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June 17, 2010

SEO Sharing Session – June 2010

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Once again we’ve pooled together our search engine optimisation, SEM and online marketing reading to share for the BCA blog followers. Here are the highlights from the past few weeks:

Google News Shows Publishers How To Optimise YouTube Videos

The Google News team explained how to optimise YouTube videos for Google News:

Timely uploads
Upload videos as soon as possible – This ensures they’ll be grouped with the most recent news articles and reach the homepage.

One story per video
Help Google know what the video’s about by focusing on the one story.

Categorisation
Select ‘News and Politics’ for general news videos. For multiple categories, identify each and all relevant – business, entertainment, sports, etc.

Rich tags
Adding keywords, absent from the description, to the keyword tags provides more information on the topic of the video. Particularly helpful are pronouns – people, locations and brands keywords.

Make the video embeddable
Each video must opt in for embedding on other websites. This is a technical requirement for Google News.


Paris s'éveille

Photo by gald via Creative Commons

All Links are Not Created Equal: 10 Illustrations on Search Engines’ Valuation of Links

The value of links has been the topic of much discussion since the Google patent using the ‘reasonable surfer’ model was granted May. SEOMoz has put together a list of 10 possible ways Google values links, based on research in this from SEO by the Sea.

#1 – Links Higher Up in HTML Code Cast More Powerful Votes

Based on the user behaviour, links above the fold are more likely to receive click throughs and therefore more weight.

Other tests have shown locating the keyword at the front of the title element produces a higher ranking. For example, due to the power of the ‘higher link passes more weight’, a less optimal page ranks higher because of the location of an inbound link.

#2 – External Links are More Influential than Internal Links

Search engines have often said that what others say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.

#3 – Links from Unique Domains Matters More than Links from Previously Linking Sites

Search engines reward a more natural looking resource of inbound links, which usually means links coming from a complex and diverse range of websites.

#4 – Links from Sites Closer to a Trusted Seed Set Pass More Value

Links from trusted and un-trusted websites is one mechanism Google tries to reduce spam. Links from a trusted website to another is another signal that can legitimate other website’s authority, and thus pass more weight.

#5 – Links from “Inside” Unique Content Pass More Value than Those from Footers/Sidebar/Navigation

Search engines have been working on block analysis, vision-based page segmentation and other forms of dissecting page for many years. Links located within content blocks may now pass more value than those from less contextually useful areas.

#6 – Keywords in HTML Text Pass More Value than Those in Alt Attributes of Linked Images

Alt attributes are used to describe the image, not the destination page. With that in mind, alt attributes of linked images are providing a contingent function by passing keywords to the destination page.

#7 – Links from More Important, Popular, Trusted Sites Pass More Value (even from less important pages)

Linking from a deep page in a trusted website may pass more value than a link from the home page of a less trusted website.

#8 – Links Contained Within NoScript Tags Pass Lower (and Possibly No) Value

As noscript links aren’t visible on the page to visitors, these appear to pass minimal or no rank boosting ability.

#9 – A Burst of New Links May Enable a Document to Overcome “Stringer” Competition Temporarily (or in Perpetuity)

A sharp influx of links may signal the page’s current or timely usefulness and increase its ranking – albeit temporally.

#10 – Pages that Links to WebSpam May Devalue the Other Links they Host

Associating your website with spammers, through linking to them or using the same spammy anchor text keywords, may devalue the legitimate links of your website.

Google Experts Answer your SEO Questions

25 Questions answered by some of the guys from the Google Search Quality team – John Mueller, Matt Cutts, Zareen Kazim, Koteswara Ivaturi and Kasper Szymanski.
Here is a short sample of the most useful answers:

Q 8. I have read on forums that domain expiration dates are a factor in Google rankings and domains that are due to expire soon may be penalized in some way. Is that correct?

Zareen Kazim: Matt Cutts addressed this issue in a Webmaster Central video recently and confirmed that the length of a domain name registration isn’t a ranking factor.

Q 13. Are all links on a page treated the same or does the order of links matter. For instance, will Google flow more juice to the links that are in the first paragraph of the story than the ones that are in the page footer?

Zareen Kazim: Our link analysis is getting much more sophisticated than the original PageRank used to be. To answer your question, we may treat links across different areas in a different way, as some areas of a page might not be as relevant to the content of the page as others.

Q 19. Googlebot can read and execute JavaScript files but do you also pass any juice to the links that you may have discovered through the scripts?
Kaspar Szymanski: It’s true that we started crawling JavaScript. We don’t recommend for webmasters to focus on linking; instead a much wiser way of spending your time is by enriching the site with great content and useful tools. However, if you are concerned about JavaScript links passing PageRank, feel free to use “no follow” attribute.

Q 22. Is there any ‘optimal’ length that you can recommend for the page URL and the title?

Kaspar Szymanski: Not really; instead it’s probably best to decide upon these things with the user experience in mind, rather than search engines.

Q 23. I know that inbound links will help my site’s ranking in Google search results but is that true for outbound links as well? I always link to quality websites from my articles where my visitors can read more about that topic but do these outbound links aid search rankings as well?

Kaspar Szymanski: No, they don’t contribute directly towards your site’s rankings; however they add value for your readership and they contribute to the community, so feel free to continue this good practice. On the other hand, being selective and preferring quality sites to link to might help in how Google perceives your site.

That was the highlights from our reading of the past few weeks, hope you enjoyed it. And if you’ve come across any great posts or new resources, we’d love to hear them!

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