Weekly SEO news: 11 October 2011

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

A recently published patent application of Microsoft gives further insight on how search engines use the anchor text in links to rank web pages. Not all links are created equally even if they use the same anchor text.

Also in the news: the latest search engine statistics, several changes on Google Places, Google shuts down many services, Matt Cutts confirms a minor Panda update and more.

Table of contents:

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. How search engines might weight the relevance of anchor texts

A recently published patent application of Microsoft gives further insight on how search engines use the anchor text in links to rank web pages. Not all links are created equally even if they use the same anchor text.

anchor text

What is the anchor text?

The anchor text is the text that is used in the link to another web page. It is an important factor in the ranking algorithms of Google, Bing and other search engines.

The more pages link with a particular text to a web page, the more likely it is that the linked web page will get high rankings when people search for that text.

How do search engines use the anchor text in ranking algorithms?

Many people think that links with the same anchor text are equally important. The Microsoft patent indicates that links with the same anchor text will be weighted differently based on several factors:

  • Bing tries to understand the relationships between sites that link to the same page with the same anchor text and the relationship between pages that link to another page.
  • If multiple pages link to the same page with the same anchor text, Bing will examine the linking pages to check if they link to many similar pages. If there is a large overlap, the influence of the links will be reduced.
  • Bing checks the level of dependence between the linked page and the linking page. If the linking site links to many pages of the linked site, the pages are probably dependent and the influence of the links will be reduced.
  • Bing tries to detect several different dependency situations:
    1. Mirror source sites or copied pages.
    2. Source sites that have a common destination site and the source sites are owned and designed by the same users who execute search engine optimization.
    3. Links are added in a source site by an untrusted third party such as a spammer. Often these misleading links are hard to detect as they are added to the web page via invisible blocks.

The relevance of an anchor text seems to depend on many different factors, including the relation of the linking pages to the linked page.

Although the patent was filed by Bing, it is very likely that Google uses similar methods to analyze the relation of web pages. If you want to find out which anchor text is the most popular text that is used to link to your site, check your anchor texts here.

 

2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Statistics 1: September 2011 U.S. search engine rankings

"Google Sites led the U.S. explicit core search market in September with 65.3 percent market share (up 0.5 percentage points), followed by Yahoo! Sites with 15.5 percent and Microsoft Sites with 14.7 percent.

Ask Network accounted for 3.0 percent of explicit core searches, followed by AOL, Inc. with 1.5 percent (up 0.2 percentage points)."



Google PlacesGoogle Places algorithm change

"If you or your clients have noticed a ranking drop lately this could be the reason. Several companies have come to me recently that were always on page one for their core keyword, then suddenly dropped only for City + Core Keyword. [...]

My theory is that there has been a major algo change [and] Google has added a proximity filter to the 'blended' results that was not there before and they dialed it in way too tight on city center."



StatisticsStatistics 2: Google share of searches at 66 percent

"Google accounted for 66.12 percent of all U.S. searches conducted in the four weeks ending Oct. 1, 2011.

The combined Bing-powered search comprised 28.07 percent of searches for the month, with Yahoo! Search and Bing receiving 15.27 percent and 12.80 percent, respectively."



How long does it take for a Google Places description update

"So how long did it take? My changes finally showed up exactly 7 weeks to the day after the change was made to the description content. [...]

My guess is that in addition to running the description through some sort of quality assessment Google added a time delay to slow down abuses by black hat local SEOs."



Search engine newslets

  • Matt Cutts confirms a minor Panda update.
  • A great alternative to Yahoo's Site Explorer.
  • Discussion: is there a backlink over optimization penalty?
  • Google Places changes email notification.
  • Google Places: faster updates to local business listings.
  • Google shuts down several products (Buzz, Labs, Code Search, etc.).
  • How I learned to stop worrying and love the Places automatic updates.
  • Think you've disabled Google's web history tracking? Check again.

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3. Success stories

"My client has position 2 on Google."

"Just a quick note to say thank you for helping me get my client on to the first page of Google. His website now appears at rank number 2 - and we are looking to achieve a number one ranking by continuing our link building process.

I run an SEO training course and always recommend IBP over the other optimisation programmes as I find it much more user friendly and easy to understand. Thanks again."
Liam Lally, www.zaddleinternetmarketing.com



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4. Previous articles

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