This is the release of our Search Explorer Alpha (release 0.3) that I expect will really interest the SEO industry, because today we unveil our live rank factors for search engine! Now when you type a search phrase into our search engine, not only do you get search results, but you will also get an increasingly detailed view of how, and why, we ranked the results. No more guessing for SEOs. From here on in you could do SEO without Majestic, but as we improve our search algorithm why would you want to, when SEO WITH Majestic Search gives you transparency at your fingertips?
We have also launched a fantastic New Link Prospecting methodology but more of that later. First let’s show off our live ranking factors charts:
The figure above shows the chart view of the Ranking factors in summary mode for the phrase “Site Explorer”. The URLs listed are the SERPs; (Our own SERPS, NOT Google’s), and then in the next column we show the overall search score. This number is made up of our interpretation of the search factors we are using to rank each result. We then show you the relative weighting of the results between InTitle, InAnchor and InURL factors. You will see a coloured bar above each of these columns, which correspond to the bars on the right of the screenshot. The example is an interesting one, because – of course – Yahoo’s site explorer, which comes in at position 2, does not exist but was the “original” and probably still the most famous “Site Explorer”. The chart has a few clues as to why it still ranks. We’ll dig into that a bit further.
New SERPS Screen Layout
This more granular approach to showing you data is also shown in our search results page, showing the main search score factors in the SERPS themselves, along with the Flow metrics, referring domains and external backlink counts to give you a really good feel for why we interpreted one site or page to get listed above another.
Clicking on the inAnchor numbers gives you a quick way to dig into a result. One clue as to why the Yahoo URL still ranks lies in the ysearchblog result (number 4) where we see many pages on this active blog also talking about Site Explorer and linking through to the page. http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/ also remains a valid page, and that page ALSO links back to the Yahoo blog.
Digging into the Details
The main new tab – the Ranking Factors tab – actually has two modes – chart mode which you saw at the top of the post and “data” mode. By flipping to data mode you get more detail – particularly in how we have broken down the in URL factors into separate elements for scoring purposes.
Here the link between http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/ and http://l.yimg.com/pv/static/misc/index.html becomes clear… Duplicate content Yahoo 😉
Does this Change the SEO Industry?
I really believe that this is the start of a different approach to SEO. In some ways it is a return to analyzing ranking factors – but now, for the first time, you can run a search query and then see EXACTLY why one search result appears above another. One might argue that these results look very different to Google’s – but providing Majestic’s search engine starts to provide more and more RELEVANT search results, this is going to increasingly become a strength for SEOs, because it provides relevance based on a clearly defined set of variables. If a search engine chooses other factors (which of course they will) then where there is a large deviation, an experienced SEO will easily spot the differences. Whether Google decides to insert personalized results, localized results, social results, paid feeds or unpaid feeds, these all serve to add clutter and confusion for the SEO. If Majestic SEO IS using a ranking factor (such as InAnchor or InTitle) then we will aim to show you. Where we aren’t, you will be able to confidently predict that other results in search engines are ranking due to non-link related factors.
As Majestic strengthens its search, we plan to increase the number of factors that we are using in our search engine. The obvious ones to start integrating next are our Flow Metrics which are already on the screen but not yet being used in our scoring on this release.
How do I use this? Give me a use case scenario!
OK. Here are three…
Use Case 1: Let’s say you want to rank for “Cheap Flights”
All you would do is type “Cheap Flights” into our search. This is a BIG term, so whole businesses are built around such phrases. In this instance, switching to the DOMAIN view (as opposed to the URL view) gives the best results.
Tip: If your search query does not instantly return any results, do not despair. We are building up our search rankings “dictionary” not based on pre-guessing every search term, but by calculating our rankings based on what users search for on our engine. So if you type in a term we have not yet calculated rankings for, we will take that as a signal that you are interested in the term and will look to populate the SERPs over the next 24 hours. Once we have results, we will continue to be able to show them to you at speed.
Assuming there ARE results for your chosen search phrase, then the next question is whether your target landing page is already within our search results. Right now, whilst we are ramping up, we are showing you the top 1,000 search results… as much as any other search engine… but we may go deeper for higher subscriptions in the future. If your site (or your client’s) is not listed within our top 1,000 results, then it honestly doesn’t matter WHAT you do to increase the importance of your site – as long as you do SOMETHING logical – get your site noticed by an industry pundit somehow… or write a thought leadership piece on a respected industry site… whatever you do, you need to get enough links and gravitas to get into the top 1,000.
From there, you get to see your site’s current “Search Score”. You also get to see the scores of everyone above you. You do not necessarily have to scroll through every page of our SERPs, because you can just export the data from right there of the screen into a CSV or Excel file. This means you can see exactly the sorts of things that WE think are important and you can see where your site need to improve (and by how much) to have a chance of ranking in our SERPs.
In a perfect world, as you improve your rankings on our engine, you will see corresponding improvements on other search engines… but a word of warning here. It might be easier to “game” our search results then the other engines, but in doing so you are only fooling yourself and setting up big red flags for the major engines to latch on to. Improve your site’s web presence using sound marketing ideas instead of gaming the system if you want to see a sustained improvement not only in our SERPs, but also in your vertical and other engines at the same time.
If your site appears on OUR search very highly, but does NOT appear highly in Google or Bing or Yandex or Baidu’s search results, then this tells you that other factors are dominating the search rankings for the chosen keyword. It means that getting more links possibly won’t help you. You need to focus your SEO efforts elsewhere.
Use Case 2: Targeting your SEO against specific competition
Of course – our search engine is in some cases quite generic – whereas your objectives as an SEO are very specific. Let’s say you have ten specific URLs that you want to benchmark and beat in search, they might be 10 URLs that already rank on (say) Bing for the phrase “Credit cards”. Start by putting these URLs into your bucket list, along with your own URL (the one you hope to rank for the search term). Your Bucket list should look something like this:
Now – instead of running a search against EVERY site on the internet, you can run a search only for URLs in your bucket list! From there you will be able to see exactly what you need to do to improve your lot in OUR SERPs to improve against your competition. To do this, type “credit cards” in the search box in Search Explorer, NOT the home page, then select “advanced” and up comes an option to only search within your bucket!
Tip: Do NOT mix domains and URLs when you carry out this sort of search. The Flow Metrics for a Domain are INDEPENDENT to the Flow Metrics for the URLs. Complex maths… In fact I would recommend that you search at the URL level. To make sure all your bucket list items are at the URL level, you can simply view you bucket list. Any that say “sub-domain” or “root” you can fix by clicking on the edit pencil and append a trailing slash (/) and this will change the bucket item to a URL level item.
Use Case 3: A Brilliant new Link Prospecting Tool
We said at the top that we had also introduced a new way to prospect for links. That is because we have embraced the “site:” command but importantly, you need to also use this command in conjunction with a search term. For example, let’s say you are looking for pages or blogs about “flights” on Blogspot, WordPress.com and Blogger sites, you could simply search for:
The result is not JUST a list of sites… but a list of sites that are likely to be influential around the phrase “flights” AND are on blogs and sites that you know may be approachable. Just go down the list and click on the “bucket” icon () every time you see a viable candidate. You can then curate or export your bucket list from the Bucket List link at the top right of your screen.
Tip: We consider multiple keywords as an “OR” for site: searches, so you can look for synonyms at the same time.
Will doing all this guarantee Google Rankings?
No – of course not. We do not have the same ranking factors and we do not even “see” Google’s ranking data, though any correlations by third parties could make a great research study and blog post, but our data is our own. Google also uses many other factors other than the ones we use, but where a site ranks BECAUSE of factors that we use, then by the same token you should get a good idea of how your site needs to progress.
Won’t people scrape this data from you?
Platinum users will soon be able to see this data in their API documentation. We’ll blog about that when we can. We plan to make it practically easier for you to either download CSV files or use the API than scrape our results. Scraping our SERPs will result in immediate suspension and possible prosecution if we find you, so please do consider paying for Platinum access if you want our data for whatever reason… it will be less expensive for you in the long run and we will continue to be able to provide a robust service for our users.
Platinum users also have the opportunity to build OpenApps applications. OpenApps is a proprietary technology developed to let you build third party applications that ANY Majestic SEO subscriber can plug into. All in all, using data the right way is better than trying to take it the wrong way.
Is your Search Engine JUST for SEOs?
Absolutely not. Whilst this is the obvious use for Majestic SEO’s audience, PR professionals and reputation management campaigns will both benefit from innovative use of Majestic Search Explorer. We’ll go more into these use case scenarios in the future – but right now you have to ask yourself this question:
“If I do SEO without Majestic Search Explorer in my arsenal from here on in, how far behind will I be compared to an SEO WITH Majestic Search Explorer in their arsenal?”
I expect that the answer would be “more than £30 / €45 / U$50 per month behind!”
Majestic has not increased its prices in any way with the advent of Majestic Search Explorer, at least whilst it is in Alpha. Sign up for a paid subscription now and see exactly how we rank searches. Welcome to the next level!