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November 4, 2010

SEO Hot Tub – 22nd October 2010

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In this fortnight’s SEO Hot Tub update, our analysts have found a wide range of SEO topics to share. These range from Webmaster Tool updates, Google interface updates, Bing and Facebook announcing more integration between the two and ideas on how to improve your visibility in Facebook News Feeds.

Webmaster Tools – Links to your site updated

In mid October, Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) announced an update to their “Links to your site” feature. The update shows a lot more of the information Google has on the links to your website. The feature is broken into three sections:

  1. Who links the most – the domains linking to the website
  2. Your most linked content – the pages receiving the incoming links
  3. How your data is linked – the anchor text of the inbound links

Clicking on the “More >>” link underneath each section allows you to dive into deeper detail. Here you can see the complete list of links and anchor text, what domains are linking to which pages and the URLs containing the links.

This change is another in a string of updates GWT has recently rolled out. These changes are making GWT all the more important for any webmaster wanting to know how Google indexes and analyses their site.

More transparency and control over location

Around the same time GWT released their update, the Google search interface was also making an interesting change of its own.

The left hand panel of the search results page is now the new home of the location setting feature. Here users can enter a location and so improve the search results relating to that location.

Google has long made known that location is an important ranking factor. They try to detect the (IP) location of the searcher automatically, but by presenting the setting in a more visible position they are hoping users will enter it manually and take out any mistakes the automated system may have.

This feature will also allow users to improve their search results for location searches in another area. This would be handy if you wanted to search locally before arriving at a holiday destination.

Bing Gets More Social with Facebook

Bing announced that they are becoming more personalised by integrating Facebook data in their search results. This expansion will be rolled out in two new updates called Liked results and Facebook Profile search.

Liked results uses the Facebook “like” information to help present more personalised results. If your search query is related to a website that a Facebook friend “liked”, the website will be listed in the search results and placed under a ‘Liked by your Facebook friends’ heading.

Facebook Profile search is to use the Facebook profile database to provide search results. Beforehand when searching for people, results tended to return webpages about people with a strong online presence. This update is an effort to address that. Any Facebook profile names matching the search query will be listed under a ‘People on Facebook’ heading.

Facebook News Feed Settings: Random or Not, Biggest Secrets Revealed

Much like Google, Facebook doesn’t reveal much about how their algorithms work.

Tom Weber from thedailybeast.com was keen to find out how Facebook’s News Feed works. And so he set out on a month long experiment to find some of its algorithm secrets.

By using his own Facebook test lab and tracking thousands of News Feed items over several weeks, the experiment discovered the following:

  • Newcomers will find it hard to show up in news feeds.
  • The “Most Recent” news feed has results filtered from it.
  • Links are more likely to show in news feeds than status updates. And photos and videos are more likely to show up than links.
  • “Stalking” your friends won’t improve your visibility.
  • “Stalking” your friends will improve their visibility.
  • Having friends commenting on your posts will improve your visibility.
  • And the more “popular” you are, the more unlikely you’ll see “unpopular” people in your news feeds.

That’s all for this fortnight, happy SEOing and Facebook stalking!

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