The level of volatility in hourly keyword rankings can be identified with this tool!
About Chris Green
- Head of Search at StrategiQ
- 7 Years in the search industry
- Search London speaker (slides here) alongside myself in April 2018
- Get in touch via Twitter using @ChrisGreen87
Hourly Ranking Tracker
The tool was initially created as a way to identify traffic loss when keyword visibility seemed to look stable. It gained attention, especially on Twitter, when Chris Green tweeted their first findings that showed that anything past page one of the search results sees a lot of movement on an hourly basis.
Chris says that they looked at a small sample but a broad subset, which included the gaming and finance industries. The news industry in particular has highly volatile position changes. As SERP featured keep changing and personalisation means position 1 is redundant, it’s interesting to see what’s happening on an hourly basis.
“If a search result ranks but no-one is searching for it, is it really there?” – Chris Green
Google is constantly testing. My one example is when I was at Tesco, I found that we were coming onto the first page on the one day and falling out of the top 100 the next, for the term “carpet cleaners”. After digging into it and seeing who was appearing on those days, it was clear that when Tesco was showing up was when the products were appearing, such as carpet cleaning sprays, whereas when Tesco were nowhere to be seen, that’s when the local carpet cleaning services were on the first page instead. It’s clear here that the intent of the searcher isn’t always clear so Google has been flipping the results to identify the best answer.
With an hourly ranking tool it’s likely that these things are identified much quicker. It’s also able to show the ranking differences between the morning, afternoon and evening when the intent of the searcher might be different dependent on the time of day. Chris Green and the team will be looking at searches where people are looking for taxis or pizzas to see whether rankings change from morning to evening.
Currently the tool only looks at desktop hourly keyword ranking results but there are plans to expand this into mobile, as is Google news and other result features. There are more ways of searching on mobile too (ie voice search), introducing the younger generations as well so it’s a matter of looking at the right keywords.
How does voice search fit into hourly rankings?
Things that always make a difference are location and previous browsing history. Small refinements to the search also make large differences to the result as it is an indicator to what you are more likely to be searching for. Rank trackers have difficulty emulating this and it’s only going to be harder to do. The rank tracker gives you a benchmark but it has been seen to prejudice the results in some areas, showing the difficulty in seeing a ‘true’ view of the results, which behaves around your actions.
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