Decoding The Algorithm: Why SEO Studies Fail

What if everything you thought you knew about SEO was wrong?

Every week, more SEO studies appear. They are dutifully reported by the search marketing blogs. But how worthwhile is this “research” that is guiding today’s SEO industry?

The answer: not much. Most SEO researchers seem not to have heard of common statistical principles like Causation vs. Correlation or Availability Bias, let alone more advanced ideas like Emergence Theory. This means they are making prognostications based upon bad science, despite Google’s best efforts to throw water on each theory as it emerges. The result is an industry skewed dangerously towards quick-fix strategies aimed at “beating the algorithm” rather than working with it as Google intended. This wastes money, resources and people — while amusing the Google team to no end!

In this podcast, Amplitude Digital’s Jeff Ferguson and Jen Hood of Avant Analytics take us through the science of statistics as it relates to SEO and how to do it the right way. This was recently the topic of a controversial article by Ferguson in Search Engine Journal called “Do We Have the Math to Truly Decode Google’s Algorithms?”

Subjects include:

  • The history of trying to “beat” the Google algorithm and the players who sprung up to serve companies willing to try
  • How companies can suffer when using SEO strategies based on bad science
  • Why and how to hire an agency or expert to do SEO the right way
  • What actual principles are shown by Google and others to make a real difference in search engine ranking performance
  • Examples of studies published or referenced by major SEO players like Rand Fishkin, Rob Ousbey and others that lack statistical rigor
  • Discussion about a possible peer-review system for SEO studies

Duff Ferguson, Founder of Amplitude Digital Inc. email Duff

Jeff Ferguson, Partner at Amplitude Digital in Los Angeles, CA.
Jeff leads Amplitude’s search marketing teams delivering high growth PPC, SEO and Social campaigns. Jeff is a sought-after teacher at UCLA and speaker about these topics.
Email: jeff@amplitudeagency.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CountXero
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jefftferguson/

Jen Hood, Founder of Avant Analytics
Avant Analytics: https://avantanalytics.com
The Career Force: https://thecareerforce.com

RUN TIME: 56 minutes

1. Ask for the data behind any SEO study you encounter — make sure it has a statistically valid data set and is using correct math.
2. There are no short cuts. Stick to what Google says works: great content, placed well on a well-built website, linked to by other great sites around the Internet.
3. What you don’t know about statistics could kill your business… be smart and work with SEOs that work in concert with the Google algorithm, not trying to “beat” it.

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