Yesterday I watched a really long Google hangout with Jon Mueller, a guy who is pretty in touch with changes in the Google search algorithm (he works on them:). I was most interested in this hangout because he directly addresses the new change regarding press releases and guest blogging in the Google quality guidelines. Basically, Google now wants you to no follow all links in press releases and guest blogs. Barry Schwartz asked Jon about this directly. He replied by saying that press releases and guest blogs are great, but you should not do it on a large scale for links. Ignite Visibility has a great new strategy to compensate for this change, and also the overall change in Google regarding stepping away from links as a value method. I am pretty excited about how well it is performing, contact us to learn more.
So back to the analytic side of things… Google has never been open about looking at things like CTR, bounce rate, time on site, etc., as a ranking factor. They have always said that they don’t look at this. But Jon Mueller was asked about this again yesterday in the hangout. He basically said, that they don’t use these metrics to look at an individual website. It is more complicated than that. Instead, they use these metrics to look at set of websites and make decisions based on that.
Based on this, it is pretty clear that Google is using analytical data to improve their rankings. It would be very silly of them not to. It is just odd to me that they address these issues so backwardly.
Moving forward, know that Google is using analytical data to rank websites. However, they most-likely profile websites and look at the analytical data in groups and make judgements off of that. This allows them to make larger more sweeping decisions and changes. There has been a ton of commotion about this in the SEO world. All Google keeps saying is do the right thing for the user. So they are looking at a couple core usability metrics, applying them to a segment of websites and making ranking decisions based on that.
Note on Press Releases: With this huge change in press releases, guest blogs and external linking, make sure you update your search engine optimization strategies. It is a whole new world out there. These changes will not go into effect over night. You still have some transition time. Furthermore, regarding the press releases and no follow links. I wouldn’t worry about going back and trying to make that happen. I am sure the PR services will take care of that for us.