Weekly SEO news: 4 December 2012
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Many people who are new to SEO think that using Google's disavow link tool will help them to get the high rankings back that they had before Google's penalty hit their sites. That is not the case and this week's article explains why.

In the news: most Google notifications are about black hat SEO, Google talks about synonyms on your website, Yahoo search ads add more features, 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. Why a Google penalty removal won't improve your rankings
Many people who are new to SEO think that using Google's disavow link tool will help them to get the high rankings back that they had before Google's penalty hit their sites. That is not the case. If you want to get your rankings back, there are other things that you have to do.

Google penalty

Why were so many websites penalized?

Google's Penguin update penalized websites by people who confused spamming with search engine optimization. Buying hundreds of links on other websites is not search engine optimization.

Using tools that automatically create hundreds to thousands of backlinks on forum sites, blogs and other pages also has nothing to do with search engine optimization. These tools and services are spamming machines.

The rankings of websites that used these tools to get high rankings dropped dramatically after Google's recent updates.

Why Google's disavow links tool won't help these websites

Google's disavow link tool enables businesses to inform Google about links that shouldn't be considered anymore. Before you submit your links to Google's disavow tool, Google expects that you try to get rid of these links for yourself.

When you submit your link lists to Google, they will use that data as a suggestion. Google has made it clear that it will take weeks until you get a reply and that they might or might not use your data.

Informing Google about bad links to your website won't help your rankings. Removing backlinks also won't help. The reason is very simple:
  1. Your website used to have high rankings because Google used to count the spam backlinks that point to your site as regular links.
  2. Now your website has lower rankings because these spam links don't count anymore.
The previous spam links that led to high rankings on Google either don't count anymore because Google has detected them or because you removed or disavowed them.

It doesn't help to remove and disavow links that Google already filtered for the search results. You're just sending Google a confirmation that they found the right links.

You might even remove links that have a positive influence on your search engine rankings.

If you want to make sure that your website gets high rankings, you need to get more high quality backlinks that point to your website. Don't look back at bad things that you might have done in the past but focus on doing the right things now.

IBP will help you to get high quality backlinks and it will also give you step-by-step instructions on how to get your website on Google's first result page.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Matt CuttsGoogle: most notifications are about black hat SEO

Google's Matt Cutts said in a video that only 25,000 of the 700,000 messages that Google sent out in the first two months of this year were related to links.

600,000 of Google's notifications were about black hat SEO methods (for example cloaking).


Ask.com: what did Americans think about 2012?

"Will Rob and Kristen get back together?” is officially the top trending question of 2012. [...] While Psy hit #3 on the Ask.com top asked-about celeb charts, he was chosen as the #1 breakout star of 2012 by Americans polled (13% chose Psy as 2012’s breakout star), from a list including One Direction (11%), Honey Boo Boo (10%), Jennifer Lawrence (8%) and Carly Rae Jepsen (7%)."

Related: Yahoo 2012 in review



Matt CuttsVideo: should I incorporate synonyms for important terms into my site?

Matt Cutts answers that question in a video. He says that you should use all of the words as long as the text doesn't sound artificial. Although Google has a team that's working on detecting synonyms, it is better to use all related words on your web pages to make sure that search engines get the topic of your website.



Google WebmasterTools in dangerous security flaw

"We now have regained access to every old account we have previously been given access to, whether that is a previous client or maybe a site that came to us for some short term consultancy. What is also quite amusing (if you look on the funny side) is that you can see who won the client or who you won the client from."



Yahoo search ads add more features

"Sitelink Extensions let you include additional links in your ads to direct searchers to specific pages on your site. Initial testing shows they can improve clickthrough rates by 15-25%. [...]

Click Share in the Share of Voice Report offers more transparency to help you understand your click share in the search marketplace."

Search engine newslets
  • Yelp CEO: Yep, Google can be pretty evil.
  • Bing publishes 'Scroogled' website.
  • Google AdSense adds site level blocking.
  • Google shows flight notifications.
  • Google chief Page said to meet FTC over antitrust probe.
  • German lawmakers condemn Google campaign against copyright law.
  • Yahoo Canada shutters local search, teams with Yellow Pages on new service.
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3. Recommended resources

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