If you’ve been hiding under a rock then you may not have heard the news of the ‘God Particle’ discovery.
As someone who is fairly scientific, I look at this as more of a proof of concept than a discovery, and ‘God’ really needs to give Peter Higgs some credit for his theories.
I won’t dwell on the news surrounding the Higgs boson particle confirmation, but there are parallels between objects colliding and revealing previously unseen matters.
When Search Engines Collide
It’s been some time since Bing and Yahoo merged, so the data sets should be the same right?
No. That would really be a wasted opportunity, and Microsoft is clearly smarter than that.
By not merging the search data or algorithms of Bing and Yahoo, Microsoft can now experiment with different updates and ranking philosophies without putting all it’s eggs in one basket.
An active/healthy SEO will be watching the updates to search algorithms from as many perspectives as possible which means a variety of sites on a variety of topics tracked on a variety of search engines.
Say a site gets a ton of extra 301 links from partner sites, and this improves traffic and rankings on Bing, causes a stability of movement on Yahoo, and a drop in traffic on Google?
It’s possible to say that the drop on Google was related to a ton of different factors, untrusted links, link spam, dilution of keyword relevance, keyword anchor text spamming, you name it. This is because Google is always updating and always keeping us on our toes.
Bring on the data..
Lets now take the data from Bing and Yahoo into consideration and look at what we know of recent algo changes on those search engines. This ‘collision’ of data still leaves us with unseen factors but gives us more to go on.
Since Bing has followed Google on some of the recent updates, the upswing on Bing for position of keywords would hint that it’s neither a dilution of relevance or spamming on the keywords/anchor text.
Stability on Yahoo is largely unremarkable if you check the crawl info and cache dates. It’s likely just late to the game and you can’t bet the farm on this info.
What about the other engines? Without paying a penny for the data we can fetch Blekko and DDG(DuckDuckGo) ranking history to see what changes have occurred to rankings on these engines.
Since Blekko is currently well known to be on the warpath for duplicate content, and they are starving for fresh crawl data, a rankings drop on that service can be very informative especially if the data from the other search engines helps to eliminate key ranking factors.
In the case of our current example I’d narrow down the list of ranking factors that changed on the last ‘Penguin’ update and contrast those with the data from the other engines and probably suspect (in this example) that Google is seeing duplicity from the 301s, something Bing wouldn’t yet exhibit, but Blekko would immediately punish as badly or worse than Google.
The next step would be to check for issues of authority for the page content. Is there authorship mark-up and a reciprocal setup on the author’s end that helps establish the trust of the main site content? Does the site have the proper verified entries in Google WMT to pass authority? Barring WMT flags, what about a dynamic canonical tag in the header, even as a test if it’s not already setup?
Start making small changes, watch the results, and be patient. If you’re not gaming Google and you’ve done something accidental to cause a drop in rankings, you need to think your way through the repairs step by step.
It’s not easy to evaluate but the more data you can mash-up, and the better you understand that data, the closer/quicker you can troubleshoot ranking issues and ensure that your efforts are going to be gains.