Weekly SEO news: 4 May 2010

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

How can you get search engines to display the web pages with the best conversion rate in the search results and what can you do to to make sure that unwanted pages are not listed? This week's article explains eight things that you can to do show search engines your most important pages.

In the news: Google adds new features to the search results, a 410 code will get your web pages out of Google's index, a Google update hurts long tail searches and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Eight things you can do to show search engines your most important pages

How can you get search engines to display the web pages with the best conversion rate in the search results and what can you do to to make sure that unwanted pages are not listed?

Depending on how your website's navigational links are structured, some pages can get higher rankings than others. Here are eight things that you can do to guide search engines to the most important pages of your website:

1. Make the web pages easy to find

Make sure that the most important pages on your site can be reached with as few clicks as possible from your home page. The fewer clicks you need to get to a web page, the more important is that web page.

2. Link from your own pages to your own pages

The easiest way to get related links to a web page is to link from your own website. Link to the pages for which you want to have high rankings from all pages of your website that are related to that page.

3. Use the right keywords in your navigational links

If you want to see a certain page of your website on Google's first result page for the keyword "blue widgets" then the links that go from other pages of your website to that page should contain the keyword "blue widgets".

This does not guarantee that the linked web page will be listed for that keyword but it increases the relevancy of the page for the keyword.

4. Use absolute links on your website

Do not link to mypage.htm but to www.yoursite.com/mypage.htm. If other people scrape your web page contents, you'll get backlinks from these sites.

5. Use the nofollow attribute

Add a nofollow attribute to all links that aren't important for your search engine rankings. For example, your privacy policy page or the web page with your terms and conditions probably needn't be listed in search engines.

6. Remove unnecessary links

The fewer links you have on a page, the more important is a single link to another page on your site. Remove unnecessary links from your web pages.

7. Exclude irrelevant and duplicate pages from indexing

Use your robots.txt file or the robots meta tag to exclude duplicate or irrelevant pages from indexing. If search engines don't have to parse your unimportant pages the other pages of your website will get more attention.

8. Recover lost pages

Check your website for 404 not found errors and redirect these old links to the most appropriate pages on your site. You might want to use the link checker that you can access in IBP to check your links.

Optimizing the links on your own website improves the position of your web pages in search engines. In addition to optimizing the links, you should also optimize the content of your web pages to make sure that Google and other search engines list your website for the right keywords.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

GoogleGoogle adds several features to the search results

"this week we launched a search refinement that calls out brand names related to your query in a single line above the rest of the results. [...]

Starting this week you'll see a small keyboard icon next to the search field on both the Google homepage and on the search results page when using Google in one of 35 foreign languages. [...]

Now, for queries where we think sites similar to the first search result might be helpful, a small block of similar sites will appear at the bottom of the results page. Clicking on the 'Pages similar to' link at the start of the block will take you to the full list of similar pages."



410 response codes get your pages out of Google more quickly

Google's John Mueller commented on that issue in a forum discussion:

"We will generally retry 404s a bit more frequently than 410s, but we will still retry them especially when we find new links to those URLs.

A 410 will generally result in us removing a URL faster from the index (since, as Phil mentioned, a 404 can be a temporary state by design; something which we've also found to be the case in practice as well). [...]

So if you can, using a 410 for URLs that are really permanently gone is a good idea, but it is not a requirement; a 404 will generally be seen similarly over time. If at some point those old URLs are re-used, then it may take a little bit longer for us to notice that if you have been using a 410, but in the bigger picture it will generally pick up again as well."



Discussion: Google May updates hurts long tail rankings

"Until Tuesday we ramped in around 200k uniques a day - very strong long tail traffic, 65% of the landing pages are the product details. [...] Lost around 25% of power/traffic somehow. [...]

I'm in the same boat, traffic dropped 50% in a few days, 100,000's of long tail k/w. [...]

So, to everyone with the 'long tail traffic algo change' theory, I have joined your club. Further to that, is there a correlation between gbot massively increased activity and loss of traffic, that is, while the traffic is at 10-50% of its usual."



Big brandThe real reasons big brands don't rank

"And there you have it. They wanted to rank for a generic term that won’t convert simply for the ability to say 'we rank for telephone' in board meetings. That's the other type of 'vanity' term. [...]

Any SEO worth their salt is going to go for converting terms first, not the generic informational ones, be it a big brand or a small brand, because that is where the ROI is."

Editor's note: That's very important advice. Optimize your website for keywords that convert best, not for keywords that have the highest search volume.



Search engine newslets

  • Content network performance: Google PR ploy or real?
  • Forum discussion: Google Caffeine is probably live on most Google servers.
  • Why Twitter is the future of news.
  • Matt Cutts video: is a sale page duplicate content?
  • Yahoo Answers servers 1 billion answers.
  • Google AdWords for mobile is fully available.
  • Google compression test?

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3. Success stories

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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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4. Previous articles

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