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Top Ranking Signal Resolutions for 2011 - What are Yours ?

 4:04 am on Dec 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

In the year 2011 ahead , I see SEO continuing to move rapidly away from purely link based anchor text signals . Facebook , Twitter , Linked In , etc etc are being talked about so much more.

So digging a little deeper, as webmasters and site owners continue to dabble with their ideas and experiments on how best to apply the ideas , what are the top picks and tactics to focus on amongst our community to obtain better results , and better user experiences.



 5:05 am on Dec 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

The amount of brand presence one has online has got to be my pick moving into 2011.


 6:21 am on Dec 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Focusing on what 'normal people' do...

I read webmaster perspectives here all the time and most of it is really good info and 'ways of doing things', but IMO the reality is Google couldn't give two hoots what webmasters say about HTML validation, JavaScript use (or lack there of), or quite a bit of the other stuff that is often 'thrown into the mix' here by webmasters.

IMO They're focused on what 'normal people' who use their search engine want to see, visit, do online.

I'm not saying any of the 'stuff' and what I think of occasionally (er, uh, often? lol) as 'hard-liner, non-creative noise' which seems to often be touted as 'of absolute importance' doesn't matter, but I think a better focus is to build a site the 'normal people' will like and use.

Short version re-worded and worked:

Stop thinking about the stinking rankings and 'the 8.3% (or less) of surfers who don't blah' for a minute and build a site 'normal people' like and use. My guess is it'll rank...


 7:15 am on Dec 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Right now, the big G is in the top of its power. Google has launched it's own Windows 98. It's the better search engine in the market and makes tons of cash. It could even launch a better search engine, Google XP, and make even more money.
In the Googleplex nobody can explain why anything Google does, less and less people can declare his love for the big G.
Curiously we, the same kind of people (the third level evangelists) talking poorly about Google are the kind of people talked wonders in 2001 about the new, simple and effective search engine with a strange name.
2011 will be the the year where Google touch the sky to start a long way to lose the bright.


 5:49 pm on Dec 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Facebook , Twitter , Linked In , etc etc are being talked about so much more.

Not just talked about so much more but actually being used so much more by Google and Bing. Some of the examples I've seen over the past few months demonstrating the power of social signals have completely bowled me over. For run-of-the-mill sites: Gbot visits within 80 seconds; pages indexed within a couple of hours; number one rankings within a day -- all powered by social.

And to combine and expand a bit on CainIV's and TheMadScientist's comments:

The amount of brand presence one has online has got to be my pick moving into 2011.

IMO They're focused on what 'normal people' who use their search engine want to see, visit, do online.

Yep, brands, entities, places. Google is concentrating on what 'normal people' are using search for, giving them what they want, when they want it, where they want it.

What people want it is movie times, restaurants, bars, museum exhibitions, concerts and such. They want what their friends and connections are talking about. They want it now, fresh and fast. They want it where they are, local and on their smartphones.

Now, folks I've spoken with over the past few months are going to say "Here he goes again," so I'm going to ;-).

Let's look back to September and Schmidt's "Don't underestimate the power of fast" comment. That's been mostly overlooked though it basically addresses the points above and leads directly to the Google Instant Launch Event [youtube.com].

If you haven't watched it, do so. If you have watched it, go back and rewatch it, this time with very critical eyes and ears. Look at what was highlighted. Parse the sentences, the words, what's not said. Look at the example searches and the results. Look at what actions -- !if any! -- the user had to take to find usable information.

Don't overlook Marissa Mayer's "Fundamental shift to search." This is not a throw away comment; it signaled a sea change in how Google is looking at the web and how it is delivering results. The good part is that it is a clear, unambiguous roadmap that can be used to change or tailor our strategies going forward.


 8:41 am on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I mean this is just the natural progression... they've always been trying to build the algo to be a human and give you what a human would want if they were searching for what you're searching for. We're using social all the time... that's where we put our stuff we think is influential and important for people to see it because that's where the eyes are. It should come to no surprise that FB, twitter and don't count out linkedin, are what Goog & the other are using to find out what is influential and include that in part of the ranking. Simple links don't work like they used to just like meta keywords and white txt on white bg don't work like they used to.
I also agree with CainIV that amount of brand presence is going to be more popular... Currently I hate the Klout stuff and who's more popular and why etc... but only because the current way of doing it sucks so bad. The concept it wonderful but right now the implementation sucks. It will get there, and Google and their nasa like engineers will figure it out...


 9:00 pm on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I see traffic as a major signal.

For analytics Google has:
- GoogleAnalytics
- AdSense
- Google Toolbar
- Chrome (with toolbar)

Those four products give Google the clearest picture of the web available to anyone in the business. More clear than even the large isps like Time Warner and Cox.

How would you apply that data into the algo:
- Pure site traffic
- Traffic patters from site to site could detect intent
- Site patterns after users leave Google
- Detecting problems - like link anomalies

Those are just the off-the-cuff ones. I'll stop right there because only the data could tell you where too go from there.

The only problem with all this? It is not directly influence able by site owners.


 9:05 pm on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

The only problem with all this? It is not directly influence able by site owners.

Brett just made me think:

Focusing on what 'normal people' do...

Is sooooo IMPORTANT!
Good points and thoughts Brett.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 9:06 pm (utc) on Jan 5, 2011]


 9:06 pm on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

The only problem with all this? It is not directly influence able by site owners.

Or looked at another way - it could be the saving grace for Google's algo. Traffic signals are much less easy to spam. They've got to get away from mere backlinks, and we all see that.


 11:55 pm on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I also see Google indexing ,infiltrating and gathering better intelligence in the long tail profiles of sites , especially with geo related results .

Many sites I know of are experiencing higher traffic volumes , but much lower conversions because of presumably poor definition at deep levels - in aggregate value this often means lower performance than before. Coupled with this , i see Google making a B-Line for deeper results being improved in their Geo presentations.

Geo signals are becoming more intensely managed by Google, influencing then more directly into regional SERP's and Google Places . I can't see any way out of this except to go with the flow with better on page and social geo signals, albeit that it will bite back when Google takes this development to the next level.


 5:40 pm on Jan 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

The only problem with all this? It is not directly influence able by site owners.

It may be hard to "fake" but you can influence traffic patterns -- by doing what you should be doing anyway. Work on usability, navigation, architecture, and stickiness. And social sharing.

That doesn't really change anything, those are important factors regardless of Google, but here's another incentive to put more effort into these areas.


 7:41 pm on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Brett, what you are saying makes a great sense BUT any insights on why Google hasn't bolted the traffic signal in reputation score so far?

how many non-commercial sites have G.Analytics installed?
how many people do NOT use chrome?
how many web publishers don't have TB installed?

I'd guess answer to above questions would be - a large percentage!

So reputation score based on traffic may leave out a large part of the web and that may make things worse?

Links still remain the basic connectors on the web but i can see the merit in your argument in many cases. - I'm sure teams at Google would be working on it.


 8:16 pm on Jan 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

You left out Brett's 4th factor, AdSense. Let's make that Adsense + DoubleClick. Add those into the mix along with social signals and its own click data and G probably has a pretty good sense of what's going on.


 6:28 am on Jan 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think the move away from traditional factors has been overstated. Google has vested interest in not moving rankings to abruptly and they have a ton invested in links as a ranking signal. They may move away from it but links and anchor text are just way to easy a signal to use for Google to use for them to move away from them too much. Links will continue to be king but social traffic factors will increase in weight. I think user behavior will continue to increase in power. Things like time on site, subsequent searches for a term already searched, etc.

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