Weekly SEO news: 12 June 2012

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

Google has published a blog post about the changes they made in May 2012. Some of these changes are relevant to your Google rankings and you should react to them.

In the news: Google's Matt Cutts talks about penalties and unnatural link notifications, Google confirms another Panda update, Bing has several improvements, and more.

Table of contents:

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Official Google statement: 39 changes in May (with actionable items)

Google has published a blog post about the changes they made in May 2012. Some of these changes are relevant to your Google rankings and you should react to them. Here are the most important changes that Google made in May:

1. Changes that affect backlinks

In addition to the Penguin update, Google added algorithms that detect fake backlinks and other spam elements:

"Better application of inorganic backlinks signals. [launch codename 'improv-fix', project codename 'Page Quality'] We have algorithms in place designed to detect a variety of link schemes, a common spam technique. This change ensures we’re using those signals appropriately in the rest of our ranking."

To do: remove all spam elements from your web pages and only use safe SEO methods to promote your website.

2. Changes to the Penguin update

Google's April Penguin update penalized websites that participated in fully automated linking schemes and other spam systems. In May, Google released an update:

"Improvements to Penguin. [launch codename 'twref2', project codename 'Page Quality'] This month we rolled out a couple minor tweaks to improve signals and refresh the data used by the penguin algorithm."

To do: if you don't want to risk your rankings, do not participate in automated link schemes that automatically create forums accounts, blog comments, etc. If you want to get lasting results, try to get high quality backlinks that help you to get higher rankings.

3. Changes that affect your web page titles on Google's result pages

Google has released three updates that change the way Google displays the titles of your web pages on the search result pages:

"Trigger alt title when HTML title is truncated. [launch codename 'tomwaits', project codename 'Snippets'] We have algorithms designed to present the best possible result titles. This change will show a more succinct title for results where the current title is so long that it gets truncated. We’ll only do this when the new, shorter title is just as accurate as the old one."

"Efficiency improvements in alternative title generation. [launch codename 'TopOfTheRock', project codename 'Snippets'] With this change we’ve improved the efficiency of title generation systems, leading to significant savings in cpu usage and a more focused set of titles actually shown in search results."

"Better demotion of boilerplate anchors in alternate title generation. [launch codename 'otisredding', project codename 'Snippets'] When presenting titles in search results, we want to avoid boilerplate copy that doesn’t describe the page accurately, such as 'Go Back.' This change helps improve titles by avoiding these less useful bits of text."

To do: make sure that your web page titles are short, convincing and to the point so that Google's doesn't have to rewrite them.

Google regularly updates the algorithm. These changes only have a negative impact on people who use spammy SEO methods to promote their websites. If you use safe SEO methods, your website will get high rankings that last. The reason for that is that safe SEO methods are beneficial to Google, web searchers and your business.

2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Matt CuttsGoogle's Matt Cutts talks about penalties

"In the last few months, we’ve been trying to make the point that not only is link buying like that not doing any good, we’re turning the dial up to let people know that certain link spam techniques are a waste of money. [...]

Google is getting more serious about buying and selling links. Penguin showed that some stuff that may work short term won’t work in the long term. [...]

I would recommend no following affiliate links. [...] To say that links are a dead signal his wrong. I wouldn’t write the epitaph for links just yet. [...]

We’re trying to stop spam so people can compete on a level playing field. I think our philosophy has been relatively consistent."



Matt Cutts: most notifications are not about unnatural links

"The reason for sending the 700,000 messages via Webmaster Tools was actually because we started sending out warnings about blackhat techniques.

The vast, vast majority of manual actions we take are on pages that are engaging in egregious blackhat SEO techniques, such as automatically created gibberish or cloaking.

In fact, of the messages that we sent out to site owners, only around 3% were for unnatural or artificial links. So just to be clear, of the 700,000 messages we sent out [...], well above 600,000 were for obvious blackhat spam, and under 25,000 of the messages were for unnatural links."



Google confirms Panda 3.7 update

In a tweet, Google confirmed that there was a Panda update on June, 8th: "FYI Panda data refresh started rolling out on Friday. Less than 1% of queries noticeably affected in the U.S. & 1% worldwide."



BingBing Webmaster Tools announces new features

"This update includes a new, fresh user experience, a range of new tools including Link Explorer (beta) and SEO Analyzer/SEO Reports (beta), and updates to current tools."

Editor's note: if you want to get the backlinks, Google rankings and Google AdWords ads of any website, analyze the websites here.



Bing's answer to Google's Knowledge Graph

"We’re excited to announce a partnership with Encyclopedia Britannica to include Britannica Online answers directly in the Bing results page. The answer provides a quick overview of the subject, a thumbnail image, and useful facts and figures making it easier than ever to get trusted content in search. We also pull in direct links to other trusted sources."



Search engine newslets
  • Google Places experiencing lost listings.
  • Another Google+ Local issue: linking to maps.google.com.
  • Bloomberg: Google founders slated for questions in antitrust probe.
  • Apple said to add Baidu as iPhone search engine in China.
  • iOS to provide 2% of Google's total revenue in 2012.
  • Does Google try to squeeze local directories out of the SERPs?
  • Google patent: human evaluators, local search, and web search algorithm testing.
  • Video: How does Google decide when to display multiple results from the same website? Answer: when they think it is useful and doesn't hurt diversity too much.

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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.

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