Archive | September, 2012

Search results performance time series

30 Sep

RankTank time series

One of the benefits of using RankTank is being able to compare search results performance over time. Benchmark positions for company operations, brand keywords, PR messages, advertising campaigns, buzz words, etc, and track them every week or month to see the impact of marketing and other activities. Compare with competitors and peers. Watch for a change in company or brand performance scores (up or down). Also watch for a change in the total number of pages returned for your queries; that’s a good indication of how competitive or popular a keyword (i.e. a brand, a stock symbol, a product, a personality, a topic, an issue, an event) is.


Ranking social media search results

30 Sep

In general, social search results are compiled differently from Web search results. They all use algorithms, but social search indexes are based on tags and social connections between people whereas Web search indexes are based on links and relationships between pages. Social search results are more personalized and so are ranked differently from Web search results, but you can nevertheless use RankTank to score a brand’s performance on any social network with a search function — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, video and image file sharing sites, social news and bookmarking sites (the latter are more like traditional Web search). RankTank’s social search tutorial is at

Types of Search Results to Rank

30 Sep

You can rank any set of search results from:

  • Web search portals like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex etc
  • vertical search portals
  • any social network (although there are some differences between how the results are presented)
  • your own intranet, extranet, collaboration portal or content management system
  • on-site search tools
  • location search, directories
  • search functions inside email, word processing, spreadsheets and other applications
  • any country domain extension (.com,, .ca, .cn, .in, .ru, etc).

Weighted Search Scores beat Simple Counts

30 Sep

For organic search results, a weighted score is better than a simple count

Simply counting the number of pages your brand claims (owns or controls) in the top results does not provide a sufficient measure of your brand’s actual online performance. Why? Because not all results positions are equal [link to Don’t just Google your brand, Rank it]. Here’s a simple example. Say your brand owns or controls the #s 3, 6, 7, 8 and 10 results. A simple count would be 5 out of 10. But that’s misleading because it ignores the value of higher ranked results over lower ones. (The #1 result in Google is there for a reason; so is the #5,789,645.) RankTank assigns weights to each result position as follows (below we show just the Top 10 results as an example):

table of search results positions versus weights

The value of a search result depends on its position in the rankings

Now calculate your weighted score in RankTank.

RankTank calculation of rank weighted score

RankTank calculation of rank weighted score

The results you claim (Brand A’s ECR, the weighted sum of “e”) are worth a total score of 29.

The results your competitor claims (Brand B’s ECR) are worth a total score of 37.

[For an overview of ECR, etc, see For a detailed explanation, see]

So on a simple count basis, you’d claim half the results for your brand name, apparently a fifty percent score, but on a rank-weighted basis, which reflects what users actually do with search results, you’re underperforming your competitor.

This example is based on the Top 10 results, not the entire 20. As it shows, out of a possible score of 66, your brand scores 29 and has left 37 on the table for dissatisfied customers, disgruntled ex-employees, brandjackers, and of course competitors. The differentials are even larger when ranking the Top 20, which has a total possible score of 100.

Now repeat the above — for all the keywords important to your company’s operations (sales, PR, IR, HR, legal, advertising, CRM, partners, etc) — in the top 20 results across all search engines, and you’ll get a sense of the Share of Online Voice you’re losing out on if you’re simply counting the number of results instead of using RankTank weighted scores.

Scoring search results performance

30 Sep

It stands to reason that search results are not all worth the same value. Who looks at # 679? Or even #79? Fact is, searchers click through-to and recall the higher ranked results more than lower ranked ones. The 5th results position gets more attention – and is thus more valuable — than the 29th, so it counts for more. is a public domain application (no cost, no license) that enables you to weight each result according to the value of its position in the search results. We use a blended consensus of industry experts’ views as to the value of these positions. We show the rank weights we assign to each of the Top 20 positions inside the application.