Rob Garner did a very good summary on Search Engine Bias in his recent article “Deconstructing Search Engine Bias”. Indeed, everyone should optimize their website based on the bias mentioned in the article.

1. Anti-spam bias (real or perceived spam). If a site appears to be spam, as defined by the engine, then that site or offending document might not rank as well as it would otherwise, or could be permanently banned from the engine’s index altogether. Meta refresh, and even the use of same-color text on same-color background are examples of tactics that have been previously used by spammers. Adapting these tactics might create a permanent bias against your site, even if first intentions were good, and the site is “legitimate” (as Google refers to sites in the patent document link below).

    Advice: Don’t use any black-hat SEO tactics. Your website might appear in top positions in a short time and then it’s gone forever!

2. Big site / authority bias. Simply put, bigger sites with unique content, years of domain trust and a healthy backlink structure have a greater chance of getting a new page ranked across a wider variety of terms and phrases, as opposed to a much smaller site with fewer or no links, and a narrower-themed scope.

    Advice: Write content by yourself and don’t copy others. Good content attracts backlinks from websites.

3. Blog / buzz bias. Blogs have hit prime time in Google Web search, and a blog with the previously mentioned characteristics can get ranked in minutes — and sometimes even stay in position for months or longer.

    Advice: Start a blog on your website hosting and try to create a buzz. April Fool might be a good day to start.

4. Bold text bias. Bias is also shown in a SERP when a keyword or phrase matching a query is bolded or highlighted. Bolded text in the title, description and even the URL can make someone look, give them a reason to click, or give them a reason to bypass other non-bolded listings.

    Advice: Do not ignore the basics: page title, description, and URL. All of them should include variations of the keyword phrase that you want your website ranked high in search engine result pages.

5. Domain bias. A trusted domain is given credence and higher visibility in the search engine results. Newer domains have to prove themselves by myriad factors.

    Advice: Purchase your domain before you finish your website design and make it live as early as possible. In addition, this means you have to try your best to get backlinks from trusted domains.

6. Feed and submission bias. Paid and free feeds now permeate the first page for certain results sets. Google Base provides top Web listings for maps, product listings and more.

    Advice: Submit your business to Google map! It is free!

7. Link bias. Links are the cornerstones of most popular search engine algorithms, and the difference between having a lot of quality links, or no links at all, is the different between being found, or not.

    Advice: Quality links are better. However, links from thousands free directories definitely help on your ranking.

8. Image / video bias. As Hotchkiss’s eyetracking research found, images visible above the fold can prompt someone to quickly scan to your asset over other text assets on the search results page.

    Advice: Try to optimise your image and home-made video submitted to Youtube will help you on better ranking.

9. Textual bias. As simple and obvious as it sounds, at this point in search history, results are heavily weighted toward text. Designing sites in Flash or other image-based elements can make your site fall victim to this bias, unless other considerations for text are made.

    Advice: Try to avoid excessive use of Flash & image if you don’t know how to program Flash to be search engine friendly. Text is so far the best for search engines!

10. Paid search bias. Like it or not, the top search results page is biased towards paid search. This is a simple bias to overcome — just break out your credit card.

    Advice: A combined PPC and SEP campaign is always better then any of them alone.

11. Personalization bias. Personalization bias is when the search engine shows customized results based on a user’s previous search history, sites visited, subscribed feeds, geographic or IP location, and other factors.

    Advice: Ranking is not what SEO is all about; it is more about to make your website both user and search engine friendly. Following the SEO best practices, your website will have a better look and feel, a better usability, and a better return.
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