Weekly SEO news: 4 September 2007
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at the effect of unnatural linking patterns on your search engine rankings.

In the news: an easy way to find recent web pages, Google resumes its penalty notification emails, search engine stats 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. The effect of unnatural linking patterns on your search engine rankings

Inbound links are one of the most important factors that Google uses to determine the position of a website in the search results.

Some years ago, it was sufficient to get a lot of inbound links to top Google's search results. Nowadays, it's not that easy. Google has started to detect unnatural linking patterns.

What are unnatural links?

Unnatural linking is linking that wouldn't happen if search engines didn't exist. Unnatural links are links that are built purely to increase the search engine rankings of a website. These links don't have topical relevancy.

For example, unnatural links are:

  • links from totally unrelated websites (that have no value to the web surfer)
  • links from blog comment spam and forum spam
  • links that exploit a weakness in server design (like form injection)

What are natural links?

Natural links are simply links that webmasters would also build if search engines didn't exist. For example, reciprocal links with related websites make sense (I send visitors to you and you send visitors to me, our visitors benefit from the links).

If a link is logical and on-topic then search engines will like the links. The following graphical example explains why on-topic links will increase your search engine rankings:

On topic links

The topic of your website is symbolized by the green color. The more other "green" websites link to your site (symbolized by the green arrows), the deeper is the green of your own website.

In that case, search engines know that your website is very relevant for this "green" topic and they will give your site high search engine rankings for search terms related to that topic.

Now lets take a look at the effect of unrelated links:

Unrelated links

The links from unrelated websites (symbolized by other colors) take away the green from your website. They make it harder for search engines to identify the topic of your site.

If you have a lot of links from unrelated web pages then your website becomes less relevant to the original topic of your site.

What does this mean for your website?

Links that are useful to web surfers are links that search engines deem relevant. Do now waste your time with shady link farm systems that promise hundreds of links in a short time. This won't help your website much.

Better focus on high quality links that will bring your website targeted visitors while increasing your search engine rankings at the same time.

2. Search engine news of the week
An easy way to find recent web pages

"Now that Google indexes pages extremely fast and saves the date of the first indexing, it would be nice to have more options for restricting search results to a date range.

Google only provided three options in the advanced search: see all the pages last updated in the past 3, 6 or 12 months and a difficult-to-use operator (daterange)."



Google resumes webmaster penalty notification emails

"For this reason, we plan to resume sending emails to webmasters [...] to let them know that their site is violating our Webmaster Guidelines and that we have temporarily removed some of their pages from our index."



Searchers tend to use more than one search engine

"Search providers had the highest visitor retention rates, with an average of 71 percent of June visitors at home returning in July among the three leading search players. [...]

Notably though, a substantial portion of visitors went to more than one of these three search sites in July. MSN/Windows Live Search had the highest audience overlap, with 84 percent of its unique visitors also going to Google Search, Yahoo! Search, or both."



Search engine newslets

  • Who's suing Google?
  • Google News now offers original stories.
  • Google Checkout precursor Gpay more ambitious than PayPal?
  • Wikipedia aims to roll over Google.
  • Explore popular Google maps.
  • A new "green" Google datacenter in the Netherlands.
  • China's Google, Baidu, eyes Japan expansion.
  • Google Earth flight simulator.
3. Articles of the week
Google owning your content and the problem with rational thinking

"Let's be clear: I don't believe Google has nefarious designs on its Apps users' content. But the language is sufficiently broad to allow it. The problem with the uproar is that it's being fueled by common sense. [...] The problem with common sense is that it doesn't always get a fair trial in court."



Who's afraid of Google?

"The list of constituencies that hate or fear Google grows by the week. Television networks, book publishers and newspaper owners feel that Google has grown by using their content without paying for it. [...]

Many small firms hate Google because they relied on exploiting its search formulas to win prime positions in its rankings, but dropped to the internet's equivalent of Hades after Google tweaked these algorithms."



Inside the Googleplex

"It is rare for a company to dominate its industry while claiming not to be motivated by money. Google does. But it has yet to face a crisis. [...]

Google could soon, if it wanted, compile dossiers on specific individuals. This presents 'perhaps the most difficult privacy issues in all of human history,' says Edward Felten, a privacy expert at Princeton University."

Related: Google owns my identity: 16 things they know about me

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4. Get a permanent link from our website

Suggest your website and get a permanent link from our site

We have just released a brand new website for IBP. As IBP and ARELIS merged into one application, we felt that it was time to reflect this by creating a single website for the integrated IBP solution.

The new IBP website has a new recommended sites section. If your website is related to ours, feel free to suggest your website.

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5. Recommended resources

"My website is on the first result page."

"IBP & ARELIS have helped my website get onto the first page of many search engines including the likes of Google, Yahoo and MSN. [...]

One of IBP's many reports - the search engine tracker – also shows that for our main keywords we are also listed on the first page of AltaVista, AllTheWeb, Lycos and Tiscali.

In just 5 months, by following the instructions in the two manuals provided, the number of site visitors have increased by a staggering 59% and are still climbing!

IBP & ARELIS are the very best tools for optimising and promoting a website and developing a sure fire linking strategy. They have certainly earned their keep in getting my website so high up in the search results of the top search engines."
Chris Blyther, QBS-PChelp.co.uk



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