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We've all heard a ton about Google's RankBrain over the last while, and even yours truly delved into it and into a word vector patent as well. But there's been something that wasn't quite complete. Something my geek friends and I have considered as waiting for the other shoe to drop.

You see, from all that we've learned, ol' RankBrain has been stated as something that was being used to better understand queries. And that it's been most affective in query spaces that are more ambiguous (or unkown queries). To that end, I journeyed down a path that lead me to word vectors, machine learning and neural nets (the AI component, potentially an extension on Google Brain).

But what about the other end of the spectrum? What about the actual indexing of documents?


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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Philip Polaski
    Philip Polaski says #
    I really enjoyed the in depth explanations and details. The future is really going to be interesting. I'm wondering what "human"
  • David Harry
    David Harry says #
    I wrote about user feedback signals recently over on the SEO Dojo blog... you might enjoy that as well Philip - http://seotraining
  • Ross Dunn
    Ross Dunn says #
    Great job Dave! I don't nearly have the patience to do much patent review (only in the rarest of instances) so I triply appreciate
  • David Harry
    David Harry says #
    For the record, this one is a paper, not a patent LOL. There might be one out there tho, I shall have to look around. And yea, thi
  • Doc Sheldon
    Doc Sheldon says #
    From our conversations on this, you know I'm a bit more convinced where RankBrain will end up than the possibility that you hint a

Is it part of Google's RankBrain? Probably worth learning more about.

Last fall Google started talking publicly about their new “RankBrain” approach and to this day, the SEO world seems to be somewhat confused on what exactly it is. At the core it's a system that uses words as vectors to better understand and predict results to queries they serve up. We also learned that it is most likely closely related to the project; Word2Vec


And with that in mind, there was a patent awarded last year whose authors were many of the same people that worked on the Word2Vec project (Greg Corrado is also listed on the RankBrain work). I thought it was worth covering to hopefully get a little more insight into the concepts.

Ok so let's take a crash course on how Google might use word vectors to better understand things. Let's look at some simple word vector examples.

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A while back, the folks at Google were talking about their 'Page Layout Algorithm' which by and large discusses how users might not be all that keen on having ads above the fold;

"... we've heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it's difficult to find the actual content, they aren't happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don't have much content "above-the-fold" can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn't have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site's initial screen real estate to ads, that's not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward. "

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Has anyone else noticed that there seems to be some changes to the replies one receives when filing a reconsideration request with Google? I have.

Reconsideration requests are all the rage with the fashionable SEOs since 2012. Everybody's doing it. We hear about them at every turn. But there really doesn't seem to be much out there on actual replies. I guess folks are shy huh? We hear a lot about the context of the initial WMT messages, but very little about actual replies after the recon is filed. Today we're going look at some we collected to get a sense of what's happening.

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  • Smitha174
    Smitha174 says #
    You completed a number of fine points there. I did a search on the theme and found the majority of folks will agree with your blog

What exactly is the function of a search engine? In simplest terms it acquires, stores and returns information (from the web). Ok, simple enough. But we're talking about people here, people seeking information. How they interact with the search engine is often a huge problem. What is the user intent? A good way of starting to pick apart that puzzle is by classification of query types. And that's what we're going to be looking at today.

To understand what a user truly wants when searching for something you'd need to ask each user what it is they are after. While that works for the offline mom and pop store, it isn't at all feasible for a search engine. Thus an automated approach needs to be taken. What's more limiting, is that they have to infer intent from very few words and little in the way of (explicit) interaction.

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Posted by on in Search Engine Optimization

How to measure SEO success

Recently we learned that most SEOs still consider that rankings are a performance indicator, just less of a value than in the past. Or at least according to a recent poll we held. This all begged the question, what ARE the metrics of measuring SEO success?

Well, in short, there is no cookie cutter approach that is going to work in all situations. What follows are some notes that we (Dojo warriors) put together over some forum threads and chat sessions. And the question was….

What benchmarks and key performance indicators are worth watching?

As we made our way through the various potential benchmarks and KPI metrics, it became clear; all is not at it first would seem. Right away you should understand that each website, each business model and market creates new challenges. This is where the art of SEO comes into play. What is a key metric in one situation may be of secondary value on another.

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If there's one thing I hate it's having to do forensic and clean up SEO work. Sure, I like solving mysteries and that's what makes it interesting. But all too often I can't help but think about the price-tag. Sometimes it's a larger corp where the penalty or dampener won't hurt them all that much. Other times it's smaller businesses that can be crippled. Or heaven forbid, blasted beyond the ability to recover. At the end of the day I can't help but think somebody is losing a job, or worse.

Now, it would be great to sit here and tell you that it's totally Google's fault. That they should simply be devaluing all the crap links until we get the message. That would solve the problem right? Not so fast.

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  • Ethan Hays
    Ethan Hays says #
    I've been doing SEO for 12 years, so you could say I've been personally involved in the evolution of Google's services. For the m
  • David Harry
    David Harry says #
    Yea man, as you may have noticed I fully expected as much. At the end of the day, as I mentioned, I don't think myself or even the
  • Barry Adams
    Barry Adams says #
    Yes I think we as the SEO industry have a responsibility to educate our clients and deliver services that add lasting value. Ethic
  • Andrea
    Andrea "Judge Seo" Scarpetta says #
    Google changes so fast that most companies cannot really understand the difference between "updated" information and "regurgitated

Posted by on in Link Building

Aaaaaand... the other shoe drops.

Just a short heads up for those that missed it over the holiday weekend; PostJoint (another popular guest blogging 'network') was penalized by Google on Friday. Not to act like a smug search geek or anything, but I did kinda mention this might happpen in a post I wrote here at the time.

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Seems another prominent guest blogging community has spoken. I give you; 'How we're different than MBG'.

Let's have some fun shall we?

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  • David Harry
    David Harry says #
    Figured that was bound to happen - don't poke the bear!
  • Andy Morley
    Andy Morley says #
    PJ was penalised today... you heard it here first
  • Scott Polk
    Scott Polk says #
    ... its really that simple ...

Hey gang, I just wanted to stop a moment and put some perspective on the recent guest blogging mass panic (aka the MyBlogGuest affair). For those not familiar, I do a lot of forensic SEO consulting, helping people that have gotten manual and algorithmic penalties from Google. That means I not only have a good set of sources out there, but am a good barometer of the state of them.

So, here's some insights so far....

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Stephanie Riggs
    Stephanie Riggs says #
    Guest blogging was considered big source for creating quality links back to a website but after the article of Matt Cutts about gu
  • Adam Methew
    Adam Methew says #
    Blogging are still very good. But guest blogging a little bit risky. And remember post one article on one blog. Otherwise your wor
  • Elle
    Elle says #
    Is it best to link only to scholarly articles such as .gov or .edu and use no follow links? Also, how do you strengthen your sites
  • David Harry
    David Harry says #
    Yea, that's just getting stupid IMO. It does speak to the need to be on top of things and have a pro-active dsavow program in plac
  • Bob Gladstein
    Bob Gladstein says #
    I'm dealing with a situation a lot like your friend with the profile on a news site. One of the sites I work on puts kind of a lot
  • David Harry
    David Harry says #
    Naw man, this is my company site. It shows how well I promote it huh? Again, as I mentioned in the post, I know of a SEL author
  • Jeremy Rivera
    Jeremy Rivera says #
    Hey David, So in your opinion is it the bio links that's really cheesing Google off or do you think they're trying to state that

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