Weekly SEO news: 28 January 2014
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

If you have a multi-language website it can be difficult to get high rankings in the respective countries. This week's article will help you to optimize your multi-user website so that your web pages will get high rankings in the right countries.

In the news: Yahoo makes secure search the default, 10 blue links are still the norm, Google has a new mobile user agent, 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. How to optimize multi-language websites
If you have a multi-language website it can be difficult to get high rankings in the respective countries. This article will help you to optimize your multi-user website so that your web pages will get high rankings in the right countries.

1. Optimize the URL structure of your website

A) Use unique country domains

The best way to show Google that a part of your website is relevant to a particular country is to create an independent website for the country.

For example, Amazon.de is for Germany, Amazon.co.uk is for the United Kingdom. Google recommends dedicated country code top level domains as the preferred options for websites that are available in different languages.

B) Create a unique sub domain for each country

If you don't want to use country code top level domains, you can create a unique sub domain for each language. For example, you could use en.amazon.com, de.amazon.com, fr.amazon.com, etc.

Technically, a sub domain is totally independent from the main domain and it is relatively easy for search engine crawlers to index the sub domain as a country specific part of your website.

Theoretically, you could use sub directories (amazon.com/en/, amazon.com/de/, etc.) or URL parameters (&lang=de, &lang=en) to direct search engine robots to the different language versions of your website.

This method, however, often confuses search engine robots and it can happen that your web pages get lower rankings than they should.

2. Tell search engine robots that you have different language versions

The rel='alternate' attribute enables you to tell search engines that a web page is available in different language versions. For example, you could add the following to the head section of a web page if that page is available in English, German and French:

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://en.example.com” hreflang=”en” />
<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://de.example.com” hreflang=”de” />
<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://.fr.example.com” hreflang=”fr” />

All other languages can be directed to the default version of your website:

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com” hreflang=”x-default” />

When you create different versions of your website for different languages, do not just translate the content of your web pages. Different countries have different cultures. Things that work well in one country might not work in another.

Get an international SEO tool

If you haven't done it yet, create your SEOprofiler account now. SEOprofiler is a full-featured SEO tool that will help you to get better rankings on Google in many languages. SEOprofiler supports 68 different countries and regions:

Free trial Test full version


Create a free trial account now or get the full version and save 99%.

Back to table of contents - Visit Axandra.com
2. Search engine news and articles of the week
YahooYahoo makes secure search the default

"Yahoo has now joined Google in making all searches people do automatically go through a secure server, to help prevent eavesdropping by outsiders. Unlike Google, however, Yahoo has failed to make an important change to how 'referrer' data is passed along, which will result in people thinking Yahoo Search has suddenly dropped in popularity. [...]

If someone searched on Yahoo for 'books' and clicked on a listing for Amazon, Amazon would be able to tell that it received a visitor from Yahoo and that the visitor searched for the word 'books.' With the change, this no longer happens.'"


Don’t believe the hype: ten blue links are alive and well in search

"Overall, search pages had images, news or shopping 34% of the time.  While this is not an insubstantial percentage of pages and represents an increase from the past, this means 66% of search pages do not have rich SERP elements, which suggests the SERPs are not being overwhelmed by digital assets to the extent the headlines would have us believe. [...]

88% of SERPs have 9 or more natural search links, with nearly ¾’s (73%) having exactly ten.  Similar to our earlier conclusion, this suggests that there remains significant opportunity for Marketers to appear organically in the search listings and capture market share."

Editor's note: SEOprofiler can help you to get your web pages in these ten blue links on Google's result page.



GoogleGoogle: changes in crawl error reporting for redirects
"In the past, we would have reported the error observed at the end under URL A. Now, we'll instead report it as URL B. This makes it much easier to diagnose the crawl errors as they're shown in Webmaster Tools.

Using tools like cURL or your favorite online server header checker, you can now easily confirm that this error is actually taking place on URL B."

Editor's note: If this is too technical for you, use the website audit tool in SEOprofiler to check your web pages for errors that can cause rankings problems.


Baidu tests search engines in Thailand, Brazil, and Egypt

"China’s top search engine, has quietly launched its search site over the weekend in Thailand, Brazil, and Egypt. The sites are localized for each country’s language, and feature options for searching images, videos, and more.

A Baidu representative says the sites 'were intended only for internal testing' and are now being taken offline. We managed to grab more screenshots before they vanished."


GoogleOnline display ad spending up 32% in 2013

"Internet display advertising grew by more than 32 percent in the first three quarters of 2013. [...]

That makes online display advertising the fastest growing advertising media. That said, it remains the smallest with just 4.5 percent market share."

A new Googlebot user-agent for crawling smartphone content

"We've seen cases where a webmaster inadvertently blocked smartphone crawling or indexing when they really meant to block just feature phone crawling or indexing. This ambiguity made it impossible for Google to index smartphone content of some sites, or for Google to recognize that these sites are smartphone-optimized."

Search engine newslets
  • Google leads pack as 10 tech firms pump $61.15 million into 2013 lobbying efforts.
  • 65% of marketing emails were opened on a smartphone or tablet in Q4/2013.
  • Google glitch is causing thousands of emails to be sent to one man’s Hotmail account.
  • Bing Ads sitelink extensions now available in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia.
Back to table of contents - Visit Axandra.com
3. Recommended resources

Get a full-featured website promotion tool:

Everything you need

SEOprofiler is a full featured web-based SEO tool that offers everything you need to get high rankings on Google:

  • automatic weekly website audits
  • tools for keyword research and analysis
  • competitive intelligence tools
  • automated ranking checks
  • website analytics
  • tools for spam-free link building
  • white-label reports (web-based and PDF)
  • and much more.

Test SEOprofiler now for our special offer price:

Free trial Test full version for $1


Create a free trial account now or test the full version.

Back to table of contents - Visit Axandra.com
4. Previous articles
Back to table of contents - Visit Axandra.com

Do you have a minute?