Silly expert experiment

Can anyone confirm that engines like Google actually make use of heading elements in determining page rank? I’m looking for a link to actual results demonstrating the effect of headings on Google’s ranking of a page; if you have one handy, kindly drop it to me via e-mail. I’d just like to know one way or the other.

No existing results here, but it sounds like a fun experiment along the lines of nigritude ultramarine. So here’s what I’ve done: I’ve created a three-word term that’s not currently found in Google (and which I won’t include here so as to not skew the results). It’s embedded in different ways in five randomly-named and titled XHTML 1.0 Strict files that contain only Lipsum text:

  1. as an <h1> at the top of a page
  2. as <h1> within a page
  3. as an <h2> within a page
  4. split between <h1> and <h2> elements
  5. as the entire contents of a <p>
  6. embedded in the middle of a paragraph as normal text

The pages are linked in random order from a single page. If heading elements do help to determine page rank, one would expect the pages to be ranked in the order I’ve listed them above.

Although I’ve tried to reduce bias as much as possible in the test, it’s not exhaustive and hardly scientific. I’m open to any suggestions on how to improve the method.

(In case you’re wondering, the phrase was chosen by taking words from webpages I had open at the time and adding a descriptive adjective. J. is a fellow Lenni Jabour fan and the host of a radio program in Toronto, and M. is the name of a show being put on by former Lenni cohort Andrew Downing.)

Bleah. While checking to see if Google had crawled the pages–it has–I discovered that I forgot to link the very first item in the list above. I’ve added it now and re-requested a crawl, but it may skew the results. (The term doesn’t appear in search results as of yet, so I have some hope it may not matter.)

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5 thoughts on “Silly expert experiment

  1. can u please add the followed link «a href=”sthed”»the keywords tested«/a» on ur single test page ? i mean, use “the keywords tested” as link to the page instead of the text “test”. Could be fun to see if there’s any huge or minor difference between a H1 and the text in the referer link.

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