Research for all clients could include reviewing the following in detail. Click here to read about our latest research project.
Before commencing a strategy, VC research the strength and weaknesses of a client's site. This would include reviewing the following in detail:
We would also research externally and look at the available data for the client's market online. This can include search data from Google, plus Benedict's own data and competitor analysis.
In the past we have followed an action plan that is similar to the implementation work proposed, with some parts accelerated and some parts reduced, dependent on analytic data month in month out. This has proved highly effective.
Benedict have a "nothing is wrong or right approach" and even ideas that fail can offer more information on how to get ideas to succeed.
We believe in research, prove that something is wrong or something is right, do not tell me. All ideas are relevant and all keywords appropriate. If we test and prove there is not traffic from a certain keyword we will tell you and move on.
Everyone who works with Benedict (all five) has the majority of every Friday afternoon to research some aspect of organic search that interest them. Whilst not every research project is commercial nor useful, research plays a very important part of formulating the exact content of the SEO services we offer our clients.
At four o'clock every Friday all members of staff present the project they are working on. Whilst it is not exactly Google's 20% do your own thing time, it is an important and enjoyable part of the working week. Some of the more senior members of staff have developed a number of breakthroughs that have revolutionised our SEO techniques and has helped take this website along with many others to the very top of Google.
Our research is not looking for tricks. We respect Google. We know the Googlebot is just trying to be human. We ask our own clients that if you want to work with organic search, then you have to play by the rules. We our not talking about black hat SEO, white hat techniques or ethical SEO methods, we are talking about presenting the most up-to-date, intriguing, searchable and findable information presented in a user-friendly environment that our clients can produce.
Whilst most SEO company's use an SEO formula that was written by people unknown which offer an array of SEO trickery" in fooling Google into thinking that 'their' website is the right site to rank in a high Google position Benedict seek to discover the right means to obtain SEO success through testing, measuring and reporting on successful techniques.
Trickery such as adding meta data, keyword density etc have been added to by the common belief that the right back link is the key to SEO success. Interpretation of Google's webmaster guide commonly requires a mass of either articles written for the site or for news / blogs to be added. We have researched this and found that common SEO beliefs are heavily flawed.
Benedict undertook a review of the top 80 SEO companies and asked them to provide a proposal for an SEO project. The proposals differed only in price and credibility, the detail and execution of the campaign were more or less identical. We asked all of the companies on receipt of their proposal, how do you know that this is correct? Why are you suggesting xyz link building and abc article writing. Do you have proof?
The answers were only unique in their blandness, "we have always done it this way," "this is what we have read on Matt Cutt's blog," Matt Cutts is a remarkable engineer and is a part of Google folklore and whilst his opinion is valid it is not law after all his major claim to fame is to remove adult images appearing in Google's image search and to be known as "porn cookie guy."
Off line study
At Benedict we have read every book published on Google, to begin to get into the heads of Sergey Brin and Larry Page. We have studies the culture and the methods behind the madness of Google. We have begun to predict changes that Google are introducing before Google implement them. How, because we understand what they are working towards.
How exactly does Benedict identify which of the month's search engine optimisation techniques worked? We catalogue every change we make to the client's site. This assists us moving forward, but if you apply multiple SEO techniques and a website improves in the SERPs (search engine results page) which one actually made the difference?
What has happened in the SEO industry is that a number of SEO techniques are important and when utilised correctly can result in Google page ranking improvements. However what is not clear is which techniques are outdated and outmoded and probably have been removed from Google's algorithm and which methods have a greater weight and effect than others.
What has happened in the UK SEO market is that SEO techniques are never abandoned and new skills are simply added to what is already known. SEO has become a "dark art" or some sort of mysterious method; in reality it is made to seem this way because the SEOs you are talking to do not have much of a idea of what works.
We have created a list of 220 criteria we use in our optimisation work to give you an idea of the depth of our research. These criteria are then implemented on a 100 websites across three continents.
We have create spiders that imitate the Googlebot. When other SEO's claim you cannot do this and you cannot do that, and Google will remember, we question this.
Our bots work in a similar way tot the Googlebot. They capture information and try to rank these sites in a semblance of order. They are not as complex as the Googlebot and their metrics are fewer.
However, our data centre servers that house our own bots have 1000's of terabytes of data. We have to erase vast quantities of data weekly or these five high spec servers will simply grind to a halt.
Whilst Google has huge number of data farms it is impossible for them to store all data. From studying how our own bots work and drawing up a wish list of how we would like them to work, we begin to understand Google's goals.
One of the first conclusion we came to is that the Googlebot is merely trying to be human. It is a computer driven bot with a huge number of rules (or algorithms) that state if x=y then rank this site x.
This was ground breaking for us as we had always believed that true search engine optimisation can be gained by naturally writing on topic. Being expert on a topic and knowing your subject inside out will lead to a natural optimisation that billions of dollars of research are going into Google algorithms to spot.
One thing that we did discover apart from rubbishing a number of SEO myths was that Google copied and retained numerous copies of every website it caches. We know this because we have created system that allows Google to rebuild old domain sites for us.
In December 2008 Mr Sykes was testing if there was any relation between a high Google page ranking and traffic. He created a 250,000 page site listing every .uk domain he could find, believing that just as every one googles themselves they will also Google their website url.
The result was 289,000 unique visitors monthly. The SEO improvement, from large numbers of visitors was categorically NIL and proved only the lengths we go to disprove an SEO myth.
However Mr Sykes is a domain broker in his spare time and wrote a piece on domain broking in Jan 2009. This page is written by an expert on a subject close to his heart. The web page two years later, with no changes or amendments DID rank #4 for domain broker or 4 / 45,000,000 for five years.
Benedict has further created a network of 1871 websites hosted in six different countries on countless IP addresses. We use this network of site which are on every conceivable subject to trial our SEO ideas.
We have tested link building on theme, off theme, we have test throwing 100s of articles at a site and none on others and have gleaned a unique insight into Google and current search engine optimisation techniques.
Our research is not published as it is our own unique intellectual property. We do not blog or visit forums or argue SEO with anyone. We offer our clients our findings, our interpretation of correct optimisation, our interpretation of link building, content writing.
The results speak for themselves. When asked why we implement an SEO change or a procedure we answer because we have tested it over six months and these are the results, not that we read it somewhere.