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SERP Crowding & Shrinkage – Google Showing Fewer Results & More from Same Domain

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Website Technical Issues | Posted on 19-09-2012

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Most people have heard about the concept of supply and demand. The greater the quantity of an item, the less it costs. Unfortunately we’re seeing the same principle at play in the search engines. Google seems to now be moving from offering 10 front page spaces on some search results, to seven.That means there’s less real estate available on the front page of many keywords. So what is the search engine giant up to? In order to figure it out, we must do some trial and error.

Seven or Ten?

First of all, it doesn’t appear that all search results have moved to just seven places. Analysis of thousands of Google searches seems to indicate that approximately 20 percent of the searches put through the search engine are coming back with seven results instead of the previously standard ten. So how do you know if the keywords you target have been affected? There are a few things that must be analyzed.

Brand Names – First of all, most brand names do appear to have gone to just seven results per search page. Also when the keyword is a brand name, usually the first result on the page gives back expanded site-links on the results. However, brand names aren’t the only keywords that bring back seven results. For example, if you search for “krill,” you’ll also get only seven results. The top result is the Wikipedia entry, which now enjoys expanded site links. So how does Google decide which keywords get seven results and which get ten? As near as analysts can tell, if you’ve got a domain that’s an exact match for the keyword, the result is often a page with seven results and an expanded site-links listing on the first result (the one which also shares its domain with the keyword) for that keyword.

News Story – Another thing you’ll notice if you really test out the latest changes in Google is the fact that there’s one news story in the seven search results. We don’t count that news story as a link because technically it’s not really part of the results. News stories rank differently because of the ever-changing nature of news.

Site Domination and Diversity

Another big issue that seems to be coming up along with this issue with the seven search results is site domination. It now seems easier than ever for some sites to hog all of the spots on the first page. This means that diversity of links is dropping, which can be a real headache for people trying to use Google to find information. On the other hand, by reducing the results on some searches down to seven, you could say that diversity is going up on those results because the expanded site-links on the first result are all included under that one umbrella. Instead of ten links that all go to the pages on the same site, you have seven links (including one with expanded site-links) that each go to different sites completely.

According to representatives from Google, they’re experimenting right now to determine the best way to handle multiple results that all come from the same site. So you’ll probably continue to see shifts going on for quite some time.

As a website owner, what can you do about this shift? In reality, you really can’t do anything about it all. This has nothing to do with the keywords you choose or the density you utilize on your website. It’s about algorithms, which is something only Google has control over. Until Google finalizes its decision and rolls out its next update, the best thing we can do is sit and wait.

Contact Avasoft today for help getting your business or website onto the first page of search engine results. Let us put our proven track record of success to work for you.

Google Index Secrets Revealed

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Site Traffic, Website Technical Issues | Posted on 16-08-2012

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Ever since the inception of Googlebot, webmasters have been trying to figure out the secret to Google’s indexing practices.  How do you ever really know if your pages have been indexed by the search engine giant?  Thanks to a new feature on Google’s Webmaster tools, you can.

Index Status, which is found in the Health menu of your tools, shows you exactly how many of your site’s pages have been indexed by Google.  When you click on the feature, you’re taken to a graph that shows how many of your pages Google has indexed.  The goal is for this chart to be steadily moving upward.  This shows you that the new content you are putting on your site is being found, crawled, and then indexed by the search engine giant.  If you don’t see a steadily increasing line on the graph, then it’s time to do some digging into your website and figure out where the problem is.  The first place you’ll go to start figuring out what the issue is will be the Advanced tab in the Index Status feature.

The Advanced tab shows more than just the number of pages from your site that Google has indexed.  It also shows how many pages the search engine’s bot has crawled, how many they are aware of but that have not been crawled because they are blocked from crawling, and the number of pages on your site that Google chose not to include in their results.  Google has flagged several reasons for not indexing certain pages.  Some of these reasons include:

  • Because it redirects to a different page
  • Because it has a canonical tag
  • Or Google’s algorithms think the content is too similar to what’s on a different URL and instead has chosen that other URL to include that content.

So the way Google crawls your site has a lot to do with the way it is set up.  If you use a lot of canonical tags, you could have a real problem in the search engine world.  However, this is something you can easily have fixed if you know what the problem is.  On the other hand, you could be left scratching your head if you don’t have redirects or canonical tags.

Sometimes all you need to do is make it easier for Google to crawl your site by using the search engine’s parameter handling features.  This will let you set which parameters should not be crawled so that Googlebot won’t waste time attempting to crawl those parameters.  Crawl efficiency can make a world of difference on some sites, so it is definitely worth checking out.

One of the easiest ways to help Google figure out why your site is set up a certain way is to submit an XML sitemap.  However, you must make sure that the maps you do submit are comprehensive so that Google will crawl your site the way you want it to.  In addition, it is important to note that the data compiled on the Index Status feature is a couple of weeks behind, so what you will really find the feature useful for is history rather than real time data.  But that history does include some valuable information you can’t afford to ignore.

For help getting your site back on track in Google’s listings, call or email Avasoft today! Our experts will help you discern what all of those numbers in your Index Status actually mean.  Then we will help you use those numbers to boost your site’s performance in the Google rankings.

How to Make Bing’s Linked Pages Work for You

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Site Traffic, Website Technical Issues | Posted on 24-07-2012

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Today it seems like almost everyone is searching for someone online. It’s even recommended that you search for yourself online from time to time just to see what others are saying about you. Last year Bing started bringing the expanded search results of our Facebook friends over to Bing so that you can find people you know more easily, but now the search engine is making it possible for you to take control over how you or your business actually show up on Bing.

Bing’s new Linked Pages makes it possible for you to link sites that are connected to you in some way with search results about you in Bing. It means that if people are looking for you online, they can see sites that you’re interested in. You can even link some of your favorite pages over to your friends on Bing. Here’s how it works.

There are a lot of people throughout the world who have the same name, so in Bing’s search engine rankings, people show up with a list of pages that are linked to them. For example, a search for John Smith will turn up his Facebook page, Linkedin Page, blog, Quora, and anything else he wants to link to his name. This helps people identify which John Smith they are looking for because, as you can image, there are a lot of people named John Smith.

Here’s how you actually start linking pages to your name:

  1. Go to: bing.com/linkedpages. Use your Facebook login at that site, which will enable Bing to post to your wall.
  2. Once you’re logged in through Facebook, you can add as many pages as you want, including the home page of your business or the company you work for, sites for the organizations you work or volunteer with, or whatever else you want to come up with your name.
  3. If you want to link your friend with a page, then just do a Bing search for them and do the links for them.
  4. At the end of the day, you always have full control over which sites are linked to you. If someone links a site that you don’t want to be connected with, you can always remove that link. Just go back to bing.com/linked pages to take off any links you want to remove, and once you do that, you’re the only one who can add that link back on. You don’t have to worry about someone relinking you to a page you’ve unlinked without your permission.
  5. If you ever want Bing to stop linking pages, all you have to do is go back to Facebook and disable the application so that it won’t do it any longer.

The reason Bing uses Facebook as its starting point is because the social networking site has made it so easy to reconnect with former school mates or old friends. Bing’s Linked Pages makes it possible for you to decide what people see when they look for you.

Bing’s Linked pages are a great way to grow your business by linking it with your name. It’s very similar to receiving an endorsement from someone. When others see that their friends have your page linked to their name, you are basically getting a referral customer, and there’s no better way to build a strong customer base than through referrals from customers who are already pleased with your services!

Contact Avasoft today to find out how easy it is to put Bing’s Linked Pages to work for your business.