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Yes Virginia rankings DO have a place in modern SEO

Written by David Harry   
Wednesday, 22 October 2008 16:41

Myth Busting 101; don’t believe everything you read.

Over the last while there have been those quick to write off the value of rankings as a metric. More often than not personalized search aspects are touted as one of the usual suspects in this mysterious development. That is to say, that personalization of search results means we can no longer trust ranking reports and must abandon it as a primary indicator.

But is this the case? I wasn't entirely sure so I put out a call to arms for volunteers to ride along with some testing to see how much of an affect it may be having with; looking for Volunteers – and now we have a few answers.

Google Search Re-Ranking report


Get the Report

While there is far more research to be done, the initial data analysis shows that there is every reason to still be utilizing rankings as an indicator with your SEO programs (just needs a new approach). I will be writing more on the topic soon… for now – Go get the report.

The Google Personalized Search and SERP flux report

…and be sure to sign up and take part in future research. We give all the raw data (not included in the report) to all those that take part.



Tin foil hat alert: Google could get very personal

Written by David Harry   
Tuesday, 14 October 2008 09:13

Finding relevance through Application Focus signals

So do you think Google is watching what else you’re doing on your computer and seeking to personalize your search experience based on open document, emails or other desktop applications? It is a interesting question…. So let’s get out our tin-foil hats once again and go for a ride.

I have read about such mythical beasts in a few patents over the last while and thought it was an interesting idea, worth at least floating here. Basically, things you may be reading, writing or listening to on your computer (or Android phone?) are used as signals for customizing your search results. Sound like madness? Then you’ve come to the right place as we specialize in it around here.

Consider I am listening to ‘Rock Lobster’ on my media player and decide to search ‘b52’ – by monitoring application focus the search would likely re-rank documents relating to the music group – not the famed airplane. The same if related phrases are being used in an instant messaging interface, in an email… well, you get the idea.


Read more... [Tin foil hat alert: Google could get very personal]

Looking for volunteers

Written by David Harry   
Monday, 22 September 2008 19:36

Mining for personalized search data

Hiya kids… if you have a few moments to spare I want some peeps to do a few searches and send me the results. If you have a Google account with personalized search turned on, great… if not, still valid. I am looking for data from a variety of geographic locales (even OS and browser type have come into play).

A Google patent recently came out which got me thinking about personalized search once more. I started some basic data collection and was surprised.. so now I am doing more. If you agree to participate you will receive all the raw data (names removed) so you can also make your own analysis on it all… there are likely gro-graphic factors that will emerge as well (seems that way so far).

This is no definitive imperial scientific undertaking, more just anomalies I want to look into further. If you are interested in taking part, the ultimate data should at the very least be food for thought.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in playing along with… Get in touch and I will send you details

So… whatcha waiting for? Get in touch so we can see what value ranking reports really have.


What is SEO?

Written by David Harry   
Sunday, 24 August 2008 09:53

Ok… I noticed a few comments on Sphinn about my last post… (why don’t peeps comment on posts here?)… and decided to respond…

Hugo Guzman said;


I usually like his post's, but I think that he burned himself on this one. My two main issues are as follows:

1) He says that ranking matter, but uses keyword research as the main foundation for his assertion. There's a big difference between performing keyword research - a key SEO element - and using rankings as a basis for SEO analytics (the latter is what most people are referring to when they say that rankings don't matter)

2) He says that worrying about conversions is not a key aspect of what SEO's should be worrying about. That screams SEO circa 2001. The most successful SEOs understand that SEO is really just part of an overall marketing effort, and that most of the time, good SEO goes hand in hand with analytics, creative, development, usability, etc...

David lost big points in my book. I hope that he comes on here and clarifies his stance, in case I misinterperted (I'm still suffering from a little leftover SES jetlag).

As U may have noticed, I was decidedly taking a singular route with the post … in the hopes that it would further the discussion (until ethics and standards once more grace us…ooops.... here we go). Being a cheeky fecker, it just was the mood I was in.

Not sure you caught all of what I was on about…. But ignoring rankings might be a great idea for those SEO enthusiasts working on their own projects, but when it comes to billable activities, associating costs and values of given target terms is still important. Sure, like the dreaded ‘little green bar’ it is but a metric that we don’t bet the farm on, but discounting it as I have seen, is not realistic or even wise IMO.

Read more... [What is SEO?]

The evolution of SEO

Written by David Harry   
Wednesday, 20 August 2008 09:50

SEO is dead, ranking is useless and other fairy tales

Well peeps, it seems it’s that time again and peeps are shovelling crap once more. Not that it’s anything new, but worth me taking time away from my sabbatical to rant off a bit.

First off we have the ever popular ‘SEO is a dead man’ routine that is making the rounds again of late. Let me explain this to you right now; as long as there is organic search, SEO will be viable. It’s a fact. It truly behoves me to see folks believing that the future of search doesn’t include optimizers. Are these folks merely trying to put fellow SEOs (and the competition) off the track? Dunno….

As a search geek guy that follows developments from universal and personalized search, phrase based (and semantic) approaches all the way along the trail to behavioural metrics. I can tell you that in many ways SEO has become more technical than ever. It’s not merely throwing links at the wall to see if they stick…. if you haven't been evolving then your SEO is truly weak!

Could it be that the old fashion optimizers see their tactics of yesteryear becoming less effective and thus think the sky is falling? Dunno….

SEO Fairy tales

Read more... [The evolution of SEO]
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