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Axandra news archive: 26 June 2007

Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at the risk of over-optimization. If you optimize your web pages too much, it can have a negative effect on your rankings.

In the news: Google and Yahoo are on shopping spree, and Yahoo could be bought themselves. Did you know that every fourth search query has never been seen before?

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 risk of over-optimization

Many webmasters overlook an important part of search engine optimization: if you over-optimize your web pages, chances are that your website rankings might drop because your site has been designed for search engines and not for web surfers.

How can Google find out that a web site is over-optimized?

Google has an algorithm that detects over-optimized websites. The detected websites are downranked in the Google search results. This over-optimization filter in Googles ranking algorithm is also called the "-950 penality" because that is what usually happens to over-optimized web pages: they are downrankied 950 positions.

Google's anti-spam engineer Matt Cutts published a video in which he also mentions over-optimization as a reason for ranking problems.

Is your website over-optimized?

Some "SEO experts" recommend that you should have H1 tags on your web sites in any case. Others say that you must have this element and that element on your web pages.

If you follow the advice of all of these experts then it's likely that your web pages are over-optimized. Don't listen to everything you hear in SEO forums.

How to avoid over-optimization

It depends on your keywords, on your competition and on many other factors if you should use special elements on your website or not. For example, it might make sense not to use the H1 tag on your web pages if other factors are more important for your keyword.

This is why we developed the top 10 optimizer tool. The top 10 optimizer tool analyzes the web pages that currently have a top 10 ranking for your keyword. Since these pages have top 10 rankings, they must have done something right.

IBP analyzes the top ranked pages and then it tells you in plain English how to change your own web pages so that your site can get top 10 rankings. IBP analyzes on-page factors as well as the structure of the inbound links.

IBP's recommendations are based on the analysis of the current top 10 results and they are specifically for your keyword, your website and Google (or any other search engine that you specify). IBP only recommends special web page elements if they are successfully used by top ranked web pages.

In contrast to other tools, IBP does not give general advice that often leads to over-optimization.

Over-optimizing your web pages can harm your rankings on Google and other major search engines. Use the right tools to find out how to optimize your web pages without upsetting Google.

2. Search engine news of the week
Google to acquire GrandCentral
"Google is in acquisition discussions with telephone management startup GrandCentral [...] The basic idea around GrandCentral is 'one phone number for all your phones, for life.'"

Google: 20% to 25% of search queries are new

"Udi Manber, Google's VP of Engineering, gave a brief 15 minute presentation at Supernova today entitled 'Search is a Hard Problem.'"

Yahoo: short descriptions now live

"[...] ads that appear in U.S. Yahoo! Search results with descriptions longer than 70 characters will be cut off ('truncated') at the nearest complete word, followed by an ellipsis."

Rumor: who should buy Yahoo?

"If Yahoo's board is, as rumors have it, decides to seek a suitor and take over after the Internet giant after 13 years of bachelorhood, the question is not so much when as who."

Search engine newslets

  • Google expands pay-per-action for Google AdWords.
  • Yahoo has acquired, an online college sports site.
  • Yahoo may buy MySpace for 25% stock swap.
  • Yahoo selling entire sub domains to affiliate sites?
  • Google Maps adds user generated reviews.
  • Google adds finance blog and news blog.
  • Google adds two new disallow entries to their robots.txt file.
  • Google Spreadsheets processes live data.
  • Google Translate launches dictionary.
  • Google threatens to close German Gmail due to local law.
  • Two top Google engineers leave.
  • Google has about 2000 job openings.
3. Articles of the week
The human touch that may loosen Google's grip

"Once upon a time, the most valuable secret formula in American business was Coca-Cola's. Today, it's Google's master algorithm. [...] Google earns more profits in a single quarter than Yahoo does in a year. [...] Any company that offers a superior search service would be able to poach the customers of everyone else."

Do alternative search engines measure up?

"There's more to Web search than Google; here are some useful sites you may not have heard of."

How a six-month-old startup got bought by Google

"Zenter, an interactive presentation software, was acquired by Google for an undisclosed sum [...] A little less than six months ago, Crosby left his pregnant wife at home in Phoenix and together with Walker, drove to Mountain View in an old Honda Civic to pursue the American dream."

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4. Recommended resources

Avoid over-optimization

Use IBP's Top 10 Optimizer tool to make sure that your web pages only use elements that lead to top 10 rankings on Google and other major search engines.

IBP does not give general advice, and it does not offer the blah-blah that you get with other tools. IBP's advice is specifically for your keywords, for your website and for Google.

You can download the free trial here.

"I have 87 keywords on the 1st page in Yahoo!"

"I don't know what I would do without my IBP SEO software. I get step-by-step instructions in plain English and — that is more important — I get positive results.

I purchased IBP 8.1 in 2006. I had a total of 4 secondary keywords on the 1st page in Yahoo. Today, I have 87 keywords on the 1st page in Yahoo. IBP is a great SEO software tool."
Jake Veksler,

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