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Last month, Google said they changed “something” to do with links. To be exact, they “switched something off”. Now – I’m pretty confident that the changes just around the corner will be hugely more significant, but in the meantime I thought I would do a post that shows you several ways to test theories about links in Google for yourself… or just see what happens to my tests.
Have a link in your post with a highly irregular anchor combination pointing to a page that you have no interest in that has absolutely no relevance to one or more of the words, and no earthly reason for that page to rank for the anchor text term and see if… after a few weeks… the page ranks in the SERPS.
Have a link in your post with a highly irregular anchor combination pointing to a page that you have no interest in that might have SOME relevance to one or more of the words, but no earthly reason for that page to rank for the anchor text term and see if… after a few weeks… the page ranks in the SERPS.
Do you spot the difference between test one and test two?
Have a look for a page you have no interest in that lingers on the second page of the SERPS for some of the words in your page title (like “link building post tests” at 20 without the quotes) and use a non-descript anchor text to see if – after a few weeks – that page moves up or down. It does help if you choose a search phrase which does not invoke QDF, News, Places, Images or any other results. This test will need replicating several times before you can be confident, because many other factors can change a site’s position that already ranks for a page. Read More…
Can’t tell you about test 4…
OK – that image should say “improve” not “discover”… I can’t find a page without Google knowing I found it without way more paranoia than I currently can lay my hands on. The one in the link was 10 for without quotes when I looked. Oh… yes… that text right there in the line above?… that’s in an image for a reason.
Hey guys – can you press this link and mention this post on Google+? Let’s see if we can’t get a few “ripples”? Links are not all about rankings. They are about connections and relationships. If this post is giving you some ideas on how to test theories for yourself, then please pass the post on. Then – in the comments in a few weeks – I can tell you what traffic came to this page from Google+ and also see if anyone’s picture appears in the serps under this post. If it does, then we will be able to say that +1s do indeed affect SERPs – at least for friends of people doing the +1 ing.
Because this post is going to get Tweeted (at least a bit) I can’t really do too many tests on Twitter. However, by using bit.ly in the Twitter link, then even though Twitter wraps the link in a t.co link, you will be able to see the stats from people linking to this post as the direct effect of my Twitter links here.
You can replicate test 1 with a nofollow link with a similar awkward and unreliable phrase to a similarly obscure URL and see if you can make a difference. If you can then – quite possibly – Google has stopped taking any notice of Nofollows. That would be a surprise, given that they pushed for the tag in the first place, but personally I feel that noFollows never had the effect they were intended for.
Of course – this post is full of tests. But the pure amongst you will recognize that the strongest tests are not carried out in such an exposed environment and also follow the following pattern:
Hypothesis: “I think that the First Tuesday in the month always ends up on the same date”
Then. Try and disprove the hypothesis. This is a much better way of approaching testing, because it is MUCH easier to DISPROVE something than PROVE something. Proving that the First Tuesday will always be on the same date is pretty hard. But disproving this is much easier. (See what I did there? changed the paradigm.)
I’ll leave the comment links in – but only if they don’t have any commercial intent whatsoever. Save that comment spam for another post please.