Weekly SEO news: 13 April 2010

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

It's official: Google has confirmed that they use page speed as a ranking factor. Will your website drop in Google's search results? What can you do to keep your website listed?

In the news: Search engine and search query statistics, Entireweb starts a new search engine, "AdSense for Twitter" launches 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. It's official: Google uses page speed as a ranking factor

Last Friday, Google announced that they started to use site speed as one of the 200 signals that influence the position of a website in the search results:

"As part of that effort, today we're including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests. [...]

We've decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites."

Will your website rankings drop?

Google's Matt Cutts says that the change will affect only some websites:

"Fewer than 1% of search queries will change as a result of incorporating site speed into our ranking. That means that even fewer search results are affected, since the average search query is returning 10 or so search results on each page.

So please don’t worry that the effect of this change will be huge. In fact, I believe the official blog post mentioned that 'We launched this change a few weeks back after rigorous testing.'

The fact that not too many people noticed the change is another reason not to stress out disproportionately over this change."

slowWhile 1% does not sound much, it can be a problem if your website belongs to the pages whose rankings will drop.

At this time, Google's new site speed signal only applies to visitors searching in English on Google.com.

How to keep your web pages listed in Google search results

There are several things that you can do to improve the speed of your web pages:

  1. Choose a fast and reliable web host with a good connection to the Internet. A "cheap" web host could cause problems.
  2. Combine external JavaScript code files into one file. The fewer files the server has to request, the faster your web pages will load.
  3. Compress your JavaScript code to make the JavaScript file smaller.
  4. Combine external CSS files into one file and compress your CSS files.
  5. If your web server supports it, enable gZip compression (your web host can do that for you).
  6. Use as few images as possible on your website and compress your images. Most graphic tools enable you to choose the compression rate when saving an image for the web.
  7. Put tracking codes and other JavaScript snippets at the end of your web pages.

The faster your web pages load, the more visitors of your website will be able to see the contents of your pages. Web surfers are impatient people. The average web surfer wants immediate results.

Page speed is not Google's most important ranking signal. The end of Google's page speed announcement contains a very important sentence: "While site speed is a new signal, it doesn't carry as much weight as the relevance of a page."

speed

It is important to optimize the speed of your web pages but it's also important to optimize all other elements of your web pages if you want to be listed on Google's first result page. IBP's Top 10 Optimizer analyzes all important ranking elements/signals that lead to high rankings on Google, including page speed and many other factors.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

StatisticsHitwise: Ask share of searches increases for fourth straight month

"Google accounted for 69.97 percent of all U.S. searches conducted in the four weeks ending March 27, 2010. Yahoo! Search, Bing and Ask received 15.04 percent, 9.62 percent and 3.44 percent, respectively. The remaining 69 search engines in the Hitwise Search Engine Analysis Tool accounted for 1.93 percent of U.S. searches. [...]

Longer search queries, averaging searches of five to more than eight words in length, were flat between February 2010 and March 2010. Searches of eight or more words increased 1 percent. The same time period showed that shorter search queries - those averaging one to four words long - also were flat from month to month."

Editor's note: make sure that searchers can find your website.



Entireweb.com launches a new search engine

"We are proud and excited to announce that the new search engine at Entireweb has now been launched and is available."



Overture founder launches Tweetup, "Adsense for Twitter"

"Idealab, the incubator behind the company that invented search engine marketing as we know it today, is launching a new startup that they say is applying some of the same business mechanics to the Twitter stream. The new startup is called Tweetup."



StatisticsComscore: February 2010 U.S. search engine rankings

"Google Sites led the U.S. core search market in February with 65.5 percent of the searches conducted, followed by Yahoo! Sites (16.8 percent), and Microsoft Sites (11.5 percent). Ask Network captured 3.7 percent of the search market, followed by AOL LLC with 2.5 percent. [...]

Americans conducted 14.5 billion searches in February, down 5 percent from January. Google Sites accounted for 9.5 billion searches, followed by Yahoo! Sites (2.4 billion), Microsoft Sites (1.7 billion), Ask Network (540 million) and AOL LLC (358 million)."



Search engine newslets

  • Google acquires mobile search provider Plink.
  • Universal search features in Google Suggest for mobile.
  • Opera: Google owns mobile search.
  • Apple removes 'Google' branding from iPhone 4 Safari keyboard.
  • Google accused of YouTube 'free ride'.
  • A new look for Bing shopping.

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3. Success stories

"Get the SEO done."

"We purchased an IBP for our clients that needs to get the SEO done on their websites. We implemented on page and off page optimization using IBP and send reports to our clients periodically. This increased our trust level on our clients and it increased the client's site ranking on Google, Yahoo and Bing."
Talha Amin Shaikh, www.shinersoft.net



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Click here to tell us your story.

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