Weekly SEO news: 20 April 2010

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

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is a technique that is used by all major search engines nowadays. Does your website take this into account? How does it influence the position of your web pages in Google's search results?

In the news: Google announces several improvements, Google's Local Business Center is now Local Places, Google integrates Aardvark 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 latent semantic indexing (LSI) on your website rankings

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is a technique that is used by all major search engines nowadays. Does your website take this into account? How does it influence the position of your web pages in Google's search results?

What is latent semantic indexing?

    LSI means that a search engine tries to associate certain terms with concepts when indexing web pages. For example, Paris and Hilton are associated with a woman instead of a city and a hotel, Tiger and Woods are associated with golf.

    To find out which other keywords Google finds related to a keyword, search for a keyword and add a tilde in front of it. Google will mark the related keywords in bold on the result page. It seems that Google finds the word "Nokia" related to "phone".

How can Google match keywords with certain concepts?

Google has billions of web pages in its index. If Google finds that many web pages contain both the word Paris and the word Hilton then Google might assume that these keywords are related. The other words on these pages could give Google a hint that this special word combination is about a woman.

Words that frequently appear very close to each other could get a tighter connection. Google has a lot of data that allows them to calculate the relation between different words.

What does this mean for the position of your web pages in Google's search results?

If you want to be listed for certain keywords, you must show Google that your website is relevant to a certain topic. There are several things that you can do to increase the relevancy of your website for a topic:

1. Optimize different pages of your website for different keywords

    If you're targeting the search term "used cars" you should also create pages that are relevant to the keywords "auto", "suv", etc.

    The more pages of your website are relevant to a certain topic, the more likely it is that your web pages will be listed for keywords that are related to that topic. Make sure that your keywords appear in the right elements on your web pages.

2. Get links from semantically relevant pages

If you're selling cars then the "Cars" web page that links to your site should not be about the movie. Links from topically related pages will be semantically beneficial to your site.

A link to your website that comes from a page that contains links to other web pages that deal with the same topic has a greater effect on the rankings of your website then a link from a page that links to totally different pages and your site.

For that reason, it is important that you try to get links from related websites. It is also very important that you submit your website to the right category in Internet directories. If your website is listed in the wrong category, this can have a negative effect on your rankings.

3. Use a meaningful site architecture

Use a logical system to organize your website content. Create content sections that deal with different parts of your main topic and make sure that everything that is related to your topic is mentioned on your web pages.

Make sure that your web pages are put in the right categories on your website and that it's easy to find the different categories.

4. Find out why other pages rank higher than yours

If you ever asked yourself why another page has been ranked higher than yours although you perfectly optimized your pages for your search terms then you should analyze the inbound links of the top ranked pages.

The number and the authority of inbound links are important. However, it's also important that the links come from semantically and topically related pages.

Don't focus on a single keyword when optimizing your pages. If you want to prepare your website for advanced search engine algorithms then you have to create a website that has been optimized for many different but related search terms.

In addition, it's important that the links to your website come from topically related pages so that search engines put your website in the right context. Our website promotion tool IBP can help you with both.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

SearchUpdating Search

"We need to reimagine the role of search engines and their sources of data. [...]

The sheer amount of real-time data presents unique challenges for search. Because a lot of the data is nonauthoritative, noisy, or spammy, search engines need to build trust models that can determine what data is important and influential."



Google announces several improvements

"We rolled out a version of Google Suggest that is tailored to specific metro areas in the U.S. You may notice that the list of queries beneath the search box will seem more locally relevant than it used to. [...]

Another improvement we made recently to the spelling system is auto-correction. If you search for [aiprt], rather than showing you a link on your results page that says 'Did you mean: airport' we'll take you straight to the results for the corrected search. We auto-correct when we're highly confident in our correction in order to get you the information you're looking for that much faster."



Google starts using Aardvark for help support

"Most Google services offer Help guides, but there’s almost never a phone number or email address to contact an actual human (which isn't surprising given that most of these services are free). Aardvark could serve as a good compromise for Google, adding a human touch without the need to set up phone banks of support personnel. Aardvark isn't yet featured on all Google Help pages, but I suspect we’ll see more of these links if it performs well."



Google PlacesGoogle renames Local Business Center to Google Places

"Google is rebranding its Google Maps listing service for local businesses as it continues to try to organize - as well as sell ads against - a seemingly inexhaustible supply of local search results.

Google's Local Business Center will henceforth be known as Google Places, the search giant plans to announce late Monday. All in all, it's mostly just a name change, although Google plans to roll out a few new features for local merchants that have claimed their 'place page' on Google Maps."



Search engine newslets

  • Should I spend time on meta keywords tags? (video)
  • Google Ad Manager is upgrading to DFP Small Business.
  • What's bugging Google investors?
  • Spam suspect uses Google Docs; FBI happy.
  • Google's unorthodox press release raises questions.
  • Google as 'good guy'.

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3. Success stories

"I highly recommend IBP to anyone."

"I just want to let all the people involved at IBP know the great job they are doing.

By using IBP our website, Artisan Gemstone Jewelry Site in just 7 months has gone from a Google PR0 to Google PR3. I highly recommend this product to anyone wanting to avoid the high cost of hiring a company to do what you can easily do yourself by following the suggestions made by IBP's program. Thanks again."
John, www.artisangemstonejewelrysite.com



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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.

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