Weekly SEO news: 17 April 2007
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at a new way to submit your web page URLs to search engines.

In the news: Google buys DoubleClick, Google doesn't like paid links and much 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. The top 4 search engines now support Sitemaps auto submission

In November 2006, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft agreed to support the Sitemap protocol. The Sitemap protocol is a standard that can help you to submit all of your web pages to search engines.

Last week, Ask.com joined the team so that now all four major search engines support the Sitemap protocol. In addition, search engines can now automatically detect your Sitemaps file.

What are sitemaps and what is the official 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

That information helps search engines to more intelligently crawl your site. The Sitemaps protocol is a standard that makes it easier to create a sitemap that can be parsed by all search engines.

How can the Sitemaps protocol help your website?

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 website. Depending on how your website is structured, it can be easier for search engines to find all of your web pages if you use a sitemap.

How do search engines find my Sitemaps file? What's new?

The big four search engines Google, Yahoo, Live/MSN and Ask will now automatically index your Sitemaps file if you add a link to your Sitemaps file in your robots.txt file.

All the major search engines regularly check the robots.txt of a website. Just add the following line to your robots.txt file:

Sitemap: http:/www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml

Of course, you can also actively inform Google and Yahoo about your Sitemap file. This is not possible with Live/MSN and Ask.

Does a Sitemaps file 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.

When search engines index your web pages, they must find optimized web page content and good inbound links. Search engines will only give your web pages high rankings if they have both.

The 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.

If you want to actively submit your website to search engines, take a look at IBP's search engine submitter.

2. Search engine news of the week
Google buys DoubleClick for $3.1 billion

"The sale offers Google access to DoubleClick’s advertisement software and, more importantly, its relationships with Web publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies. [...]

Acquiring DoubleClick expands Google’s business far beyond algorithm-driven ad auctions into a relationship-based business with Web publishers and advertisers. Google has been expanding its AdSense network into video and display ads online and is selling ads to a limited degree on television, newspapers and radio."



Google doesn't like paid links

"Sign in to Google’s webmaster console and use the authenticated spam report form, then include the word 'paidlink' (all one word) in the text area of the spam report. If you use the authenticated form, you'll need to sign in with a Google Account, but your report will carry more weight."

Editdor's note: Better focus on building real links instead of buying links.



Google ads tracking mouse-over?

"Everytime I was moving the mouse on that ad, the number was changing (16, then 17, 18 etc.) without any click made by me and even without refreshing the page or the adsense unit."



Search engine newslets

  • Microsoft urges review of Google-DoubleClick deal.
  • Why Google bought DoubleClick.
  • Google reaches deal with Clear Channel to sell radio ads.
  • Google acquires Internet (satire).
  • "Allow Downloads From Google"?
  • DodgeBall founder quits Google.
  • Brought to you by Goopple.
  • China's Baidu.com in domain dispute in Japan.
  • Yahoo! and newspaper consortium expand strategic partnership.
3. Articles of the week
Search returns still high but Google power spells risk

"The effectiveness of Google is unrivalled in the Search marketplace but there is a high level of concern among businesses about the search engine's unprecedented power, according to new research."



Google: Friend, foe or perhaps a little of both
"The Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet company is considered a threat or a potential threat on numerous fronts, ranging from the obvious -- the Internet -- to software and television to, if rumors are to be believed, video games and mobile phones."



Search marketing issues grow with opportunities

"Search now accounts for almost half of all advertisers dollars spent online. Not surprisingly, the scrutiny of major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL Search and Ask.com is increasing. [...] Search advertisers have to define goals, demographics and keywords for conversions."

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4. Recommended resources

How to get top 10 rankings on Google and Yahoo!

Search engine submission should be the last step of your search engine optimization activities if you want to get high rankings on search engines.

Search engines use a variety of factors to rank websites. You have to work on all factors if you want to achieve good results.

It is very important that you do the right things in the right order if you want to get top listings on Google and other major search engines.

Our free SEO eBook tells you:

  • How to take the right SEO steps in the right order.

  • How Google ranks web pages.

  • How to optimize the right web page elements for top rankings.

  • How to get good inbound links.

  • How to avoid common SEO mistakes that can get your website banned on search engines.

  • Everything you need to know to successfully promote your website.

The eBook helps you to save a lot of time because you won't waste your time on SEO techniques that don't work anymore. You'll learn proven SEO methods that get your web site to the top of the search result lists.

The SEO eBook is included in the IBP demo version.

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5. Previous articles

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