Will Critchlow's Posts



Where Will the Next Trillion Searches Come From?

I want to talk today about a shift in searcher behaviour as big as the growth of mobile. That’s quite a claim, so let’s back up and get some context:

We don’t have perfect information about how many searches are performed each day, but we can piece together some clues:

  • Around 2009-2012, Google was seeing “billions” of searches / day - this was largely desktop search

  • Adding up what we know about the growth of desktop search since then, and Google’s market share, that means there are at least 3 billion desktop searches / day today - or roughly 1 trillion searches / year

  • We know that mobile has grown astronomically fast, with Google telling us that mobile search volume outstripped desktop in western markets in 2015 - with additional growth since then, and the even heavier skew to mobile in developing countries, that’s probably another trillion searches / year

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Ways Recommendations Fail and How Split-Testing is Changing Consulting

It’s always bugged us that so many recommendations get shoved in a drawer and never seen again. I remember the repeated pain in the early years as we found ourselves getting surprised again and again by the clients who would commission us to create some in-depth audit, and then never make the changes we were recommending. As we spoke to friends and colleagues around the industry, we came to realise that we were far from alone in this. Indeed, we often come across in-house teams with multiple audit documents gently gathering dust, and with huge backlogs and waitlists even for high-priority changes.

Our obsession with figuring out how to have an actual business impact for our clients meant that this was really troubling for us - after all, a recommendation that never gets implemented can never make a difference.

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A Guide to Writing Better Business Documents

One of our core values at Distilled is that it’s not our job to deliver reports, it’s our job to effect change, which you can see in the Distilled manifesto.

You should see the thread arguing about effect vs. affect

However, in order to effect change, it clearly sometimes is our job to deliver reports, and we want to get as good at them as we possibly can and make sure we are as effective with them as possible.

To that end, I thought I’d collect a few links I’ve seen and thoughts I’ve had over the years on how to do this:

Give away the punchline

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How to Conduct SEO Due Diligence

Before I start, if you’ve found this post because you need help conducting SEO due diligence, you don’t need to trawl through the whole post - you can just get in touch with us here or check out the section at the end entitled “why Distilled?”.

This post will be most interesting to investors, or marketers working for investors. You might not often think of VCs and SEOs working together - but we’ve crossed paths many times. For example, high-profile investor and industry expert Mark Suster presented at our conference in San Diego, we’ve worked with many well-funded high growth startups and - less visibly - we’ve been involved in SEO due diligence.

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Google to Announce that Links are no Longer a Major Ranking Factor

Let’s be absolutely clear. They’ll be presenting a carefully-tailored PR play, and it won’t actually be true in the way it’ll be interpreted. But they’ll say it, or something like it, and people will lose their collective minds.

The statement in more detail will be something like:

Following the success of our machine-learning-based RankBrain experiments, we are rolling out more artificial intelligence into web search.

We have talked before about the large number of factors that have historically gone into determining which pages rank for specific queries. Anyone who has followed the history of Google knows that this has all been underpinned by the early breakthroughs in PageRank, which enabled us to use the hyperlink-based structure of the web to figure out which websites and pages were the right answers. This worked even for queries we had never seen before, and worked even better as the web scaled.

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