Weekly SEO news: 22 November 2011

Welcome to the 500th issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Last week, Google published a list of 10 recent ranking algorithm changes. Do these changes affect your website rankings? Do you have to adjust your web pages for the new algorithm? This week's article has the answers.

Also in the news: Yahoo's Site Explorer is gone, the latest search engine statistics, Microsoft's secret social 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 information: 10 recent algorithm changes

Last week, Google's Matt Cutts published a list of 10 recent ranking algorithm changes in an official Google blog. Do these changes affect your website rankings? Do you have to adjust your web pages for the new algorithm?

Ten recent changes

What is new in Google's ranking algorithm?

Here's the official list:

    1. For queries in languages where limited web content is available (for example Hind or Icelandic), Google will translate relevant English web pages and display the translated titles directly below the English titles in the search results.
    2. The snippets on the search result page now show more page content and less header/menu content.
    3. Google finds that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant, so they are putting less emphasis on these. The result is more relevant titles that are specific to the page’s content.
    4. Autocomplete predictions in Russian have been improved.
    5. People who are searching for software applications will see more rich snippets, like cost and user reviews, within their search results.
    6. Google retired a signal in Image Search related to images that had references from multiple documents on the web.
    7. Some queries get fresher results. This change impacts around 6-10% of search results to a noticeable degree and better determines the appropriate level of freshness for a given query.
    8. Google adjusted how they attempt to determine which pages are official. This will tend to rank official websites even higher on Google's result page.
    9. Date-restricted queries have been improved to ensure that users get the results that are most relevant for the date range that they specify.
    10. Autocomplete predictions for Hebrew, Russian and Arabic have been improved.

    Matt Cutts does not go into detail. The most important change seems to be that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant as before.

    This probably affects the texts in your website navigation most. If the navigation text was "green widgets" before, this would give the linked page a boost for the term "green widgets". Matt Cutts says that this has changed.

How do you have to change your web pages?

Google says that you shouldn't focus on the ranking factors above:

"Before you go wild tuning your anchor text or thinking about your web presence for Icelandic users, please remember that this is only a sampling of the hundreds of changes we make to our search algorithms in a given year, and even these changes may not work precisely as you’d imagine."

Google uses many different elements to specify the position of your web pages on the search result pages. If you want to be on the safe side, analyze your web pages with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer.

The Top 10 Optimizer analyzes all important elements that determine the position of your web pages and it also tells you how to adjust your pages so that they get the best possible rankings.

Google is continually improving the ranking algorithms. If you want to keep your rankings, and if you want to get better rankings, regularly check your web pages to make sure that they are compliant to Google's latest ranking algorithm.

Editor's note: you can get IBP for a discounted price this week.

 

2. Search engine news and articles of the week

GoogleBing-powered share of searches at 29 percent in October 2011

"The combined Bing-powered search comprised 28.62 percent of searches for the month, with Yahoo! Search and Bing receiving 15.39 percent and 13.23 percent, respectively. Google share of searches was at 65 percent in October 2011. [...]

One-word search queries increased 3 percent from September 2011 to October 2011."



Yahoo Site Explorer closed down yesterday

"Site Explorer services will not be available from November 21, 2011."

Editor's note: If you're looking for an alternative to Yahoo's Site Explorer try SEOprofiler. You get a lot of information about the websites of your competitors, including backlinks, Google rankings and the AdWords campaigns of your competitors.



Minor Google Panda update on 18 November 2011

Google announced a minor Google update on Twitter: "Tiny weather report: Minor Panda algorithm data refresh (affects <1% of searches)."

Since Google's first Panda update in February, there were at least 8 updates to the new algorithm.



MicrosoftMicrosoft's secret social network

"It turns out Microsoft has been testing this service with a select group of 'friends,' and this week, I got an early look at Socl [...]

We're hearing Microsoft is nearing the end of its private testing period and will roll this out to a bigger public audience through an invite system. Stay tuned."



NY Times: Google's lab of wildest dreams

"Your dinner plate could post to a social network what you’re eating. Your robot could go to the office while you stay home in your pajamas. And you could, perhaps, take an elevator to outer space.

These are just a few of the dreams being chased at Google X, the clandestine lab where Google is tackling a list of 100 shoot-for-the-stars ideas."



Search engine newslets

  • New version IBP 11.9.1 is available.
  • Google's Matt Cutts now has the Google title "distinguished engineer".
  • BingBot gets new IP addresses.
  • Yahoo updates recipe, shopping search in time for holidays.
  • Google+ continues battle with fading user interest.
  • New patent: how human evaluators might help decide upon rankings for search results at Google.

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3. Success stories

IBP

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4. Previous articles

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