Linda Buquet

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This is one of the most profound and impactful pieces I've read in a long time!

When I talk about local search theories I have (like the one I'm going to share later this AM) I keep saying "I know correlation is not always causation BUT..."

Well Rand at Moz explains that big BUT and how correlation is sometimes the best thing we have now, given Google's complex algorithm.

This is an even more important concept with the Local algo I believe.

When you add all the complex local signals on top of the complex organic signals Rand talks about, local is WAY too complicated to be able to look at a single ranking factor and know concretely how it affects ranking. Sometimes the best we can do is experimentation and make educated guesses based on correlation.


<a href="http://moz.com/blog/seo-correlation-causation">Why SEOs Need to Care About Correlation as Much (or More) than Causation - Moz</a>

Once upon a time, SEO professionals had a reasonable sense of many (or perhaps even most) of the inputs into the search engine's ranking systems. We leveraged our knowledge of how Google interpreted various modifications to keywords, links, content, and technical aspects to hammer on the signals that produced results.

But today, there can be little argument—Google's ranking algorithm has become so incredibly complex, nuanced, powerful, and full-featured, that modern SEOs have all but given up on hammering away at individual signals. Instead, we're becoming more complete marketers, with greater influence on all of the elements of our organizations' online presence...

Given this frenetic ecosystem, the best path forward isn't to exclusively build to the signals that are recognized and accepted as having a direct impact on rankings (keyword-matching, links, etc). Those who've previously pursued such a strategy have mostly failed to deliver on long-term results. Many have found their sites in serious trouble due to penalization, more future-focused competitors, and/or a devaluing of their tactics.

Instead, successful marketers have been engaging in the tactics that Google's own algorithms are chasing—popularity, relevance, trust, and a great overall experience for visitors. Very frequently, that means looking at correlation rather than causation.

...

Head over to read the rest especially the bullets about what Google's algo likes now.
There are also some great graphics that drive the point home.

What do you think???


P. S. Check out my new post about how old "closed" listings that may impact ranking. It's filled with correlation and lots of case studies and is a real eye opener!

<a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/google-local-important/27109-can-closed-google-local-listings-kill-ranking-important-new-troubleshooting-tip.html">Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Tip</a>
 

Jim Froling

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Yes Linda. You and Rand are right on this. Damn it!

Back in "the good 'ol days" it was SO much easier. Do a little "X" on page, do a bit of "Y" off page, and BOOM! Instant rankings (and gratification).

Correlative factors take SO much more time that causation factors. So many more touch points. SMBs had a tough time before connecting dots between the SEO consultant's actions, rank position and source of new revenue. Now, it is much harder as other marketing initiatives (print ads & editorial, community involvement, social media activity, etc. etc...) are a "ranking factor".

More dots to connect and they're fuzzier than ever.
 

Linda Buquet

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So true Jim, so true!

FYI forgot to add link to the new post about how old "closed" listings that may impact ranking. It's filled with correlation and lots of case studies and is a real eye opener! So just added above and here it is below too.

<a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/google-local-important/27109-can-closed-google-local-listings-kill-ranking-important-new-troubleshooting-tip.html">Can "Closed" Google Local Listings Kill Ranking? Important New Troubleshooting Tip</a>
 
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