How well do you know Google search?
The question may have caught you off-guard, as you're likely thinking about how simple it is. All you need to do is browse to the Google homepage, type in your question, and with that, you're done, right?
Though you only see a small, fixed amount of search results at any time, looking at the total number often reveals millions of hits. The chances are that most of those results have nothing to do with what you want to see.
What if there was a way for you to focus on the information you wanted while stripping away all the noise?
It's time for you to meet Google Advanced Search. When you finish reading this, you'll never look at Google the same way again.
After looking at some initial data for Google's December 2020 update, the general consensus is this one was big.
As powerful as the update was, wouldn’t it be nice to know what happened? What did Google change? What were they looking for? Why did some sites win while others saw ranking losses?
These are great questions and if you want exact answers, there aren’t any.
In this is a post I attempt to find themes within the update by qualitatively analyzing some of the pages Google swapped out on the SERP.
All good things start with observations. In this case, I thought I noticed that Google was showing much longer meta-descriptions towards the top of the SERP. In fact, the more queries I ran the more it seemed that Google was showing longer meta-descriptions at the top of the SERP and shorter ones towards the bottom.
Is this true? Is Google showing longer meta-descriptions for those URLs that rank better?
To find out I analyzed 5,000 keywords... for a month.
What does Click-Through Rate (CTR) look like above the fold versus below the fold? The question, being as good as it is, doesn't make it an easy one to answer. In fact, it's more than a little complicated. After all, you have to discount the first organic result being above the fold to a certain extent considering it's the first result folks see regardless of its "fold" status.
Complications aside, for the moment, let's explore what CTR is above and below the fold for sites on page one of the Google SERP!
Back in December 2019, Google's BERT algorithm made its way to the Top Stories Carousel. Ever since then I've been dying to get my hands on the newly segmented carousels to see what makes them tick, where they hit the mark, and where they fall a bit short. It's only taken me a few months, but here's a bit of thematic analysis on what's happening with the Top Stories carousel now that BERT is part of the picture.
There's a lot of advice out there on how to recover from and even prevent your site from being hurt by one of Google's core updates. Some of the advice is pretty good... some of it is a bit cliche. So let's go down the rabbit hole a bit by analyzing the data on the core updates, some site-level patterns that the updates have produced, and what you might want to consider for your site as a result.
Here's a data-packed (yet holistic) look at what you can do to prevent ranking and traffic losses at the hands of a core update.
So you've won a Featured Snippet... let the traffic flow, right? Not so fast there! What other SERP features are showing alongside your Featured Snippet? What other features are competing for a user's attention? What SERP features most commonly appear with Featured Snippets? How strong is a Featured Snippet win... really?!
You've got questions... we've got data...
Is rank more volatile in 2020 than it was before the latest string of core updates arrived? Is the continued presence of both Google's confirmed and unconfirmed updates making rank stability harder and harder to come by? As machine learning progresses are we seeing more and more rank volatility? Has August 2018's Medic update put us on a new path of increased rank fluctuations?
Let's find out!
It did not take long for Google to release its first confirmed core algorithm update of 2020. Just two weeks into the new year, Google announced the release of what it has called the January 2020 Core Update. Right from the get-go, all signs pointed to this update being on the larger and more impactful side. Here is a look at the update's overall impact on rank stability, a per niche rank volatility analysis, and a comparison in scope and size to a recent unconfirmed update.
In other words.... How big was the January 2020 Core Update and who did it impact the most?
The best part of my job is the ability to spend time pondering, analyzing, and researching anything and everything within the world of Search. It's in these moments where I feel I'm making a difference by helping advance the SEO conversation. With this sentimentality, let's have a look back on 2019 and revisit some of the insights we've uncovered here at Rank Ranger over the year.
So you've won a Featured Snippet on desktop, does that mean your URL shows within the zero-position box on mobile? How often does the URL that resides within a mobile Featured Snippet match the desktop URL? Is there even a desktop Featured Snippet? What is the likelihood that a Featured Snippet win on desktop equals a Featured Snippet win on mobile?
Here's a look at how often Google shows the same URL on desktop and on mobile.