Weekly SEO news: 19 October 2010
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Google has been granted another patent that describes how Google might categorize web pages and search queries. How does this affect your web pages and what should you do?

In the news: you should file a reconsideration request when you buy an old domain name, Google Places rejects many websites, how Google treats HTML 5 pages, Google releases several small features and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. How Google categorizes web pages and search queries

Google was granted another patent last week. The patent describes how Google might categorize web pages and search queries to deliver better results.

Flamingos?

Why does it make sense to categorize web pages and search queries?

The same word can have multiple meanings depending on the context. Google wants to return the correct result based on the intention of the web searcher. The following example is given in the patent application:

"Cleaning Supplies," "Lawn Care," "Maintenance," and "Decorative," represent subcategories and can also reflect specific items. [...]

"Brooms," "Mops," "Vacuum Cleaners," "Rakes," "Mowers," "Flamingos," "Gnomes," reflect the specific items to which individual documents and potential search query terms are associated.

The category hierarchy could equally be defined as a list with each category including a full item description. For instance, "Flamingos" could be expressed as a list item, "Household>Lawn Care>Decorative>Flamingos."

How does Google categorize web pages?

When Google indexes a web page, Google might assign a ranking score and a category score. In this example, a web page about flamingos would be compared to other pages that contain the word "flamingos".

Depending on the other words on the web page, the page would be given a category score and a ranking score for the given category.

According to the patent, the categories for pages and queries can be created manually, through an automated process, or by a combination of both methods.

What does this mean for your website?

If you want to make sure that Google categorizes your web pages correctly, you should use many different and related keywords that describe the topic of your website on your web pages.

The more different words that are related to your website topic appear on your web pages the easier it is for Google to categorize your pages. By doing so, your web pages will also be ready for Google's other algorithms that try to solve the same problem that is described in the patent.

Optimize different pages of your website for different keywords that are all related to your website topic. The more pages you optimize, the more likely it is that Google will find your website relevant to that topic and that you will get high rankings for the keywords on the individual pages.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

John MuellerFile a reconsideration request when you buy an old domain

A webmaster has problems with his new domain name: "I did a domain name change a little over a month ago. For the first week everything was amazing and I didn't lose any traffic at all. Then, a week later it dropped by 50% and that`s where it has stayed since."

Google's John Mueller answers: "it looks like your new domain name may have been used for other purposes previously. In general, when you change to a new domain name that might have been used before, it's a good idea to submit a reconsideration request, detailing the change of ownership (or at least change of purpose)."



Google Places and their new rejection algo

"Google Places introduced a new, much more aggressive listing level spam review process in the Places Dashboard. Your once flying high listing that was bringing in customers by the droves now may be buried deep within the listings or worse, banished from the listings altogether. [...]

The main trigger is using any word in the business name, address and categories in the description or additional fields so you need to review these carefully before submitting any new changes."



Google releases several smaller features

"When you include your date of birth on your Google profile, you may notice a special treat on the Google homepage on your birthday [...]

We just renamed [Google Suggest] to 'Google Autocomplete'. As part of our launch of Google Instant, we thought 'Autocomplete' fit better with the new functionality—automatic queries and automatic results."



John MuellerHow does Google deal with HTML 5 and non standard pages?

Google's John Mueller comments on that topic in a forum:

"In general, our crawlers are used to not being able to parse all HTML markup - be it from broken HTML, embedded XML content or from the new HTML5 tags.

Our general strategy is to wait to see how content is marked up on the web in practice and to adapt to that. If we find that more and more content uses HTML5 markup, that this markup can give us additional information, and that it doesn't cause problems if webmasters incorrectly use it (which is always a problem in the beginning), then over time we'll attempt to work that into our algorithms.

With that in mind, I definitely wouldn't want to stand in the way of your implementing parts of your site with HTML5, but I also wouldn't expect to see special treatment of your content due to the HTML5 markup at the moment. HTML5 is still very much a work in progress."



Yahoo is going to close the Yahoo UK & Ireland directory

"The Yahoo! UK & Ireland Directory will be shutting down on 18th of November 2010. [...] You may continue to maintain your listing through the US based Directory Submit program. Your site will remain listed in the Directory as it is now, and the applicable annual fee will apply on your anniversary date. No further action on your behalf would be required."



Search engine newslets

  • Google releases mobile Ad Sitelinks.
  • Google Places embarks on TeleSales campaign for tags.
  • The 15 greatest Google Autocomplete fails.

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3. Success stories

"Thanks to IBP our business is growing."

"IBP has helped us get top rankings on all the big search engines. 6 months ago our new oil and gas jobs site was not getting any rankings. We were up against some long established sites that had ranked at the top for many years.

In just 6 months using IBP we have worked our way onto front page for all our main search terms. We are now competing on an international stage and giving big multi million pound companies a run for their money.

We are a small company and really didn't think this would be possible and definitely not in such a short time frame! Thanks to IBP our business is growing and we are now seen as a main player in our industry sector."
Kevin Forbes, www.oilandgaspeople.com



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