Archive for March, 2016

Title: Top Google Ranking Signals Officially Named

Search Engine News, Search Engine Optimization

Article Source: Link Exchange Service Network

A Googler revealed the 3 top Google ranking signals in a hangout.

Webmasters and SEOs have been wondering what the top Google ranking signals are for many years. The entire secret sauce changes pretty much every day, of course, but Google would never reveal all of its more than 200 ranking signals beyond saying, well, it has over 200 of them.

It was somewhat surprising then that last year, the company dropped the nugget in a seemingly random interview that it had a new signal, going so far as to say that it’s actually the third most important one already.

That would be RankBrain, but many have probably wondered what the two above that in the pecking order are. It just so happens that Google revealed the other two of the top three this week.

And the Top Google Ranking Signals are…

The truth is it’s hardly a bombshell, and the top two are probably the ones most people would guess if they were asked, but it’s nice to see Google definitively spell them out. The 3 top Google ranking signals are content, links, and RankBrain.

Barry Schwartz pulled this out of a WebPromo Expert chat in which Google Search Quality Senior Strategist Andrey Lipattsev spilled the beans: “I can tell you what they are. It is content and links pointing to your site.”

Asked about if he means in that order, he responded that there is no order.

The most important focuses for a successful search strategy…

So the most important things you can do for search ranking are create great content, and have people naturally link to it. RankBrain doesn’t really afford you any power that we know of as it’s simply a machine learning signal that helps Google internally, including (reportedly) how to weight some other signals.

For more on the impact of RankBrain, take a look at our coverage of a recent study from Stone Temple Consulting on the subject.

Ultimately, there’s probably nothing here to change your approach. You knew this stuff was important. Just know going forward that it’s the MOST important.

Image via YouTube

The post Top Google Ranking Signals Officially Named appeared first on WebProNews.

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Title: RankBrain Tweaks Weights of Google Ranking Signals On Its Own?

Search Engine News, Search Engine Optimization

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Google revealed RankBrain to be its third most important ranking factor last year, but there appears to be a good deal of confusion within the company about just how it works.

What are your thoughts about RankBrain? Do you see it as a good thing for Google? Share your thoughts.

RankBrain was revealed in October pretty much out of nowhere. It didn’t come in an official announcement, but from an interview Bloomberg Business ran with Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist at Google. He said that Google had introduced the algorithm on a wide scale earlier in the year and that it quickly became the third most important signal out of hundreds in Google’s ranking algorithm.

RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to put written language into mathematical entities (vectors) that computers can understand. If it sees a word or phrase that it doesn’t know, the machine guesses what words or phrases might have similar meanings. It helps specifically with never-before-seen search queries. Apparently it’s better at humans (even Googlers) at guessing which results Google would rank number one for various queries. It’s the first ranking signal that actually learns on its own. Google has indicated in the past that turning RankBrain off would be as damaging to search results as turning off half of Wikipedia pages.

Barry Schwartz reported on a session at SMX West earlier this month in which Google’s Paul Haahr, who is described as “a top engineer involved in core ranking,” admitted that Google itself doesn’t fully understand RankBrain.

Now, Schwartz is pointing to a Twitter conversation with Google’s Gary Illyes and Moz’s Rand Fishkin in which it’s suggested that RankBrain can’t use a new factor that wasn’t previously in an algorithm, but it might adjust the weights of existing signals. Still, Illyes notes that while he’s on the search quality team, he doesn’t know everything about RankBrain.

Lemme try one last time: Rankbrain lets us understand queries better. No affect on crawling nor indexing or replace anything in ranking

— Gary Illyes (@methode) March 18, 2016

@methode not sure what "replace anything in ranking" means? Are you saying Rankbrain has "no direct impact" on rankings?

— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) March 18, 2016

@randfish I meant any ranking component. It does change ranking, e.g we're better at getting relevant results for negative queries

— Gary Illyes (@methode) March 18, 2016

@methode thanks! So Rankbrain isn't allowed to use a new factor that wasn't previously an algo input, but might re-weight existing inputs?

— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) March 18, 2016

@randfish to the best of my knowledge that's the case, yes. (I am on the search quality team, but not rankbrain, so I don't know EVERYTHING)

— Gary Illyes (@methode) March 18, 2016

Last week, Stone Temple Consulting released some research on RankBrain’s effectiveness at improving Google search results. The data was gathered by comparing 500,000 search queries from both before and after RankBrain was implemented.

They found that Google improved results on 54.6% of queries that it previously misunderstood. Examples of words and phrases RankBrain handles better, according to the firm, include: what is, who is, where is, without, not, and convert.

Stone Temple’s Eric Enge suggested that Google may use RankBrain to impact selection of featured snippet results, trigger the delivery of a map where there wasn’t one shown before, and/or determine if the main impact of a given query would be an improved search results snippet.

“Predictably, one of the most common questions I get asked is how RankBrain will impact SEO,” he said. “Truth be told, at the moment, there is not much impact at all. RankBrain will simply do a better job of matching user queries with your web pages, so you’d arguably be less dependent on having all the words from the user query on your page.”

“In addition, you still need to do keyword research so that you can understand how to target a page to a major topic area (and what that major topic area is),” he added. “Understanding the preferred language of most users will always make sense, whether or not search engines exist. If you haven’t already (hopefully you have!), you can increase your emphasis on using truly natural language on your web pages.”

According to Enge, the real impacts of RankBrain are an increase in overall search quality and in Google’s confidence that they can use machine-leaning within the core search algorithm.

Be sure to check out Stone Temple’s study if you haven’t already. It includes a nice infographic outlining the highlights.

Do you think RankBrain is a positive thing for search results? Discuss.

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Title: Video Explains Why Your Site Can Benefit From Google Direct Answers

Search Engine News, Search Engine Optimization

Article Source: Link Exchange Service Network

Webmasters have been concerned for years about the rich answers/direct answers that Google shows at the top of search results. These are the times when Google provides information directly on the search results page as opposed to sending you to another site.

The fear is that if Google is giving users the info right there on the results page, they’ll have no reason to click over to your site. Given that this info oftentimes comes from third-party websites, some consider this to be Google scraping said sites – a practice Google of course looks down on when determining which third-party sites to show in its regular results.

Either way, Google has shown more and more of these types of results over the years. In October, Stone Temple Consulting released some research finding that rich answers appeared in 22.6% of results pages in December 2014, growing to 31.2% in July. That number has likely risen more since then.

This week, Stone Temple released an interesting video discussing why these types of results can actually drive traffic to your site rather than suppress it.

You can read the transcript here if you don’t feel like sitting through the video.

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