Monday, March 31, 2008

How SEO affects search engine ranking

There were some great specific insights and data points from Covario last week on a study they've done across their client base on how search engine optimization (SEO) techniques affect search rankings (Covario names Intel, Procter & Gamble and Hewlett Packard among its customers). The SEO vs. search engine struggle, where each industry spends significant resources trying to defeat/stymie the efforts of the other, is a telling example of challenges to using the web as a research database.

The study looked at how its clients were affecting in search engine rankings based on variations in
- structure
- content
- keyword use and placement
- number and quality of inbound links

Their conclusions are that Google is
- 15X more sensitive than Yahoo to technical issues
- 25% less sensitive to content
- 50% more sensitive to inbound link quality

There is so little data on how the different strategies play against each other that this is a breath of fresh air. In FirstRain's business we've invested significantly in being able to "see past" technical and structural distortions at the macro (syndication, splogs) and micro (technologies, dynamic content, advertising) levels.

This study is a reminder that for consumer search, the leap to consider only the value of the content is still years away - although with search-driven research we have had to address these problems head-on.

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