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SearchLove Boston 2016 | Larry Kim | Hacking RankBrain: Four Strategies You’ll Need to Survive SEO Judgment Day

RankBrain debuted last year as Google's third most weighted ranking signal and is currently leveraged for obscure long tail queries. However as RankBrain is perfected and refined, it will likely be used on more queries and weighted more heavily, and even displace links and on-page SEO factors as Google’s #1 SEO ranking factor in the distant future: SEO judgement day. This session will reverse engineer how RankBrain actually works, exposing four critical vulnerabilities and share unusual, yet completely white-hat ways to benefit from future Rankbrain updates. The biggest SEO ranking factor shift of all time is underway, moving away from links and keywords towards Rankbrain user engagement signals. Attend this session if you want your rankings to live. Join the resistance today!

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SearchLove Boston 2016 | Larry Kim | Hacking RankBrain: Four Strategies You’ll Need to Survive SEO Judgment Day

  1. 1. HACKING RANKBRAIN & MACHINE LEARNING-ENABLED ALGOS: The 5 SEO Strategies You’ll Need to Survive SEO Judgment Day
  3. 3. BOOM!
  4. 4. SEO JUDGEMENT DAY: Google Core Search Algorithms All Based on Machine Learning
  5. 5. Algos for Spam Detection, Image Search, Video Search, Query Interpretation, Core Ranking Algo (etc.) All Machine-Learning Enabled
  7. 7. JOHN CONNOR, Leader of the SEO Rebellion in 2020.
  9. 9. GOOGLE SEARCH TODAY: HEURISTIC ALGORITHMS Not Based on Machine Learning (Yet) Google Algorithm Change History
  10. 10. • Machine Learning / AI- Powered • Checks if the search results met user expectations • Make adjustments to query & rankings based on the outcome Google Search In The Future: MACHINE-LEARNING BASED
  12. 12. Ran
  13. 13. Google Cloud Vision API Google Cloud Speech API Google Cloud Translate API
  14. 14. Certain Search Verticals Like Porn?
  15. 15. Google AdWords Entirely Based on Machine Learning for Ad Targeting
  18. 18. Machine Learning Systems Pretty Much EVERYWHERE
  19. 19. Core Algo Changing? Validation Signals? WHO CARES! GET IN!
  20. 20. if You Want Your Website Rankings To Live
  21. 21. Why Didn’t They Just Send Rand?
  22. 22. Three Random Facts ABOUT ME
  23. 23. 1. FOUNDER OF WORDSTREAM, INC. 2008 2016
  25. 25. 3. Built Suite of Long Tail Keyword Research Tools
  26. 26. What is RankBrain??
  27. 27. Google: “RankBrain Used on Long Tail Queries”… “Query Interpretation ... That Changes Rank”
  28. 28. How Does RankBrain REALLY Work??
  29. 29. Long Tail Query Entered RankBrain Makes a Guess and Re-Writes The Query into Something it Recognizes (Query Interpretation) Did The Result Satisfy The User? Great. Next Time I See Queries Like This, I’ll Put This Page at the Top. Larry’s Greatly Simplified RankBrain Diagram* *Note: Not Official Google Diagram. System Doesn’t Update in Real-Time (yet). Rats. Next Time I See a Query Like This, I’ll Try Some Other Page
  30. 30. Searching For RANKBRAIN
  31. 31. CTR vs. Organic Search Position Long Tail vs. Head Terms in Organic Search: Higher CTRs in Top Positions Similar CTRs in Lower Positions
  32. 32. In Paid Search: CTR vs. Position for Paid Search Ads Long Tail & Head Terms Have the Similar CTR at Top Large Differences in CTR of Head Vs. Long Tail at Lower Positions
  33. 33. POSSIBLE EVIDENCE OF RANKBRAIN?? WHY? PAID SEARCH ORGANIC SEARCH Top Spots (1–2) Long-tail and head terms have similar CTR Long-tail and head terms have large differences in CTR Lower Spots (3-7) Long-tail and head terms have large differences in CTR Long-tail and head terms have similar CTR
  34. 34. What Came First: The CTR or the Ranking??
  35. 35. +/- 3% Increase in Post Engagement +/- 1 Spot in Organic Position RankBrain Rewards & Penalties?
  36. 36. Key Takeaway: ML (in General) Makes Stuff Increasingly Winner-Take-All. Larry’s RankBrain Theory: High CTR Long Tail Rankings Get *Additional* Bonus Ranking Boost
  37. 37. If True, What Should SEOs Do To Prepare For RankBrain and Other ML- Enabled Algos?
  38. 38. They’re Not Going To Tell You Everything…
  39. 39. He’s Delusional. Do Nothing.
  40. 40. We Need To Crush More Auditions.
  41. 41. New ML-Algos Tougher Than Previous Ones…
  42. 42. Five SEO Weapons to Survive SEO Judgement Day
  43. 43. LARRY’S #1 SEO WEAPON Mobile Donkey/Unicorn Detector
  46. 46. What’s a Good Click Through Rate?
  47. 47. CTR Study (2014) by. Philip Petrescu for Moz.
  48. 48. SERP Differs Greatly By Industry
  49. 49. Use Your Own Data To Plot The Average CTR for YOUR Industry! Unicorns Donkeys CTR vs. Average Position
  51. 51. Unicorns are Up To 6x Better Than Donkeys. Avg. CTR Donkey CTRs (Bottom 10%) = 3x Worse Than Avg. Unicorn CTRs (Top 10%) = +2x Better Avg.
  52. 52. DONKEYS DETECTED. How to Convert to Unicorn??
  53. 53. Larry’s #2 SEO Weapon: DONKEY TO UNICORN CONVERTER
  54. 54. These SEO Title Tags All Suck:
  55. 55. “SEO” Headlines are Like Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) for PPC
  56. 56. Keyword Headlines Using Dynamic Keyword Insertion Do OK, Not Great Relative Frequency Average CTR Top 15% Top 5% Top 1% Relative CTR Ads without DKI Ads with DKI
  57. 57. Keyword-y Headlines Less Likely To Be UnicornsRelative Frequency Top 5% Ads without DKI Ads with DKI Top 1% Relative CTR
  58. 58. Larry’s Unicorn Research Lab
  59. 59. Leverage Emotional Triggers I Know Now Why You Cry…
  60. 60. The Top 9 Emotions That Make People Click Like Crazy: Step 1: Pick One of These Emotional Triggers • Laughter • Amusement • Curiosity • Awe • Anger • Fear • Joy • Empathy • Sadness
  61. 61. Step 2. Write Headline Copy From Perspective of One of These Personas The Bearer of Bad News The Hero/Villai n The Comedian The Feel Good Friend
  62. 62. 3. Use This Title Template Commonly Employed By ‘Viral’ Articles Format List post, quiz, Infographic Emotional Hook Emotional word or superlative Content Type Images, quotes, pictures, facts Topic Love, cats, dogs, fitness, health, Donald Trump 4 AWESOME SEO STRATEGIES TO DEFEAT RANKBRAIN
  63. 63. The Same Emotions That Make People to Share Things Cause High CTR.
  64. 64. Unicorn Headlines = Top 10% Odds of Finding Unicorn = 1:10 So Test 10 Different Headlines
  65. 65. Quiz: How Many Headlines Do You See Here?
  66. 66. It’s the Same Headline with Different Capitalization, Punctuation Are We Learning Yet??
  67. 67. You Need 10 *Different* Headlines! How to Spot the Unicorn?
  68. 68. Use AdWords to Test Headlines
  69. 69. Bid to Position (eg: Top Spot)
  70. 70. OK To Target Cheaper Markets Average Cost Per Click Around The World Greater than US Average CPC Average US CPC 1-20% Less than Average US CP 21-40% Less than Average US CPC41-60% Less than Average US C 61-80% Less than Average US CPC>81% Less than Average US CPC Limited Data
  71. 71. Use Broad Match Keyword Match Type
  72. 72. • Identify Donkeys (Bottom 10%) • Write 10 Different Headlines • Test 10 Ads on AdWords • Replace Old Headline With Winner Larry’s Donkey to Unicorn Converter: Summary
  73. 73. A Note of Caution
  74. 74. Don’t Use Spam Sites Like
  75. 75. We’ve Got RankBrain By The Balls
  76. 76. They Have a Back-Up System…
  77. 77. We’ve Got Rankbrain By The Balls Seems to Have a Back-Up System… We’re Gonna Need Bigger Guns..
  78. 78. LARRY’S #3 SEO WEAPON Engagement Rate Unicorn/Donkey Detector
  79. 79. Bounce Rate vs. Organic Position Pass: Bounce Rate Low Enough Fail: Bounce Rate Too High
  80. 80. We Know Google Measures Dwell Time
  81. 81. We Know Google Measures Dwell Time
  82. 82. Time on Site vs. Organic Position PASS: Good Enough Time On Site Fail: Time on Site not Good Enough
  83. 83. Key Takeaway: “Task Completion Rates” Used To Validate CTR
  84. 84. Engagement Rate Unicorn/Donkey Detector
  85. 85. Search Conversion Rate Distribution Median: 2.35% Top 25%: 5.31% and Above Top 10%: 11.45% and Above SHAREOFALLACCOUNTS SEARCH CONVERSION RATE. (WordStream Customer Data – Not Official Google Data) What’s a Good Conversion Rate?
  86. 86. Distribution Point Conversion Rate Vs. Average Comments AVERAGE 2.35% - DONKEYS TOP 25% 5.31% 2X AWESOME TOP 10% 11.45% 5X UNICORNS Donkeys vs. Unicorns Unicorns Convert 5x Better Than Donkeys
  87. 87. How to Turn Conversion Rate Donkeys into Unicorns?
  88. 88. Higher CTRs = Higher Conversion Rates
  89. 89. The Great A/B Testing Fairy Tale We Changed The.. • Font Type • Spacing • Button Color • Image • Etc. “We Got a 5% Increase in Conversions”
  90. 90. Typical A/B Test Early Lead Disappears. Gains Don’t Persist.
  91. 91. Your Current Offer A Completely Different, Better Offer Big vs. Little Changes Unicorn Hill Donkey Hill
  92. 92. Change Your Offer To Dramatically Increase Conversion Rates
  93. 93. RankBrain Terminated Now What?
  94. 94. Time Travel to Past: Before Users Do Searches
  95. 95. Larry’s #4 SEO Weapo FACEBOOK ADS and Google Display Network
  96. 96. How Advertising REALLY Works STEP 1: Promote Inspirational / Memorable Content about Your Brand to your Target Market STEP 2: People See The Ad, But Don’t Necessarily Take Action Right Away. (But Become Biased) STEP 3: Later when the Need Arises, People either: Do a Branded Search for Your Stuff Do Un-Branded Search but Biased Towards Clicking & Buying From You.
  97. 97. Wait.. Advertising Impacts Organic CTR and Conversion Rates??
  98. 98. Facebook Ads Impact Clicks, Conversions from Paid/Organic Search
  99. 99. Warning: Facebook Ads Employ Machine Learning Tech: So You Can’t Promote Junk
  100. 100. Interests Targeting
  101. 101. Demographic Targeting
  102. 102. Behavioral Targeting
  103. 103. Custom Affinity Audiences in Google Display Network
  104. 104. Clone Existing Customer Lists
  105. 105. Time Travel to FUTURE: Ensure Subsequent Searches Go Your Way
  106. 106. I’LL BE BACK Larry’s #5 SEO Weapon: Remarketi ng
  107. 107. LovePop Cards:
  108. 108. 3-Dimensional Pop-Up Cards
  109. 109. Unicorn Video Ads!
  110. 110. Returning Visitors: 1. Existing Customers 2. 1-Day Remarketing Audience 3. 7, 30, 180-day Remarketing Audiences New Visitors: 1. Lookalike Audiences 2. Interest, Behavior & Demographic- Based Audiences. Note: Exclude the overlap (duh). arry’s Ad Targeting Stack (Powered By Tim Travel)
  111. 111. Delete Your “Bad Neighborhoods” Self Destruct Sequence Initiated
  112. 112. Mission Complet e
  113. 113. What Does it All Mean?
  114. 114. Old SEO Tactics Clearly Don’t Work Anymore
  115. 115. They Might Even Make Things Worse!
  116. 116. Don’t Just Wait for RankBrain & ML-Algos.
  117. 117. Better CTR & Conversion Rates -> More Clicks & Conversions. Improved CTR & CVR -> Better Rankings. Better Rankings -> Even more clicks and Virtuous Cycle of Unicorn Land:
  118. 118. Terrible CTR & Engagement Rates -> Less Clicks, Leads, Sales, etc. Crappy User Engagement -> Terrible Rankings. Terrible Rankings -> Even Fewer Clicks & Sales. Vs. Death Spiral of RankBrain and Other ML- Algos
  119. 119. How Advertising REALLY Works STEP 1: Promote Inspirational / Memorable Content about Your Brand to your Target Market STEP 2: People See The Ad, But Don’t Necessarily Take Action Right Away. (But Become Biased) STEP 3: Later when the Need Arises, People either: Do a Branded Search for Your Stuff Do Un-Branded Search but Biased Towards Clicking & Buying From You.
  120. 120. Be a Unicorn in a Sea of Donkeys
  121. 121. Thank You, SearchLove!