Weekly SEO news: 30 April March 2013
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Do you sometimes get search results that are unexpected and hard to explain? The reason for that might be that Google displays fake search results to fool spammers. How can you detect these fake rankings and how do these rankings influence the position of your own website?

In the news: Bing says that more than 50% of users click the first search result, Google's Matt Cutts talks about linking your sites and the number of pages that you can add, Google has information about mobile redirects, 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. Web page optimization tip: don't fall for fake Google results
Do you sometimes get search results that are unexpected and hard to explain? The reason for that might be that Google displays fake search results to fool spammers. This has a major influence on how you should optimize your web pages.

Google

Elements that Google considers spam

Last year, Google has been granted a patent that describes things that Google might do when they discover web pages that try to spam Google with manipulated page content.

Google mentions the following spam methods in the patent: keyword stuffing, invisible text, tiny text, page redirects, META tags stuffing, and link-based manipulation.

Google's unexpected reaction to spam

The patent indicates that Google takes a close look at websites that are changed often:

"Systems and methods consistent with the principles of the invention may provide a rank transition function (e.g., time-based) to identify rank-modifying spammers.

The rank transition function provides confusing indications of the impact on rank in response to rank-modifying spamming activities. The systems and methods may also observe spammers' reactions to rank changes caused by the rank transition function to identify documents that are actively being manipulated.

This assists in the identification of rank-modifying spammers."

In other words: if a web page reacts too quickly to changes in the search results, it's more likely that the page uses spam techniques.

Here's a concrete example

A person optimized a web page and adds the targeted keyword in all the right places. Normally, the rankings should go up. If there's a suspicion that the web page might be spamming, the page might be downranked by Google.

If the newly added keywords are removed after the drop in rankings, it's an indicator that the webmaster tried to manipulate. If the newly added keywords remain on the page, Google sees that the changes on the page are for real. In that case, the page will gets its old (and better) rankings back.

What does this mean for your website?

Optimizing your website for search engines is okay if you create helpful content. Google is not against search engine optimization. They just don't like spamming.

When you optimize your web pages for new keywords that are related to your website, don't be afraid if the rankings of your pages temporarily drop. This is normal Google behavior and your pages will get higher rankings after a short time (usually between one and four weeks).

Google doesn't like spam. If you want to get results that last, you must use search engine optimization tools that play by the rules. You get these tools with SEOprofiler:

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Bing: more than 50% of users click the first search result

"On average, over 50% of users click on the first result on the page. From there we see a significant drop, with less than 1% of people clicking on the 8th link on the page. The figure below shows the click-through rate dropping from position 3 on, where position 3 could contain an Instant Answer, or the 2nd web result that was pushed down because there was an Instant Answer above it, etc."

Editor's note: in addition to the click-through rate, the conversion rate is also important. SEOprofiler helps you to get high rankings on the first result page.


Matt CuttsOfficial Google statement: how many pages can you add at once to your website?
"In an online video, Google’s Matt Cutts answered the question of another Googler, John Mueller. If your website has an archive of hundreds of thousands of pages, should you add these pages at once or in stages? [...]

Matt Cutts said that Google can handle both methods. If a website releases hundreds of thousands websites overnight, however, it is very likely that the website will be reviewed manually by Google’s spam team."


What Mozilla’s Google penalty means for your website

"Some days ago, Mozilla.org received a notification message from Google: 'Google has detected user-generated spam on your site. Typically, this kind of spam is found on forum pages, guestbook pages, or in user profiles. As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to your site.'

What does this mean for your website?"



Matt CuttsDoes linking my two sites together violate the quality guidelines?

Matt Cutts answers this question in a video: "Suppose I have a site that covers fishing overall (A) & I make another fishing site that solely focuses on lure fishing (B). Does linking to A from B violate guidelines?"

It's okay to link your sites if you don't overdo it. Linking thousands of unrelated sites would be a violation of Google's guidelines

Google's John Mueller: do not redirect all mobile users to the same page

In an online discussion, Google's John Mueller says that you shouldn't redirect all mobile users to the same page:

"One issue that I see is that you're redirecting all mobile users to [URL], regardless of the URL they tried to access before. This results in us not being able to pick up your content properly with our smartphone crawler."

Search engine newslets

  • Google sent "Googlebot cannot access your site" messages by mistake.
  • Google downplays Google+ with updated authorship snippet?
  • Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Google to address competition concerns.
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3. Recommended resources

Get a detailed SEO audit of your website for $1

Doing a regular audit of your web pages is important if you want to make sure that search engines can index all of your pages. The more pages your website has, the more likely it is that there are many errors that have to be corrected.

The new website audit tool in SEOprofiler automatically checks your web pages once per week. Then you get a report that shows all the issues that should be corrected. By correcting these issues, you make sure that search engines can index all of your pages correctly. Here’s a screenshot of the overview page:

seoprofiler

You can get the website audit tool and all other tools in SEOprofiler for our special offer price:

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