SEO through Trial and Error
Back at school, there were those annoying math questions that just didn’t have an answer. You had to use trial and error (later renamed ‘trial and improvement’) to get the closest you could to the correct solution.
You start with a number, give it a go, if it was too low you’d go up, if that was too high you’d go down — eventually, you could get pretty close.
That’s actually how they calculate pi. Fun fact.
Anyway, back to SEO.
Essentially, when you are trying to get your website to rank in Google, you (and the rest of the SEO folks out there) are using trial and error.
Google’s algorithm is a big fat secret. They used to tell people about their ranking factors — their spokesperson, Matt Cutts, would give speeches about it — but that stopped years ago. Nowadays, we do get hints and comments from John Mueller — but nowhere near enough to understand in depth how it all works.
So how can we do SEO if we don’t know what works?
Trial and error
If you have an idea that you think may work, give it a go! Implement it on your site and wait 2–3 weeks (depending on how big and established your site is).
- Rankings dropped? Oops, that wasn’t good for SEO, undo it.
- Rankings rose? Great, obviously that was a ranking factor! Make a note, and incorporate it into your strategy.
- No difference? Looks like Google didn’t really care about what you did. Move on to new ideas
To make matters worse, if you make a few changes at once and your rankings shift significantly, you often can’t tell what changes caused this shift. Yup, SEO is complicated.
Oh, and did I mention algorithm updates? Sometimes we know about these in advance, but sometimes we don’t — and if you made a big change to your site at the same time as an update, good luck with figuring out what caused the changes.
All hope is not lost!
But don’t worry! It’s not as hard as it seems — for a simple reason: