Weekly SEO news: 05 July 2011
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Many webmasters still care about the PageRank that is displayed in Google's toolbar. It's not wise to focus on that metric. Some days ago, Google published another official statement that made it clear that you should focus on other things than PageRank.

Also in the news: Google's +1 button is now available in other countries, Google removes all co.cc domains from its index, Google highlights content creators in search results, Google's +1 network 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. Official Google statement: don't obsess about PageRank

Many webmasters still care about the PageRank that is displayed in Google's toolbar. It's not wise to focus on that metric. Some days ago, Google published another official statement that made it clear that you should focus on other things than PageRank.

What does Google think about PageRank?

Google's blog post about this topic is very clear:

"The Webmaster Central team has been telling webmasters for years that they shouldn't focus so much on PageRank as a metric for representing the success of one’s website. [...]

PageRank may have distinguished Google as a search engine when it was founded in 1998; but [...] we’ve had a lot of opportunity to augment and refine our ranking systems over the last decade. PageRank is no longer—if it ever was—the be-all and end-all of ranking. [...]

The PR you see publicly is different from the number our algorithm actually uses for ranking. Why bother with a number that’s at best three steps removed from your actual goal, when you could instead directly measure what you want to achieve?"

If PageRank is not important, what is important?

Google's blog mentions three examples of metrics that are important:

  1. Conversion rate: the percentage of visitors to your site who convert (buy something, fill out a form, etc.).
  2. Bounce rate: the percentage of visits to your site who leave your site immediately.
  3. Clickthrough rate: how often people click on your site out of all the times your site gets shown in search results.

These are only a few examples. There are many things that you can do to get better results with your search engine listings.

Make a plan and set the right goals

It's very likely that a high PageRank is not what you really want. You really want to make more money with your website. You want to generate more leads, more newsletter sign-ups, etc.

Do the following to achieve that goal:

  1. Choose the right keywords: it's not important that a keyword has thousands of searches. It is important that a keyword delivers the right kind of visitor to your website. Choose targeted keywords that deliver visitors that are ready to buy.
  2. Get high rankings for these keywords: PageRank is not important. Having high rankings for the right kind of keyword is very important. If your website has high rankings for the right keywords, it will get many new visitors who are ready to buy.
  3. Get good backlinks: good backlinks will help your website in many ways: you will get direct traffic through the links and the backlinks will positively influence the position of your website on Google.

Google uses many different factors to determine the position of a website in the search results. Analyze your website with the Top 10 Optimizer in IBP.

The Top 10 Optimizer analyzes many different factors that influence the position of your web pages for your keywords in Google's search results and it gives you concrete advice on how to change your pages so that they get higher rankings.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

GoogleGoogle +1 button now available in other countries

"Today, +1’s will start appearing on Google search pages globally. We'll be starting off with sites like google.co.uk, google.de, google.jp and google.fr, then expanding quickly to most other Google search sites soon after."

Editor's note: Instructions on how to add the Google +1 button to your own website can be found here.



Google removes all .co.cc domains from its index

"If we see a very large fraction of sites on a specific freehost be spammy or low-quality, we do reserve the right to take action on the freehost as a whole. Taking action like this is not really something new, and it is something that we may do elsewhere at Google as well."



Google PlusGoogle starts the Google + network

"Online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it. We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests. And so begins the Google+ project."

Editor's note: Google+ is not the same as the Google +1 button. Google+ is currently available in a beta version and not everyone can join.



Google highlights content creators in search results

"Today, we will start highlighting the people creating this content in Google.com search results. Why? Because authorship is a great way to identify and highlight high-quality content. Plus, the web is centered around people. [...]

We’re piloting this new search experience with a small sample of authors who have linked their Google profile with their content."



Review snippets gone from Google blended results

"Google stopped showing any review snippet with either Blended or the Branded One Box Results in the main search results view for many results. [...]

The snippets were not always accurate. While I don’t think that was a reason in their demise, I am sure some businesses will be grateful they are gone."



Search engine newslets

  • Thinking of creating a business profile on Google+? Better wait.
  • Google release new spam bot in form of Google Plus.
  • Google tests several new designs.
  • Google Realtime Search goes offline because Google's agreement with Twitter has expired.

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3. Success stories

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4. Previous articles

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