View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new iOS app!Introducing SlideShare for AndroidExplore all your favorite topics in the SlideShare appGet the SlideShare app to Save for Later — even offline
View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new Android app!View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new iOS app!
Manager, SEO & Analytics – SapientNitro
How can we keep up
with the ever-changing
“We make over 500 changes to our algorithms [each] year”
- Matt Cutts
(about the algorithms)
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we
used when we created them”
- Albert Einstein
The Algorithm Has
Everybody’s 2nd Favorite Formulas
noun: algorithm; plural noun: algorithms
a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving
operations, esp. by a computer.
Algorithm Factors & weights are dependent upon the
result set (corpus)
When the corpus changes, so does the importance of
It actually is brain
Something to Think About:
Neural networks Require Training Sets
• Human Quality Raters
• Matt’s latest call for “good sites that should rank
- A “simple” neural network
Type 1: Storm chasers
The Algorithm Chaser /
Analyze, Measure, Correlate, Examine,
Interpret, & Follow top ranking sites.
Try to figure out the factors that top sites
have in common and emulate them.
“This is how SEO used to be, many years ago. It used to
work very well.”
Sometimes The Tail wags the dog.
Type 2: Storm Predictors
Pay attention to where
the algorithm is heading
“We sometimes call these SEOs Google fan-boys. ”
10,000 foot view
Focuses on “What”
rather than “How”
Google wants to rank Quality, Useful sites. Ok, how can I
make my site more useful?
Let’s Talk About Hummingbird
Hummingbird Changes The Algorithm Focus
Show most popular results that actually contain “keyword”
Show the most useful and popular results for “what the
Let’s Change How We Think About Search Algorithms
Myth 1: The Algorithm is a Static Formula
It’s Not. Get Over It.
Ranking Factors differ
by query & corpus
Myth 2: Google Has a Brand Bias
Google favors what
Source: google consumer surveys.
Question : “where would you buy
a flat screen TV”
How do you determine if something is a brand?
Hint: Not this way: (in_array($knownBrands,$URL))? $ranking++ : $ranking--;
Google doesn’t check against a list of brands.
Trust. Authority. Popularity
Note: yeah, I know Google uses python, not PHP. Here’s python. Happy?
ranking += 1 If url in brandarray else ranking -= 1
Myth 3: Altering vs. Ordering
Some factors alter the SERP corpus. Others simply order it.
Alter (included or not?)
Some factors may do both. E.G. personalization, QDF, manual penalties.
Myth 4: Rankings changes only hurt people.
For every site that loses rankings, another one gains.
(although, to be fair, sometimes that “other” site is Google)
Myth 5: Rankings dropped, I got penalized.
If you just dropped a couple spots, you weren’t penalized.
If you fall out of the search results completely, that’s a penalty.
Myth 6: Social Signals Are Super Important
Social Signals Are Important, But Not For Rankings
Google has said they don’t use Facebook or Twitter signals
in rankings, and are still evaluating plusses/likes.
Let’s Talk About Correlation
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
- Inigo Montoya
Some Fun Correlations
Sometimes, the “hidden factor” is simply just Time.
• Ice Cream Sales are highly correlated with crime.
• Number of Facebook Users correlates to the national debt.
• In children under 3, vocabulary and shoe size have a correlation coefficient of 1.0
• One SEO study actually claimed having a keyword optimized title tag is highly correlated with manual
• Heat / Weather
• Spammers do keyword research – more than the general web.
SEO correlations have hidden factors too!
• Plusses / Facebook likes are correlated to rankings
• But people can’t plus/like what they can’t find. (e.g. rankings came first)
• Let’s better understand correlation coefficients too!
• Anything under .6/.7 is pretty scattered.
Perhaps study values are so low because factors
vary based on the result sets?
Tips For Surviving Algorithm Changes
Don’t chase algorithms, chase the reasons for the algorithms.
Understand why the algorithm changes were made
Focus less on ranking factors and more on why they are factors.
Be a Brand. Do what brands do. Build Quality, Trust, Authority.
Goal: If your site isn’t ranking, customers should think that Google is broken.
Don’t Ask: “how do I rank for ___”
Ask: “What do people searching ___ want to see?”