Keeping up with Google


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Rand Fishkin's presentation on how marketers can scale with the updates and shifts Google makes on a regular basis, and how to be successful with SEO.

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Keeping up with Google

  1. 1. Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | Keeping Up with Google in 2014
  2. 2. No Need to Take Notes:
  3. 3. The Challenge
  4. 4. 500+ Algorithmic Changes Each Year In 2012 alone, Google says they had 665 “launches” of new search-changing features
  5. 5. Innumerable Fluctuations in Search Results On average, each month 8.5 of the top 10 will change ranking position. And every day, 78% of search results have some ranking change.
  6. 6. 85+ Unique Types of SERPs
  7. 7. See dozens more unique SERPs in Dr. Pete’s Mozcon Presentation Beyond 10 Links on Slideshare (from Moz’s Dr. Peter Meyers)
  8. 8. Thousands of Entities are Competing to Sell You an SEO Solution Please never buy any of these. You’ll have only yourself to blame for the horrific results.
  9. 9. There’s New Information Every Day Marketers are constantly testing, Google is constantly announcing, and new discoveries are constantly being made. Via 10 SEO Experiments
  10. 10. Why Bother Keeping Up?
  11. 11. The Opportunity vs. Execution Gap
  12. 12. In SEO, the Rich Get Richer Top search ranking positions don’t just drive traffic… They also earn clicks, sales, shares, branding, and links that make it even harder to outrank them over time.
  13. 13. If You Used Manipulative Tactics or Outsourced, There’s High Risk Anchor text heavy link building was once a staple of SEO; now it’s a liability. Two rec’d posts: Identifying Link Penalties and Guide to Penalty Removal
  14. 14. As a Marketer, Keeping Up is as Important as Doing the Work
  15. 15. What Do We Absolutely HAVE to Know?
  16. 16. Major Algorithmic Updates This free resource from Moz shows every major, “named” update over the last 13 years
  17. 17. e.g. Panda Panda appears to use user satisfaction/happiness inputs to remove sites searchers don’t like from the SERPs.
  18. 18. e.g. Penguin Excellent analysis of factors correlated with sites hit by Penguin Factors like exact-match anchor text, low quality link sources, and sitewide links are often seen in sites penalized by Penguin
  19. 19. e.g. Hummingbird? Hummingbird promoted results that are less about perfect keyword targeting and more about matching the query’s intent.
  20. 20. Major Click-Biasing Changes Via Eye Tracking SERPs from Dr. Pete
  21. 21. e.g. Instant Answers With answers this complete, can anyone get real search traffic for these terms?
  22. 22. e.g. Knowledge Graph
  23. 23. e.g. Rel=Author Markup These show up because the writers have used Google+’s rel=author integration.
  24. 24. e.g. Google+ Based Personalization This only ranks because I follow Cyrus on Google+
  25. 25. Major User Behavior Changes Pew gives some nice, big picture data in their 2012 search engine use report
  26. 26. e.g. Mobile Search Behavior Via statistics/ and “What are mobile searchers looking for? Both mobile phone and tablet searchers find accuracy of information to be more important than depth of content, according to the researchers. Tablet searchers, however, are placing more importance on depth of content over time, while mobile phone searchers are placing less importance on this measure.”
  27. 27. e.g. Load Speed Expectations Via Google’s Site Speed Overview
  28. 28. e.g. CTR Curve Changes Some of the SERPs CTR studies compared by Geoff Kenyon Every year, the distribution of clicks becomes less concentrated, suggesting more people scrolling further to find what they want.
  29. 29. Changes to Your Competitive Landscape Via my Moz Analytics account
  30. 30. What Google’s History Can Tell Us
  31. 31. Google of the Past Focused on Limited Inputs I’m embarrassed to say that this is from a post I wrote in 2009! This pie chart, however, is much more representative of SEO from ~1997-2007.
  32. 32. Google of the Future Will (try to) Consider Everything! For more detail, check out this visual guide to on-page optimization and the 2013 search ranking factors
  33. 33. Google of the Past Had 10 Blue Links Basic results like this comprise less than 20% of Google’s SERPs today.
  34. 34. Google of the Future is Visually Complex
  35. 35. SEO of the Past Was a Small Subset of Mostly Technical Tasks
  36. 36. SEO of the Future Encompasses a Huge Number of Responsibilities
  37. 37. SEO of the Past Was Tactical Sadly, there’s still a lot of this in the SEO field.
  38. 38. SEO of the Future is Strategic We are slowly, as an industry, moving in this direction. Being an early adopter is a powerful thing 
  39. 39. 3 Strategic & 3 Tactical Tips for Great SEO in 2014
  40. 40. Strategic #1: Make Sure Your Marketing & Product Tell a Cohesive Narrative. Far too many of us in the marketing world do “transactional SEO.” We don’t think about why we’re making content or getting rankings or earning traffic, and thus waste a ton of effort. Google’s Avinash Kaushik wrote an excellent post detailing the “See. Think Do.” Model.
  41. 41. Strategic #1: Make Sure Your Marketing & Product Tell a Cohesive Narrative. Does the story you tell here… match the way you market, sell, and deliver results here?
  42. 42. Strategic #2: Determine Where SEO Really Fits in Your Branding, Education, Conversion, & Retention Efforts? What kinds of content & rankings will bring the right people to these places at the right time?
  43. 43. Strategic #3: Don’t Build a Team of SEOs. Build a Team of Great Marketers with Strong SEO Skills. More details here:
  44. 44. Tactical #1: Worry About Earning the Click & Satisfying the Visitor As Much Or More than Ranking Higher If the snippet doesn’t excite searchers and the page doesn’t deliver value, all the keyword targeting, link building, & social sharing in the world won’t save you.
  45. 45. Tactical #2: Better Content > More Content.
  46. 46. Facebook likes are well correlated with higher rankings, yet all the evidence says Google doesn’t use Facebook directly? See the full post from Eric Enge: Does Facebook Activity Impact SEO?
  47. 47. Tactical #3: Correlation might be more interesting than causation. More details here: and full ranking factors here: If you can discover what features your higher- performing competition has (in search, social, or content), you’re likely on to something big.
  48. 48. Tactical #3: Correlation might be more interesting than causation. More details here: and full ranking factors here: E.g. I don’t care if Google doesn’t use Facebook. I care because content that gets Likes/Shares also seems to get whatever stuff is needed to rank better.
  49. 49. SEO in 2014 is much more than just “SEO.”
  50. 50. But every SEO skill you’ve built from 1997-2013 remains valuable & necessary.
  51. 51. Keeping Up with Google in 2014 Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz @randfish |