How SEO Taught Me Correlation

Good news friends: I earned a SEO internship at Veterans United. It’s brought a cornucopia of new knowledge, tools and responsibilities to me since day one (August 19). Almost every day is a restart in the buffet line of search engine optimization.

My first project is updating our SERP Keyword Analysis Report. I search our target keywords and phrases and analyze theĀ health of our rankings and links compared to our competition. The project allows me to use the two wondrous tools of Moz’s Open Site Explorer and Majestic SEO’s Site Explorer.

The terms and data they give are fairly new to me – I’ve used them before but nothing on such deep a scale. My greenhorn status of all this new data and its lingo led me to find how to decipher it; what I found was better. I found a beginner’s guide to correlation on Majestic SEO. Below I’ll show you a few of their pointers and extras I have. I am by no means a statistics or data expert now but must say I’ve improved.

1. Correlation measures the relationship between two elements.

Search engines factor multiple signals, like in the double or triple digits, from Web sites. This may seem like an oversimplification but I believe the most important factors are the relationships between the many elements on the Internet. Solid link building in search engine optimization tries its best to find the best relationships and partnerships with a niche target audience.

2. Big numbers don’t have to be scary.

I’ve always have an irrational fear of big numbers because I’m more of a words guy than numbers guy. I used to think about abstract ideas about the specified numbers more than their numerical values. Big numbers are involved in correlation but so is division. Correlation results fall between -1 and +1. SEOs will see:

  • A negative correlation if it’s closer to -1.
  • An independent correlation if it’s closer to 0.
  • A positive correlation if it’s closer to +1.

3. Neighborhoods reside in the World Wide Web.

I can focus better on building stronger relationships with target audiences. I’m talking to the target audienceĀ in a living room, not an amphitheater, because most of the results are from the same 30-40 companies, not millions like the results say. SEOs don’t have to build links to every Web page ever created because focusing more on the interests of target audience grows their interest and improves our connection with them.

4. Correlation doesn’t cause causation.


Correlation seems to be about respecting each other. Causation seems to be about affecting each other.

So, what’s the best lesson correlation and statistics taught me this past week? SEOs should have the willingness to seek relationships holding the highest quality, not quantity. SEO isn’t solely about counting the highest number of links we have. SEO is also about valuing the quality of relationships and partnerships we have with our target audience.

Image credit: xkcd

About John Wiehe

Start-up SEO. Mizzou J-school grad. Eagle Scout. Learn more about me at Google+, +John Wiehe.
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