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Rand Fishkin - The State of SEO & How to Survive Google’s Trojan Horsing of the Web

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Google is falling into a familiar pattern. First, they offer web publishers in a sector (flights, recipes, local, video, e-commerce) increased visibility and SERP display options. Next, they incent participation in specific formats and data structures. And, finally, they take that data for themselves, changing the SERPs to favor advertising, their own properties, and/or instant answers that can reduce publisher traffic. For web marketers, it’s a prisoner’s dilemma — do we give Google what they want now so a competitor doesn’t cave first, or do we hold back and miss out on traffic potential for fear of losing out long term? In this presentation, Rand will show data on how Google is being used today, and how it’s changing, then dive into strategic initiatives and specific examples of how savvy players can build a moat to protect against long-term risk. Included will be tactical wins every site can take advantage of to drive more traffic and improve their content and web marketing strategies. A collaborative process for marketing teams, designed to create high-performance digital experiences that solve real, observed customer pains.

Published in: Marketing

Rand Fishkin - The State of SEO & How to Survive Google’s Trojan Horsing of the Web

  1. 1. Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com How to Survive Google’s Trojan Horsing of the Web
  2. 2. What Has Google Been Up To?
  3. 3. Breaking Into Job Listings
  4. 4. Breaking Into Reservations
  5. 5. Breaking Into Cultural Content
  6. 6. Disintermediating Lists
  7. 7. Penalizing vs. Ignoring Spam
  8. 8. Facing their 1st Real Threat in Years
  9. 9. Losing their First Big Case vs. the EU
  10. 10. Facing Potential Regulation of Results in Canada
  11. 11. Paying Professors to Have Their Back
  12. 12. But Google is Still the Unquestionable Behemoth
  13. 13. Where Do People Search?
  14. 14. Breakdownof SearchesonMajor WebProperties (October2016)
  15. 15. Breakdownof SearchesonMajor WebProperties (May2017)
  16. 16. GoogleCore Oct2016 May2017 GoogleImages Yahoo Bing GoogleMaps Amazon Facebook Gained/Lost 58.9% 27.7% 2.6% 2.3% 2.2% 1.9% 0.7% YouTube 3.8% 64.8% 21.8% 2.4% 2.4% 1.2% 2.3% 1.5% 3.6% +5.9 -5.9 -0.2 +0.1 -1.0 +0.4 +0.8 -0.2
  17. 17. GoogleCore Oct2016 May2017 GoogleImages Yahoo Bing GoogleMaps Amazon Facebook Gained/Lost 58.9% 27.7% 2.6% 2.3% 2.2% 1.9% 0.7% YouTube 3.8% 64.8% 21.8% 2.4% 2.4% 1.2% 2.3% 1.5% 3.6% +5.9 -5.9 -0.2 +0.1 -1.0 +0.4 +0.8 -0.2 We think this is Halloween
  18. 18. GoogleCore Oct2016 May2017 GoogleImages Yahoo Bing GoogleMaps Amazon Facebook Gained/Lost 58.9% 27.7% 2.6% 2.3% 2.2% 1.9% 0.7% YouTube 3.8% 64.8% 21.8% 2.4% 2.4% 1.2% 2.3% 1.5% 3.6% +5.9 -5.9 -0.2 +0.1 -1.0 +0.4 +0.8 -0.2This is compensated for by a rise in web search clicks to local results
  19. 19. GoogleCore Oct2016 May2017 GoogleImages Yahoo Bing GoogleMaps Amazon Facebook Gained/Lost 58.9% 27.7% 2.6% 2.3% 2.2% 1.9% 0.7% YouTube 3.8% 64.8% 21.8% 2.4% 2.4% 1.2% 2.3% 1.5% 3.6% +5.9 -5.9 -0.2 +0.1 -1.0 +0.4 +0.8 -0.2 I’m keeping an eye on these two
  20. 20. Google’s Growth So far, 2017 is trending ~10-15% higher than 2016, not including voice or Apple devices
  21. 21. Total Searchers vs. Active Searchers UnitedStates Canada UnitedKingdom AverageSearches/ Month %ofSearchersw/10+ Searches/Month 103-119 120-139 120-135 ~39% ~40% ~41%
  22. 22. Google CTR Breakdown Relatively flat excluding seasonality = SEO not being cannibalized by Google’s own results
  23. 23. What are the Web’s Top Traffic Referrers?
  24. 24. Google.com Oct2016 May2017 Facebook.com Reddit.com YouTube.com Imgur.com Bing.com Wikipedia.org Gained/Lost 59.2% 6.5% 5.4% 4.5% 2.2% 2.2% 1.4% Yahoo.com 6.0% 62.6% 5.9% 4.1% 4.7% 1.5% 2.1% 1.4% 5.0% +3.4% -0.6% -1.3% +0.2% -0.6% -0.1% +0% -1.0% Amazon.com 1.3% 1.4% +0.1%
  25. 25. Google.com Oct2016 May2017 Facebook.com Reddit.com YouTube.com Imgur.com Bing.com Wikipedia.org Gained/Lost 59.2% 6.5% 5.4% 4.5% 2.2% 2.2% 1.4% Yahoo.com 6.0% 62.6% 5.9% 4.1% 4.7% 1.5% 2.1% 1.4% 5.0% +3.4% -0.6% -1.3% +0.2% -0.6% -0.1% +0% -1.0% Amazon.com 1.3% 1.4% +0.1% This is when Reddit stopped using Imgur for all its image hosting
  26. 26. Google.com Oct2016 May2017 Facebook.com Reddit.com YouTube.com Imgur.com Bing.com Wikipedia.org Gained/Lost 59.2% 6.5% 5.4% 4.5% 2.2% 2.2% 1.4% Yahoo.com 6.0% 62.6% 5.9% 4.1% 4.7% 1.5% 2.1% 1.4% 5.0% +3.4% -0.6% -1.3% +0.2% -0.6% -0.1% +0% -1.0% Amazon.com 1.3% 1.4% +0.1% In 7 months, Google gained more share than all but the top 5 even have ☹
  27. 27. Top 10 11-100 101-1K 1K-10K 10K+ Google 22.2% 14.9% 18.0% 18.7% 26.2% Facebook 42.7% 17.7% 15.3% 12.9% 11.3% Yahoo 39.2% 15.8% 15.6% 14.0% 15.4% Reddit 75.2% 11.0% 7.2% 4.4% 2.2% Youtube 80.1% 7.2% 5.4% 4.1% 3.2% Not All Referrers Send Traffic Equally (databelowfromMay2017)
  28. 28. Top 10 11-100 101-1K 1K-10K 10K+ Google 22.2% 14.9% 18.0% 18.7% 26.2% Facebook 42.7% 17.7% 15.3% 12.9% 11.3% Yahoo 39.2% 15.8% 15.6% 14.0% 15.4% Reddit 75.2% 11.0% 7.2% 4.4% 2.2% Youtube 80.1% 7.2% 5.4% 4.1% 3.2% Not All Referrers Send Traffic Equally (databelowfromMay2017) Google distributes traffic pretty evenly
  29. 29. Top 10 11-100 101-1K 1K-10K 10K+ Google 22.2% 14.9% 18.0% 18.7% 26.2% Facebook 42.7% 17.7% 15.3% 12.9% 11.3% Yahoo 39.2% 15.8% 15.6% 14.0% 15.4% Reddit 75.2% 11.0% 7.2% 4.4% 2.2% Youtube 80.1% 7.2% 5.4% 4.1% 3.2% Not All Referrers Send Traffic Equally (databelowfromMay2017) Facebook is strongly biased to the top
  30. 30. Top 10 11-100 101-1K 1K-10K 10K+ Google 22.2% 14.9% 18.0% 18.7% 26.2% Facebook 42.7% 17.7% 15.3% 12.9% 11.3% Yahoo 39.2% 15.8% 15.6% 14.0% 15.4% Reddit 75.2% 11.0% 7.2% 4.4% 2.2% Youtube 80.1% 7.2% 5.4% 4.1% 3.2% Not All Referrers Send Traffic Equally (databelowfromMay2017) Reddit & YouTube even more so
  31. 31. Web Marketers Live in Google’s World…
  32. 32. And That’s Becoming More Dangerous
  33. 33. This is Celebrity Net Worth’s Story…
  34. 34. Via TheOutline
  35. 35. DICK MOVE!
  36. 36. Here’s Google Trojan Horsing…
  37. 37. Local Events Eventbrite and Meetup… Huh. Via TheVerge
  38. 38. Job Listings Via Techcrunch Something tells me this will not go well for them…
  39. 39. Weather
  40. 40. Sports Seems like a fair deal…
  41. 41. The Model’s Pretty Consistent
  42. 42. Google: “Do a great job answering the searcher’s query & we’ll rank you high*” *Unlesswehaveourown results;thenwegettobefirst.
  43. 43. Google: “Structure data like this & we’ll make your listings more visible!” Via Google
  44. 44. Google: “These results are best for our users. (They fell for it again!)” NBC has, BTW, put the proper video markup on their pages.
  45. 45. Site Operators Face a Prisoner’s Dilemma
  46. 46. Give Google Your Content…
  47. 47. …and risk Google using your data to build a feature that kills your traffic
  48. 48. Or, Hold back your unique value…
  49. 49. …And risk a competitor benefiting from Google’s opportunities instead
  50. 50. Fear Isn’t the Only Thing Stopping Publishers
  51. 51. Some Queries Deserve More than a Simple Answer (evenifthat’swhatsearcherswant)
  52. 52. e.g. Climate change searches Via Quartz
  53. 53. e.g. Politically-charged content
  54. 54. e.g. Dangerously incomplete answers
  55. 55. e.g. Misleading “instant solutions” I do have some feedback; this sucks! It’s incomplete, wrong, & frustratingly reductive.
  56. 56. This is what a mortgage calculator should do:
  57. 57. What’s the Solution?
  58. 58. The 5-Part Path: An SEOstrategy thatsegmentssearcherintent Contentstrategy thatprioritizescomplextasks Businessgoalsthatsynchw/yourSEO+content Atrafficstrategy thatdiversifiessources Incorporation ofGoogle’sfutureinto yourplans 1 2 3 4 5
  59. 59. Measured by: Traffic Driven Examples in Action: Howsomesitesavoidthedangerous dancewith Google’sdevilishproposition
  60. 60. Index.co
  61. 61. Segmenting Searcher Intent
  62. 62. Redfin
  63. 63. Prioritizing Complex Tasks
  64. 64. Eater
  65. 65. Diversifying Traffic Sources
  66. 66. Shutterstock
  67. 67. Synching Business Goals w/ SEO + Content
  68. 68. TheMuse
  69. 69. Incorporating Google’s Future In Your Plans
  70. 70. 10 Tactical Tips to Thrive in Google’s World
  71. 71. #1: Prioritize buckets of KWs w/ complex task completion requirements These are easy to answer. Google could do it with a snippet or a voice answer.
  72. 72. #1: Prioritize buckets of KWs w/ complex task completion requirements But underwater zombies? That’s a query that demands more attention.
  73. 73. #2: Serve “instant answer” content while simultaneously enticing the click “and heck…” what? I must know!
  74. 74. #3:InvestincontentGoogleeither can’tshowinSERPsor thatbuilds your brandwhentheydo Even if Google launches their own Lyft competitor, being included here builds Lyft’s brands & customers in the meantime.
  75. 75. Interactive content is deviously hard to steal in a SERP, & immensely valuable to those who are seeking to solve this problem. Via LetsCrunchIt
  76. 76. #4: Make your internal search + nav as good or better than Google’s path
  77. 77. This should scare the $#%^ out of Eater
  78. 78. Memeorandum offers a navigational UX that Google can’t truly compete against
  79. 79. By serving conscious & unconscious needs, Etsy provides a UX that Google can’t compete with
  80. 80. #5: Drive visitors to owned, subscription channels For as long as Google offers ways to drive traffic to your site (vs. host content with them), we’ll take it!
  81. 81. No matter what channel you use to broadcast or distribute, make sure the traffic always goes back to a domain & UX you own+control
  82. 82. #6: Leverage RLSA to outrank Google for the searchers who matter most
  83. 83. #7: Bias search suggest in your favor through linguistic branding
  84. 84. Hat tip to Gianluca Fiorelli for spotting this campaign & its influence on search suggest + related
  85. 85. #8: Use influencer marketing to become the brand searchers recognize
  86. 86. Mainstream Foodies Fancy- Pants Types Sous Vide Aficionados Paleo Foodies Relevant Locavores
  87. 87. #9: Innovate at the problem-level vs. the solution-level (b/cGoogledoesthereverse) Google solves this query at the solution level
  88. 88. Youwantahigh%ofvisitorstocomeaway fromyourexperiencethinking: Why would I ever Google ___________ when ___________ solves this problem so completely and elegantly? search query your site
  89. 89. Dribbble solves it at the problem level
  90. 90. Before your audience needs a solution, they have a problem. Beat Google to the punch. Be there for the problem’s discovery.
  91. 91. SolutionLevel ProblemLevel
  92. 92. SolutionLevel ProblemLevel
  93. 93. #10: If Google’s already in your space, find what they fail to deliver & double-down Fine for a quick answer, but lacks depth…
  94. 94. What are all those deeper, next questions folks have AFTER they search for weather? Wunderground knows, and nails ‘em.
  95. 95. Measured by: Traffic Driven Don’t Just Fight Off the Dragon…
  96. 96. Measured by: Traffic Driven Make it bring you to the skies.
  97. 97. Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com You Got This!

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