Bill Cheswick's Web Marketing Experiments

The follow are experiments with web marketing. The game is to get a high relevance rating from the web search engines, making these pages come out as high on the list as possible.

Do people play these games? Of course! Who looks at the 200th hit for a keyword in Altavista?

Here are a list of tests, pages that should have increasing relevance to the search string "Used cars". The programmers of the web search engines are generally quite secretive about how they rate a page for relevance.

Here are some attempts at relevance:

  • Long title, nothing else.
  • Using a couple long H fields.
  • Use many single H fields.
  • Just one H1.
  • Just one H2.
  • Just one H3.
  • Just one H6.
  • Many repeated keywords.
  • Many repeated keywords plus a content line.
  • Keyword, content, and big header.
  • Just a lot of relevant text.
  • All-out.
  • These tricks are used all the time, though they are usually hidden. You have to "View Document Source" to see the keywords. Multiple text and header lines are often hidden by some combination of:

  • using very small fonts,
  • setting the text color to the background color,
  • or placing the text down where it has to be scrolled to.
  • By the way, several of the test pages use the term "previously owner horseless carriage" to avoid having the target keywords in unwanted places. These pages are the only entries for that keyword set in the indicies!

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