Skip to main content

How to Stay No.1 on Google

Ranking First Is Good, But First With Prerender Is Better...


How do you know when you've got a strong hold on the #1 ranking? Contributor Gene McKenna shows how Google Chrome may provide a clue.



So you thought ranking #1 for a search was as good as you could get, right? How about ranking #1 with a strong indicator that your position there is pretty solid? A new browser optimization in search results might be giving us that clue.


Starting around August 26th, our in-house analytics system at Groupon started reporting a big increase in homepage views.


It’s rare for a search marketing team to complain about too much traffic, but all this new traffic was coming only from the Chrome browser, arriving only at our homepage, and much of it was bouncing, it was killing our revenue-per-session metrics, and all of it was from SEO (Organic Search).
And this “Chrome Home” traffic, as we called it, kept growing and growing — until, by September 25th, we had tens of thousands of additional Chrome requests per day, at a time when other browsers were showing relatively no growth at all. And we saw this in every country around the world that we checked all starting about the same time.


What we learned is that Chrome prerender kicked into high gear for us in September as Google search results pages added prerender tags on searches for Groupon.

Let’s Define Prerender

So, what is prerender, and how does it work? Allow me to illustrate by using an example.
If you search for Groupon, Google knows there is a very high likelihood you will click on the Groupon homepage in the search results. This also applies to lots of other highly predictive searches: [cnn], [nytimes], etc.


In these cases, Chrome will fetch the homepage even before you click on anything in the results. If you do and then click on this prerendered result, Chrome will request the page again — presumably with many static items already cached, providing a faster render time for users.


By now, half of readers will have already gone to check their site metrics to look at their Chrome homepage traffic.


Those that use Google Analytics won’t see anything out of the ordinary. Google Analytics doesn’t record a visit due to prerender, which is generally a good thing because it’s not really a visit. (I don’t have data on other analytics packages, but please leave comments if you’ve seen this in your analytics package.)


Google Head Performance Engineer Steve Souders explains what he calls “prebrowsing” in the October 2013 video below. It is also referred to as prerender. In the video, you’ll learn about various tags that tell a browser to pre-fetch DNS, pre-fetch resources, etc. It’s a great resource for understanding how you can make your website faster.


Souders explains the best time to prefetch things is when there is a strong ability to predict what the user will do next.


Certainly, Google can predict when you might be very likely to click on the first search result. And now, if you go to Google and search [groupon], you will see in the source code of the search results page this prerender tag:


<link href=”http://www.groupon.com/rel=”prerender“>

It doesn’t mean Google does this for the #1 result on every search. Pity the Wham-O corporation which ranks #1 for searches on “frisbee” but does not have the click-through rate necessary to elicit a prerender tag for its homepage on that search – if, indeed, that is how Google is conditioning this.
The Chrome browser has been executing prerender instructions since version 22, and IE since version 11. (There are a number of pre-rendering instructions worth checking out to make your site faster.) But it wasn’t until Google started issuing prerender commands in the search results that we really noticed this in our logs.


When Did This Start?

When this started may vary from search to search. Wham-O may have to wait a long time to get this for frisbee (quick experiment: everyone reading this article, search frisbee and click wham-o and then see if they start getting prerender).


We started seeing it for the search [groupon] in late August and ramping up through about September 25th.


Although we have only seen this in our data from Google SERPs, the video above from Souders states that this could also happen as users start typing into the omnibar (aka address bar) in Chrome if there is a strong prediction about what site you will go to. So, if you go to nytimes.com a lot, by the time you type “ny” in your omnibar, it may already be fetching the New York Times homepage.
And now, SEOs have a new challenge. Ranking #1 is good, but ranking #1 with prerender is even better. Not only will users have a faster experience, but it might be a signal that your hold on the #1 position is strong.


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

on November 12, 2014 at 9:11 am

Search Engine Land


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Grow A Network of Social Media Followers

How To: Grow A Network of Social Media Followers...

Back in 2013-2014 we sat down with Inland Finder ... The company had some 234 followers on twitter and about 300 friend likes on Facebook... It had also only purchased the www.ladysmith.info domain and had approached us to Web Design and Search Engine Optimize. With our little and fresh knowledge Live Lab steadied on full steam with boastful confidence


Excited about the new Startup we called 10 local well established businesses to advertise on the www.ladysmith.info domain. 9 of them told us to F#%&Off they are not interested as they are paying the local newspapers.... Confidence smacked down within a few hours... Boomed... Bashed and Broken...

So we sat down with Inland Finder and explained to them that we are dealing with a Donkey Years ago advertising Dynamic. These businesses are NOT advanced and people still have Nokia 3310's. They have mediocre facebook pages and no clue about twitter.



The company... Not to be outdone b…

How To Pick The Right KEYWORDS for Google Search

Picking the right KEYWORDS for Google - Rank 1 on Google and Dominate Searches...

Every Business will have a unique set of Targeting Keywords...


What are KEYWORDS ... KEYWORDS are words that people type into search engines like google to find specific services or items...

How to pick the right #Keywords to rank on #Google #Search...?



Identify your Business Services and make them the Base Keywords for your Metadata. Think about what people would search if they as customers are looking for your small business...

Remember time and effort will enable your business to dominate the market...

Live Lab Staff ...


How To Rank No.1 on Google - SEO - METADATA KEYWORDS TARGETING for Small Businesses

Small Business - SEO - METADATAKEYWORDS and Geographical TARGETING



Understanding search engine optimization is essential for any small business... This often puts the small business ahead of competitors and dominates the local searches...



Most people are lazy and type as least possible words into search engines...




There are 3 main components to local searches... Local people looking for things...
1. Geography and Areas. 2. Product - Service - Working Systems. 3. Unique Variable.
Note all your keywords down and these words will form the base of your Metadata... Spread the words around your social media and web channels... Train the search engines to recognize you as a point of interest... Enhance your position with Maps, Videos, Sponsored Posts and Blogs. 

Article by Live Lab Staff - 2018