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Weekly SEO news: 2 January 2007
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Welcome to the first issue of the search engine facts newsletter in 2007. All of us at Axandra wish you and your family a fantastic New Year!

This week, we're taking a look at an official Google statement about duplicate content. Can duplicate content hurt your search engine rankings?

In the news: The Wikipedia founder plans a Google rival, Yahoo Answers has a market share of 96%, Google tests video ads 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. Official Google statement: How to deal with duplicate content problems

Duplicate content is a problem that worries many webmasters. Rumor has it that duplicate content can hurt your Google rankings and that web pages that copy your web site content can harm your rankings.

For that reason, Google recently made an official statement about duplicate content.

What is duplicate content and what is not duplicate content?

Duplicate content are substantive blocks of contents within the same domain or across different domains that are identical or very similar.

Google mentions several things that can lead to duplicate content:

"Forums that generate both regular and stripped-down mobile-targeted pages, store items shown (and -- worse yet -- linked) via multiple distinct URLs, and so on. In some cases, content is duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or garner more traffic via popular or long-tail queries."

If the same article is available in multiple languages (for example English and Spanish) then Google doesn't view that as duplicate content. Occasional snippets such as quotes also won't be flagged as duplicate content.

What does Google do if it finds duplicate content?

Google tries to filter duplicate content from the search results. The reason for that is that Google wants to present a diverse cross-section of unique content in the search results.

"During our crawling and when serving search results, we try hard to index and show pages with distinct information. This filtering means, for instance, that if your site has articles in 'regular' and 'printer' versions and neither set is blocked in robots.txt or via a noindex meta tag, we'll choose one version to list.

In the rare cases in which we perceive that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we'll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved.

However, we prefer to focus on filtering rather than ranking adjustments ... so in the vast majority of cases, the worst thing that'll befall webmasters is to see the "less desired" version of a page shown in our index."

That simply means that Google will pick one of the web pages if it finds more than one page with the same content.

How can you avoid duplicate content problems with your web site?

  1. Tell search engines which pages they should index: If the printer friendly versions should not be indexed, block them in your robots.txt file.

  2. Use 301 redirections: If you restructured your web site, use permanent 301 redirections to redirect users and search engine spiders.

  3. Always use the same links to link to a page on your site: Don't link to /page, /page/ and /page/index.htm if the URLs always display the same web page.

  4. Use top level domains to handle language specific content: If you have German pages, use a .de domain for these pages.

  5. Use the preferred domain feature of Google's webmaster tools: Google allows you to choose if you prefer the www version or the non-www version of your URLs.

  6. Syndicate carefully: Make sure that other web sites link back to your site if they use your content.

  7. Avoid boilerplate repetition and publishing stubs: If possible, don't include the same lengthy copyright text on the bottom of every page. Better use a short version with a link to the full version. If you have category pages without any content, don't publish them.

  8. Understand your content management system (CMS): If you use a content management system, make sure that it doesn't publish the same content in multiple formats.
Duplicate content can lead to problems with search engines. For that reason, follow the tips above so that search engines have as few problems as possible with your site. If you find a web site that copies your original content, you can file a DMCO request.

If you want to make sure that your web pages get high rankings on search engines, you should make it as easy as possible for search engines to parse your pages. Use IBP's Top 10 Optimizer to create your web pages as search engine friendly as possible.

2. Search engine news of the week
Founder of Wikipedia plans search engine to rival Google

"Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, is set to launch an internet search engine with amazon.com that he hopes will become a rival to Google and Yahoo!"



Yahoo! Answers captures 96% of Q and A market share

"The market share of visits to Yahoo! Answers was 47X greater than the share of visits to its nearest competitor, Answerbag."



Google tests in-stream video spots

"Google is testing in-stream video ads with an eye toward creating a system that matches small-scale video creators and advertisers in much the same way its AdSense system works for Web site ads."



Search engine newslets

  • Google top searches: Based on everything and nothing.
  • Top 10 mistakes in web design.
  • Page view metrics? Bah, humbug!
  • Google's open source airbag.
  • Yahoo updates toolbar and bookmarks.
  • Google in the New Year.
  • In search of new Google in Silicon Valley.
  • Hackers dent Google's free email.
  • The year in Ask 2006.
  • Firefox creator loses faith in Google.
  • Google accidentally deleted Gmail accounts.
3. Articles of the week
Microsoft and Google locked in popularity contest

    "Microsoft and Google are locked in a battle to be the most visited site in the UK, with Microsoft inching ahead of the search giant in November."



Why Yahoo's Panama won't be enough

"While the company has concentrated on search advertising, rivals have gained ground by focusing on other methods of delivering targeted ads and brand experiences to online consumers."




Google Search linked to profit

    "The number of search queries conducted in the United States dropped to 31 percent in November from 33 percent in October, according to comScore Media Metrix. But Google gained market share in November, while Yahoo remained flat, and MSN, Time Warner, and Ask.com declined."

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4. Recommended resources

How to get high rankings on Google, Yahoo and MSN

IBP's Top 10 Optimizer tools help you to get your web site to the top of the search results on Google, Yahoo, MSN and other major search engines.

Get more visitors, more customers and more sales.

Ordering the full IBP version is 100% risk-free. If you don't like the full version, you'll get your money back.

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