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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