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Weekly SEO news: 21 November 2006
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at the new sitemaps standard that is now supported by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Can the new standard help you to improve your search engine rankings?

In the news: New search engine statistics, problems at Yahoo and more. A beta version of the next IBP & ARELIS version is available.

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. Google, Yahoo and Microsoft team up for Sitemaps protocol

Last week, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft agreed to support the Sitemap 0.9 protocol. How can this new standard help you to improve the ranking of your web site in search engines?

What are sitemaps and what is the Sitemaps protocol?

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling.

In its simplest form, a sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL:

  • when it was last updated
  • how often it usually changes
  • how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site

This helps search engines to more intelligently crawl your site.

The Sitemaps 0.9 protocol is a new standard that will make it easier to create a sitemap that can be parsed by all search engines.

How can you benefit from this new standard?

Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites. Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata.

The sitemap allows you to inform search engines about the pages on your web site. Depending on how your web site is structured, it can be easier for search engines to find all of your web pages if you use a sitemap.

Does using the Sitemaps 0.9 protocol improve your search engine rankings?

Using the Sitemap protocol does not guarantee that your web pages are included in search engines, but provides hints for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your site.

A sitemap helps search engines to find your web pages but it does not help you to get higher search engine rankings. High rankings on search engines are the result of good inbound links and optimized web page content.

If your web pages have both, then search engines will give them high rankings.

The new sitemaps protocol can help you to inform search engines about your web pages. Further information about the new sitemaps standard can be found on the official sitemaps web site.

2. Search engine news of the week
comScore releases October U.S. search engine rankings

"In October 2006, Google Sites captured 45.4 percent of the U.S. search market, gaining 0.3 share points from the previous month. Yahoo! Sites maintained its second place ranking with 28.2 percent of U.S. searches, followed by Microsoft Sites (11.7 percent), Ask Network (5.8 percent) and Time Warner Network (5.4 percent)."



Yahoo search growth beats Google

"Yahoo's share of search traffic has grown faster than Google's in the last year, according to new data from Nielsen//Netratings.

Nielsen's October U.S. search share rankings show Yahoo with 1.46B searches, up 30% from last year and representing 23.9% of all U.S. searches. Google was used for 3.02B searches, up 23% from last year. Google is responsible for 49.6% of all Internet searches.

MSN/Windows Live Search fell 8% year-over-year. IAC InterActive Corp.'s Ask.com saw search traffic jump 25%, although the search engine only accounts for 2.8% of the market."



Dogpile outperforms other search engines in customer satisfaction

"Dogpile.com, the search engine that combines the top results from all the leading search engines, ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction among Internet users, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Residential Online Service Customer Satisfaction Study."



Search engine newslets

  • Yahoo follows Google into newspaper ad deals.
  • Chinese search engine Qihoo has raised US $25 million in venture capital.
  • Yahoo! Maps released from beta.
  • Koders benefits from Google attention.
  • PCNames.com is a new domain search engine.
  • Pronto.com is a new shopping search engine.
  • Prank calls from Google maps.
  • The race to create a 'smart' Google.
3. Articles of the week
Googlogy – How to avoid the Google juggernaut

    "Google has clearly figured out that the advertising market is not big enough to justify its stock market valuation. The entire U.S. advertising market is $140 billion a year – that’s less than Google’s current market cap of $151 billion."



Sticky situation at Yahoo!

"A key executive spills his guts in a corporate memo, lashing out at his company's complacency, lack of focus, and the evils of being spread too thin."



MSN goes viral in search of boost

    "Microsoft is using offbeat ads to take on a market leader—in this case, Google, which has a commanding lead in the key search advertising market."

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4. Recommended resources

"IBP and ARELIS have made our life so much easier"

"IBP and ARELIS have made our life so much easier. We have found the IBP very useful with our online Furniture Store 14ushop.com finding keywords, submitting our site and so much more.

ARELIS has proven important in managing our links pages and keeping those pages up to date. Adding new links after checking them, has made our job simpler. We attempt to not overload our corporation with staff, multi-tasking is made easier using both IBP and ARELIS."
Jim Haverlock, www.14ushop.com



IBP & ARELIS 9.5 beta test

We're working on a new version of ARELIS and IBP. You can be among the first to test the new version.

The new version has much improved keyword management and keyword suggestion tools, as well as several minor improvements. All known bugs have been fixed in the new version.

If you're comfortable testing pre-release versions that are not intended for daily work, you should download the test version. We value your feedback on the preview version so that we can make the final release as powerful as possible.

The new version will be a free update for registered users of the current versions.



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