This article was supposed to be a scientific marketing blog about the importance of managing keyword structures, and how relevant each paragraph in a blog is. In other words, we began an experiment with the outcome in mind – not very scientific.stand_back_i_m_going_to_try_science_by_motorcycle_hero-d9i34zm.png

But science has a way of reminding you who’s boss. We created 14 web pages on separate websites across wide range of personal blogs and business sites. All the sites were attempting to achieve rankings for the same keywords and all had around the same domain authority. SEO is not a perfect science, but hey, we already knew the answers anyway!

On 4 sites we worked on attracting high-quality backlinks (DA50+) to increase domain authority and on 4 others we created conversational blogs with relevant and researched keyword clusters allocated throughout the article. In other words, we focused on SEO copywriting.

Another 4, bringing the total up to 12 for those of you without calculators, were used as control sites, with no attempt is made to improve or develop standard copy or increase domain authority.

Then, (just for grins) we created 2 pages on our own website. They had titles and were written well but there was no effort put in from an SEO standpoint.

So, we had a total of 14 pages attempting to rank for the same keywords, with 4 optimised for backlinks, another 4 optimised for keywords and 2 existing only because we were bored.

A draft of this blog was written, as we were ready to bask and the glory of being proven right about something fairly basic. But then something went horribly, horribly wrong.

The 2 pages we had created on our own website (which by the way had slightly worse domain authority than the other sites) started outperforming all the other pages. Not just by a bit, in fact the lowest points difference on Google was 27. That’s 27 rankings ahead of the nearest, “optimised,” page.glossary of SEO terms

Now, the content on our pages wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t entirely relevant either. We searched through every conceivable measurable input to see what the difference was. URL, meta description, accidental keyword allocation, backlinks from random friendly people and we found absolutely nothing.

Except for internal links.

One of our team had been working on a system to identify text that could be useful as anchor text to other pages on the site. He had audited our pages and as a result, 15 older, well-ranking pages, were linking to our test pages. Because the program was automated based on the title, the anchor text was relevant to the keywords that the test pages were attempting to rank for.

But this created more questions than answers and we had to refer back to the other 12 blogs and see if they were receiving links from other internal posts. All of them were because that’s just something we do, but none were receiving as many as our other 2 test pages.

So, we gave them some. It gets a bit messy at this point because we couldn’t find enough consistency to reach a scientific outcome – but we will do another experiment with this in mind.  The lack of science lies in the fact that the websites we were using either didn’t have pages with a similar domain authority to the ones we’d used, or enough different pages to create authentic links.

But there was an increase in rankings across the board.

This was exciting, as in the past we probably didn’t give internal links the priority they deserved in our SEO website analysis. While we always, “ticked the box” we didn’t ensure there was a critical mass of relevant anchor text feeding information to relevant posts.

We do that now.

Of course, further testing is required and it is possible that Google has undergone some recent changes with regards to the algorithm, or that our experiment took place at a time when internal links or anchor text were being unfairly rewarded.

We will be doing another experiment using more sites and testing that is more impartial…lesson learnt. When the results come through we will publish them immediately along with our assumptions but in the meantime, we would suggest using internal linking as a priority SEO tactic.