested in other things

Matt Cutts says that it usually doesn't make sense to try to hurt another website with spam links. The links might help the targeted site and the owner of the linked website can always disavow the spam links.

As mentioned in one of our previous posts, it's likely that the disavow link tool won't help your website much. It's more likely that Google simply ignores the spam links. The disavow link tool helps webmasters to feel good because they can do something but this won't necessarily increase the rankings of their websites.

To increase the rankings of your website, you need more good backlinks. It's not enough to remove the bad backlinks. Actually, a few good backlinks can outweigh many bad backlinks.

How to strengthen the position of your website on Google

To make sure that Google can index all of your web pages correctly, check your website with the website audit tool in SEOprofiler. You can do this for $1. Correct all errors and then start to optimize your pages.

In addition to the website audit tool, SEOprofiler offers tools for keyword research, web page optimization, link building and link management, result checking, social media, and more.

Website check

2. Search engine news and articles of the week

A bug in Google's algorithm suspends Google Places account

"All too many Places dashboard users are seeing this message of late: Account suspended. Make sure your listings meet the quality guidelines. [...] Her account was unceremoniously suspended despite a listing that was clean. [...]

It looks like it was an automated process gone awry. We’re looking into that general problem to see what fix can be made."

How to get listed in Bing Local Canada – finally

"By submitting your business to Nokia Prime Place you are not only ensuring your business will be entered into Bing’s local listings but primarily Nokia Maps which happens to feed all NavTeq controlled systems. [...]

 As a result, you have access to the in-dash systems of automotive manufacturers like BMW, Honda, Ford and Volkswagen. In addition, Yahoo!, Flickr, Amazon and Oracle use their systems."

Editor's note: The Local Hub Submission Tool in SEOprofiler helps you to quickly submit your website to Nokia Prime Place.

PlacesConfusion about Google Places listings

In an online discussion, different Google employees gave different answers to a question about a person who works at two different places in two different cities:

"Even if you're a doctor who is a cardiologist and a chiropractor or a service that covers multiple towns, you shouldn't have two listings. [...] We are working on clarifying the guidelines for scenarios like this. Please sit tight, and I'll come back with an update as soon as I can."

Editor's note: General information on how to improve your website listing on Google Places can be found here.

In-store mobile commerce during the 2012 Holiday shopping season

"Nearly six in ten cell owners used their phone inside a physical store for assistance or guidance on a purchasing decision this holiday season. [...]

28% of cell owners used their phone while inside a store to look up reviews of a product to help decide if they should purchase it or not. 27% of cell owners used their phone while inside a store to look up the price of a product, to see if they could get a better price elsewhere."

Google Places ReviewsGoogle updates the spam review system

"We’ve made some recent improvements to our spam detection algorithms that have increased the number of reviews that appear on some local Google+ pages. We hope this improves your local experience!

Online reviews have been in the news a lot recently, and we at Google are committed to helping people to get ratings, reviews, and recommendations that are relevant, helpful, and trustworthy. To protect both business owners and customers from spam reviews, we have systems in place that may remove individual reviews."

Search engine newslets
  • Bing apps for office.
  • Custom date range tips for Google search.
  • A weapons seller loses favor with Google.
  • Twitter now the fastest growing social platform in the world.
  • Google+ Local categories inadequate for the job.
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3. Recommended resources
Get a detailed audit of your website for $1

SEOprofiler is a full-featured web-based SEO solution that offers everything that you need to get high rankings on Google and other search engines:


SEOprofiler offers tools for web page optimization, link building, keyword research, competitive intelligence, website submission, and more.

You can try the new SEOprofiler for $1:
  1. Create your account here.
  2. SEOprofiler will automatically check your website pages.
  3. You will get a detailed report that shows all errors that can cause problems with Google and other search engines.
Checking your website is highly recommended. If you fix all errors, search engines will be able to list more of your web pages.

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4. Previous articles
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