New Feature – Universal Search Results Now in Ranking Reports

universal-results-main

In simpler times, search engine results pages (SERPs) were predictable – 0-3 ads on top and bottom, a few ads on the side, and 10 organic links in the left column. How times have changed.

Now more than ever, SERPs contain a huge variety of result types. From local packs to news results, and in-depth articles to knowledge panels, these specialized result types have dramatically changed SEO strategies, and it’s time your rankings in Dragon Metrics reflect this new environment.

Thankfully, that time is now. On June 3rd, we’ll be releasing an update that tracks over 20 different universal result types. We’ve also completely redesigned the Keyword Ranking page to reflect these changes. Let’s take a look!

What’s New

Universal Result Types

The biggest news in this release is that we now collect rankings for universal result types, many of which were not included in reports previously. For search engines such as Google and Bing, we now include results such as:

  • Local packs
  • News
  • Images
  • Video
  • Sitelinks
  • Mini-Sitelinks
  • Twitter
  • In-depth articles
  • Recipes

Next to each URL, you’ll see the Type column. If the ranking URL is an organic result, it will be left empty. If it’s a universal result, an icon will be displayed representing the result type.

local-results

For other search engines, such as Baidu, we collect completely different result types, since the universal search environment is quite different there. In contrast to Google and Bing, universal results in Baidu are likely to be dominated by links to Baidu’s own properties. However, News, Image, and Open Widgets may still link to external sites. For Baidu, we include results such as:

  • News
  • Images
  • Open Widgets
  • Brand Zone
  • Baidu Zhidao
  • Baidu Baike
  • Baidu Wenku
  • Baidu Tieba
  • Baidu Maps
  • Other Baidu Properties

Most popular universal result types

At the top of each page, we will display the top 4 more common universal result types that were found on SERPs from all keywords in the current set. We’ll also show how many times your site appeared in each universal result type.

SERP Features

In addition to the Universal Result types listed above, we even keep track of non-ranking result types such as Knowledge Panels, Cards, or Carousels. These result types still do not take up a ranking position on the SERP, we still show that they’re present on the page in the SERP Features column.

knowledge carousel

This column shows all universal result types that were found on page 1 for any site (not just yours). This helps you understand opportunities for a keyword.

For example, if your site is ranking #2 for “widget pictures”, but there’s a block of image results at position #1 that doesn’t include your site, it’s likely you won’t receive many clicks for this keyword. Similarly, if there’s a Knowledge Panel on a query, it may be possible that fewer searchers will click-through to your site.

Trend

Another great new addition is we’ve moved the ranking trend to a column for each keyword. We will show each date’s ranking position for this keyword in the set date range. This is great for spotting keywords that fluctuate greatly. Now when exporting to Excel, we’ll even include all dates’ ranking (not just begin date and end date).

trend

Preferred Landing Page

We’ve made it a little easier to see whether or not the ranking URL matches the preferred landing page. Next to the ranking URL, you’ll notice a small circle. If the ranking URL matches the preferred landing page, it will be filled in. If it does not match, it will be hollow. If no preferred landing page was entered, the circle will not be present.

preferred

How this update affects your rankings

Users should be informed that after this update, you will likely see some small changes in your rankings. There’s two main ways this can happen:

  1. If your domain is ranking in local packs, news, video, image, or other types of universal results, you will see your rankings go up for these keywords, sometimes significantly!
  2. If your domain is not ranking in these types of universal results, your rankings may go down by 1-3 positions for some keywords.

Let’s look at a few examples of how this might work.

In the first example, we have 9 organic results and 3 news results ranking on the first page for this keyword. Your site has a URL ranking in the News results for this keyword, and another URL ranking organically lower in the page. Previously, since we skipped over News results, Dragon Metrics would show your ranking as “8” for this keyword. However, after the update, your ranking will be “3” for this keyword, since we now include the news result.

Result
Before Update
After Update
organic11
organic22
news result 1
news result 2 (me)
news result 3
(skipped)3.1
3.2
3.3
organic34
organic45
organic56
organic67
organic78
organic (me)89
organic910
My Ranking83

In the second example, your site only has a news result. Previously, Dragon Metrics would show your site has having no ranking for this keyword, but now it’s again “3”.

Result
Before Update
After Update
organic11
organic22
news result 1
news result 2 (me)
news result 3
(skipped)3.1
3.2
3.3
organic34
organic45
organic56
organic67
organic78
organic89
organic910
My Ranking(no ranking)3

In the third example, your site does not have any URLs ranking in universal results. Here, your site is only ranking organically, and not in the news results. In this case, your rankings will go down by 1, from 8 to 9, since we’re now including the news results in our calculation.

Result
Before Update
After Update
organic11
organic22
news result 1news result 2
news result 3
(skipped)3.1
3.2
3.3
organic34
organic45
organic56
organic67
organic78
organic (me)89
organic910
My Ranking89

Disabling Universal Search Rankings

While this update will come as a long-awaited relief to most users, we understand that everyone is different. Some may want to keep things the way they are. So if you’d like to continue excluding universal results, you can set it by opening up the filter and changing “Include Universal Results” to “No”. This will set it to show rankings calculated as if we were skipping over universal results, as we had in the past.

no-universal-filter

Comparing

You can even compare universal and non-universal search ranking. In the view options next to the ranking table, you can always show and hide columns for “Rank” and “Rank (No Universal)” to see the difference between these two. These columns are both available whether or not “Include Universal Results” is set.

no-universal-view

Quick Roundup

A few more final details of note:

  • During the process of adding universal results, we took on a huge accuracy audit of our ranking data collection, and have improved the accuracy of rankings even further. We’ve spent months doing accuracy checks, and we can promise you our ranking data is among the most accurate out there.
  • Also included in the update is a huge slew of bug fixes. You might just happen to find 1-2 bugs you noticed before have been smashed in this release. Hooray!
  • While the user interface will be updated for all users on June 3rd, ranking data will be rolled out in phases. So some users may see updates in the user interface before their data has switched over. This is normal, and you’ll see your data change over later in the week.
  • Our developer API has been upgraded to offer these additional fields. See https://api.dragonmetrics.com for more information on what’s changed.
  • All custom report and dashboard modules have been updated as well. If you want to disable universal rankings for each module, there is an option in the settings to do so.

Let’s Talk

We know how important your rankings and reporting is to you. So whenever we have a rare update that affects the rankings shown in Dragon Metrics, we do not do so lightly. We’ve been researching, evaluating, and testing for the past 5 months. This update is the result of what we believe is going to bring you the most accurate view of your rankings on the SERP.

However, we know some users may still have some questions or want to talk details. Let’s talk – we’d love to help any way we can! Use the live chat in the bottom right of your screen to start a conversation right away. We’d love to hear from you.

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