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Testing SEO

Any good SEO will inevitably spend a decent amount of time conducting SEO tests. Some of these tests are pretty much universal: does Google count internal anchor text (no), do you need text on your page (yes).

You might conduct a test with something silly like this:

But others are very site specific: do title tags actually matter for your site in your implementation (sometimes no, usually yes). And of course sometimes we’re not trying to measure how Google works, but rather just trying to measure how much lift we see from a particular implementation — which lets us accurately estimate the ROI for putting in the work; or alternatively accurately measuring the impact that our work had.

When it comes to measuring how Google treats links, we often do it by linking to random sites with ridiculous anchor text, like stynkeetootsaplop or something similarly strange. The idea is that since nothing ranks for the word, if the target site starts ranking for it, we know Google counted the link and passed anchor text.

Other possible crazy phrases could include any of the following:

The easiest way to generate gibberish phrases for testing is to combine random strings of numbers and letter, preferably pretty long ones — 15 to 20 characters. But I much prefer trying to come up with strange phrases that almost sound like a real thing.

Because in the world of SEO, you’re gonna do a lot of testing, so you might as well have some fun with it!

SEO Hero

Most SEOs by now are aware of the SEO Hero challenge from Wix. In an effort to promote their web platform and prove that it’s good for search engine optimization, they are offering a fifty thousand dollar prize if anyone can rank #1 in Google for the phrase SEO Hero — but they will be competing too. In Doctor McAwesome fashion, I’ve built a site to compete in a slightly different way.

Basically instead of using search engine optimization for my own gain, I’m committing to donating the entire prize money to charity.

The idea here is to see if I can get the SEO community to come together around a good cause — set aside individual pursuits of profit to do some good. The basic strategy of the site is to assume goodwill on the part of SEO consultants and agencies: that they will be willing to link to the project to try to send that prize money to a good cause.

The Real Challenge

Honestly, I don’t think the real challenge is outranking all the other SEO Hero sites that are competing (part of the rules of the contest is you have to start with a brand new site, without any registration history, and thus no link history). The real challenge is going to be outranking the sites that aren’t competing, that have ranked for SEO Hero for years.

Some of these are agency sites, and currently one of the top results is SEO Round Table’s article reporting the Wix contest. Sites that have had years to build up not only their domain authority, but also their user metrics and their topical relevance to SEO are going to be tough to outrank.

In addition to a swarm of links, success is going to require driving meaningful traffic to the site (which hopefully a swarm of links will help with) as well as good searcher behavior. i have some ideas to help with user metrics — but for now my main focus is just going to be to build up a stable of links and establish some authority.

If the site gains any traction at all for SEO Hero searches, and makes it in striking distance, it will be very interesting to see how a brand new site with a few months of authority and user signals can compete in Google against sites with years of history.

if nothing else, the competition will provide a very interesting testing ground!