Google ranking evolution

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  • 1. The Evolution of Google RankingsHow Google’s algorithm has changed over the years and where it’s heading in the future Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz CEO, March 2011
  • 2. At SEOmoz, we make SOFTWARE!! We don’t offer any consulting.
  • 3. Ranking in Google: 1999-2002
  • 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. PageRank http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.elliance.com/aha/infographics/Google-PageRank-Explained.aspx
  • 6. PageRank http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-science-of-ranking-correlations
  • 7. Ranking in Google: 2003 - 2005
  • 8. Anchor Text http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/anchor-text
  • 9. From 1999 – 2008, What Page Ranked #1 for the Queries “Exit” and “Leave”? http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html http://searchengineland.com/google-kills-bushs-miserable-failure-search-other-google-bombs-10363
  • 10. From 1999 – 2008, What Page Ranked #1 for the Queries “Exit” and “Leave”? http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html http://searchengineland.com/google-kills-bushs-miserable-failure-search-other-google-bombs-10363
  • 11. Keyword Match Domain Nameshttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/exact-match-domains-are-far-too-powerful-is-their-time-limited
  • 12. Registration & Historical Information http://www.seobythesea.com/?p=1121
  • 13. Topic Modeling LDA correlates w/ Google rankings better than any other on-page featurehttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/content-optimization-revisiting-topic-modeling-lda-our-labs-tool
  • 14. Ranking in Google: 2006 - 2009
  • 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. Diversity of External Link Sources http://www.seomoz.org/blog/10-illustrations-on-search-engines-valuation-of-links
  • 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. Search Quality Ratershttp://www.seobook.com/archives/000915.shtml
  • 19. Ranking in Google: 2009 - 2011
  • 20. Twitter DataDanny Sullivan: If an article is retweeted or referenced much inTwitter, 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 ourorganic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our newsuniversal by marking how many people shared an article http://searchengineland.com/what-social-signals-do-google-bing-really-count-55389
  • 21. Twitter Data Page A Page B646 links from 36 root domains 1 link from 1 root domain 2 tweets 522 tweets http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-do-tweets-influence-search-rankings-an-experiment-for-a-cause
  • 22. Twitter Clearly Influencing Google Page B – the tweeted version – ranks #1! Page A Page B646 links from 36 root domains 1 link from 1 root domain 2 tweets 522 tweets http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-do-tweets-influence-search-rankings-an-experiment-for-a-cause
  • 23. Twitter Data is Very Powerful in QDF http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html http://www.seomoz.org/blog/tweets-effect-rankings-unexpected-case-study
  • 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. Author AuthorityDanny Sullivan: Do you try to calculate the authority of someone whotweets that might be assigned to their Twitter page. Do you try to “know,”if you will, who they are?Bing: Yes. We do calculate the authority of someone who tweets. Forknown public figures or publishers, we do associate them with who theyare. (For example, query for Danny Sullivan)Google: Yes we do compute and use author quality. We don’t knowwho anyone is in real life :-) http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://searchengineland.com/what-social-signals-do-google-bing-really-count-55389
  • 26. Facebook Likes & Shareshttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/facebook-marketing-ultimate-guide
  • 27. Brand Signals Brands Generics• Have real people working at a physical address • Often exist only online• Have authentic, followed social accounts • Rarely have significant social accounts• Display obvious, robust contact information • Frequently use email forms only• Register with government/civic organizations • Stay “under the radar”• Receive traffic from diverse sources • Search is often 90%+ of traffic• Generate branded search query volume • Have little-no branded search demand• Run offline marketing/advertising campaigns • Ignore the offline world http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-next-generation-of-ranking-signals
  • 28. Entity Association http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-next-generation-of-ranking-signals
  • 29. User & Usage Behaviorhttp://www.quora.com/Did-Bing-intentionally-copy-Googles-search-results
  • 30. How the Search Ranking Factors Have Changed in the Eyes of Experts
  • 31. http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors
  • 32. New data will be available on SEOmoz in April, 2011
  • 33. Big Changes from 2009 to 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) The new version of the ranking factors will be online in April, 2011
  • 34. A Look at Google’s “Farmer” (aka “Panda”) Update
  • 35. Sites that Lost Visibilityhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/googles-farmer-update-analysis-of-winners-vs-losers
  • 36. Sites that Gained Visibilityhttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/googles-farmer-update-analysis-of-winners-vs-losers
  • 37. From the Mouths of GooglersWired.com: How do you recognize a shallow-content site?Singhal: (W)e asked the raters questions like: “Would you becomfortable giving this site your credit card? Would you be comfortablegiving medicine prescribed by this site to your kids?”Cutts: (Using) a rigorous set of questions, everything from. “Do youconsider this site to be authoritative? Would it be okay if this was in amagazine? Does this site have excessive ads?”Singhal: And based on that, we basically formed some definition ofwhat could be considered low quality. http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/the-panda-that-hates-farms/all/1
  • 38. From the Mouths of GooglersWired.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 usershave.Singhal: You can imagine in a hyperspace a bunch of points, somepoints are red, some points are green, and in others there’s somemixture. Your job is to find a plane which says that most things onthis side of the place are red, and most of the things on that side ofthe plane are the opposite of red. http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/the-panda-that-hates-farms/all/1
  • 39. Links Didn’t Seem to Have Much Impact http://www.seomoz.org/blog/googles-farmer-update-analysis-of-winners-vs-losers
  • 40. How Google’s Interface Has Evolved
  • 41. Old Google SERPs
  • 42. Google SERPs Today
  • 43. Google SERPs Tomorrow
  • 44. How Search Marketers Can Evolve
  • 45. Don’t “Look” Like a Content Farm http://www.suite101.com/content/canada-awarded-fifa-2015-womens-world-cup-of-soccerfootball-a356303
  • 46. Don’t “Look” Like a Content Farm http://hubpages.com/hub/WomensFashionsofthe1920-FlappersandtheJazz-Age
  • 47. Watch Out for “Classic” SEO Tactics Directory Link Building Keyword-Variant Abuse Reciprocal Link Pages Paid Links w/ Manipulative Anchor Text Sitewide, Footer Links Navigation for Engines, Not HumansLow Cost/Quality, Outsourced Content Generic Design and Layout Anonymous Contact Forms Anchor-Text Rich Internal Links Ad Blocks Dominating the Page Keyword Stuffed Titles + Pages It’s great to do good SEO, just don’t look like the only reason the site exists is to draw Google traffic
  • 48. Become a “Brand” Brands Generics• Have real people working at a physical address • Often exist only online• Have authentic, followed social accounts • Rarely have significant social accounts• Display obvious, robust contact information • Frequently use email forms only• Register with government/civic organizations • Stay “under the radar”• Receive traffic from diverse sources • Search is often 90%+ of traffic• Generate branded search query volume • Have little-no branded search demand• Run offline marketing/advertising campaigns • Ignore the offline world http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-next-generation-of-ranking-signals
  • 49. Find Where Top Brands Earn Citations Where do these brands earn their links? http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html http://www.opensiteexplorer.org
  • 50. Investigate Brand “Mention” Sources Facebook page Blippr? Crunchbase profile App profile on Blackberry Twitter account BusinessWeek Profile Chrome Extension Mashable Article
  • 51. Focus on the User, But Don’t Forget the Engines http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/business/media/11search.html
  • 52. Take Advantage of New Opportunities http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/05/introducing-rich-snippets.html
  • 53. Take Advantage of New Opportunities http://www.9e3k.com/9e3k/monday-meme-yoda-spreads-some-9e3k-love/
  • 54. Take Advantage of New Opportunities http://outspokenmedia.com/social-media/quora-hipsters/
  • 55. Embrace All of Inbound Marketing News/Media/PR SEO Email Blogs + Blogging Research/White Papers InfographicsComment Marketing Social Networks Online Video INBOUND MARKETING! Webinars Forums (AKA all the “free” traffic sources) Document SharingSocial Bookmarking Word of Mouth Direct/Referring Links Podcasting Type-In Traffic Q+A Sites
  • 56. Q+ARand Fishkin, CEO & Co-Founder, SEOmoz• Twitter: @randfish You can now try SEOmoz PRO Free!• Blog: www.seomoz.org/blog http://www.seomoz.org/freetrial• Email: rand@seomoz.org
  • 57. Summary of This PresentationThe 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