• 04 Apr 2016
  • 4 Min read

Industry round-up: Google confirms its top 3 ranking factors & AdWords gets a redesign


This industry round-up will fill you in on the moment a Google employee confirmed the search engine’s top three ranking factors, a SimilarWeb report that suggests search drives ten times more shopping traffic than social media, and Google’s announcement of a new redesign of its AdWords tool.

Google officially confirms its top 3 ranking factors


In 2015, Google revealed in an article on Bloomberg that RankBrain, its artificial intelligence system, was the third biggest contributing factor to the results of a search query. RankBrain is a system developed by the company to process search results using machine learning — a process where computer programs are able to teach themselves how to deal with different types of data, in this case search queries. You can find out more about RankBrain in this informative Forbes article.

During a live Q&A (see below), Search Quality Senior Strategist Andrey Lipattsev of Google Ireland was asked what the other two top ranking factors were — information that Google has previously remained tight-lipped about — and he obliged. Lipattsev revealed that alongside RankBrain, the other two factors that influenced search rankings were content, and links pointing to a website.

This confirms what SEO experts have emphasised as key ranking factors, with helpful, interesting, and relevant content, as well as natural links taking the top two places in Google’s eyes. Lipattsev did not go on to expand upon which of these were the first and second most influential factors, but the confirmation of what the top three influencers are will surely encourage web and SEO professionals to continue best practice.

SimilarWeb report: Search supplies 10 times more traffic to shopping sites than social media

In its Global Search Marketing Report 2016, SimilarWeb states that search is the largest driver of traffic to shopping websites on the internet. The report is designed to give online marketing professionals an insight into current global trends so the latest insights can inform their campaign decisions. The report also focuses on a variety of other metrics that may affect marketing decisions, such as a closer look at the market share of display adverts against paid search within sectors of online retail.

One of the most surprising findings in the report is the heightened effectiveness of search compared to other sources of traffic to shopping websites. Search has a share of traffic that is approximately ten times more than that of social media sources — 38.98% for search against 3.91% for social media. The second largest traffic driver is direct with 35.88%, with email, social media, and display adverts way off with shares under 5% for each of them.

AdWords to be redesigned over next 12–18 months


Google has announced that its online advertising platform AdWords is to undergo a redesign over the next 12–18 months, with the aim of making it easier to navigate and use. AdWords has been widely used since its inception in 2000, but the last time that the search giant updated the interface was back in 2008.

With the many added features and tools that have accrued over the years, many people will be relieved that the platform is due to be re-designed and streamlined. Google said in a blog post: “This rise in complexity has created the need to reimagine AdWords, and over the past year, our product teams have been thinking hard about how we can make AdWords as relevant for the next 15 years as the first 15.”

Google has also indicated that there will be no fundamental changes to the way that AdWords works — the vast majority of changes will take place to model the user experience around the campaigns that are currently being run. The changes will be made and tested through 2016 and 2017, with limited testing taking place with assistance from selected advertisers. Their feedback will be used to improve on the design.

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