Using Scientific Method in SEO


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My presentation from SMX Advanced 2010

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Using Scientific Method in SEO

  1. 1. Branko Rihtman, June 2010
  2. 2. @neyne About me – Branko Rihtman  SEO  Scientist  Warzone Experience  Becks
  3. 3. @neyne The Scientific Method 1.Define the question 2.Gather information and resources (observe) 3.Form hypothesis 4.Perform experiment and collect data 5.Analyze and interpret data 6.Publish results 7.Retest (frequently done by other scientists)
  4. 4. @neyne Define the question Usually done after observation of a phenomena • Sudden change in locations (over-optimization penalty, brand algo, etc.) • Anomalies in SERPs • Someone’s blog post (footer links, second link doesn’t count, etc.) • Social media • Things to remember: • You don’t have time to test everything • You don’t have the ability to test everything • What is the ROI of your test ? • Every change you do on your website is a potential experiment! "The most exciting phrase to hear in science -the one thatheralds new discoveries- is not "Eureka!" but "Thats funny...". (I. Asimov)
  5. 5. @neyne Gather information and resources • Related blog posts • Problem: non-standardized terminology • -950 Penalty • Over-optimization penalty • OOP • Unbalanced link equation • Footer link abuse • Sidebar link abuse • Boilerplate linking • Forums • Problem: misinterpretation • Social Media •
  6. 6. @neyne Perform experiment and collect data Things to remember: • Monitor your testing grounds • Testing keyword choice: • [sdkfsdjwekrwle] – 0 results • [payday loans] – 5.5M results • [translational remedy] – 340K results • Document everything! Problems:  Lack of control over the system  Limited output signal (ranking, title, snippet)  Non-conformity of results  No reliable controls
  7. 7. @neyne Solution Multi-directional experiments change- Reaction X State A State B Reaction X - change
  8. 8. @neyne Interpret data and draw conclusions  Does the conclusion agree with expectations ?  Does the conclusion have an alternative explanation ?  Does the conclusion agree with other existing data ? (if not, what was different ?)  Bounce the findings off someone Important: No definite conclusions!!! Only an increasing level of certainty that your conclusion supports (or defies) the hypothesis.
  9. 9. @neyne Data Analysis  Statistical analysis  Sample size  Significance (one and two-tailed tests)  Standard Deviation  Correlation Average is not an end-all measure Get help! Talk to a professional! People will call you out on crap! (especially if it is self-serving) .
  10. 10. @neyne Avoiding the personal bias Jean Louis Théodore Géricault The Epsom Derby “We observe what we expect to observe, until shown otherwise” Ludwick Fleck
  11. 11. @neyne Go Social! Define the question Gather information and resources Forum Twitter Social Media Publish results Interpret data and draw conclusions Find an independent blogger you can trust with data Bounce the findings off someone Market your findings who will not steal them Market your findings
  12. 12. @neyne The SEO Testing Secret Ingredient Ethanol
  13. 13. @neyne Thank You!