What SEOs Need to Know About Topic Modeling & Semantic Connectivity – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Search engines, especially Google, have gotten remarkably good at understanding searchers’ intent—what we
mean to search for, even if that’s not exactly what we search for. How in the world do they do this? It’s incredibly complex, but in today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand covers the basics—what we all need to know about how entities are connected in search.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re talking topic modeling and semantic connectivity. Those words might sound big and confusing, but, in fact, they are important to understanding the operations of search engines, and they have some direct influence on things that we might do as SEOs, hence our need to understand them.

Now, I’m going to make a caveat here. I am not an expert in this topic. I have not taken the required math classes, stats classes, programming classes to truly understand this topic in a way that I would feel extremely comfortable explaining. However, even at the surface level of understanding, I feel like I can give some compelling information that hopefully you all and myself included

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October 31, 2014  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Marketing Analytics and the Problem of Attribution Modeling

Posted by RuthBurr

Guys, we need to talk about attribution modeling. It’s a hot issue in our industry and most of us (SEOmoz included) aren't doing it as well as we want to be. It's tough stuff. Mike P from Distilled gave a great MozCon presentation on the topic, but most of us aren't anywhere close to that sophisticated – and even his model is impacted by Google Analytics' limitations.

It’s been covered in far more detail elsewhere, but in a nutshell: attribution modeling attempts to solve the problem of which channel gets credit when a user touches multiple channels prior to converting. Many marketers simply throw up their hands and say the last touch gets all the credit – but then we have to live with the knowledge that some of our efforts are far more effective than we give them credit for.

Not-so-super modeling

dog model
Supermodel by Soggydan on Flickr

Unfortunately, attribution modeling is very hard to do well for a lot of reasons: 

  • Any site to which users return daily (like, for example, SEOmoz.org) quickly fills up with touches that may or may not be related to conversions.
  • Channels like social media and community building are
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December 25, 2012  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  One Comment

Content Optimization: Revisiting Topic Modeling, LDA & Our Labs Tool

Posted by randfish

Many times as SEOs, we think about the "on-page optimization" process as simply following the best practices for placing our targeted keywords (and possibly, some variations of them) on the page. My previous blog post about Perfecting Keyword Targeting covers this in some detail. But, we also know that search engines aren’t nearly naive enough to care only about the individual terms/phrases that the user queries. For years, search engines have been doing work with topic modeling (this paper from Berkeley researchers does a nice job exploring the concept as it relates to IR).

While it’s challenging as SEOs to know where this work has taken them, we can certainly assume that the words and phrases you use on a page likely influence its ranking, as well as how and where you use the targeted query term.

For those of you who’ve been following our blog posts about research into this area over the past few months, you know we’ve hit some stumbling blocks. Initially, we thought the free LDA Labs Tool had an extremely high correlation with Google.com rankings (higher even than most link-based metrics). However, after analyzing some results from others who ran … Read the rest

November 8, 2010  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

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