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1. Pick twenty popular search terms.
2. Enter them at selected search engine.
3. Review first twenty results for each search and write down answer. Write a 1 if answer to your question is true for that listing and a 0 if it is false.
4. If answers are all same (either true or false), you may need to use more than twenty results for your study. If so, be consistent with all search terms.
5. If answers for second half of your results for all search terms is zero, you may need to include some more search terms until you have a non-zero result in second half of your results.
6. Total answers for all search terms for first half of your results. Separately total answers for all of your search terms for second half of your results.
7. Divide total from first half of your results by total of second half of your results.
8. If your answer is very close to number 1, then you will need to expand your search to more than twenty popular search terms... or review more than top 20 results... or possibly accept that answer to your question is that this particular factor is not very important to this search engine either way (positive or negative).
9. If your answer is significantly more than 1, then answer to your question is true.
10. If your answer is significantly less than 1, then answer to your question is false.
If your question is regarding formation of title, description, domain name or URL, this method is all you need. If your question regards something about underlying sites (ie: keyword density, use of header tags, hidden text, etc), then you may have to visit each site listed in order to answer your question.
I find it easier to turn each question into a true/false question, but you can also use this method with questions that have a numerical answer.
Now real challenge is finding questions, not answers. Recently a popular search engine started ranking sites with dead links lower than sites that quickly removed their dead links. This became obvious when above study was performed. The challenge was to come up with question: Do dead links on your site hurt search engine ranking?
Feel free to drop me a note at JamesBrausch@TargetBlaster.com with any interesting finds using this method. Happy hunting!
James D. Brausch, is the Vice President of Marketing for Target Blaster, Inc., an Internet Marketing firm specializing in targeted traffic. http://www.TargetBlaster.com