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Ranking Signals of the Future A look at what inputs search engines may adopt in the future and how it impacts the marketing we do today.

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Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com Ranking Signals of the Future A look at what inputs search engines may adopt in the future and how it impacts the marketing we do today.


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Find These Slides Online at: bit.ly/futuresignals


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#1 Usage Data of Pages and Sites


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10,000 visits/day +50% growth last 6 months 3.7 pages/session 3 visits/unique user/month 6,000 visits/day -10% growth last 6 months 1.2 pages/session 1.4 visits/unique user/month


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Maybe I should send searchers to the page w/ the greater visitor loyalty & engagement.


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Patent, Analysis on SEO by the Sea


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Ha!


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This type of ranking input could be behind the strong performance of popular brand sites on queries where classic SEO elements are lacking Poor keyword targeting, crap relevance, few links, but the sites probably have stronger traffic/engagement than the competition.


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Via Searchmetrics’ Ranking Factors Click-Through-Rate showed a 0.67 correlation This May Explain the High Correlation of CTR w/ Rankings


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#2 Accuracy vs. Popularity of Information


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Nailed It! Rank ‘em high, boys.


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As Google’s research showed, PageRank and accuracy of information have a poor correlation on the web.


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By looking at multiple sets of data across sites & pages, an algorithm could determine the consistency of accuracy shown by a site.


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Paper from Google Researchers, Analysis by NPR


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Consistently accurate facts could raise a site’s rankings, especially in areas (like health) where Google weights accuracy more heavily. Less likely to rank. More likely to rank.


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#3 Query Structure as an Anchor-Text-Like Signal


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Many searchers using query structures in a particular fashion could connect brands and modifiers to keywords


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Looks familiar


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Popular searches around a brand could indicate associations that manifest in ranking inputs.


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That ranking might be at partially, causal, rather than mere coincidence.


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#4 Brands as Entities, Entities as Answers


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More and more brands are becoming entries in Google’s Knowledge Graph


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IMO, these brand dropdowns suggest an implicit bias toward accumulating brand associations and showing them off to searchers


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In many competitive SERPs, there seems to be a correlation between brand dropdowns and ranking higher.


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Some brands get so tightly connected to keywords, they become nearly analogous with the query


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Suggest also shows us brand queries that earn strong connections to URLs


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Even some generic queries bring back branded domain suggestions


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an experiment! Let’s try


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Call Out Your Answer: What site would you expect to see when you searched for this?


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Yup. Yup. Yup. Yup. Weird.


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Call Out Your Answer: What site would you expect to see when you searched for this?


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Yup. Yup. Yup. Yup. Yup. Yup. Yup.


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Call Out Your Answer: What site would you expect to see when you searched for this?


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Maybe? Yup. Yup. Yup. Maybe?


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Call Out Your Answer: What site would you expect to see when you searched for this?


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Maybe? Yup. Yup. Yup. Yup.


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Best Way to Rank in 2018? “Yup.” Find a way to be the first on everyone’s mind.


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#5 Tracing the Visit Path to an Answer


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Problem-solving on the web often looks something like this: Broad search Narrower search Even narrower search Website visit Website visit Brand search Social validation Highly-specific search Type-in/direct visit Completion of Task


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Google wants to do this: Broad search All the sites (or answers) you probably would have visited/sought along that path Completion of Task


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If Google sees that many people who perform these types of queries:


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Eventually end their queries on the topic after visiting: The Ramen Rater


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They might use the clickstream data to help rank that site higher, even if it doesn’t have traditional ranking signals


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They’re definitely getting and storing it.


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Google was just granted an interesting patent that suggested a similar process Patent Application from Google, Analysis by Bill Slawski


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#6 Weighting Elements of User Experience


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Patent Application from Google, Analysis on SEOByTheSea Ever since Panda, Google’s been trying to surface not just quality content, but “high quality websites.”


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If they aren’t already doing it, Google’s at least thinking about how to measure UX and rank sites that do it better, higher.


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#7 Replacing Flawed Humans w/ Deep Learning Machines


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Jeff Dean’s Slides on Deep Learning Are a Must Read for SEOs


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Google’s Deep Learning system studied YouTube clips and eventually invented its own classification/concept of “cats”


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Replace YouTube with the Web and cats with any given search query, and it’s not hard to imagine Google creating a deep learning ranking algorithm


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Google knows there’s two, but based on my footprint, it biases to the one matching my behavior, past queries, geography, etc.


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In the future, even Google’s search quality engineers may have no idea why something ranks or whether they’re using a particular factor in the ranking algorithm. The machine will simply ask “what algorithm produces results that searchers engage with best?” then make it.


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strange path… Google seems to be going down a


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Total searchers, number of searchers, & searches per searcher are all going up Via RKG’s Quarterly Digital Marketing Report


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Is Google sacrificing ad impressions to make searchers happier?


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Are they willing to take away queries that provide revenue? These searches could have created revenue, but Google’s pre-empting w/ direct navigation to URLs


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I am too. Skeptical?


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IMO, Google’s thinking long term. They want addicted searchers providing data about themselves so they can charge more per ad unit. Via Search Engine Land


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Via RKG Report Facebook has shown Google that more data about users yields more dollars per impression and click.


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I think Google will chase better UX to almost any extent in order to keep searchers & get data, even at the cost of their existing model. Almost unreal that Google does this w/o AirBnB paying for an ad. Via Tom Anthony’s Post


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Google will chase better UX to almost any extent in order to keep searchers & get data, even at the cost of their existing model My Guess:


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Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com bit.ly/futuresignals


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