Google Search Volume Experiment

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  • 1. Can Queries (and Clicks) Influence Rankings?
    Visual results from a Google experiment
    Rand Fishkin, CEO + Co-founder, SEOmoz
    August 2011
  • 2. I Ran an Experiment
    http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
    Original post here: https://plus.google.com/u/1/111294201325870406922/posts/2FmCppTwREj?hl=en
  • 3. Trying to Change These SERPs:
    Note everywhereist.com ranks #4 in the original (taken August 3rd at 1:40pm Pacific)
    http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
    Original screenshot here: http://minus.com/ljwYzm
  • 4. Also Promoted on Twitter
    http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
    Tweet post: http://twitter.com/#!/randfish/status/98857476040040450
  • 5. Results After 2 Hours
    At 3:40pm (2 hours later), the site is now ranking #3 and #4.
    http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
    Screenshot with that timestamp: http://minus.com/llEnnQ
  • 6. Total Clicks on the URLs
    Twitter URL
    Google Plus URL
    Bit.ly stats for each can be seen here: https://bitly.com/twtrblev+ and here: https://bitly.com/gptrblev+
    http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
  • 7. Google Analytics Data
    Note the higher bounce rate and shorter time on site due to the nature of the traffic
    Bit.ly stats for each can be seen here: https://bitly.com/twtrblev+ and here: https://bitly.com/gptrblev+
    http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
  • 8. This Change Only Lasted ~18 Hours
    Back down to ranking #4 by 9:28am on August 4th.
    http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
    Screenshot of 1 day later here: http://minus.com/ll2NDQ
  • 9. But then… It Changed Again?!
    Whoa! Suddenly ranking #1 and #2 (~48 hours after falling back to position #4)
    http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
    Screenshot of this result (from Monday) here: http://min.us/mcLZeu6
  • 10. Maybe it was just on-page changes?
    Note use of words “travel” and “blog” in this post’s intro.
    And their conspicuous lack of existence in this post (which was at the top when the experiment began)
    http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
    Screenshot of this result (from Monday) here: http://min.us/mcLZeu6
  • 11. Others Have Shown Sustained Volume Creates Sustained Rankings
    Martin MacDonald of OMD explains here: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/whoa-can-query-volume-directly-influence-rankings
    http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
  • 12. At no time before, during or after the experiment has the site ranked in the top 1,000 results (first 100 pages) for “travel blog”
    If search volume can influence queries the way Martin suggested, it clearly takes a higher quantity, more diversity or perhaps other factors than what I could trigger in my experiment.
    http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
  • 13. Conclusions?
    • Still mostly TBD, in my opinion
    • 14. Google doesn’t seem to be easily manipulated by a few hundred queries
    • 15. CTR may have impacted rankings here, but it could just have been the new blog post containing the keywords in a prominent position.
    • 16. Google+ Wow! Drove more than 50% of the volume that Twitter did. That’s remarkable in and of itself, given that I have <1/3rd the “followers” on GG+ as Twitter.