Companies in Dow Jones Global Sustainability Index Ranked for Online Performance for “Sustainability”

18 Oct

RankTank re-ranked the Top and Bottom 20 companies in CSRHub’s Dow Jones Global Sustainability Index (390 companies covered), comparing their ranking awarded by Dow Jones to their online strength using the rank-weighted search results claimed by each company as a proxy for performance on the topic of “sustainability”.

Out of 2,000 search results available to them for a search for their corporate names and “sustainability”, the 20 companies ranked highest out of 390 by Dow Jones for sustainability:

  • collectively own 920 results
  • give up 781 positions to “Others”
  • have an average ECR score of 46 (low-mid range of online performance).

Out of 2,000 search results available to them for a search for their corporate names and “sustainability”, the 20 companies ranked lowest out of 390 by Dow Jones for sustainability:

  • collectively own 650 results
  • give up 908 positions to “Others”
  • have an average ECR score of 35 (low end of online performance).

Find out which companies are getting the the most visible return on investment for their sustainability spending at


Scoring Brand Online Strength by Rank Weighted Search Results

10 Oct

Scoring Brand Online Strength by Rank Weighted Search Results

I first started weighting search results positions in October 2009 with a system that weighted the Top 20 results pages 20 – 1 (#1 result = 20, # 2 = 19 and so on down to #20 result = 1), for a total of 210 “points.”

RankTank's weighting system 2009 - 2012

This assigned 74% of the value of the Top 20 results (155 points out of 210) to the first 10, and 26%, (or 55 points) to the second ten, in a straight line progression.

RankTank's weighting system 2009 - 2012 weights

RankTank’s weighting system 2009 – 2012 weights

In actuality, results page values do not fall in a straight line progression but in a stepped one so in 2012 I modified the weights to the values shown in the application, which are:

RankTank's improved rank weighting system 2012

RankTank’s improved rank weighting system 2012

The new system assigns 66% of the value of the Top 20 results to the first 10, in a stepped progression that reflects how users interact with the results page in terms of a) scanning the list and b) actually clicking on results. By upping the value of the second set of ten, it also recognises their potential to move up into the first set of ten.

RankTank's improved rank weighting system 2012 position weights

RankTank’s improved rank weighting system 2012 position weights

Our business is scoring a brand’s online strength, so it’s important to score the degree to which a brand is protecting its top 10 position by blocking out the next set of ten with pages it also claims: Today’s #19 result can be tomorrow’s #9.

Scoring Brand Online Strength by Simple Count/Share

10 Oct

Scoring Brand Online Strength by Simple Search Results Ownership Count/Share

I first discovered the relationship between search engine results page (SERP) performance and company performance in 2006. The first “top brand” source I used was the Interbrand/BusinessWeek Top 100 companies survey published August 7, 2006 ( I ran a Google search on each company (I queried the exact name, without keyword modifiers or qualifiers) and classified the Top 20 SERPs according to who claimed the results of a query for its name: the enterprise (EGM), mainstream media (MSM), consumer-generated media (CGM), or others (OGM).

In 2006, I did not rank-weight the search positions; I scored using a simple count, treating all Top 20 positions as of equal value. I changed to rank weights in 2009.

Proofs of Concept

9 Oct

In 2012, after 30 years in marketing agencies, enterprise Web development and content optimization, I founded RankTank. Other ventures in the works include a set of reports to quantify the Ranking Signals sent and received by a brand’s Websites and social profiles; and a methodology that scores 130 site and profile attributes and 170 social media and online community interaction elements, weights, cross-relates and rolls them up into comprehensive measurements.

Over the past few years, using this and similar scoring methodologies, I’ve run proofs of concept for or on:

  • Brand consulting agencies (including Brand Finance, Interbrand, Corebrand, Millward Brown, Intangible Business, KPMG and others)
  • Footwear manufacturers (including Merrell, Nike, adidas, New Balance, Saucony, Vibram)
  • Financial services (including Credit Suisse Holt, Collins Stewart,  Applied Finance Group)
  • Healthcare — Fybromyalgia — brands (including Pfizer’s Lyrica, E.I. Lilly’s Cymbalta, Forest Laboratories’ Savella)
  • US commercial real estate (including Aimco, Archstone, Avalon Bay, Camden Living, Equity Residential, Post Properties, UDR)
  • Spirits (leading brands including Wild Turkey, Crown Royal , Glenlivet, Johnnie Walker,  Jack Daniel’s, Gentleman Jack, Jameson, Jim Beam, Jim Beam Black Label , Red Stag, Dewar’s, Maker’s Mark)
  • US law firms (regional firm group Thompson Hine, Vorys Sater, Porter Wright, Taft Stetinius, Calfee Halter; major firm group: O’Melveny & Myers, Gibson Dunn, Latham & Watkins, Kirkland & Ellis)
  • Restaurant brands (10 Casual Dining, 10 Fast Food, 10 fast Casuals)
  • Tourism (13 international tourism destination brands)
  • ESG/CSR (rating oil & gas, mobile telecomms, media, leisure goods sectors for the corporate name + modifiers like responsibility, sustainable, polluter, “Global Reporting Initiative”)
  • US energy sector (including NRG, AES, PSE&G).

In some cases, my goal was not just to prove the search ranking concept (which I’ve published as, but also to prove out a deeper proprietary methodology that explains the rankings in terms of the quality of a brand’s website and social profiles (130 measures) and the depth of its interaction with social networks and online communities (170 measures).

Best Brands of 2012 continue to dominate online as well as offline

3 Oct

The Best Brands of 2012 continue to dominate online as well as offline.

On 2nd October, 2012, RankTank compared the online performance of 100 leading brands in Interbrand’s 2012 Best Global Brands report with their position in the brand league table.  As is customary, we use rank weighted search positions as the measure of online performance, specifically, the percentage of the Top 20 results each brand claims for a query for its own name.

Top level findings:

In 2012, the 100 Best Brands collectively claim 65.6% of the total available value of the Top 20 search results positions. This is consistent with other analyses we’ve undertaken since 2006, which show that on average the top brands claim 66% of their total available search engine value versus 30% for laggard brands.

RankTank rank weighted analysis of Interbrand 2012 Best Brands

RankTank’s rank weighted analysis of Interbrand 2012 Best Brands

The full report is at It contains surprising conclusions on social media and a comparison between the 100 Best Brands performances in 2012 and 2006.

All brands were scored on Tuesday 2nd October between 1:30pm and 7:30pm GMT +1. We queried the exact brand name as in the report, without disambiguating or modifying terms.


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.