I’ve never been good at math or science but I’m all about crunching those numbers and creating pie charts now. Here are 7 Types of SEO “Evidence” for your consideration.

Amplify’d from www.seomoz.org

magnifying glassWe’ve had a lot of discussions recently about SEO as a Science. Unfortunately, these discussions sometimes devolve into arguments over semantics or which approach is the “best” in all situations. I’d like to step back for a few moments today and talk about the wider world of SEO evidence. While not all of these types of evidence are “science” in the technical sense, they are all important to our overall understanding. We need to use the best pieces of all of them if we ever hope to develop a mature science of SEO.

The Fundamental Assumption

All science rests on a fundamental assumption, long before any hypothesis is proposed or tested. The fundamental assumption is that the universe is orderly and follows rules, and that through observation and experimentation we can determine those rules. Without an orderly universe, science would be impossible (as would existence, most likely). A related assumption is that these rules are relatively static – if they change, they change very slowly. Our view of the universe may change dramatically, resulting in paradigm shifts, but the underlying rules remain roughly the same.

The advantage we have as SEOs is that we know, for an absolute fact, that our universe is orderly. Like Neo, we have seen The Matrix. The Algorithm consists of lines of code written by humans and running on servers.

The disadvantage for SEO science is that the rules governing our universe are NOT static. The algorithm changes constantly – as often as 400 times per year. This means that any observation, any data, and even any controlled experiment could turn out to be irrelevant. The facts we built our SEO practices on 5 or 10 years ago are not always valid today.

(1) Anecdotal Evidence

All science begins with observation. In SEO, we make changes to sites every day and measure what happens. When rankings rise and fall, we naturally try to figure out why and to tie those changes to something we did in the past. Although it isn’t “science” in the technical sense, the evidence of our own experience is very important. Without observing the universe and creating stories to explain it, we would never learn anything from those experiences.

PROS – Anecdotal evidence is easy to collect and it’s the most abundant form of evidence any of us have. It’s the building block for just about any form of scientific inquiry.

CONS – Our own experiences are easily affected by our own biases. Also, no single experience can ever tell the whole story. Anecdotal evidence is just a starting point.

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