What Is the Wisdom of the Crowd?


The book , The Wisdom of  Crowd’s discusses the way search engines work and assign rankings to websites. The wisdom of crowds assumes that large independent groups are capable of finding the best solution in aggregate. The only conditions are that each person can come to their decision independently with limited information they have, you have a large enough crowd that is diverse it its opinions and views, there’s no large coordination or mass communication that alters individual opinions and you can take all of their inputs together to yield a total that factors in even the most extreme opinions. Search engines do exactly this by recording the surfing habits of millions of users, each with their own priorities and preferences. It measures their vote based on how long they stay on a website. The search engines look for mass coordination like click campaigns to improve a website’s rankings and discount those apparent manipulation efforts from the rankings, though these efforts may be successful in the short term, such as the effort to link a sexually explicit definition of Santorum to the individual running for office with that last name. Search engines also try to identify click fraud efforts to boost one’s own rankings. Search engine results are not a pure democracy. Google’s results are more akin to a republic, where it has some weighted averaging for the sites that are already the most popular. Popular sites then tend to remain high in rankings, where they tend to receive a disproportionately high number of visits / votes. Google’s  republic form of voting also takes the form of domain authority. Sites that it considers more authoritative like WebMD get an extra thumb on the scales in their favor over an opinionated blogger, unless that blogger manages to go viral and continue to receive continued visits over a long term. Trust Rank is one way your website’s domain authority is measured.

How Can You Use This Information to Improve Your SEO?

Now that you have an idea as to how search engines use the wisdom of the crowd to determine your search engine results page ranking, how can you utilize it?
Position your content or website exactly where those searching for it will find it, so they will select it and then stay on it when they visit. Stickiness or the measure of how long they stay on the site after viewing it is considered a vote in your favor. If you don’t know the key search terms that bring visitors to your site who stay, hire a SEO firm to determine which search terms your site needs to be optimized for in order to improve your fit. Sharing the link to the content, especially social sharing, is seen as multiple votes in favor of your website by Google. Work with a company with experience in digital marketing to improve your rankings this way. Work on increasing your site's Trust Rank so that it is seen as authoritative. Perfect SEO to position your site in front of searchers falls short if the search engine considers other sites more authoritative on the topic. Take care not to be labeled as spam by keyword stuffing your content, since this actually hurts your site’s authority. An SEO firm can help you determine which latent search terms you can use to improve your site’s optimization without over-doing key terms.