Leveraging clickstream data as a directional metric, rather than looking at rankings on the search engine results page, allows Verizon's search engine optimization (SEO) professionals to analyze traffic share to its website.
Clickstream -- the process of collecting, analyzing and reporting aggregate data about the pages a website visitor visits -- has become a better metric to track and compare with competitors, Rob Pavacic, SEO lead at Verizon, said during the keynote on Monday at the MediaPost Search & Performance Summit in Captiva, Florida.
"This new [metric] will help us future-proof our approach," he said. "Whether it's on Amazon, Google [Microsoft Advertising] or Yahoo."
It's not really new or inventive, he acknowledges, but it's a way to find data that ties together all media -- making it easier to attribute specific channels to the success of campaigns.
Pavacic and the team have been developing the data method for the past few years, working with the agency Performics to optimize the way it leverages the data to use as a "fundamental connected tissue" between paid and organic search.
The clickstream data enables the team to answer the question, whether or not it's winning in search.
"For the longest time that meant ranking highest, within the top three positions, in search engine query results on a page. Now, it provides a valuable metric, but doesn't indicate whether we're winning," he said. "You can have position one in paid search a percentage of the time, but not one-hundred percent of the time," he said. "In organic search, you get pulled up and down, in and out of the index."
Pavacic also said the team has been focusing on how search will change in the next year or two, and what it might potentially look like.
Pavacic said that at the last I/O conference, Google rarely focused on traditional search engines, but rather on devices like Google Home, Duplex, artificial intelligence, and autocomplete in emails.
He also called attention to two new search engines that built their respective platforms on blockchain. Presearch, which pays searchers in cryptocurrency for searching on the engine and exchanging the data, and BitClave, a decentralized search engine that uses blockchain and bitcoin, both have been making a splash in search.
"[It] brings me back to the beginning days of search, what we all thought from an SEO perspective it would be," he said.
Pavacic read off 10 fundamental principles of a blockchain-based search engine with no central authority that places control with the users. This also applies to the past. The 10 include: Search should be open and involve people; ranking data shall not be kept secret; web data should be readily available; no one size fits all; advance search should be accessible; engine tools should be open to all; search and community should go hand in hand; spam does not belong in search results; and the privacy of searchers should not be violated.