TechSEO Boost 2019: Research Competition Overview

The TechSEO Boost Research Competition returned for 2019 to deliver new and highly impressive SEO thought-leadership.

Why Industry Research Matters

The TechSEO Boost Research Competition is an effort to stimulate and fund pro-active learnings within the SEO industry. We believe that where we came from is just as important as where we are. That means going back to the basics. It means re-examining why SEO is crucial to advancing in the industry. The research competition is an opportunity to learn and grow in a collaborative environment while continuing to support emerging thought leadership.

The TechSEO Boost judges were very impressed by all of the incredibly forward thinking entries receive. The judges scored each of the entries, resulting in three finalists who presented at the 2019 event.

Eric Enge, Perficient Digital: Data on How Search Features Impact CTR

Eric Enge, TechSEO Boost 2019

Eric Enge conducted a concise study that monitored a total of 2 million search queries and appropriately tracked how various rankings and features were utilized over a period of 30 days. Both SERP ranking data and Clickstream Data were evaluated to see how they influenced CTR, allowing them to make explicit connections between specific search features and CTR (carousels, featured snippets, etc). Within the study, 400,000 keywords were broken up across five categories: Finance, Beauty, Travel, Retail, and Auto

Enge also shared a few key statistics to keep in mind as part of the research:

  • Organic Search accounts for 61.96% of searches on desktop and only 40.90% on mobile
  • It is 13.4x more likely to get an organic click on desktop and 9.1x more likely on mobile
  • CTR ranks substantially higher on branded queries (70%+) over non-branded queries (38%) in position 1

This data itself addresses common allocation habits across organic and paid strategies. How can this data help us optimize funding gaps?

As seen above, Enge’s research was able to whittle down the popularity of various search features according to their CTR. Here were some of his top findings:

  • Among the top were Related Searches, People Also Ask, Video Carousels, and Knowledge Graphs.
  • There is a marginally larger CTR for non-branded searches when there’s a Featured Snippet included compared to CTR across branded searches.
  • Another interesting finding is that it seems that Google and users dislike the Related Searches function. However, Google neglects the feature unless the CTR is low. Google can judge that users are getting correct information without the feature.

See Enge’s full research project here.

Tomek Rudzki, Onely: Taking JavaScript SEO to the Next Level

Tomek Rudzki took a deep dive into the use of JavaScript in eCommerce settings. He examined how the use of JavaScript influenced the chance that content on those pages are indexed. This is of huge importance for large retailers that have thousands and thousands of pages on their site and will help them optimize and understand how their pages are built.

First of all, 80% of eCommerce sites use JavaScript for creating online content. Since JavaScript is often not indexed, this leaves sizable sites at risk of losing their strength in search. Even if you run your website off of WordPress or other familiar CMS’, JavaScript may still be present.

Tomek Rudzki, TechSEO Boost 2019

Through Rudzki’s case study, they discovered that 25% of pages on the top sites on the web are not indexed as a result of using JavaScript. This all comes down to a neglection of JavaScript SEO. They analyzed, a similar retailer to H&M, and discovered that 75% of their product pages are un-indexed. This is detrimental for brand awareness, but also financially inefficient for Yoox.

Other prominent websites that have indexing problems associated with their JavaScript implementation include:

  • H&M (4.56% of pages not indexed)
  • Sephora (55% of pages not indexed)
  • Medium (50% of pages not indexed)

To solve this problem, Rudzki created a tool called The Google Indexing Forecast (TGIF). You can access the tool for free on the Onely site at The tool tells you how your page is impacted by JavaScript. Not only will it tell you if you are using a JavaScript site, but it will predict the chances that your content is not being indexed. This is a crucial tool to keep in mind as we move SEO knowledge into 2020.

See Rudzki’s full study here.

Vincent Terrasi, Oncrawl: Generating Qualitative Content in All Languages

Vincent Terrasi began his research project with two objectives in mind:

1) Use only qualitative methods to improve the quality of content created by humans
2) Extract the knowledge learned by the Deep Learning

Terrasi used three platforms, Project Gutenberg (a database of free e-books), PyTorch (a Python learning framework), and GPT-2. As a result of training the model, this API pylanguage tool was used to confirm the validity of the text without error. These results were also checked by a native reader for each language. The tool works for any length of text and checks grammatical correctness. Here are some of the specs about the research and how its success was measured:

Vincent Terrasi, TechSEO Boost 2019

See the tool at:

Find Terrasi’s full research presentation here.

Closing Remarks – What’s Next?

Overall, we are very thankful for all the intriguing submissions this year. Along with our expert judges, this kind of competition and peer learning is what will move the industry forward.

The final three contestants were placed in the following order:

  • 1st place: Tomek Rudzki
  • 2nd place: Vincent Terrasi
  • 3rd place: Eric Enge

We want to give a very special thank you to the folks at iPullRank, Mike King, and all the worthy contestants.

Keep checking in on our blog for more TechSEO Boost news and industry updates! You can also watch the research competition video (and all of the other TechSEO Boost session videos) here on our site. All TechSEO Boost session slides, including the research slides, are available on our SlideShare.

Thank you to this year’s judges:

TechSEO Boost 2019 Judges

Check out the TechSEO Boost research competition recording below and get all of the recordings from the event here.

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