Weekly SEO news: 1 May 2012

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

It seems that Google releases a new ranking algorithm update every week. Last week, Google’s Matt Cutts announced that there is another algorithm update that targets web spam. What does this mean for your rankings and how must you react?

In the news: Google cannot handle AJAX content, clicks don't matter for conversion when it comes to display ads, Google does not remove pages that you don't like 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. Google releases two new ranking algorithm updates

It seems that Google releases a new ranking algorithm update every week. Last week, Google’s Matt Cutts announced that there is another algorithm update that targets web spam. What does this mean for your rankings and how must you react?

Google doesn't like web spam

“In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.

We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content.

While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.”

Google ranking drop

Things that Google considers spam

Google’s announcement shows two examples. The first example is a page that is stuffed with hundreds of keywords in a comma separated list.

Google doesn’t want that type of pages in the search results. The second example is a page that has normal text. However, the text contains keyword optimized links that are totally unrelated to the surrounding text.

Other things that Google considers spam are linking schemes, misleading redirects or purposeful duplicate content.

Google says that the right kind of SEO is fine

Many people confuse search engine optimization with spamming. Spamming and SEO are two totally different things. Google’s latest announcement also contains a statement about “white hat” SEO:

"Effective search engine optimization can make a site more crawlable and make individual pages more accessible and easier to find. [...]

'White hat' search engine optimizers often improve the usability of a site, help create great content, or make sites faster, which is good for both users and search engines."

How to react to Google's latest ranking algorithm

Google released two algorithm updates: a Panda update on April, 19th and the update explained above on April, 24th. If your web page rankings dropped on April, 19th, then you have to improve the quality of your web pages.

If your page rankings dropped on April, 24th, then you have to remove all spam elements from your web pages. If you think that your website was flagged by mistake, you can inform Google through this form.

Only use white-hat SEO methods if you want to be on the safe side

Use shady SEO methods and Google might penalize your website. If you want to be on the safe side, only use white-hat SEO methods.

The tools in IBP only use white-hat SEO methods. You can download IBP here.

2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Google removes several features from Webmaster tools

"We'll be removing the Subscriber stats feature, the Create robots.txt tool, and the Site performance feature in the next two weeks. [...]

Site performance is a Webmaster Tools Labs feature that provides information about the average load time of your site's pages. This feature is also being removed due to low usage."



StatisticsStudy: for display ads, being seen matters more than being clicked

"The results showed that ad hover/interaction (correlation = 0.49) and viewable impressions (correlation = 0.35) had highest correlation with conversion, while gross impressions (correlation = 0.17) was significantly lower.

Perhaps most interestingly, clicks (correlation = 0.01) had the lowest correlation with conversion, far under-performing all other metrics analyzed in the study."



Google allows spam in rich snippets with Schema.org

"There’s been some uproar recently about rich snippet spam (thanks to Tom Critchlow from Distilled for pointing these out to us) so we decided to put it to the test. [...]

Google isn’t stupid. They will catch on to rich snippet spam and eventually incorporate a system of checks before actually going live with rich snippets. There might even be a penalty for sites that have abused rich snippets, who knows?"



Matt CuttsWill Google remove a page that I don't like from its search results?

Matt Cutts answers this question in a video: no, Google won't remove a page from the search results. You have to contact the website owner to get a page removed from the index. Google won't take action.



Video: how effective is Google now at handling content supplied via Ajax?

Google's Matt Cutts answers that question in a video. Google can index regular JavaScript to some extend but asynchronous JavaScript (AJAX) still causes problems. Although Matt Cutts doesn't give a definite answer in the video, it's likely that Google does not index AJAX content.



Search engine newslets
  • Google to show breadcrumbs in AdWords display URLs.
  • Attrakt is a new search engine with social sharing features.
  • Google might include customer service endorsements inside paid search ads.
  • Gmail, now with 10 GB of storage.
  • Can we still trust Google?

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3. Recommended resources

Check the backlink profile of your website and much more

SEOprofiler is a full-featured SEO solution that can analyze the backlink profile of your website and much more.

You can also use it to spy on the Google rankings and Google AdWords campaigns of your competitors, it helps you to get new backlinks, it helps you to optimize your web pages, it checks your rankings on search engines and much more.

seoprofiler

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