Weekly SEO news: 9 September 2014
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Google's recent algorithm updates have shown that your website can get in major trouble if your website has the wrong type of backlinks. How do you judge the quality of a website? What is a good website and from which web pages should you get links?

In the news: Google removes sites from the search results if they are down for too long, Google seems to test domain clustering on the search result pages, it's not easy to recover from a Penguin penalty, 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. After Google's updates: how to judge the quality of a link

When you build links to your website, you want lasting results. It does not make sense to invest your time in search engine optimization methods that are just a flash-in-the-pan.

Google's recent algorithm updates have shown that your website can get in major trouble if your website has the wrong type of backlinks. How do you judge the quality of a website? What is a good website and from which web pages should you get links?

better backlinks

1. All automatic backlinks are bad

All backlinks that have been created automatically have no positive influence on the rankings of your website. If these automatically created backlinks use the rel=nofollow attribute, there's nothing you have to worry about.

If you used tools that automatically created backlinks in bulk for you, you should try to get rid of these backlinks to avoid a penalty. The link disinfection tool in SEOprofiler can help you to get rid of bad backlinks.

2. Google PageRank and other metrics are not important when you build links

Many webmasters only want to get backlinks from pages with a particular PageRank. While you can use this method, it is usually a waste of time and it makes link building more difficult than it really is.

If a website has an overall high-quality then it does not matter if the page with the link to your website has a low Google PageRank:

  • If a high-quality website adds a new page, the new page will have an initial PageRank of zero. Nevertheless, the page can still be very good.
  • A page that has a PageRank of zero today can have a high PageRank tomorrow.

If only pages with a high PageRank had a chance, it wouldn't be possible to get new pages in Google's results page. Experience shows that new pages appear in Google's results every day.

In addition, the PageRank that Google publicly displays is not the actual PageRank that Google uses in its algorithm, and the PageRank value can be manipulated.

3. You will get lasting results if you use your common sense

You do not need special metrics to judge the quality of a web page. When you find a web page that could link to your site, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the linking page look good to the average web surfer?
  • Does the page have interesting content?
  • Is the content somewhat related to my website?
  • Does it make sense if the web page links to your site?

If you can answer all questions with "yes," then you should try to get a backlink from that page. It doesn't matter if that page has a low PageRank.

Google tries to imitate common sense with its algorithms. If you use common sense to build your links and follow the tips above, you make sure that the backlinks to your website will count in all future updates of Google's algorithm.

For example, the hub finder tool in SEOprofiler can help you to find these related websites. Use all the link building tools in SEOprofiler to get the best possible results for your website.

If you haven't done it yet, create your SEOprofiler account now and improve the backlink structure of your website:

Improve the link structure of your website

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week
Google's John Mueller: if a site is down for weeks, we'll remove it
In a discussion on Twitter, Google's John Mueller said that Google will remove a website from the search results if it is down for longer than a few days:

"Your site was gone for over 2 months. We're patient, but users are going to blame us for leading them there. [...]

If a site is down for a couple of weeks, I think most users would assume that it's gone for good. 503 or not."

StatisticsDiscussion: changes in Google's domain clustering?

In an online discussion, webmasters write about the new domain clustering that they see on Google:

"Has anybody else noticed domain clustering? I keep seeing the same site listed multiple times in the top 10 search results. Two, three or four listings all for the same site. [...]

I've seen a return of domain clustering, but only for very long tail queries. It's likely either that Google is testing something new in the algorithm, or has decided to refine results on extremely rare queries."

Time: Google used to be the company that did ‘nothing but search’

"It’s hard to remember a Google whose only mission was to make sure that if a Google user typed “Egg McMuffin” into the colorful but ultimately spartan Google.com homepage, that user got links to the best and most relevant Egg McMuffin content on the Web. [...]

By now that little search engine has grown up into much more. Turned out we were wrong about the website’s limits — but not about whether it would be worth watching."

GoogleGoogle: an improved search box within the search results

"Today you’ll see a new and improved sitelinks search box. When shown, it will make it easier for users to reach specific content on your site, directly through your own site-search pages. [...]

If you implement the markup on your site, users will have the ability to jump directly from the sitelinks search box to your site’s search results page. If we don’t find any markup, we’ll show them a Google search results page for the corresponding site: query, as we’ve done until now."

Google's Pierre Far: Schema markup does not guarantee Sitelinks Search Box

Google: you need an update to recover from a Penguin penalty
"Google’s Penguin update penalized websites that had unnatural links. Even if you removed all of the bad backlinks, you still have to wait for Google’s next algorithm update. Otherwise, your website won’t recover.

Google’s John Mueller has just confirmed this in an online discussion."

Search engine newslets
  • Opposition grows in Europe to Google antitrust proposal.
  • No, Pinterest I’m not getting married.
  • Google’s browseable fact repository – an early Knowledge Graph.
  • Could DuckDuckGo overtake Bing?
  • Bing has a new ad preview tool.
  • Inline facts next to Google search results.
  • Latest Google AdWords PLA test: segmenting products by brand.
3. Recommended resources

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4. Previous articles
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