Weekly SEO news: 20 March 2007
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're ending our series about Google ranking spam filters and how to avoid that your web site gets caught by these filters.

In the news: A new Microsoft study says that 75% of the Google Blogger pages are spam, and Yahoo introduces a backdoor for their "quick links".

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. Facts of the week: How to work around Google spam filters - Part V

Google tries to keep its search results as clean as possible. For that reason, they have a variety of spam filters in their ranking algorithm that try to remove low quality web sites.

If your web site gets caught by one of these filters, it will be very difficult to get high Google rankings. In this article series, we're taking a look at the 15 most common Google spam filters and how you can get around them.

Duplicate content, false use of robots.txt and Google bowling

  • The duplicate content filter is applied to web pages that contain content that has already been indexed on other web pages. This can happen if you have multiple versions of the same page on your web site or if you use content from other sites on your own web pages.

    If the content is already available on another page then it will be difficult to get high rankings for your own web page. If the same content is available on multiple pages then Google will pick only one of them for the search results. Having the same page more than once on your web site might also look like a spamming attempt.

  • False use of the robots.txt file is not exactly a Google spam filter but it basically has the same effect. While a robots.txt file can help you to direct search engine spiders to the right pages it can also lock out search engines from your web site if you use it incorrectly. Further information about the robots protocol can be found here.

  • Google bowling means that competitors use spammy SEO techniques to get your web site out of the search results. These people set up doorway pages with JavaScript redirects, blog spamming, referral spamming, etc.

    Although your competitor has set up these spam pages that redirect to your web site, Google might think that it is you who is responsible for these spamming attempts and downgrade your web site. Google claims that external factors cannot influence your rankings on Google. However, some "black hat" SEO'lers offer services that can harm the rankings of your competitors.

How to get around these filters

If you have multiple versions of the same page on your web site (print version, online version, WAP-version, etc.) then make sure that search engines will index only one of them.

You can exclude special web pages from indexing by using a robots.txt file or the Meta Robots tag. IBP's web site optimization editor allows you to quickly add Meta Robots tags to your web pages.

Double check the contents of your robots.txt file to make sure that you don't exclude search engines by mistake.

If your web site has been hit by Google bowling then the only thing you can do is to file a reinclusion request.

The best way to get high rankings on Google and other major search engines is to use white-hat SEO methods: Optimize the content of your web pages and get high quality inbound links.
2. Get a full featured web site promotion tool for your web site
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IBP offers all SEO tools that you need to successfully promote your web site on search engines. If you haven't done it yet, download your IBP copy now.


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3. Search engine news of the week

[Microsoft] Study exposes 'search spam'

"[...] they traced the origin of advertisements [...] that appeared on suspicious Web pages. They uncovered five layers that lie between a legitimate advertiser and a questionable search spam Web site. [...]

Three out of every four unique Blogspot.com URLs that appeared in the top 50 results for commercial queries were spam, the study said. Blogspot is the hosting site for Google's blogging service."



Google now reports (some) anchor text phrases

"Now we've enhanced the information we provide and will show you the complete phrases sites use to link to you, not just individual words. And we've expanded the number we show to 100."



Google anonymizing search records to protect privacy

"Google has announced that it will now anonymize the server log data that it collects after 18 to 24 months [...] Until now, Google has retained server log data in its original form indefinitely, which made it possible for anyone with access to those logs -- such as government agencies possibly gaining them through legal processes -- to potentially track queries back to users."



Yahoo! Search Submit Pro gives you Yahoo! Quick Links

"[...] some of the results in Yahoo! Search show what are called 'quick links' with added links to the portions of the site. [...] another way to get quick links is to participate in the Yahoo! Search Submit Pro program."



Search engine newslets

  • Google buys game advertising, statistics software.
  • Microsoft is offering businesses money to not use Google.
  • Google searches for ways to personalize its web site.
  • Google exec confirms phone in the labs.
  • Microsoft's Tellme acquisition 'accelerates' mobile search competition.
  • AOL launched new local search format.<>
  • Market share of alternative search engines.
  • Google Webmaster Central Blog jetzt in deutscher Sprache.
  • Unofficial Google Trends blog.
  • Eurekster raises $5.5M for custom search engine.
  • Google signs software deals in two African nations.
  • Wife googled 'How to commit murder'.
4. Articles of the week
Interview with Google's Matt Cutts about next-generation search

"It's certainly the case that structured data is really interesting, because once you have data in different fields, you can imagine doing different types of searches over it. And GData is especially interesting, because it almost provides a way to plug data into Google."



How much money does Google make from spam in its system?

"[...] Google is perversely incented NOT to clear up spam in its search results because it actually makes money off of those spam sites by supplying the ads."



[Yahoo's] Panama's relevance score causes pain and gain

"Most often, an individual account/advertiser will have a disproportionate number of ads ranking either better or worse than average. Part of this effect is due to the strong impact of the domain name/URL in searcher preference and CTR."



Is Google changing its position on net neutrality?

"Is Google, the foremost corporate advocate of net neutrality, doing a big fake? [...] It sure sounds like it, listening to some recent public comments from one of the company's top policy execs."



Is your ISP selling your clickstream data?

"The ISPs are literally selling the fact that 'user 1' went to this particular list of sites in this order. [...] it probably isn't particularly hard to take that data and figure out who many of the 'anonymous' users are."



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5. Recommended resources

Analyze the inbound link structure of your competitors

Inbound links are the most important factors for high rankings on Google and other major search engines.

The problem is that it's not easy to find out which links work best for high search engine rankings.

That's why we developed the inbound link optimizer. IBP's inbound link optimizer analyzes the inbound link structure of your competitors and it tells you in plain English how to change the link structure of your own web page so that your site can get top 10 rankings on Google and Yahoo.

Download the inbound link optimizer now and find out how your site can get top rankings on major search engines.



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o you want to see your web site in this newsletter?

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6. Previous articles

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