Weekly SEO news: 23 February 2010
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Google does not list your web pages although you have a great site? This week's article lists 5 reasons why search engines won't list your website (solutions included).

In the news: a spam attack is made on websites with security holes, Google adds new features to real-time search, Google announces enhanced local listings 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. Double talk: do search engines understand your web pages?

Confused web crawlerYou have a beautiful website with great products, great guarantees, many comprehensive pages and great customer service. Unfortunately, Google and other search engines won't give your website high rankings.

There are several reasons why search engines do not list websites although they look great and offer quality content:

1. Your web pages are meaningless to search engine spiders

Search engines use simple software programs to visit your web pages. In general, search engine spiders won't see anything that is displayed in images, Flash elements, JavaScript (except for a few exceptions) and other multimedia formats.

If the main content of your website is displayed in images or Flash then your website can be totally meaningless to search engines. If your website navigation is pure JavaScript then chances are that search engines won't find the pages of your website.

Your website will look like a single page site although it consists of many different pages.

Solution: Check your website with IBP's search engine spider simulator to find out how search engine spiders see your website.

2. The HTML code of your web page contains major errors

Most web pages have minor errors in their HTML code. While most search engine spiders can handle minor HTML code errors, some errors can prevent search engine spiders from indexing your web pages.

For example, a tag at the top of your web pages could tell search engine spiders that they have reached the end of the page although the main content of the page has not been indexed yet.

Solution: Verify the HTML code of your web pages with an HTML validator tool. You can find an HTML validator in the free IBP demo version (IBP main window > Tools > HTML Validator).

3. The HTML code of your web pages doesn't contain the right elements

If you want to get high rankings for certain keywords then these keywords must appear in the right places on your web page. For example, it usually helps to use the keyword in the web page title.

There are many other elements that are important if you want to have high rankings. All of them should be in place if you want to get high rankings.

Solution: Analyze your web pages with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer. The optimizer will tell you in detail how to edit your web pages so that they will get top 10 rankings on Google and other major search engines for the keywords of your choice.

4. Your web server sends the wrong status codes

Some web servers send wrong status codes to search engine spiders and visitors. When a search engine spider requests a web page from your site then your server sends a response code. This should be the "200 OK" code.

Some servers send a "302 moved" or even a "404 not found" response code to the search engine spiders although the web page can be displayed in a normal web browser.

If your web server sends the wrong response code, search engine spiders will think that the web page doesn't exist and they won't index the page.

Solution: Use the search engine spider simulator mentioned above to find out which response code your web server returns to search engines. If the response code is not "200 OK", the spider simulator will return a warning message.

5. Your robots.txt file rejects all search engine spiders

If your robots.txt file does not allow search engine spiders to visit your web pages then your website won't be included in the search results. Some robots.txt file contain errors and search engine spiders are blocked by mistake.

Solution: Check the contents of your robots.txt file. In general, it is not necessary to use a robots.txt file if you don't want to block certain areas of your website.

Search engine spiders must be able to understand your web pages if you want to get high rankings on Google, Bing and other search engines. The tips above help you to make sure that search engine spiders see what you want them to see.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Spam attack: Google search results manipulated?

"Alwil Software, maker of Avast anti-virus products, says it has uncovered a network that serves hundreds of fake links through hijacked Web sites to cheat Google search algorithms. [...]

One part is a network of at least 70 hijacked sites that attackers have filled with more than 500 links each. The links are only detectable by search engine bots, and they lead to hijacked Web sites that attackers want to boost in search rankings."

Editor's note: Check your web pages with IBP's search engine spider simulator to find out if there are unwanted links on your pages.



Google Google adds new features to real-time search

"We recently launched real-time search with Russian and Japanese, the first of the languages we plan to support. We want to bring you this functionality globally, so stay tuned as we add more countries. [...]

Starting this week we officially added MySpace content to real-time search. Now you can tap into the pool of news, photos and blog posts that MySpace users have chosen to publish to the world."



Survey: does Google make us stupid?

"I feel compelled to agree with myself. But I would add that the Net's effect on our intellectual lives will not be measured simply by average IQ scores.

What the Net does is shift the emphasis of our intelligence, away from what might be called a meditative or contemplative intelligence and more toward what might be called a utilitarian intelligence. The price of zipping among lots of bits of information is a loss of depth in our thinking."



Local SearchGoogle announces enhanced local listings test

"These enhanced listings allow business owners to highlight an aspect of their Local Business Center listing that they think best reflects what they have to offer their customers.

The business owner can choose to enhance the way their listing appears in search results by including a link to point customers directly to photos, videos, website, coupons, directions, menu or reservations signup."

Editor's note: these enhanced local listings cost $25/month and they mix paid and unpaid listings in Google's search results. It is currently only available in San Jose and Houston.



Search engine newslets

  • Twitter traffic up 9% after Google real-time search launch.
  • Google's latest Buzz privacy changes enable possible new exploit.
  • Bing masking MSNBot as Internet Explorer or a rogue bot?
  • Discussion: Google changes the site search command for image search.
  • Can having dofollow comments on your blog affect its reputation?
  • Google countersues haircutter company that brought on AdWords lawsuit.
  • How to improve your Google rankings with Dilbert (comic strip).

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3. Success stories

Tell us how IBP helped your business and 250,000 readers will see YOUR website

Let us know how IBP has helped you to improve your website and we might publish your success story with a link to your website in this newsletter. The more detailed your story is, the better.

Click here to tell us your story.

IBP

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4. Previous articles

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