Scientific Method To Test SEO Practices

by Dean Barker

How We Will Test SEO Processes

How many times have you blindly tried an SEO technique with mixed or no results? When other SEO experts recommend 1-2 links, a mapstack for success how do they know it will work? There are so many myths on Search Engine Optimising we decided to run SEO tests using scientific methods and publish the results. We hope to provide a real bench mark and source for well grounded information for SEO professionals to work from.
We will develop a discuss our methods for each test. Generally we will be using basic scientific methods of testing which I will now outline below.

The Scientific Method Used to Test SEO Techniques

SEO is flooded with the mentality that you do as much stuff as possible at once and if you get a rank increase it all must have worked. The fact of the matter is, it could have been nothing that you did worked and it might have just been a change in Google that improved the rank or something for months ago.
There is only one way to properly test an search engine optimisation technique to see if that is effective. That process is called the scientific method.
The process was developed from a scientist and philosopher in the 11th century known as our Hassan he’s considered to be the father of the scientific method .

Six Steps To Use SEO Testing By Scientific Method

Scientific Method for SEO Diagram

Source: Science Buddies, Steps of the Scientific Method

  1. Ask a question
  2. Do background research
  3. Construct a hypothesis
  4. Test your hypothesis with an experiment or series of experiments
  5. Analysis your results and formulate a conclusion based on your results
  6. Share Your Results
Below I am going to go into more detail on how you can setup experiments to test SEO work and I’ll provide some examples.
SEO Test Examples Table:
 Steps To Test SEO Using The Scientific Method

 Ask a Question: The scientific method starts when you ask a question about something that you observe or use: How, What, When, Who, Which, Why, or Where?

SEO pro’s often question whether purchased service or something they did even works or that it must work fantastically.

Why do spammy links seem to work?
 Do Background Research: There is little point re-inventing the wheel with your  SEO testing so to be a clever search engine scientist use the Internet to research to help you find the best way to do things and insure that you don’t waste valuable time and resources running test wrong or on stuff that has already been tested before.
Do links work? There is a lot of information, tests and even acknowledgement from Google that they do. No need to waste time on this questions.

 Construct a SEO Hypothesis: A hypothesis is an educated guess about how things work. It is an attempt to answer your question with an explanation that can be tested. A good hypothesis allows you to then make a prediction:
“If _____[I do this] _____, then _____[this]_____ will happen.”

State both your hypothesis and the resulting prediction you will be testing. Predictions must be easy to measure. Creating a null hypothesis is the best approach

Applying 2 links from a PBN home page gives the best results for 1000 words of content.
 Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment: SEO is full of confounding factors outside a professionals control. It is very important to design experiments with the aim to reduce as many confounding varables as possible so the results are more clear.
 A common  way to do this is to us nonsense kw words and domains. This way your results will not have further competition

 Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion: Once a SEO experiment is complete, you need to collect your measurements and analyze them to see if they support your hypothesis or not.

It is not uncommon for the hypothesis to be proven wrong and for you to construct a new hypothesis to run further testing. If the results are inconclusive you may need to test again or improve your methods.

 Any result is a good one as it allows you to focus your efforts on to what you know works.
 Communicate Your Results: The scientific methods suggests we share our results. Since many SEO professionals are looking for a competitive edge this may not be to your advantage if you share your results for free. However, testing results are an extremely evidence based sales tool to support your results to any prospects.
Client: How do I know you can deliver results, I have been let down before?
SEO Pro: Well we extensively test everything we do so we know it delivers results. Have a look at one of our latest tests that we would use on your websites SEO

Why We Prefer Using A Null Hypothesis Approach

Search Engine Optimising is a mess business with a multitude of factors outside of our control. Not only is Googles methods of ranking not readily available to the public, but it is prone to change without notice. Furthermore, ranks are run like a blind arms race against many competitors. Therefore you could be improving your website greatly, but loosing rank in comparison to your competitors who are improving at a faster pace.

To work around these confounding factors testing is done using statistical data gathering practices and confirming results by illustrating a statistically significant degree of correlation or not.

This is analogous to the legal principle of presumption of innocence, in which a suspect or defendant is assumed to be innocent (null is not rejected) until proven guilty (null is rejected) beyond a reasonable doubt (to a statistically significant degree). (Wikipedia)