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SEO PhD Research Topic Ideas

Looking for ideas to research SEO/SEM at PhD level



2:59 pm on Feb 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi All, I'm new here today.

I'm looking to go back to university to do a part-time PhD (having already done four degrees I ought to know better!).

I've been working in SEO/SEM for the past year or so and it never ceases to amaze me just how poor some (sorry a lot of) sites are built. Are people just getting it wrong, just not bothering or putting their faith in other 'professionals' who don't get it right either.

This made me think about what new ideas could be looked into so as to help site owners out. Try to nail down a few unknowns or clear up some areas of uncertainty and things like that.

Does anyone have any ideas which they think would make good topics for research at university?

This is left as quite a general question as I don't want to rule out any (sensible) replies.

I look forward to any replies


9:53 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

SEO conversions. I see lots of successful SEO, in that the sites rank well, but the conversions are not rising in a linear fashion. I've spent the past few months just working on plain old marketing and have found that the old ways still work on the web, the only difference is the time compression. In traditional 4P marketing you assume you have 30 to 90 seconds to capture the customers attention,and then you factor in the ad must be seen as many as 7 or 8 times. On the web, it's the same, but you have about 3 seconds.
Color theory, call to action, and pricing all appear at this point in my research to follow the old tried and true principals of traditional marketing.
Just my two cents, and, it's probably worth that.


8:56 am on Mar 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Here are a few things that would make for a good discussion with some experienced individuals who have a sense of the current situation...

1. How to properly link build while staying within Google's current Guidelines.
2. Keyword Strategy
3. Content Importance and optimizing text for SEO while maintaining quality levels.
4. SEO & Ethics - With all the rules playing into SEO, how should Search Professionals do their job without bending any rules. Or can they? Especially if they want to see positive results.

Hope these help brew some additional topics for discussion.


12:12 am on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The problem with getting a degree in SEO is that by the time you get your degree your research will be outdated due to search engine algorithims changing so quickly. For instance buying and trading links to gain PR can now cause the opposite effect from a few years ago.


4:32 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I agree with Lorel. I think the coursework for an SEM degree would have to be way more general than link building, conversions, etc. It would probably have a lot to do with marketing and psychology, behavioral studies and all that good stuff. There would definitely be a lot of "theory" courses that could scale along with the developing industry.


5:43 pm on Apr 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I personally think that the two potentially lasting topics would be either the one about SEO and Ethics or the one about online conversion rate and what it means for SEO


2:24 am on May 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hello there.

According to by Estelle Phillips and D.S. Pugh in their book - How to Get a PhD if you demonstrate that you are an independent researcher and a master of the knowledge the field you have chosen then this is acceptable to gain a PhD award.

It seems to me that SEO is a great topic to gain a PhD in because my experience with SEO is that I've gotten some of my really good results with rigourous analysis and experimentation...

The thesis of a PhD is more of a demonstration of mastery and the ability to run science rather than a snapshot in time for your knowledge.

Philips and Pugh state that an acceptable PhD thesis can come from developing a new technique or experimentation protocol... that would be a great start for a PhD in SEO if you believe SEO is experimentation driven.

I'm toying with the idea myself... my old Uni professor is taking me out for lunch today to work on me some more on this concept.... have you enrolled yet?



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