A Secret Algo Project (MozCast)

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Information about A Secret Algo Project (MozCast)

Published on July 27, 2012

Author: crumplezone

Source: slideshare.net


My presentation from MozCon 2012. The story of how we built MozCast, and what I learned from 6 months of storm-chasing the Google algorithm.

A Secret Algo Project Launch Dr. Peter J. Meyers Rogue Scientist SEOmoz @dr_pete

Should’ve asked this guy…



What do we know? 20 named updates (2003-2012)

“516 changes” in 2010

Schmidt’s sworn testimony8,157 side-by-side experiments + 2,800 click evaluations = 516 changes http://cnet.co/IVtdGG

What do we know?8 events tracked = 1.6% of 516 changes, 0.28% of 2,800 tests

What Google says VS What we observe

I. What Google Says

Clues from patents - http://bit.ly/IK1gRx

Spokespeople & socialOfficial accounts & staff (Matt Cutts, Pierre Far, etc.)

Official blog(s) - http://insidesearch.blogspot.com

Search quality highlights (starting Nov. 2011)

2012 Google “Highlights”Jan – 17*Feb – 40 198 reportedMarApr – 50 – 52 = 475 projectedMay – 39 *Late 2011 and January 2012 were probably under-reported

2012 updates by type“Minor” updates include spell-check, speed, snippets, sitelinks…

What’s in a name?Panda = 16 updates (3 major, 13 minor) over 17 months

How minor is “minor”?(1) Tweaks to handling of anchor text. [launch codename "PC"] This month we turned off a classifier related to anchor text (the visible text appearing in links). Our experimental data suggested that other methods of anchor processing had greater success, so turning off this component made our scoring cleaner and more robust.(2) Keyword stuffing classifier improvement. [project codename "Spam"] We have classifiers designed to detect when a website is keyword stuffing. This change made the keyword stuffing classifier better. (1) “Minor” highlight from March, (2) Part of the “Penguin” update

II. What We Observe

Webmaster “chatter” - http://www.webmasterworld.com

Localization and personalization are changing the game

Cat-and-mouse game - http://bit.ly/JnXRs5

What’s normal? What’s abnormal?

Project: Algo Alert Top 10 rankings 1,000 keywords* 24 hours*De-localized & sampled across 5 volume “bins”

SERP “Deltas” Delta100 = +0 if no change +|#| if ranking moves +10 if ranking drops Delta10 = Sqrt(Delta100)Don’t forget Delta10S, Delta55, Delta55X30, Delta55X7 (DeltaX), and DeltaL

III. Algo Alert Findings

Sunny day in Googletown Saturday, May 12th – Delta100 = 3.82

There’s a storm brewin’!Tuesday, April 24th (“Penguin”) – Delta100 = 14.31

The April 16th glitchNote: Y-axis is scaled to emphasize differences

The “Penguin” update Highest Delta10 on record (3.32) at the time

The Glitch vs. The Penguin Scaled to match Penguin graph

What goes up…Total rankings that moved up vs. down (April 20-28)

The Penguin shuffle 2 Big Losers  8 Small Winners

The “Bigfoot” update**Google has not acknowledged the existence of Bigfoot

Bigfoot’s footprintDomain diversity dropped – Multiple domains got 2+ rankings

Overall domain diversity Domain diversity dropped 2.6% from 6/4 to 6/5

Long-term domain diversityGradual decline with 2 large drops: (1) Penguin & (2) “Bigfoot”

Big 5 dominate rankings 10.7% of top 10 results are from 5 domainsBig 5 = Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter (June 2012)

The Panda 3.7 updateMulti-day rollout – 3 consecutive days topped Penguin

Late-June mystery update On par with Panda 3.7 – Google says “no update”

Is this just “bounce”?Cumulative Delta10s for April 8 vs. April 9-18

Visualizing ranking shift A “quiet” keyword – 10 URLs over 10 days

Typical shift patternAn average keyword – 13 URLs over 10 days

Rapid & permanent shiftA highly volatile keyword – 37 URLs over 10 days

What’s a normal day? 79.7% of SERPs change every 24 hours1,000 SERPs over 2 months (May + June 2012)

Google’s busiest day?There’s a reason we don’t like Mondays (May + June 2012)

Highest-flux keywords?Keywords split across 5 “bins” (May + June 2012)

Top recorded Delta10sMany major “events” go unnoticed or unnamed

The Panda 3.9 update Similar to Panda 3.5 – Probably data-only

IV. Introducing MozCast

Should we chase the algorithm?

“I’ll be back-links.”


Dr. Peter J. MeyersYour Fluffy Naptime Panda Pal SEOmoz @dr_pete

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