It's pretty-much as the name suggests. A "what if?" conversation which was quickly turned into a way of running hourly checks on keywords in UK Google SERPs. The initial experiment answered the question (how much do SERPs really change in a given day?) and whether this was important to traffic/rankings, but it raised quite a lot more possibilities:
In the time since between other projects, we have been refining the tracking & building a front end to it, so more people could run their own tests. The goal has always been to explore this even more and see what else we could unearth.
This isn't a replacement to existing commercial rank tracking. This is a low-level project with a limited number of people involved, this hasn't been setup to generate revenue (or even cover its costs). We’re not 100% sure the longevity of this - that's what we need help with, to understand the value - but we do know that for benchmarking performance of SEO campaigns, this is overkill for the majority of campaigns.
Sadly, not that many people at the moment. We're scaling up slowly for a number of reasons and, to be frank, we know that opening this up too widely would lead to abuse. Not to mention the costs would start spiral.
You can join the waiting list (link below) if you're interested, we'll be slowing increasing the number of people who can take part. We can't promise everyone signed up will have access - just to set expectations there.
So if this isn't being ran for commercial reasons - then why? Simply, we'd like two things. First, that we get the benefit of collective intelligence - there are a lot of smart people out there, and we want them feeding back the cool stuff they find. Second, we'd like keep the conversation around this going some more. All we ask is that if anyone does publish the findings or benefits from the data, that they credit the source (us).
To keep this brief:
Anything else - we'll keep you up to speed!
Chris & Simon
One of the first charts generated with hourly tracking...