SEO Research

Google's Ability to Understand Entity Sub-Profiles [Case Study]


Google has gotten really good at recognizing entities and how various entities relate to each other. There's no doubt about it. That said, how well can Google truly profile an entity? What happens when an entity has more than one profile? Is Google able to pick up on entity sub-profiles? What if someone is both an actor/actress and a director? What happens when a celebrity goes into politics? How does Google view the secondary profile of these entities?

Are Featured Snippets Getting Shorter? [Study]

It's always nice when theory meets reality. Not too long before I undertook the research for this study I wrote an article about why I thought Featured Snippets would be getting shorter. When I noticed that Google was throwing content barely a few hours old into Featured Snippets it seemed the content within them was a bit on the thin side. Thus, I took to analyzing 150 Featured Snippets to see if my anecdotal observation was correct.

Long story short, Featured Snippets are shorter... sort of.

Dissecting Google's June 2019 Core Update & Site Diversity Change


On June 4th, 2019, Google released its second official broad core algorithm of 2019 (which was appropriately dubbed the June 2019 Core Update). At the same time, and further complicating the ranking picture, Google made a significant change to the top of the SERP by increasing domain diversity. Combined, the two "changes" created quite the substantial "ranking event."

With that, let's have a look to see how the June 2019 Core Update impacted rankings and how to look for signs of top-of-the-SERP domain diversity within your rankings!

When Google's Intent Targeting Goes Too Far [Case Study]

I'm on the hunt for user intent insights in 2019. I've resolved to make this year about going deep into intent and how Google handles it. Instead of getting into the finer points of user intent and Google's proficiency in meeting it on multiple levels, I'm going to showcase where it doesn't work. Meaning, while I generally think Google's increased ability to parse user intent and pick it apart is a fantastic step forward, it does not work universally. As Google offers users results that would satisfy any number of intents the search engine is going to increasingly be faced with the issue of not meeting any of them adequately. Allow me to demonstrate.

How Diverse is 'People Also Ask'? An Intent Analysis Study

Related Questions, or as most of us know them, People Also Ask (PAA), has developed into one of the more intriguing features on the Google SERP. The feature is both prominent and powerful. This dynamically loading set of what are all but Featured Snippets has the potential to seriously alter a user's search process or search 'journey' if you will.

I wanted to qualify that potential a bit by analyzing what intent looks like inside the PAA box.

  • How many intents are represented by the initial four PAA questions?
  • Does Google prefer to dig deep into one specific topic or does Google prefer to offer a broader topical look with its PAA questions?
  • Does Google give one intent more attention than another?
  • Does Google treat one keyword category and type differently than another in regards to the PAA?

What Is the Market Share of Featured Snippet URLs? [Study]

To what extent do URLs share a Featured Snippet? What happens when Google uses more than one URL inside a Featured Snippet? Is there one URL that dominates the zero position box? What happens when Google oscillates between more than two URLs - how much visibility does each URL get?

Based on the results of our last Featured Snippet study, which analyzed how often Google changes a URL inside of Featured Snippets, we wanted to know what the market share of a Featured Snippet URL looks like.

Here's what we found.

SERP Features in 2018 - How Stable Were They? [Study]

Whether you score or compete with SERP features, it behooves us to know how stable they are. How consistent is Google with its SERP feature showings? Which features tend to display at consistent levels from one month to the next? Which features are subject to heavy amounts of display fluctuations?

This is your comprehensive look at SERP feature stability, volatility, and consistency. This is your look at SERP feature fluctuations in 2018!

How Often Does Google Change Featured Snippet URLs? [Study]

Scoring Featured Snippets is just one of those SEO topics that has become almost mythological. Getting your URL into a zero position box is the win of all wins. But while we're all talking about winning, Google is shifting URLs in and out of Featured Snippets much the way a disc jockey switches music tracks during a radio broadcast. This, of course, begs the question... how often does Google change URLs within its Featured Snippets?

The Year in SEO Research: Rank Ranger's 2018 SEO Studies

Each and every year we're humbled by the additions we're able to offer to the SEO industry's understanding of the "search environment." Whether it be a deep dive into a Google algorithm update or a case study on Google's use of SERP features, we feel honored to offer a bit of insight into how Google is treating the SERP and so forth. With the year coming to a close, here's a review of the original research Rank Ranger has brought to the forefront of SEO consciousness.

Just How Stable is Rank These Days? A Rank Fluctuation Study

There's this sentiment that rank has become increasingly more volatile. To a large extent, we've chalked this up to machine learning, or RankBrain in specific. That said, what does the current ranking landscape actually look like? How does it differ than the allegedly more stable past? What new ranking dynamics has machine learning left us with? What can we do about them?

Can Google Now Profile Your Site? August's Google Update Post Analysis [Case Study]

Google's early August update was one the most drastic changes I've ever had the 'pleasure' of studying. No site within any niche was safe. Not even the top results on the page could withstand its algorithmic inertia. Amidst the waves of rank fluctuations, a peculiar site pattern emerged, one that had us wondering...

Can Google now profile your site?

Do URLs Inside of Google's Desktop Video Carousel Rank Well on YouTube? [Study]

What's Google showing in the new desktop carousel? Where do the carousel's YouTube URLs rank within YouTube itself? Is the SERP getting the best YouTube has to offer? Can you optimize for YouTube and the desktop video carousel simultaneously? Does top spot YouTube placement guarantee carousel priority? 

I took 155 video carousel keywords and compared the rank of the top 6 cards in each carousel to the URLs rank inside of YouTube - these are my results.



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