IN THIS CHAPTER
Setting up a testing platform
Running a test
Recording test results
Testing the ways the search engines operate is the most important thing a Search Engine Optimizer can do. In fact, everything that we as SEOs know about the search engine algorithms is the result of testing. Testing is an ongoing process that must happen more frequently than the search engine algorithm updates. This chapter teaches you the skills you need to perform professional quality tests of your own so you can more accurately predict what types of techniques are required to improve your site's rankings. Although the following is designed to be performed on separate mini websites, the same principles apply to testing on your own website. Remember, SEOs can always be doing better and ranking for more terms.
To reverse engineer specific aspects of the major search engines, you will need to build a testing platform. (Note: If you are content just following the advice of the leaders in the industry and not performing your own tests, you can skip to the section "Running a Test" and perform the tests on your primary website.) The advantage of a testing platform over manually constructed web pages is that a platform will allow you to drastically cut down on the time it takes to set up a test and focus on interpreting results. This is because with a platform you do not have to rewrite code when you are performing a task you have already ...