Whilst most of our efforts are focussed on how to rank within the top 10 Google results through traditional techniques, this article explores the ranking factors for non conventional search in the areas of news, social and video content.
Whilst Google is the most dominant search engine globally, it is surprising to find that over 1 billion searches are conducted on Facebook alone every month. There is thus no wonder that Google needed to roll social results into its search to maintain control of the search market. One of the first rounds of integration of social results into Google SERPs saw Twitter feeds rolled into results when relevant – but what factors impact their inclusion and how are tweets ranked?
1. Reputed Followers; According to the Google engineer – Amit Singhal one of the key elements for ranking Twitter posts is to identify “reputed followers”, which follows a similar theme to that of PageRank.
2. Hashtags; One of the elements which seem to downgrade what Google seems to deem as a quality tweet is those related to hashtags. During formulation of ranking criteria, analysis showed Tweets associated with hash tags usually were associated with spammy content thus this is one way Google identifies lower quality content.
3. Signals; Google also analyses the context of tweets to file through and locate the latest topical issues. Take Obama for an example – hundreds of thousands of tweets occur daily – thus Google uses topics to signal what content should be shown based on how much tweet activity is centering around a given subject.
Despite news being integrated within standard search results and also being a prominent channel on Google in its own right, it is still an under-utilised channel by search marketers. Like Twitter results, Google News relies on its own factors to rank content.
1. Story Clusters; The first thing to note is that Google clusters related content and then ranks this within search results.
2. Cluster Ranking; What is important is how Google then ranks the individual content within those clusters. Ranking is based on originality of the news content, locality of the content as well as recency of the content.
3. Source Reputation: Reputation of the content source is also relevant thus if the article appears in a trusted publication it is more likely to feature as the lead story.
What this tells us is that for search marketers it is important to driving very unique content online and distributing it through the best online PR distribution services around to be published in some of the major news sources.
YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world, thus it is no wonder that like social sites Google dug its teeth in fairly early to ensure that it monopolised video search by buying YouTube. When looking at it in this light, it is important to understand the video algorithm to ensure you are ranking for video content on both YouTube and Google. Apart from the traditional elements which drive text based search such as keyword optimisation and age, the key ones you need to be aware of for video are;
1. Engagement; YouTube factors in how many users are engaging with video’s ie placing comments, ranking the video, embedding the video or sharing it.
2. Reach; Popularity on YouTube is important and video’s with a higher number of views are seen as more relevant to a users search thus with any video content uploaded it is important to have an effective distribution strategy to get eyeballs viewing the content.
Traditional text based search is just the beginning of search, to get an advantage over your competition search marketers must step up and take their SEO strategy to the next level through some of the non conventional search categories.
If you have any other tips to rank in news, social or video results, please leave your comments below.