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User Behavior and Local Search

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User Behavior and Local Search Darren Shaw State of Search 2014 @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Do clicks affect rankings? @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Let’s test @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Everyone, get out your phone, disconnect from wifi, and Google: dallas wedding dresses @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Scroll down and click on mockingbirdbridal.com in the organic results. @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Now, let’s amplify this via social media @DarrenShaw_ AND +DarrenShaw_ @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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How I got obsessed with user behaviors as ranking signals @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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bit.ly/11mkCru @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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bit.ly/11mkCru @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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bit.ly/1ureMjr @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw bit.ly/1kxP9ar


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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slidesha.re/WdbkLK @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Pull out your phones, search for “seattle wedding dresses”, and click on Belltown Bride @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Within 10 minutes they had moved up from the bottom of the page to #2


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw They also moved into position B in the local pack, and they still hold this spot today.


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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This demands further testing! @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Test 1 – Hammer Time Low competition market Click website link 100 times per day Repeat for 30 days @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Starting position on October 4th E in the local pack Search for “roanoke accountants” Click on “Stanley G Boatwright”


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Checked on November 15th No change…


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Checked from my hotel room last night. Again, no change.


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Test 2 – A Softer Approach Low competition market Click website link 5 times per day Repeat for 7 days @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Starting position on October 6th G in the local pack Search for “wilmington nc accountants ” Click on “Joseph Guo CPA,PLLC ”


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Checked on November 15th and look at this!


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Checked from my hotel room last night…


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Test 3 – Click Burst High competition market Click website link 50 times per day repeat for 3 days @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Search for “los angeles personal injury lawyers” Click on “The Torkzadeh Law Firm” Starting position on October 3rd C in the local pack


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Watch what happens over the 3 days @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Why did test 3 seem to work, but the first test didn’t? @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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REMINDER Test 1 – Hammer Time Low competition market Click website link 100 times per day Repeat for 30 days @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Theory The first test was way overboard. An unnatural amount of clicks for that city and keyword. @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Test 4 – Slow and Steady High competition market Click website link 5 times per day Repeat for 30 days @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Search for “los angeles moving companies” Click on “West LA Movers” Starting position on October 3rd G in the local pack


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Watch what happens over the thirty days @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw I checked from my room in Dallas last night, and still at position F


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Hmm. Inconclusive. @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Test 5 – Clicks on Google+ Link High competition market Click “Google+ Page” 50 times per day Repeat for 3 days @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Search for “miami personal injury lawyer” Click on the Google+ link for “The Altman Law Firm” Starting position on October 3rd G in the local pack


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Click this link, not the business name.


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Over the course of the 3 days, not much changed. This is the last screenshot taken by our system


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw But I checked in my browser from Denver yesterday, and looky here!


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Theory Like with the test on Linda’s forum, perhaps it just needed some time to “simmer” before rankings were affected. @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Burning Question Can you do this with Mechanical Turk? @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Search for “plumbers san antonio tx” Click on “Bryco Plumbing Co”


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Starting position on November 4th G in the local pack


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw November 7th No change


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw November 13th Moved up one position…


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw November 16th They’ve now moved up 2 spots


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Search for “plumbers philadelphia” Click on ORGANIC result “Sam Wexler Plumbing”


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Started here on November 4th


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw November 16th No change I’ve been checking regularly, but not seeing any change


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Using your mobile phone and cellular network, Search for “accountants cincinnati” Click on “Mellott & Mellott”


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw I asked them to complete the task on our website so I could track their user agent and make sure they were actually using mobile.


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Started here on November 4th Position E


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A little early, but possibly trending towards higher rankings?


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Checking from different IPs and browsers. Appears to also be trending towards improved rankings.


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Using your mobile phone and cellular network, Search for “electricians cincinnati ohio” Click on “Queen City Electric”


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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So far, no ranking changes with the click-to-call test, but it has only been running for 6 days. @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Pogo-sticking Test Can we demote a listing through automated pogo-sticking signals? @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw This locksmith spammer has created a fake listing with the angieslist category page. I wonder if we can take him out with microworker pogo-sticking…


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Search for “cincinnati locksmiths”, click on that spammy listing, click back, then click on the top ranked listing.


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So far, 166 people have done it, and no ranking changes, but I sure as hell hope this doesn’t work. @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Can you imagine? Pogo-sticking Negative SEO… @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Why no driving directions test? @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Google has plenty of data to determine if you actually drove to the location. Just searching for directions isn’t a signal they need to use.


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Ranking Fluctuations What is going on? @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw October 4th Position E Remember the first test where we didn’t see any ranking change? November 16th Position E


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We captured over 1700 screenshots from October 3rd through November 15th. There was a ton of variation. @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Oct 24th


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Oh, and look here on Nov 12th


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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What’s causing the variation? Different browsers? Different data centers? @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Notice that there wasn’t nearly as much variation in the los angeles personal injury lawyer results.


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Theory Google deliberately mixes up the results to test if users like them


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Google has much more data on “los angeles personal injury lawyer” than “willmington nc accountants” so they already know the preferred choices, and there is less variation.


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Multi-armed bandits and the epsilon-greedy method http://bit.ly/11cMyxt


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw Multi-armed bandits and the epsilon-greedy method http://bit.ly/11cMyxt


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw http://bit.ly/1ybvkLE


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw http://bit.ly/1wMyoMa


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@DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Let’s check our test… @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Take Aways @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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1. Google *is* using click-through data, and sadly, it *is* easy to manipulate. @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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2. The ranking fluctuations since the Pigeon update are deliberate (I think) @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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3. Weekly or monthly rank tracking data is useless. Need to track at least daily to measure trends. @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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Thank you! Any questions? @DarrenShaw_ +DarrenShaw


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