The Evolution of Google Rankings
How Google’s algorithm has changed over the years
and where it’s heading in the future
Ra...
At SEOmoz, we make SOFTWARE!! We don’t offer any consulting.
Ranking in Google: 1999-2002
On-Page Optimization
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/pe...
PageRank
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.elliance.com/aha/infographics/...
PageRank
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-science-of...
Ranking in Google: 2003 - 2005
Anchor Text
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/anchor...
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
From 1999 – 2008, What Page Ranked #1
for the Que...
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
From 1999 – 2008, What Page Ranked #1
for the Que...
Keyword Match Domain Names
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/exact-match-domains-are-far-too-powerful-is-their-time-limited
Registration & Historical Information
http://www.seobythesea.com/?p=1121
Topic Modeling
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/content-optimization-revisiting-topic-modeling-lda-our-labs-tool
LDA correlates ...
Ranking in Google: 2006 - 2009
Domain Authority
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/whiteb...
Diversity of External Link Sources
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/10-illustrations-on-search-engines-valuation-of-links
Nofollow, Sitemaps & Webmaster Tools
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/google-says-yes-you-can-still-sculpt-pagerank-no-you-cant-...
Search Quality Raters
http://www.seobook.com/archives/000915.shtml
Ranking in Google: 2009 - 2011
Twitter Data
http://searchengineland.com/what-social-signals-do-google-bing-really-count-55389
Danny Sullivan: If an artic...
Twitter Data
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-do-twe...
Twitter Clearly Influencing Google
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seom...
Twitter Data is Very Powerful in QDF
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.se...
Don’t Try Abusing Twitter for SEO
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomo...
Author Authority
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://searchengineland.com/what-...
Facebook Likes & Shares
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/facebook-marketing-ultimate-guide
Brand Signals
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-next-generation-of-ranking-signals
Brands Generics
• Have real people working...
Entity Association
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-next-generation-of-ranking-signals
User & Usage Behavior
http://www.quora.com/Did-Bing-intentionally-copy-Googles-search-results
How the Search Ranking Factors Have
Changed in the Eyes of Experts
http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors
New data will be available on SEOmoz in April, 2011
Big Changes from 2009 to 2011
The new version of the ranking factors will be online in April, 2011
• Link-Based Factors ar...
A Look at Google’s “Farmer”
(aka “Panda”) Update
Sites that Lost Visibility
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/googles-farmer-update-analysis-of-winners-vs-losers
Sites that Gained Visibility
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/googles-farmer-update-analysis-of-winners-vs-losers
From the Mouths of Googlers
http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/the-panda-that-hates-farms/all/1
Wired.com: How do you ...
From the Mouths of Googlers
http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/the-panda-that-hates-farms/all/1
Wired.com: But how do ...
Links Didn’t Seem to Have Much Impact
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/googles-farmer-update-analysis-of-winners-vs-losers
How Google’s Interface Has Evolved
Old Google SERPs
Google SERPs Today
Google SERPs Tomorrow
How Search Marketers Can Evolve
Don’t “Look” Like a Content Farm
http://www.suite101.com/content/canada-awarded-fifa-2015-womens-world-cup-of-soccerfootba...
Don’t “Look” Like a Content Farm
http://hubpages.com/hub/WomensFashionsofthe1920-FlappersandtheJazz-Age
Watch Out for “Classic” SEO Tactics
It’s great to do good SEO, just don’t look like the only reason the site exists is to ...
Become a “Brand”
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-next-generation-of-ranking-signals
Brands Generics
• Have real people work...
Find Where Top Brands Earn Citations
http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.op...
Facebook page
Blippr?
Crunchbase profile
App profile on Blackberry
Twitter account
BusinessWeek Profile
Chrome Extension
M...
Focus on the User, But Don’t Forget the Engines
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/business/media/11search.html
Take Advantage of New Opportunities
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/05/introducing-rich-snippets.html
Take Advantage of New Opportunities
http://www.9e3k.com/9e3k/monday-meme-yoda-spreads-some-9e3k-love/
Take Advantage of New Opportunities
http://outspokenmedia.com/social-media/quora-hipsters/
Embrace All of Inbound Marketing
Blogs + Blogging
Comment Marketing
News/Media/PR
SEO
Social Networks
Word of Mouth
Q+A Si...
Q+A
Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-Founder, SEOmoz
• Twitter: @randfish
• Blog: www.seomoz.org/blog
• Email: rand@seomoz.org
You c...
Summary of This Presentation
The Evolution and Future of Google’s Rankings:
• Where Google’s Been in the Past (1999-2010)
...
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  1. 1. The Evolution of Google Rankings How Google’s algorithm has changed over the years and where it’s heading in the future Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz CEO, March 2011
  2. 2. At SEOmoz, we make SOFTWARE!! We don’t offer any consulting.
  3. 3. Ranking in Google: 1999-2002
  4. 4. On-Page Optimization http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/perfecting-keyword-targeting-on-page-optimization
  5. 5. PageRank http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.elliance.com/aha/infographics/Google-PageRank-Explained.aspx
  6. 6. PageRank http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-science-of-ranking-correlations
  7. 7. Ranking in Google: 2003 - 2005
  8. 8. Anchor Text http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/anchor-text
  9. 9. http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html From 1999 – 2008, What Page Ranked #1 for the Queries “Exit” and “Leave”? http://searchengineland.com/google-kills-bushs-miserable-failure-search-other-google-bombs-10363
  10. 10. http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html From 1999 – 2008, What Page Ranked #1 for the Queries “Exit” and “Leave”? http://searchengineland.com/google-kills-bushs-miserable-failure-search-other-google-bombs-10363
  11. 11. Keyword Match Domain Names http://www.seomoz.org/blog/exact-match-domains-are-far-too-powerful-is-their-time-limited
  12. 12. Registration & Historical Information http://www.seobythesea.com/?p=1121
  13. 13. Topic Modeling http://www.seomoz.org/blog/content-optimization-revisiting-topic-modeling-lda-our-labs-tool LDA correlates w/ Google rankings better than any other on-page feature
  14. 14. Ranking in Google: 2006 - 2009
  15. 15. Domain Authority http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/whiteboard-friday-domain-authority-page-authority-metrics
  16. 16. Diversity of External Link Sources http://www.seomoz.org/blog/10-illustrations-on-search-engines-valuation-of-links
  17. 17. Nofollow, Sitemaps & Webmaster Tools http://www.seomoz.org/blog/google-says-yes-you-can-still-sculpt-pagerank-no-you-cant-do-it-with-nofollow
  18. 18. Search Quality Raters http://www.seobook.com/archives/000915.shtml
  19. 19. Ranking in Google: 2009 - 2011
  20. 20. Twitter Data http://searchengineland.com/what-social-signals-do-google-bing-really-count-55389 Danny Sullivan: If an article is retweeted or referenced much in Twitter, do you count that as a signal outside of finding any non- nofollowed links that may naturally result from it? Google: Yes, we do use it as a signal. It is used as a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by marking how many people shared an article
  21. 21. Twitter Data http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-do-tweets-influence-search-rankings-an-experiment-for-a-cause Page A 646 links from 36 root domains 2 tweets Page B 1 link from 1 root domain 522 tweets
  22. 22. Twitter Clearly Influencing Google http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-do-tweets-influence-search-rankings-an-experiment-for-a-cause Page A 646 links from 36 root domains 2 tweets Page B 1 link from 1 root domain 522 tweets Page B – the tweeted version – ranks #1!
  23. 23. Twitter Data is Very Powerful in QDF http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/tweets-effect-rankings-unexpected-case-study
  24. 24. Don’t Try Abusing Twitter for SEO http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/tweets-effect-rankings-unexpected-case-study#jtc133590
  25. 25. Author Authority http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://searchengineland.com/what-social-signals-do-google-bing-really-count-55389 Danny Sullivan: Do you try to calculate the authority of someone who tweets that might be assigned to their Twitter page. Do you try to “know,” if you will, who they are? Google: Yes we do compute and use author quality. We don’t know who anyone is in real life :-) Bing: Yes. We do calculate the authority of someone who tweets. For known public figures or publishers, we do associate them with who they are. (For example, query for Danny Sullivan)
  26. 26. Facebook Likes & Shares http://www.seomoz.org/blog/facebook-marketing-ultimate-guide
  27. 27. Brand Signals http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-next-generation-of-ranking-signals Brands Generics • Have real people working at a physical address • Have authentic, followed social accounts • Display obvious, robust contact information • Register with government/civic organizations • Receive traffic from diverse sources • Generate branded search query volume • Run offline marketing/advertising campaigns • Often exist only online • Rarely have significant social accounts • Frequently use email forms only • Stay “under the radar” • Search is often 90%+ of traffic • Have little-no branded search demand • Ignore the offline world
  28. 28. Entity Association http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-next-generation-of-ranking-signals
  29. 29. User & Usage Behavior http://www.quora.com/Did-Bing-intentionally-copy-Googles-search-results
  30. 30. How the Search Ranking Factors Have Changed in the Eyes of Experts
  31. 31. http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors
  32. 32. New data will be available on SEOmoz in April, 2011
  33. 33. Big Changes from 2009 to 2011 The new version of the ranking factors will be online in April, 2011 • Link-Based Factors are no longer 60%+ of the equation! • Social Data is perceived to be a significant player • Page-Level Link Metrics Fell the Most (43% - 22%) • Keyword-Level Domain Metrics, Brand Data + Social Rose • The Survey itself asked for more detail/specificity (which may be responsible for some of these shifts)
  34. 34. A Look at Google’s “Farmer” (aka “Panda”) Update
  35. 35. Sites that Lost Visibility http://www.seomoz.org/blog/googles-farmer-update-analysis-of-winners-vs-losers
  36. 36. Sites that Gained Visibility http://www.seomoz.org/blog/googles-farmer-update-analysis-of-winners-vs-losers
  37. 37. From the Mouths of Googlers http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/the-panda-that-hates-farms/all/1 Wired.com: How do you recognize a shallow-content site? Singhal: (W)e asked the raters questions like: “Would you be comfortable giving this site your credit card? Would you be comfortable giving medicine prescribed by this site to your kids?” Cutts: (Using) a rigorous set of questions, everything from. “Do you consider this site to be authoritative? Would it be okay if this was in a magazine? Does this site have excessive ads?” Singhal: And based on that, we basically formed some definition of what could be considered low quality.
  38. 38. From the Mouths of Googlers http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/the-panda-that-hates-farms/all/1 Wired.com: But how do you implement that algorithmically? Cutts: I think you look for signals that recreate that same intuition, that same experience that you have as an engineer and that users have. Singhal: You can imagine in a hyperspace a bunch of points, some points are red, some points are green, and in others there’s some mixture. Your job is to find a plane which says that most things on this side of the place are red, and most of the things on that side of the plane are the opposite of red.
  39. 39. Links Didn’t Seem to Have Much Impact http://www.seomoz.org/blog/googles-farmer-update-analysis-of-winners-vs-losers
  40. 40. How Google’s Interface Has Evolved
  41. 41. Old Google SERPs
  42. 42. Google SERPs Today
  43. 43. Google SERPs Tomorrow
  44. 44. How Search Marketers Can Evolve
  45. 45. Don’t “Look” Like a Content Farm http://www.suite101.com/content/canada-awarded-fifa-2015-womens-world-cup-of-soccerfootball-a356303
  46. 46. Don’t “Look” Like a Content Farm http://hubpages.com/hub/WomensFashionsofthe1920-FlappersandtheJazz-Age
  47. 47. Watch Out for “Classic” SEO Tactics It’s great to do good SEO, just don’t look like the only reason the site exists is to draw Google traffic Directory Link Building Sitewide, Footer Links Low Cost/Quality, Outsourced Content Keyword Stuffed Titles + Pages Anchor-Text Rich Internal Links Navigation for Engines, Not Humans Generic Design and Layout Anonymous Contact Forms Ad Blocks Dominating the Page Reciprocal Link Pages Paid Links w/ Manipulative Anchor Text Keyword-Variant Abuse
  48. 48. Become a “Brand” http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-next-generation-of-ranking-signals Brands Generics • Have real people working at a physical address • Have authentic, followed social accounts • Display obvious, robust contact information • Register with government/civic organizations • Receive traffic from diverse sources • Generate branded search query volume • Run offline marketing/advertising campaigns • Often exist only online • Rarely have significant social accounts • Frequently use email forms only • Stay “under the radar” • Search is often 90%+ of traffic • Have little-no branded search demand • Ignore the offline world
  49. 49. Find Where Top Brands Earn Citations http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.opensiteexplorer.org Where do these brands earn their links?
  50. 50. Facebook page Blippr? Crunchbase profile App profile on Blackberry Twitter account BusinessWeek Profile Chrome Extension Mashable Article Investigate Brand “Mention” Sources
  51. 51. Focus on the User, But Don’t Forget the Engines http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/business/media/11search.html
  52. 52. Take Advantage of New Opportunities http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/05/introducing-rich-snippets.html
  53. 53. Take Advantage of New Opportunities http://www.9e3k.com/9e3k/monday-meme-yoda-spreads-some-9e3k-love/
  54. 54. Take Advantage of New Opportunities http://outspokenmedia.com/social-media/quora-hipsters/
  55. 55. Embrace All of Inbound Marketing Blogs + Blogging Comment Marketing News/Media/PR SEO Social Networks Word of Mouth Q+A Sites Forums Online Video Podcasting Webinars Research/White Papers Infographics Social Bookmarking INBOUND MARKETING! (AKA all the “free” traffic sources) Direct/Referring Links Type-In Traffic Email Document Sharing
  56. 56. Q+A Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-Founder, SEOmoz • Twitter: @randfish • Blog: www.seomoz.org/blog • Email: rand@seomoz.org You can now try SEOmoz PRO Free! http://www.seomoz.org/freetrial
  57. 57. Summary of This Presentation The Evolution and Future of Google’s Rankings: • Where Google’s Been in the Past (1999-2010) • New Signals in Google: Social Media, User Data & Brand Signals • The Evolution of the Search Engine Results Interface • What Marketers Must Do to Keep Up with Google’s Evolution
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