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New Tool: LDA Content Optimizer

After much hullabaloo and disagreement regarding SEOMoz’s studies into the relationship between the topic modeling concept of Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) and rankings, the dust has settled and we can start talking about what does this mean for me as a webmaster. Our own studies indicated that there is a relationship between LDA Cosine values and ranking especially among long-tail keywords. I don’t pretend to know what this means exactly, but I do know how to boost LDA scores. And if the two are correlated – LDA and Ranking – it certainly wouldn’t hurt to do so. So, without any further adieu, I would like to introduce the new Virante LDA Content Optimizer. Essentially, the tool finds keywords that you should include in your...

Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) Correlations Clarified

Upon SEOMoz’s announcement regarding the relationship between LDA Cosine values and Google search rankings, I immediately had reservations about the way that many individuals in the community were reading the results. Admittedly, Rand and Ben have been careful about taking some of these observations with a grain of salt, making it clear to state that by no means does LDA represent the majority of Google’s ranking algorithm. That being said, I took special interest because, like many other SEO’s who work in competitive spaces, I have long regarded on-page factors as being only valuable for long-tail searches. My first and primary concern was that because SEOMoz’s team was looking at a large keyword set without regard to competitiveness,...

Thoughts on Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) and Search

First off, kudos to the SEOMoz team, and specifically, Ben Hendrickson for their stunning study and continued focus on building a data and research-driven approach to SEO. That being said, I feel like some grains of salt need to be thrown into this recent study regarding the recent study regarding the relationship between LDA (topic modeling) and search rankings. To begin, let’s make it clear that it is generally accepted that a good portion of the search algorithm is textual relevance. Similarly, it would not be unreasonable to believe that Google uses just a few sophisticated mathematical tools to accomplish this relevance measurement, making it the easiest to discern and most singularly shocking. Whenever someone struck upon the meat of this part of the...

Controlled Experimentation + Correlation Data Gives Solid Evidence

I am always excited to hear that our internal testing using controlled experimentation matches up with that of those doing correlation studies, like the great work coming out of SEOMoz. Most recently, Rand Fishkin posted a great piece on correlations between numerous ranking factors and outcomes in both Google and Bing. One of the more “surprising” pieces of data revealed in this correlation study was the relationship between the .org extension vs. .net/com/gov/etc. It seems that in both Bing and Google, there is a slight bias towards the .org TLD. Interestingly, back in 2008 before SEOMoz had built such a great data set to perform correlation studies like this, we created a controlled experiment to look at potential Top Level Domain Analysis. We...

301 Redirects Can Pass Anchor Text

One of the questions we often receive and has been discussed quite a bit is whether 301 redirects actually pass on any anchor text. This is an important question, as much of the web’s new link graph uses URL shortening style services. So, we set out to do a simple test… Get a page ranked for a non competitive term using only 301 redirects. It is important to note here a few things regarding the scope of this study. This was repeatedly effective This did not test 301 redirecting an old page to another We cannot measure whether or not there is any depressive adjustment made because it is a 301 redirect, merely that the effect does exist. There very well may be special cases where Google does not pass anchor text through a 301 The experiment was quite...

New Free SEO Tool – Google Double Listing Demystifier

The brand spanking new Google Double Listing Demystifier helps you identify the actual ranking of individual pages in the top 10 when there is a double listing present. If two pages from the same domain occur in the top 10, Google will automatically insert the second listing directly under the first with an indent. While this makes it easy to find pages from the same domain, it makes it far more difficult to determine what the actual rank of the second page is. This simple tool will help demystify the double listing by identifying what the actual rank of those individual pages are. This can be incredibly valuable as it will allow you to know whether or not your or your competitor’s second page listing is vulnerable because it is actually in position 10, or...