Clicks Drive Rank, Citations Not as Important? Local Search Track: #stateofsearch


Linda Buquet

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Here are 3 more great presentations from State of Search this week.

The 1st two I know are going to be a pretty controversial.

Darren's sparked this comment to me on G+ yesterday from Matthew Shuey

"+Linda Buquet what do you think about some of these black hat techniques being allowed by Google for manipulating local search results?

Now that it's out in the open alot of people will use these techniques to game the system."


User Behavior and Local Search - Darren Shaw

<iframe src="//www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/41654301" width="595" height="485" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" style="border:1px solid #CCC; border-width:1px; margin-bottom:5px; max-width: 100%;" allowfullscreen> </iframe> <div style="margin-bottom:5px"> <strong> <a href="//www.slideshare.net/darrenshaw1/darren-shaw-user-behavior-and-local-search-dallas-state-of-search-2014" title="Darren Shaw - User Behavior and Local Search - Dallas State of Search 2014" target="_blank">Darren Shaw - User Behavior and Local Search - Dallas State of Search 2014</a> </strong> from <strong><a href="//www.slideshare.net/darrenshaw1" target="_blank">Darren Shaw</a></strong> </div>

I Got 99 Local Search Problems But Citations Aren't One - Dan Leibson

<iframe src="//www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/41667043" width="595" height="485" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" style="border:1px solid #CCC; border-width:1px; margin-bottom:5px; max-width: 100%;" allowfullscreen> </iframe> <div style="margin-bottom:5px"> <strong> <a href="//www.slideshare.net/danleibson/i-got-99-local-search-problems-but-citations-arent-one" title="I Got 99 Local Search Problems But Citations Aren't One" target="_blank">I Got 99 Local Search Problems But Citations Aren't One</a> </strong> from <strong><a href="//www.slideshare.net/danleibson" target="_blank">Dan Leibson</a></strong> </div>

Going Local with Social - Gyi Tsakalakis

<iframe src="//www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/41669636" width="595" height="485" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" style="border:1px solid #CCC; border-width:1px; margin-bottom:5px; max-width: 100%;" allowfullscreen> </iframe> <div style="margin-bottom:5px"> <strong> <a href="//www.slideshare.net/gyitsakalakis/going-local-with-social-41669636" title="Going Local with Social" target="_blank">Going Local with Social</a> </strong> from <strong><a href="//www.slideshare.net/gyitsakalakis" target="_blank">Gyi Tsakalakis</a></strong> </div>​

Again I have not had time to dig into these yet but know they are filled with gold nuggets so can't wait!

TONS if important info in all these prezos!

Please share below anything you find that's of interest.

<meta property="og:type" content="article"><meta property="og:title" content=""><meta property="og:description" content="3 Prezos: I Got 99 Local Search Problems But Citations Aren't One, User Behavior and Local Search, Going Local with Social">
<meta property="og:image" content="http://image.slidesharecdn.com/darrenshaw-userbehaviorandlocalsearch-141117083914-conversion-gate02/95/darren-shaw-user-behavior-and-local-search-dallas-state-of-search-2014-2-638.jpg">
 

Linda Buquet

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Also see 2 other great #StateofSearch prezos here:

<a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local/25133-pigeon-crap-who-cares-2-google-pigeon.html">Pigeon Crap? Who Cares! 2 Google Pigeon Slide Decks from #StateofSearch</a>
 

Brian Barwig

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Thanks for adding these Linda!

Darren's presentation is going to generate alot of buzz and will have SEO's squirming. Can't wait to dig into the other presentations later. Seemed to be a good amount of hype surrounding many of the presentations. Looking forward to digging into some of these other slides further.
 

Margaret Ornsby

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Linda, I've heard (read?!) you suggest we record the CID for pages, as they sometimes go astray and that's one way to find them when they do.

In Dan's presentation, he mentions recording the Xpath for the nap, cat/s and verified. I'm intrigued - what's that about?
 

Linda Buquet

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OK so yesterday I was just madly playing catch-up after being off for new baby. I quickly searched Twitter and found the 3 decks above and the 2 Pigeon decks I posted in the other thread. Then I just found a companion deck to Darren's above by Phil Rozek that is killer.

So I guess Darren and Phil spoke at same session and Darren 1st outlined how easy it is to game Google by manufactured clicks, just to prove clicks and other user signals DO improve ranking.

Then Phil followed up with the presentation below showing WHITE HAT ways to get more clicks and other types of user interaction. So you really need to see this deck and apologies to Phil and readers for missing it yesterday in my rush to get ready for the webinar.

User Behavior Affects Local Rankings. Now What?

<iframe src="//www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/41761601" width="595" height="485" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" style="border:1px solid #CCC; border-width:1px; margin-bottom:5px; max-width: 100%;" allowfullscreen> </iframe> <div style="margin-bottom:5px"> <strong> <a href="//www.slideshare.net/PhilRozek/state-ofsearch2014" title="User Behavior Affects Local Rankings. Now What?" target="_blank">User Behavior Affects Local Rankings. Now What?</a> </strong> from <strong><a href="//www.slideshare.net/PhilRozek" target="_blank">Phil Rozek</a></strong> </div>​


Then in the comments at Phil's blog post Max Minzer mentioned this HYSTERICAL video about this new clicking service called Byral (viral marketing tool.) :p

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/tIwH7ptHCWc?rel=0&showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>​

OMG best video I've seen in awhile. Good one Max!


Speaking of Max, he's doing a Google Hangout today with Darren on this very topic.

Behavioral Local Signals w/ Darren Shaw - Max Impact

"Conversation with +Darren Shaw, Founder of +Whitespark, about effects of behavioral signals in local search: driving directions, click to call, click through rate, etc."

I'm going to try to be there if I can. But I think baby comes home today, so not sure about timing.

What did you think about the ideas in Phil's deck???
 

Brian Barwig

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Great find again Linda and thanks for posting it! The video is awesome btw. Can we outsource to get even more clicks? :D
 
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The idea was first brought to light during MozCon back in July (like Darren mentioned in his slides) where Rand had us all do the same search and click on the same result. The improvement that site saw was stunning. Jumping from the bottom of the page to the top within hours. We assume Google has some sort of safe-guard against manufactured clicks, but the results definitely challenge that assumption.

I'm glad Darren did a more in-depth research into this. It shows it might not be a fluke event
 

Phil Rozek

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@Linda

Thanks for the post! No apologies necessary: I uploaded my deck 1-2 days after everyone else did :)

Funny thing is, Darren and I came up with our topics independently. They just happened to go together.
 

Howell

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Hate to be a wet blanket, but click through and bounce rate has been a factor for quite some time. Sure you gain spots by doing this, but is this a sustainable practice?

Probably not, what is your company going to do hire click monkeys for weeks and months ? no!

Google engineers look at data patterns all day long. If they seen any manipulation of their most holy algorithm they simply play with a few knobs and boom manipulation stops. This dance has been going on between them and us (SEO community) since G was born.

I would bet that the sites that gained positions in these tests will fall again after the CTR drops off, it? simply not sustainable. But this is an interesting test that?s for sure ? and that?s what matters.

The last deck by Phil Rozek is spot on ? this is what you should do.
 

johncrenshaw

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Great info and cool to see you take this idea a step further with some great tests Darren!

I agree with Howell that user behavior has been in use for a while - at least since 2013, which is when we first noticed it running our birthday parties page test in November 2013 (which I shared the results of here) and I gave a preso to the AMA here in Cincinnati talking about it early this year. Likewise, Bill Slawski covered a Google patent a while before that (sorry can't find the direct link) so it looks like this has been on Google's radar a while.

I would add a few things from my own observations:

1. Google's been using CTR in AdWords for a while now to determine "quality" - it only seems natural that, in an effort to not rely so much on links, they'd apply that to organic as well

2. While it can probably be gamed, I agree with Howell that it's hard to do long-term and Google will only get better at detecting it.

3. Along the same lines, Google's been fighting click fraud in AdWords for a long time now and I'm sure they've learned some really useful lessons they can apply to the organic side.

4. I think Darren is exactly right about the whole "epsilon greedy" thing.

One interesting phenomenon I've seen over and over is when launching a new page, that page sometimes hits a peak rank and then "settles" a bit lower than the peak.

Or the opposite could happen - the page hits a peak rank, holds there for a bit, then starts rising again.

My theory is Google sees that all the "predictive" measures of page quality are strong and so the algorithm bumps that page up higher than it might otherwise to test user interaction (CTR/etc).

Then the page "settles" where the combination of predictive and measured metrics suggest it should. If the measured metrics are significantly higher than predicted, it might continue climbing.
 

Linda Buquet

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Hate to be a wet blanket, but click through and bounce rate has been a factor for quite some time. Sure you gain spots by doing this, but is this a sustainable practice?

Probably not, what is your company going to do hire click monkeys for weeks and months ? no!

The last deck by Phil Rozek is spot on ? this is what you should do.
Hi Howell I agree we've known click and bounce was a factor in organic for a long time. And now organic is more a factor with local. I think what's unique here is that no one has ever proved it for local or showed click test results like Darren has.

But I was on a Hangout with him yesterday and think a lot of folks are taking his deck wrong.

He's not saying do manufactured fake clicks to boost ranking. He's attempting to prove it works to OUT the practice and the fact that some black hats are trying to exploit it.

But Darren is not black hat, so I think he's just trying to educate.

Then I totally agree with you about Phil's preso. The goal here is to take the user action knowledge and then figure out how to apply it in pure white ways. Phil has some great ideas for that. Anything you can do to make your site/listing more helpful and hopefully even a little newsworthy naturally is good. I think Business View is one of the obvious and very strong ways to get some natural attention, clicks and sticks. If done really well and creatively it can be very viral.
 

DanLeibson

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There is a big difference between Google, and others, saying something is a ranking factor and doing research to empirically prove and show it's a ranking factor. Personally, I don't take what Google employees say at face value, as it's often proved to be wrong or misleading with empirical examples.

Also, hiring "click monkeys" is actually really easy and super cheap. There are platforms that are set up just for these types of things. In a world where there aren't a ton of high quality businesses sending high quality ranking signals e.g. local, this one seems super easy to game.

@WonderWoman

You can use SEO Tools for Excel:
Work with SEO in Excel - The ultimate Excel plugin | Niels Bosma

To go and fetch NAP information from GMB or other citation source and use an IF function to compare it with a source of truth data to see if it's accurate or not. Huge time saver, if you want to talk about it more in-depth PM me.
 

Linda Buquet

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Linda, I've heard (read?!) you suggest we record the CID for pages, as they sometimes go astray and that's one way to find them when they do.

In Dan's presentation, he mentions recording the Xpath for the nap, cat/s and verified. I'm intrigued - what's that about?

Hey Dan, question for you above.
 

DanLeibson

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@WonderWoman

You can use SEO Tools for Excel:

Work with SEO in Excel - The ultimate Excel plugin | Niels Bosma

To go and fetch NAP information from GMB or other citation source and use an IF function to compare it with a source of truth data to see if it's accurate or not. Huge time saver, if you want to talk about it more in-depth PM me.
 

johncrenshaw

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...hiring "click monkeys" is actually really easy and super cheap...
"Click monkeys" may be cheap, but I'd be real surprised if this was being done successfully, consistently, and at a cost less than just taking the "white hat" approach - baring the use of some sort of local botnet.
 

DanLeibson

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If spamming wasn't super easy, cheap and efficient I don't think local SERPs would look like the junk that they are. It cost me ~$500 total over 3 months to rank in the top 3 of local packs for competitive terms in mid-market cities. This was for research, so not advocacy, but all I did is reverse engineer some of the stuff I see on a daily basis.
 

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