Weekly SEO news: 24 April 2007
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at Google's opinion on hidden and paid links.

In the news: New search engine statistics, the top 10 search terms in 10 categories, details about Google personalization 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. What Google thinks about hidden and paid links

If you are a regular reader of our newsletter then you know that we only propagate ethical search engine optimization methods.

While it is possible to temporarily get high rankings with shady optimization techniques, search engines will ban your web site sooner or later if you try to cheat them.

Among other things, unethical SEO techniques include doorway pages, cloaking and hidden links. In a recent blog post, Google's anti-spam engineer Matt Cutts commented on hidden and paid links.

What are hidden links? Can Google detect them?

Hidden links are links that can be seen by search engine spiders but not by human web surfers:

  • White text on a white background (or any other text that has the same color as the background).
  • Links that have been changed with CSS so that they are extremely small.
  • Linked periods in the middle of a paragraph.
  • Links in invisible CSS divs.

If you use links like these on your web pages then you violate Google's quality guidelines and you risk being banned on Google by using these links.

It's likely that Google can detect most hidden links. While some hiding techniques still might work, Google's anti-spam team will probably be able to detect them very soon.

What are paid links? Do they work with Google?

Paid links are simply text links for which the webmaster of the linked site paid. Paid links can be used to advertise your web site on other sites.

Most webmasters buy links to increase their search engine rankings. Unfortunately, Google doesn't like paid links.

Google is currently working on an algorithm that helps them to detect (and downgrade) paid links. Last week, Google asked webmasters to report web pages with paid links to the Google spam team.

What does this mean to your web site?

If you use hidden links or other hidden content on your web pages, you should remove these web page elements as soon as possible from your site. The more spam elements you use on your web site, the more likely it is that your web site will get a ranking penalty.

Paid links to your web site won't hurt your website rankings. However, it's likely that paid links also won't help your rankings anymore with Google's new algorithm change.

Inbound links are very important to get high rankings on Google. That's why Google works so hard on filtering the wrong kind of links. If you want to succeed on Google, you have to build the right links that will help your search engine rankings.

2. Search engine news of the week
March market share: two-thirds of the US online population is using Google

"Anyone out there who’s been watching search for a few years is likely familiar with 'The Google Dance.' Well no worries, we don’t plan to make our readers keep dancing. We just want to make sure you have the most accurate figures."



Top 10 search terms in 10 categories

Take a look at the top 10 search terms in the following 10 categories:

IT and Internet, automotive manufacturers, movies, Internet advertising, food and beverage brands and manufacturers, pharmaceutical and medical products, blogs and personal websites, broadcast media, shopping rewards and directories, travel destinations and accommodations.



Google adds your click path to search personalization

"You know how when you install the Google toolbar and enable the PageRank feature, it gives you the warning on the EULA that this is not your typical legal Yada yada?

Ever wondered what they were doing with all that information that's being streamed back to a Google server somewhere? Well, today Google announced just what they intend to do with it."



Search engine newslets

  • Video: Yahoo exec on competing with Google.
  • Video: (Google CEO) Eric Schmidt at the Web 2.0 Expo.
  • Google base link redirects.
  • The end of Google’s trademark lawsuits.
  • Yahoo lobbies for Internet panels.
  • IAB declares war on web measurement firms.
  • Omniture outperforms Google but 2007 is a critical year.
  • Is Google the next Wal-Mart?
  • Google Earth ban in Sudan is due to US export restrictions.
  • Official Google Mac blog hacked.
  • Google is the most powerful brand.
3. Articles of the week
Google rises at Yahoo's expense

"Yahoo's first-quarter revenue was $1.67 billion, less than half Google's $3.66 billion. Google, once again, blew away Wall Street expectations, while financial analysts openly wondered how long Yahoo CEO Terry Semel would stay in the Internet company's corner office."



Yahoo advertisers happier than investors
"Considering comScore reports that 45 percent of all online searches in March were on Google, compared to only 27.5 percent for Yahoo, Pitts's results, though anecdotal, remain an impressive indicator for Panama.

Pitts said he's paying more money to Yahoo than he ever has before and that he's happy to do it because it means his online flag store is seeing a lot of traffic."



DoubleClick and Google, part 1: the vision

"A big factor driving the deal price was the DoubleClick Media Exchange, built on top of DFP (Dart for Publishers). DoubleClick had announced this media exchange publicly just a days before the acquisition announcement, but industry insiders had been aware of it for some time."

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4. Recommended resources

IBP version 9.7 is now available

We have just released the brand new IBP version 9.7. The new version is now fully MS Windows Vista compatible and it offers improvements in the keyword manager and the top 10 optimizer tools.

You can download the new version here.



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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