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Does Zipfian Distribution
Explain SEO?
Presented by: Dawn Anderson
#Pubcon@dawnieando
Does%Zipfian%
Distribution%
Explain%SEO?
@dawnieando
We#Know#
That#SEO#Is#
All#About
Words
Links
Crawling
Indexing
Ranking
Importance
Popularity
Probability;determination
Disambiguation
There%is%a%
phenomenon%
‘hiding%in%plain%
sight’%(blending%in)%
which%impacts%all%of%
these%elements
Zipf’s'Law'+ The'Principle'of'
Least'Effort'is'Everywhere
We#know#words#&#linguistics#have#
unusual#patterns#e.g.
“You#shall#know#a#word#by#the#
company#it#keeps”#(Firth,#1957)#(coE
occurrence)
Zipf’s Law*is*another*
one*of*those*strange*
linguistic*phenomena…*
but*MUCH*more*than*
that
Information*Retrieval*Lecture*2 University*
of*Freiburg*– Lecture*1*– Zipf’s Law
Vsauce Video*– The*Zipf Mystery*5 You*should*watch*it
Mind%blown
So…$Just$What$is$Zipf’s Law?
Zipf’s Law*is*about*
frequency*distribution,*
rank*law,*&*is*often*
associated*with linguistics
Zipf’s Law*is*Prevalent*
When*It*Comes*to*
‘Popularity’*(Rank)*
Distributions
Zipf’s Law*is*
Empirical*(Widely*
accepted).*Not*
just*a*theory
Popularised by.George.
Kingsley.Zipf
• George&Kingsley&Zipf (1902&5 1950)
• Linguist&&&philologist
• Popularised ‘Zipf’s Law’&but&did&not&claim&to&have&discovered&it
• Observed&patterns&in&word&frequency&distribution
• Extended&Zipf’s Law&to&data&types&other&than&words
• Developed&‘Principle&of&Least&Effort’&(Path&of&least&resistance)
• Image&attribution:&Freeport&High&School,&Freeport,&Illinois.,&Public&
domain,&via&Wikimedia&Commons
‘Normal’)is)
definitely)
something)
which)Zipf’s
Law)is)NOT
A"‘Standard"Deviation"Curve’"(Normal"Distribution)
This%file%is%licensed%under%the Creative%Commons Attribution%2.5%Generic license.
In#a#‘Normal’#Distribution
Very%few%observations%with%very%low%values
Quite%a%Few%observations%with%%low%values
Many%observations%with%average%values
Quite%a%Few%observations%with%high%values
Very%few%observations%with%very%high%values
AKA#‘A#Bell#
Curve’
A"Zipfian"
Distribution"is"VERY"
Different
A"Zipfian"Distribution"is"Very"
Skewed"&"Heavily"Biased
‘Zipfian’)Distribution
Very%few%observations%with%very%high%values
The%most%frequent%item%(e.g.%word)%is%twice%as%
frequent%as%the%second%most%frequent%item
The%third%most%frequent%item%is%1/3%the%value%of%the%
first%most%frequent%item…%and%so%on
Very,%very%many%observations%with%low%values
A"Long"Tail"
Distribution
Of#Course.#As#SEOs#We#Are#Used#To#Seeing#‘Long#Tail#
Distributions’.#In#Search#Behaviour
But$It$Goes$Much$
Further$Than$Search$
Demand$Curves
Zipfs Law & Zipfian Distribution in SEO - Pubcon Virtual Fall 2020 - Dawn Anderson
In#Linguistics#+ By#Zipfs Law#– The#
Frequency#of#Any#Word#Is#Inversely#
Proportional#To#Its#Rank#In#The#
Frequency#Table
Zipfian'
Distribution
Layman’s(terms(– In(any(count(of(
the(frequency(of(words(in(a(large(
body(of(content,(the(probability(of(
occurrence(of(words(or(other(items(
starts(high(and(tapers(off.(
A"few"occur"very"often"
while"many"others"occur"
rarely.
’The’%is%the%most%used%word%in%the%
English%language%(7%%frequency)
‘The’%is%used%twice%as%often%as%the%next%
most%used%word%in%English%(3.5%)
And%three%times%as%much%as%the%next%
most%used%word
Etcetera,%etcetera,%etcetera%infinitium
The$Most$Used$
Words$In$The$
English$Language$
Follows$a$Zipfian$
Distribution
Brown&Corpus&– 1&Million&Word&Text
It#starts#off#
looking
something
like this
0
10000
20000
30000
40000
50000
60000
70000
80000
The Of And To A In That Is Was He For It With As His On
Occurrence
Occurrence
Till$it’s$this$)
Brown$Corpus$
Words$Ranked$
by$Frequency$
Distribution
'The’
And$it$doesn’t$just$apply$to$
English$either
It#applies#to#ALL#
languages
Even%languages%
untranslated%as%yet
Zipf’s Law*&*
30*Languages*
of*Wikipedia*
(Image*credit*Wikiwand)
By Zipfs Law
A"few"words"
will"be"used"
very"frequently
But"account"for"
a"large"part"of"
the"vocabulary
Many"words"
will"be"used"
infrequently
But"account"for"
a"small"part"of"
the"vocabulary
In#most#
languages#the#
most#popular#
100#words#make#
up around 50%#
of#all text
“In$the$Brown$Corpus,$consisting$of$over$one$
million$words,$half$of$the$word$volume$
consists$of$repeated$uses$of$only$135$words.”$
(Fagan$&$Gencay,$2011)
Historically,,of,course,,
many,of,these,words,
were,considered,to,
add,no,value,(stop,
words)
ASIDE&' Any&value
from most of&these&
words&is&from&
‘contextual&glue’&in&
natural&language&
‘post&BERT&and&
friends’
Zipf’s Law*is*Aligned*with*Pareto’s*80:20*
Rule*Law*(The*Law*of*The*Vital*Few)
By#Pareto#* 20%#of#the#words#
account#for#80%#of#the#vocabulary
Pareto'is'also'EVERYWHERE'too'– Examples
20%$of$drivers$cause$80%$of$all$traffic$accidents.
20%$of$a$company’s$products$represent$80%$of$the$sales.
20%$of$employees$are$responsible$for$80%$of$the$results.
20%$of$pea$pods$produce$
80%$of$the$peas
Even…20%)of)a)
carpet)receives)
80%)of)the)wear
So#Why#Does#This#
‘Zipfyness’#Exist?
Zipfs Law & Zipfian Distribution in SEO - Pubcon Virtual Fall 2020 - Dawn Anderson
Zipfs Law & Zipfian Distribution in SEO - Pubcon Virtual Fall 2020 - Dawn Anderson
Zipf’s'Law'
Appears'to'
Apply'to...Lots'
and'lots'of'
types'of'data
Zipf’s Law*&*The*Population*of*Cities*In*Countries
Appears'to'always'hold'
true'only'when'the'cities'
are'economically'related'
(e.g.'in'the'same'country'
as'each'other)
• Zipf%rank%plot%for%276%
metropolitan%areas%in%the%United%
States,%after%results%of%the%census%in%
2000.%Source:%factfinder.census.gov.%
The%straight%line%has%slope%1.11.
This%biased%spread%holds%true%
for%income%distribution%!
Zipfs Law & Zipfian Distribution in SEO - Pubcon Virtual Fall 2020 - Dawn Anderson
On#the#Internet
So…$There$are these$same$
predictable$patterns$across$many$
aspects$of$the$web,$within$ccTLDs$
&$even$website$&$webpage$
features$themselves
Pretty&much&every&aspect&follows&a&
Power&Law
And$Zipfs Law$is$a$Power$Law
“A power law*is*a*functional relationship between*two*quantities,*where*a*relative*change*in*one*
quantity*results*in*a*proportional*relative*change*in*the*other*quantity,*independent*of*the*initial*
size*of*those*quantities:*one*quantity*varies*as*a power of*another.”*(Source:*Wikipedia)
These%Laws%Don’t%Change%In%‘Scale%Free’%Networks%Such%
as%The%Web%Grows%or%Ages%Either
This%file%is%licensed%under%the Creative%Commons Attribution6Share%Alike%3.0%Unported license.
A"Small"Example"in"All"The"Words"of"a"Blog"Site
Etymology(Nerd’s(
Study
• 490$page$blog
• Top$40$most$frequently$occurring$words$ordered$by$rank
• Followed$a$Zipfian$distribution
But$It$Goes$Well$Beyond$Just$
The$‘Words’$on$The$Internet
Zipfian'Distribution'Examples'On'The'Internet
Number'of'
inlinks'to'
pages
Number'of'
outlinks from''
pages
Size'of'
websites
No.'of'pages'
in'websites
Number'of'
words'on'a'
page
Number'of'
videos,'images'
&'audio'files
In#word#
distribution#on#
a#ccTLD
In#internal#link#
distribution#on#
within#a#ccTLD
In#external#link#
distribution#
within#a#ccTLD
In#the#
popularity#of#
sites
In#the#
popularity#of#
queries
In#the#
popularity#of#
web#pages
Zipfs Law)and)The)
Internet
Whilst)the)data)is)older)
Zipfs Law)still)prevails
Adamic,)L.A.)and)
Huberman,)B.A.,)2002.)
Zipf's law)and)the)
Internet. Glottometrics,
3(1),)pp.143G150.
In…$EVERYTHING
I"asked"an"eminent"search"engineer"to"be"sure"
this"was"correct."He"replied"yes
Some%Baeza)Yates%Papers%on Web%Characteristics
Characterization,
of,National,Web,
Domains,(2007)
Link,Analysis,in,
National,Web,
Domains,(2005),
Characteristics,
of,the,Web,of,
Spain,(2005)
Bias,on,The,
Web,(2018)
Some%Caveats
It#is#true.#All#aspects#of#the#
web#show#this#power#law#
but#it#is#less#precise#on#
webpages#at#the#very#far#
ends#of#the#distribution#
(Baeza<Yates,#2005,2007)
Shame&Law&in&web&
pages&(Minimal&
Shame)&Baeza5Yates,&
2007
Where%authors%or%organisations do%some%
minimal%work%because%they%don’t%want%to%be%
ashamed%of%their%work%(minimal%effort).%Makes%
Zipfs Law%less%precise%on%the%small%pages%or%
websites.
What%About%At%The%
Long,%Long,%Long%Tail?
Ricardo(explained(it’s(because(the(are(too(many(
unique(value(for(it(to(be(exact
ccTLD%Power%
Laws%Versus%a%
‘Whole%
Internet’%
Power%Law
• Each%ccTLD%will%have%a%different%power%law%
(different%exponent)%
• Although%in%general%the%sum%of%ccTLD%power%
laws%is%not%a%power%law,%in%many%cases%it%is%
because%you%have%a%dominant%one.%
• For%example%for%the%whole%Web,%the%USA%will%
dominate.%Experimental%data%shows%this.
Many%thanks%to%Ricardo%BaezaJYates%for%providing%
this%response when questioned
Given&a&known&Power&Law&
Distribution&in&EVERYTHING&on&the&
web&how&might&this&be&reflected&in&
search&engine&systems?
Given&That&By&Zipf’s &&Pareto’s&Law
A"few"sites"will"be"
sites"will"be"visited""
very"frequently
But"account"for"a"
large"part"of"
search"traffic
Many"sites"will"be"
visited"
infrequently
And"account"for"a"
small"part"of"
overall"search"
traffic
They%
Know%ALL%
About%
Zipfs%Law
“No$paper$on$statistics$of$web$pages$
is$complete$without$a$graph$
showing$a$power6law$distribution.”$
(Fetterly,$2005)
Zipf’s'Law'Helps'
with'Search'
Systems'Built'for'
Scale
Since&EVERYTHING&Is&
‘Naturally’&Much&More&
Predictable
Priorities(are(VERY(
obvious(via(Zipf’s
Law
Given&That&By&Zipf’s &&Pareto’s&Law
A"few"sites"will"be"
sites"will"be"visited""
very"frequently
But"account"for"a"
large"part"of"
search"traffic
Many"sites"will"be"
visited"
infrequently
But"account"for"a"
small"part"of"
search"traffic
Some%‘things’%are%simply%NOT%as%important%as%
others Cities,'towns'&'
villages'
(Population)
Many'Low'quality'
content'URLs
Sites:'Think'CNN'
vs'Mom'&'Pop'
Blog
Few'High'vs'Many,'
Many'Low'or'No'
PageRank'URLs
Head'terms'versus'
long'tail'search'
terms
Much%
Literature%
Confirms%
Zipf’s Law%is%
Considered%
in:
Crawling
Indexing
Caching
Ranking
Quality5Determination
Zipfs&Law&&&Crawl&
Frequency&
Scheduling&– AKA&
‘Crawl&Budget’?
Crawl&
budget
John&
Mueller
Gary&
Illyes
Link&
Juice
Meme&
with&
cats
Duplicate&
content
Crawl&Budget&is&
absolutely&tied&to&
Zipfian&Skewed&
‘Demand’
‘Most’'Sites'Will'NOT'Have'High'Crawl'
Budget…'EVER
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/9689511?hl=en
The$Rate$of$Change$on$
Sites$Will$Likely$Follow$a$
Power$Law$Too$
(Predictable)
As#Will#The#Rate#of#
Content#Creation#on#
Sites#(Predictable)
‘Quality’*Issues*Can*Arise*as*a*
Result*of*Too*Many*
Automatically*Generated*
Pages*Defying*Zipf’s*Law*(The*
rate*of*creation*is*obviously*
not*by*human*hand)
Zipfian'Quality'Thresholds'
Meeting'will'‘probably’'shift'
for'the'site.'Quality;
impacted;Crawling'will'
‘probably’'be'Impacted
You$Threw$a$‘Long$Tail’$
of$Low,$Low$Importance$
URLs$Into$The$Mix
You$Just$
Bought$
Some$Places$
At$The$Back$
of$The$‘Crawl$
Schedule’$
(Or$Didn’t$
Make$The$
Grade$At$All)
'Crawl'Budget’'Issues'
are'Often'OVERALL'‘Site'
Quality’'Issues
Since&You’re&
Being&Judged&
on&The&‘Whole’&
Cake
Aside&from&’Demand’&&&
Overall&Quality
Crawl&‘budget’&
is mostly
about
‘Importance’(
which&follows&
Zipf’s Law)&
(aside&from&
host&load&
capabilities)
Demand
PageRank+(or+
equivalent)
Inclusion+in+
sitemap
Internal+links
External+links Canonical+tag
Redirections
Quality+
parents
All#of#These#
Things#Likely#
Are#Impacted#
by#Zipf’s Law
The Zipfian Distribution of Many Things
What%About%Zipfyness%in%
Indexing%Systems?
One$Index.$Multiple$
Tiers$Within$It$(Probably)
• “Each&tier&is&the&next&level&of&document&popularity&
and&usually&popularity&is&similar&to&a&Zipf&distribution&in&
its&central&part”&
• (This&is&Ricardo’s&answer&to&me&when&I&asked&about&
this&last&week)
What%About%Web%
Caching?
Given&That&By&Zipf’s &&Pareto’s&Law
A"few"sites"will"be"
sites"will"be"visited""
very"frequently
But"account"for"a"
large"part"of"
search"traffic
Many"sites"will"be"
visited"
infrequently
But"account"for"a"
small"part"of"
search"traffic
Search'
Engine'Web'
Caching'&'
Zipfian'
Distribution
Web$caching$policies$make$use$of$
Zipfs Law$(many$papers$confirm)
A$small$amount$of$pages$will$be$
very$popular$(stored$in$near$
computer$memory)
A$lot$of$pages$will$be$rarely$called$
(stored$on$disk)$and$probably$in$a$
low$level$tier
Web$Caching$Uses$Zipf’s$Law$Too
“It$is$important$to$note$the$
effectiveness$of$caching$
relies$heavily$on$the$
existence$of$Zipf’s$law”$
(Adamic$&$Huberman,$2002)$$
Adamic,$L.A.$and$Huberman,$
B.A.,$2002.$Zipf's$law$and$the$
Internet. Glottometrics, 3(1),$
pp.143L150.
What%About%Zipfian%
Distribution%in%Ranking?
Yep.%Web%
Ranking%is%
Zipfy%Too
By#Zipf’s#Law#in#
Ranking#Position#2#is#
‘probably’#judged#
‘half’#as#relevant#as#
Position#1
Despite'Some'Debate'PageRank'is'Largely'
Thought'To'Follow'a'Zipfian'Type'Power'Law
“We$suggest$that$power/law$distributions$of$PageRank$in$Web$graphs$have$
been$observed$because$the$typical$damping$factor$used$in$practice$is$
between$0.85$and$0.90.”$(Becchetti &$Castillo,$2006)
On#’Long#Tail’#
SERPs#that#half#is#
‘probably’#very#
small#though
‘Could'be’'Why'
‘Same1Site'
Same1Intent’'
URLs'Appear'
For'The'Same'
Query
THEORY'
ALERT
Regardless)of)Theory)
Search)Engines)Absolutely)
Use)Prioritised ‘Thinning)
Out’)Systems)For)Rankings
Top$K&Ranking&Systems&
(2&(or&multi)&Stage&
Shortlisting)
Stage&1&(Full&Ranking)
Relevance(Inclusion((Is(the(page(relevant(at(all?)
Costs(less
Using(‘scale(systems’
Gather(a(Top>K(bunch(of(URLs(for(re>ranking
Stage&2&(Re2Ranking)
Precision(refinement(amongst(Top>K((top(x(number(of(
results(from(stage(1
Utilising more(computationally(expensive(machine(
learning(resources
Likely(judging(Top>K(on(further(features((added(value)
First&Stage&Ranking&Gets&Rid&of&
MOST&of&the&Candidates&For&The&
Top&10&/&20
So why&does&all this even&
matter?
And what(can(we(do(
about(it?
Zipfs Law)Is)Aligned)
with)An)
Exceptionally)Strong)
bias)of)‘Importance)
Identification’)
Beyond)The)‘Norm’
You$Are$Being$Judged$On$
The$‘Whole’$Cake
'Overall’)
Matters
The$‘Whole$Pie’$
‘Probably’$
Includes$EVERY$
URL$You$Ever$
Created
Whilst'‘Your'
Index'
Inventory’'
‘Importance’'
Is'Paramount
Google&Might&Think&You’re&a&Time4Waster&Aside&From&
What&Is&Indexed
Particularly*
Problematic*
on*‘Long*Tail’*
Content
Much%of%That%‘Discovered%Not%Indexed’%Content%Is%
Often%In%The%‘Unimportant’%End%of%The%Zipfian%Curve
A"few"URLs"which"can"satisfy"many"users
URLs that can satisfy few users"needs"but"
there’s"a"lot"of"them"(long,"long"tail)
The"majority"of"URLs"–
Medium"importance
As#A#Site#Grows#You#
Can#End#Up#With#
Messy#‘Entrails’
If#You#Keep#Throwing#These#Unimportant#
URLs#into#The#Mix#You#Will#NEVER#Get#
Enough#Googlebot#Crawl#to#Reconsolidate
As#sites#grow#the#challenge#is#
around#healthy#‘index5
worthy’#‘inventory’#(of#
varying#content#types)#
management
Keeping'A'Strong'
‘Importance’'Heart'
Within'A'Site
At#this#stage#SEO#is#as#much#about#saying#
what#is#NOT#important#as#it#is#about#saying#
what#IS#important
You$Need$To$Think$
Carefully$About$How$You$
Will$Manage$Content$as$It$
Grows,$Ages$&$Expires
Simply'Deleting'Content'
is'Rarely'The'Answer
It#Can#Be#A#
Disaster
If#You#Change#Anything in#Your#
Site#You#Change#The#Zipfian#
Distribution#– EVERYTHING
Matters
For$every$action$
there$is$an$equal$and$
opposite$reaction$is$
TRUE$– Newton’s$
Third$Law
If#You#Prune#
Without#Thought#
You#Change#the#
Zipfian#Distribution#
in#Your#Site
In#the#words
In#the#internal#links
In#the#out#links#from#pages
In#the#‘topical#themes’#prevalent#in#
your#site
In#the#‘needs#met’#prevalence
Instead(of(deletion(try(‘importance’
suppression
Zipfs Law & Zipfian Distribution in SEO - Pubcon Virtual Fall 2020 - Dawn Anderson
You$Archive
Archiving)Can)Retain)Categorical)Value)Whilst)
Dampening)‘Importance’
• https://www.searchenginejo
urnal.com/google5john5
mueller5rank5important5
pages/345192/
What%About%
Redirection?
Strong'‘Entity’'
Redirection'is'Powerful
But$Inconsistent$
Redirections$
Cause$Confusion
Be#Careful#You#Do#Not#
Keep#Redirecting#To#
Products#Which#Also#
Go#Too
Consider)Redirection)To)
‘Entity1Aligned’)Specific)
Subcategories)Which)
WILL)NOT)Go)Away
Build&‘Legacy&
Redirection&Review&&&
Consolidation’&Into&
Your&‘Business&As&
Usual’&Activities
Often&You&Will&Find&
‘Forked&&&Split’&
Inconsistent&Legacy&
Redirection&Patterns
So#Continually#Gather#Everything#Back#Together
Point&Everything&
In&The&Right&
Direction
Be#Aware#That#Often#On#The#Long#
Tail#Google#Will#Let#You#Handle#The#
Redirection#On#Your#Side#Without#
Updating#The#SERPs
And$Will$Use$
Page$Titles$&$
Snippets$
From$
‘Redirected:
From’$URLs$
with$
‘Redirected:
To’$URLs
When%SHOULD%You%Delete%
Content?
When%You%Stop%
Providing%The%
Service%or%Product%
Category%Altogether
You$Mostly$Can’t$Rank$
For$Things$Which$Have$
No$Presence$In$Your$Site
Zipfs Law & Zipfian Distribution in SEO - Pubcon Virtual Fall 2020 - Dawn Anderson
OR…$Improve$the$
template$with$
minimum$boilerplate$
&$maximum$added$
value$overall
A"GREAT"dynamic"
template"built"for"
scale"can"be"super"
powerful"on"many"
levels."Particularly"
the"long"tail
BUT…%It%MUST%be%done%well%
(not%spam)%&%designed%to%meet%
ALL%the%important%specific%
intent%needs
An#excellent#
product#or#
subcategory#
template#is#a#
super#‘long6
tail#net’
BEWARE&OR&
DELIGHT?
It’s&easy&to&
add&(or&lose)&
at&scale&
‘value?add’&
on&templates
A"small"change"
dynamically"to"many"
pages"can"kill"or"cure
Badly&Designed&Templated&
Dynamic&Menus&&&Filters&
Can&Be&Disastrous
Plan%Programmatic%
Approaches%With%
Care.%Lots%of%Testing%
&%Tentative%Scaling
If#Things#Go#Wrong#
They#Will#Likely#Go#VERY#
Wrong#7 Yikes
Employing*Zipfs*Law*Thinking*in*Quality*
Thresholds
• Skewed&proportions??&Reset&
the&quality&proportions
• If&you&have&less&control&over&
one&section&improve&another
• ‘Overall’&matters
• Consider&‘everything&that&
has&gone&before’&too&(legacy&
cruft&can&be&devastating)&
Pro$Tip:)Don’t)Just)Wait)
For)Googlebot)in)Log)
File)Analysis)When)
Trying)to)Find)&)Fix)
Dynamic)Cruft
Use$The$Crawling$
Patterns$of$Other$Bots$
to$Find$Crufty9URLs$
From$the$Past.$
Redirect$Them$Before$
Googlebot$Arrives$Next$
Time$Round
You$Will$Rarely$Find$Long$Legacy$Cruft$From$A$Crawl$of$
A$Current$Site$or$in$GSC.$They$are$NOT$individually$
important$enough$to$make$the$1k$sample
Microsoft)Index)Explorer)is)a)Gem)For)Legacy)Fixing)in)
a)Well)Organised Map)of)The)Site)Past)&)Present
Become&a&
Cruftbuster
Employing*Zipfs*Law*Thinking*in*Quality*
Thresholds
• Skewed&
proportions??&
Improve the&quality&
proportions
• If&you&have&less&
control&over&one&
section&improve&
another
And$Don’t$JUST$
Have$Dynamic$
Content
If#All#You#Can#Offer#is#
Thin#Product#Pages#
How#Are#You#Any#
More#Important#Than#
Others?
Quality(Supplements(– Redeem(your(site(
with(‘high(quality’(sections(to(supplement(
less;creative(transactional(pages
You$Are$Building$More$Than$An$
Ecommerce Site
You$are$building$a$valuable$resource$on$a$domain$
of$knowledge.$The$by9product$is$you$monetise
with$ecommerce
You$need$to$
meet$as$many$
niche0relevant$
informational$
needs$as$possible
Since&You&Are&Being&Judged&On&
The&‘Whole’&‘Needs9Meeting’&
Cake
But$Be$Careful$You$Do$Not$‘Inadvertently’$Morph$Into$a$
Different$Type$of$Site
https://www.sistrix.com/blog/disciplined5how5dailymail5co5uk5got5placed5
amongst5peers/
Whole&Pie&Proportions&Matter&Too
Build&Strong&Theme&Clusters&&&
'Little&Bow&Ties’&(Strongly&
Connected&Components)&(Hubs)
Whole&Pie&Quality&is&
Paramount
Keep$Google$(&$Users)$Away$From$Poor$
Quality$&$Too$Much$‘Low$Importance’
Since&Some&‘things’&are&simply&NOT&as&
important&as&others
Cities,'towns'&'
villages'
(Population)
Many'Low'quality'
content'URLs
Sites:'Think'CNN'
vs'Mom'&'Pop'
Blog
Few'High'vs'Many,'
Many'Low'or'No'
PageRank'URLs
Head'terms'versus'
long'tail'search'
terms
Indicate)‘IMPORTANCE’)&)Quality
• Avoid&linking&internally&
to&low&importance&
pages
• Avoid&linking&to&
products&which&are&out&
of&date&or&out&of&stock
• Avoid linking to ‘far&too&
long&a&tail’&too&much
Internally)Linking)to)
Zero)Inventory)is)a)Bad)
Sign)– But)
Programmatic)
Solutions)Help)With)
Resource)Limitations
If#stock#level#<#0#don’t#link#in#
relatedness
“Stay&out&of&the&black&and&into&the&
red,&Nothing&in&this&game&for&two&
in&a&bed.”&(Jim&Bowen,&Bullseye)
Zipf’s'Law'Means'Even'We'
Need'Scaleable'Solutions
Employ'Programmatic'Internal'
Linking'in'Approaches'On'
Ecommerce'Templates'For'
Scale
But$NOT$Spam$
– Plan$Well$–
Map$to$
Demand
Your%Important%Pages%Should%Be%Like%‘Brazil%Nuts’
But$Flat$
Architectures$Send$a$
Signal$That$
Everything$is$of$Equal$
Importance
That’s'Simply'
NOT True
Undertake)Recency,)
Frequency)&)
Monetary)Value)
Analysis)– The)Results)
with)be)Zipfy
Some%‘things’%are%simply%MUCH%MORE%important%than%
others
In#‘local#search’#
human#population
Seasonal#product#
importance#
(Halloween#does#not#
matter#in#March)
Product#importance#
to#the#business#(Some#
offerings#make#a#loss)
Audience#importance#
to#the#business#(Some#
CLTVs#are#lossD
making)
Product#importance#
to#top#audience
A#select#'few'#top#
tasks#of#that#audience#
(top#pains#&#gains)
It’s%Important%
to%VERY%MUCH%
Emphasise%
Importance
Employing*‘Zipfs*Law*
Thinking’*in*Internal*
Linking*in*Ecommerce
Important)categories)absolutely)must)
enjoy)emphasized)internal)linking
Wrong&Page&Ranking&
– Probably&’Skewed’&
Importance&Signals
Or…$Over'
optimization$(Google$
finds$another$page$
to$rank)
If#You#Insist#on#Flat#
Architectures#&#Few#
Categories#– Then#You#Must#
Use#Linking#&#Pagination#Very#
Well
Employing*Zipfs*Law*in*Pagination
If#you#must#use#pagination#utilize#programmatic#approaches#to#keep#the#
most#important#products#high#in#the#paginated#series:
• E.g:
• By#(genuine)#availability
• By (genuine)#popularity
• By seasonality
Automated)Categorical)
&)Subcategorical)
Clustering)From)
Product)Pages)is)Both)
Powerful)&)Scaleable
Quality(Sub+
categorization(Is(Gold(
and(Can(Help(with(
Avoiding(Many(Issues
Too#Many#Products#in#Too#Few#Categories
Could#well be#one#of#the#reasons#why#
deep#paginated#results#appear#in#SERPs#–
Google’s#attempts#to#surface#inventory#in#
search
Such%as:%
Competing%
with%
Yourself%in%
eCommerce
Products)equally)important
Competing)with)each)other
Competing)with)their)category
Old)product)floating)around)in)SERPs)– Entity)
redirect)to)highly)relevant)subcategory
Quality(Sub+
categorization(Is(Specific(
Enough(for(Quality(
‘Entity(Redirection’
And$Specific$
Enough$To$Rank$
Against$Product$
Pages
Nudge&Forward&a&Clear&Winner&– The&Subcategory
But$Utilise$
‘Overflow$
SEO’
Don’t&create&subcategories&
just&because&you&can
Nobody&wants&a&
subcategory&or&category&
with&zero&products
Grow&and&contract&into&
subcategorization&as&your&
inventory&dictates
Don’t&Try&To&Wear&
Shoes&Bigger&Than&
Your&True&‘Value&Add’&
Zipfian&Footprint
And$Finally…
Zipf argued+Zipf’s Law+
could+be+in+part+to+do+
with+‘laziness’+(Zipf’s
Law+AKA ‘The+Principle+
of+Least+Effort’)
Zipf’s
Principle-of-
Least-Effort-
alludes-to:
Make%it%easy%to%find%what%I%
need
Make%sure%there%is%
consistency%so%I%can%get%
quicker%at%finding%what%I%need%
easily%through%repetition
Consider)‘The)Law)of)Least)Effort’)in)
Copy
Zipfian'
Approaches'in'
Primary'
Navigations
‘Top%Task’%
Identification
Limited%‘High%
Importance’%
categories
Links%to%‘View%
all%x’%in%menu%
structures
Use$popular$
words$
people$use.$
Not$your$
company$
jargon
So#Does#Zipfian#
Distribution#
Explain#SEO?
Let’s&Look&At&The&Evidence…&Zipfs Law&applies&
to: Word%frequency%distribution
The%internet%at%large
Link%graphs%(internal%&%external)
Crawl%frequency%(probably)
Web%caching%policies%and%likely%index%inclusion
Probably%first%stage%ranking%at%least
'Importance’%(and%unimportance)%identification
Zipfs Law & Zipfian Distribution in SEO - Pubcon Virtual Fall 2020 - Dawn Anderson
Zipfs Law & Zipfian Distribution in SEO - Pubcon Virtual Fall 2020 - Dawn Anderson
Thank&You
References
• Adamic,(L.A.(and(Huberman,(B.A.,(2002.(Zipf's law(and(the(Internet. Glottometrics, 3(1),(
pp.143C150.
• BaezaCYates,(R.,(Castillo(Ocaranza,(C.(and(López(Martínez,(V.,(2005.(Characteristics(of(the(
Web(of(Spain.
• BaezaCYates,(R.,(Gionis,(A.,(Junqueira,(F.,(Murdock,(V.,(Plachouras,(V.(and(Silvestri,(F.,(
2007,(July.(The(impact(of(caching(on(search(engines.(In Proceedings0of0the030th0annual0
international0ACM0SIGIR0conference0on0Research0and0development0in0information0
retrieval (pp.(183C190).
• BaezaCYates,(R.,(Castillo,(C.(and(Efthimiadis,(E.N.,(2007.(Characterization(of(national(web(
domains. ACM0Transactions0on0Internet0Technology0(TOIT), 7(2),(pp.9Ces.
• BaezaCYates,(R.,(Boldi,(P.(and(Chierichetti,(F.,(2015,(May.(Essential(web(pages(are(easy(to(
find.(In Proceedings0of0the024th0International0Conference0on0World0Wide0Web (pp.(97C
107).
• BaezaCYates,(R.,(2018.(Bias(on(the(web. Communications0of0the0ACM, 61(6),(pp.54C61.
• Becchetti,(L.(and(Castillo,(C.,(2006,(May.(The(distribution(of(PageRank(follows(a(powerC
law(only(for(particular(values(of(the(damping(factor.(In Proceedings0of0the015th0
international0conference0on0World0Wide0Web (pp.(941C942).
• Zipf,(G.K.,(2016. Human0behavior and0the0principle0of0least0effort:0An0introduction0to0
human0ecology.(Ravenio Books.
Appendix
Zipfian'
Distribution'
&'Efficiency'
Scaling'in'
SEO
There%is%no%shame%in%using%well%thought%
through%and%intelligent%programmatic%
approaches%for%scale%in%SEO
On%long%tail%content%(low%search%volume%
but%many%combined%searches)%it%is%a%
‘realistic’%approach
Build%‘high%quality’%scalable%templates
Subcategorisation.
&.Zipfs.Law
• Target'‘torso'terms’'(e.g.'black'dresses,'
diamante'shoes,'lacy'dresses)
• Internally'linking'subcategory'to'subcategory'
can'be'super'relevant
• Subcategories'provide'an'excellent'way'to'
‘dampen’'importance'and'raise'importance'to'
‘fewer’'categories'(moving'‘things’'down'to'
subcategory'level'in'the'architecture)
• Often'a'more'natural'match'to'queries
• Provides'a'more'natural'featureErich'‘ontology’
• Builds'out'the'semantic'richness'of'a'site'in'
internal'anchors
Maximal
Shame*Law*
&*Zipfian*
Distribution
(With&regards&to&Zipfian&distribution&
in&web&pages):&“To&be&precise&it&is&
not&true&at&the&beginning&(e.g.,&small&
pages)&because&what&I&call&the&
shame&law&(you&do&some&minimal&
work)&and&it&is&not&true&at&the&end&of&
the&long&tail&because&it&is&very&long&
(e.g.,&many&unique&values).”&(BaezaF
Yates,&2020)
Maximal'Shame'Power'Law'(Baeza3Yates
“One%phenomenon%that%has%appeared%before%in%our%own%studies%and%now%is%
completely%clear%is%the%smaller%power%law%exponent%at%the%beginning%of%several%of%
the%measures%presented.%In%fact,%this%happens%for%file%sizes%up%to%25Kb,%pages%perA
site%up%to%(15–30),%pages%perAdomain%up%to%10%(except%South%Korea),%number%of%
outlinks in%a%page%up%to%10%to%40,%and%average%number%of%internal%links%persite up%to%
15%to%30,%where%a%range%is%given%to%show%the%variability%for%different%countries.%We%
argue%that%this%is%due%to%another%empirical%power%law%that%we%call%maximal%shame%
which%forces%people%to%work%a%bit%more%than%the%minimum%until%they%feel%good%
about%their%work.%Notice%that%this%maximal%shame%can%be%for%an%individual%or%for%a%
group%(e.g.,%in%the%case%of%a%Web%site).”
BaezaAYates,%R.,%Castillo,%C.%and%Efthimiadis,%E.N.,%2007.%Characterization%of%national%
web%domains. ACM$Transactions$on$Internet$Technology$(TOIT), 7(2),%pp.9Aes.
Automated)Internal)
Linking)&)Strong)
Templates
There%is%no%shame%in%using%well%thought%
through%and%intelligent%programmatic%
approaches%for%scale
Avoid%linking%internally%to%products%
which%have%a%short%shelf%life%unless%you%
have%programmatically%set%up%the%
system%to%change%based%on%availability
Internally%linking%to%unavailable%
products%is%probably%not%a%good%quality%
signal
Be#Prepared#
To#Give#Some#
Things#Up
Some%‘things’%WILL%matter%Zipfianly%
less%than%others

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