Weekly SEO news: 29 May 2007
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at the nofollow link attribute. Can these links help your search engine rankings although they shouldn't?

In the news: the 20 most misspelled keywords, a new Google competitor, Google's 20% free-time might not be so great 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. Do no-follow links count for search engine rankings?

Actually, the rel=nofollow attribute should prevent search engines from following special links. Some webmasters might have found out that nofollow links will help your search engine rankings though.

What is the rel=nofollow attribute?

The nofollow link attribute has been introduced by Google in 2005. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of link spamming in blogs and online forums. A link with the rel=nofollow attribute looks like this:

<a href="http://www.example.com" rel="nofollow">Example</a>

The official claim is that links with the rel=nofollow attribute do not influence the search engine rankings of the target page. In addition to Google, Yahoo and MSN also support the rel=nofollow attribute.

Links with the nofollow attribute don't count. Or do they?

This month, the webmaster of a gaming site did a little test. He wrote an article about the SpiderMan 3 game in one of his blogs and then he added comments in other blogs.

The comments in the other blogs contained links to his SpiderMan 3 article. The special thing about these links was that they contained the text "piderman 3" and a nofollow attribute.

After a few days, his site ranked on the first result page on Google for "piderman 3".

Does this mean that that Google counts nofollow links?

Some webmasters think that the experiment might prove that Google counts nofollow links. However, a few factors can also influence the ranking of the article page:

  • The search term "piderman 3" appears on the page as part of "SpiderMan 3". That means that the page can also rank because of the words on the page. As the article was posted on a blog page, the word also appears in the website navigation links on the site.

  • Google does not only search for the direct keyword occurrences on the page and in link texts. Google also searches for misspelled versions of the words and related keywords.

    If you search for "piderman 3" on Google then Google will ask you "Did you mean Spiderman 3?" so they know the correct term that you were looking for.

Unfortunately, this little experiment cannot prove whether Google counts nofollow links or not. The data is not good enough.

However, it is indisputable that links are extremely important to get high rankings on Google. To get high rankings on Google and other major search engines, it is important to have both optimized web page content and good inbound links.

2. Search engine news of the week
Yahoo releases the 20 most misspelled search terms

"What are the common words that vex our searchers? We applied our best spell checking skills to the data and came up with this list of the top 20 misspelled words in Search."



Google: $100 million payday for Feedburner

"Feedburner [RSS management company] is in the closing stages of being acquired by Google for around $100 million. The deal is all cash and mostly upfront."



Better than Google? Creator thinks so

"Google is keeping a close eye on a small, suburban Melbourne start-up that claims to be developing a search engine that improves on the world leader. [...]

MyLiveSearch is fundamentally different. It works through a small browser plug-in. The search terms are put through Google, or other indexed search databases, but those results are treated as 'starting points' alongside the user's bookmarks and other popular web hubs."



Search engine newslets

  • What's all the noise about....Google Audio ads?
  • The end of "no-man's" land in online advertising?
  • Can Yahoo mobilize mobile?
  • Google can't google?
  • Ask.com goes "all in".
  • AdSense coming to a video near you.
  • Yahoo closes WebJay.
  • Reply enters deal with Yahoo.
  • Diller: Microsoft/Yahoo would be good for Ask.com.
  • Google about accidental clicks on AdSense ads.
  • Microsoft pours more cold water on Yahoo-merger speculation.
  • Google turns the page… in a bad way.
3. Articles of the week
Cringely: What Googlers make, Google owns

"Robert Cringely says Google has 400 ticking time bombs in the Googleplex. That's 400 brilliant ideas created by Googlers every year during their 20 percent time, only 10 of which Google will possibly pursue. [...] So that fabled 20% free time at Google is really just 20% more time for Google."



Google may be violating EU privacy laws on user search data

"Google Inc., owner of the world's most popular search engine, may be violating the European Union's privacy laws by storing information on customer queries for as long as two years, advisers to EU regulators told the company."



The man who owns the Internet

"Kevin Ham is the most powerful dotcom mogul you've never heard of, reports Business 2.0 Magazine. Here's how the master of Web domains built a $300 million empire."

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4. Recommended resources

How to get optimized web page content AND good inbound links

High rankings on Google, Yahoo and other major search engines are the result of optimized web page content and good inbound links. If you want to get high rankings then you need both.

Fortunately, IBP helps you to get your website to the top of the search results:

IBP offers everything you need to get top rankings on major search engines. Download your copy here.



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