Catching up with Google’s Gary Illyes in Brighton
Sep18

Catching up with Google’s Gary Illyes in Brighton

15SHARESFacebookTwitter If you headed over to Brighton SEO this September, you’ll have seen that the keynote speaker was Gary Illyes at Google. Jennifer Slegg asked some really good questions during the keynote Q&A! Though as Gary can’t really give away much, there were not very many actionable things you could take away. Other than it is pointless to ‘chase the algorithm’, off the back of the comment that 95% of algorithm updates are not actionable. I walked up to Gary after for a chat, and managed to get a picture too, but also attempted to ask some questions and listen to others questions. The answers he gave were a little more detailed than what was stated up on stage, so it was a real good bit of insight that most others didn’t get. Gary was previously an engineer for the search ranking team, so he does know a thing or two, but whether he gives anything away is another detail however. Does AdWords interaction have any sort of impact on Organic Search? My question to Gary was around AdWords impacting Organic search. At first when I asked this question, he stopped me before I could complete the question. The question was not whether the AdWords team interacts with the Search engineers, but rather, do the Search team at Google recognise a relationship between AdWords behavior impacting/influencing click-throughs to organic results. Gary’s answer was an immediate no to AdWords impacting organic search. I had to clarify and follow up with a more detailed question off the back of that question, which I did.. There are not too many public cases where site owners have given away the fact that AdWord results has had an impact on the results in organic search, with specific regard to the brand in question appearing. There is a case study with eBay, in fact, from 2013 showing the CTRs for brand searches, and what the impact on organic CTR looks like when turning off AdWords. You can guess that it increases, as people will look for the brand in the organic results. But what about for generic results, and how does impact rankings over-time? The interesting thing for me is that Gary mentioned at the conference that Rank Brain, the mysterious machine learning algorithm, is an algorithm that looks at “historic trends” in Gary Illyes’ own words. As an aside to this, outside of the Q&A on stage, I was with others asking questions, and whilst I did not bring the up the question, he did bring up the terms ‘head tail’ and ‘long tail’, which makes me think that Google categorises their data sets in this way...

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Large Google Update on the 16th of June?
Jun17

Large Google Update on the 16th of June?

14SHARESFacebookTwitter There have been talks of small scale and high scale Google updates occurring in June, with webmasters reporting that they’ve either seen a drop in rank or an increase in rank for their respective niches. Looking at the SEO weather tools, they have identified that there have been big changes in the SERPs in June. Tools 1: MozCast http://mozcast.com/  Moz has their own tool called MozCast, which attempts to identify any turbulence in Google’s algorithm by assessing the volatility of a sample of 1,000 keywords. Its most recent report shows that on Tuesday, 16th of June, there was major turbulence that pushed the MozCast metric to 102°. To put this in perspective, the first ever Penguin update clocked in a figure of 93.1°. Tool 2: Algoroo https://algoroo.com/ Another tool called Algoroo samples 17,000 keywords and looks for fluctuations in a similar way to MozCast. This tool is also reporting a high amount of SERP flux and volatility in the same time periods as MozCast. If we look at when Google’s Phantom II / Quality Update occurred we can see that a recent increase, on the 16th of June, shows a far larger fluctuation in the SERPs than the Google Quality Update on the 3rd of May: Google’s Response Google have confirmed that this is neither a Panda, Penguin, nor HTTPS update. It was thought that this could have been an HTTPS update because recently (12th of June) Wikipedia encrypted their entire website in HTTPS/SSL. With a large percentage of Wikipedia pages being dominantly displayed in the top 10 search results this could have caused fluctuations, as Google indexes the HTTPS version of the site. This may have been the cause for the fluctuations in the SERPs where tools have shown high volatility. Pete Meyers at Moz explains this in more depth, here. However, Pete asked Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, if there was an HTTPS update that could have caused these high fluctuations. He wouldn’t go into further detail and responded on Twitter stating: At the time of writing, further details explaining the extent of this change haven’t been made available by Google. However, they did confirm to Search Engine Land that this was not a Panda update, stating: “This is not a Panda update. As you know, we’re always making improvements to our search algorithms and the web is constantly evolving. We’re going to continue to work on improvements across the board.” The reason there was speculation around a Panda update is because Gary Illyes announced on June 2nd at SMX Advanced that webmasters should expect a Panda refresh within the upcoming weeks. At the same time, he announced that...

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