Weekly SEO news: 28 June 2011
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Your website does not have to be perfect to get high listings on Google. It just has to be better than the websites of your competitors. This week, you'll get concrete advice on how to outperform your competitors.

Also in the news: Google shows the number of +1 clicks on the results pages, Google experiments with the home page design, Dilbert recommends white-hat SEO techniques 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. Outrun the bear: five steps to beat your competitors

Your website does not have to be perfect to get high listings on Google. It just has to be better than the websites of your competitors. It's similar to this popular joke:

Two hikers on a trail came around the bend to find an enormous brown bear about 75 yards up the trail. The bear spies them and begins running toward them at a full gallop.

One hiker drops his backpack, sits down, throws off his boots, and starts lacing up a pair of running shoes. The other hiker says: "What are you doing? You will never outrun that bear!". The first hiker replies: "I don't have to outrun the bear..."

If your website is only slightly better than the sites of your competitors, your website will get the click. If more than one web page has been optimized for a keyword, it's the quality of the links that makes the difference. The following tips will help you to beat your competitors.

Step 1: Find your real competitors

Your main competitors are the websites that have high rankings for your keywords. Search Google for five of your keywords and write down the URLs of the websites that rank best for these keywords. These websites are your main competitors.

Step 2: Analyze the backlinks of your competitors

The next step is to find out how many of the links to your competitors contain your target keywords. This is easy with IBP's link manager:

  1. Start IBP's link manager.
  2. Select " Add sites > Find websites that link to your competitors"

IBP will find all web pages that link to your competitors and it will also show you the anchor texts that are used in the links. You can sort the found websites by anchor text so that you can quickly see which anchor texts are used.

To outperform your competitors, your website should have more inbound links that contain your target keywords than the websites of your competitors.

Step 3: Check the PageRank spread of the linking pages

Although the official PageRank number that Google displays in its toolbar is a flawed metric, it can still help you to find out why some websites rank higher than others.

If you've used IBP to find the web pages that link to your competitors (see above) then you also have the Google PageRank of each page that links to your competitors.

  1. Start IBP's link manager.
  2. Click the PR column header in IBP to sort the found websites by PageRank.

If your competitors have more backlinks from web pages with a high PageRank than your website then you should try to get more high PR links. IBP can help you with that.

Step 4: Check the top level domains of the linking pages

If you target local Google versions (Google.com.au, Google.co.uk, etc.) then your website should have more backlinks from websites that use the corresponding top level domain than your competitors.

For example, if you want to get high rankings on Google.com.au then try to get backlinks from .com.au websites. Of course, IBP's link manager can filter the backlinks by domain and it also enables you to find links from local Google versions.

Step 5: Check the content of the linking pages

Google prefers websites that get links from related websites. If you sell shoes then a link from a fashion blog is much better than a link from a website about puppies.

Your website should have more inbound links from related websites than the websites of your competitors. IBP's link builder can help you to find web pages and blogs that are related to your site.

Do the things above and your website will get better rankings than the websites of your competitors. Also analyze your website with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer to make sure that the content of your web pages is compliant to Google's latest ranking algorithm.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

GoogleGoogle +1 counts appearing in search results

"Google is beginning to show the number of +1's sites have received in the search results, whether or not you're logged in to a Google account and regardless of which browser you use. [...]

Some have already deemed the +1 button another Google social failure, as usage has been underwhelming thus far – and many predicted failure from the start. This could be an indication that Google is getting serious about making the Google +1 button a success."

Editor's note: Google also shows local +1's, for example the number of people in New York who clicked the +1 button for a site. Instructions on how to add the +1 button to your web pages can be found here.



A new Google homepage experiment

"Google tests a new design for the homepage that combines two experimental features that have already been used (the black navigation bar and the blue search button)."



Google MapsGoogle Places: new branded Onebox display?

"When it comes to Google Places it seems that there is no normal. There are just short lived tests and longer tests. [...]

Google changed the branded Onebox display to now include the image from the Places page and placing the map to the far right."



Google's Quality Score patent: the birth of Panda?

"There’s some evidence that the Panda updates to Google’s ranking algorithm may be based upon a decision tree approach to classifying and creating quality scores for web pages and sites. [...]

I found [a Google patent] that may have interesting implications regarding how queries are classified and different data that may be stored and emphasized at different Google data centers or data partitions."



Google confirms Google Panda 2.2 update

Google's Matt Cutts announced the Panda 2.2 update on an SEO conference. In an online forum, webmasters reported that the new update seems to be active:

"I think Google is trying to weed out all affiliates from its top SERPs... even though Google owns its own affiliate network Google hates affiliates no matter what they say."



Search engine newslets

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3. Success stories

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Click here to win a $100 Amazon gift card. It's easy and it takes about 10 seconds to enter the competition.


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4. Previous articles

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