Hardcore SEO Fundamentals: Markov Chaining Points and Term Vector Modeling

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Heather Paulson from Paulson Management Group wrote a post for ReveNews.com titled “SEO Matrix’s- Markov Chaining and Term Vector Models“. It is basically a rundown of the fundamental SEO ranking factors, but from a very technical perspective, nothing for the SEO beginner and folks who were not A-Grade in math during High School and/or College.

She explains things based on the actual mathematical models behind things used by modern search engines like Google or Yahoo!. For example things that I would explain in plain English like “you need more and better links to that page with the keyword phrase as the anchor text” instead of using mathematical phrases like “term vector model” and “Markov chaining points” to consider.

It made even my head spin and I consider myself being good at math. Some things were not 100% clear to me regarding the use of the term “keyword density” in her post, because I am sure that she did not refer to the old myth that the number of repetitions of a word in relationship to the total number of words has any impact on ranking. This kind of stuff worked maybe ages ago during pre-Google times, when keyword stuffing and the repeated mentioning of a phrase at the end of the page would get you anywhere.

I also asked her to elaborate on the statement:

“…. (I) was able to achieve top placement for most of my terms within 8 days (THROW out the theory that older domains place better please!) …”

It seems to me a bit unrealistic. You can rank fast, but almost never with a brand new domain that is still exposed to Google’s “Sandbox Effect”, which still exist from what I heard.

Well, check it out yourself. As a reminder, her post is for SEO experts and not for beginners. If you need a rundown on the basics of doing successful SEO from a non-technical perspective, see my post called “11 Steps to Successful SEO for Your Business” here at SEJ.


Carsten Cumbrowski from Cumbrowski Consulting, LLC.

Carsten Cumbrowski
Carsten Cumbrowski has years of experience in Affiliate Marketing and knows both sides of the business as the Affiliate and Affiliate Manager. Carsten has over... Read Full Bio
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  • Heather Paulson

    Hi Carsten,

    Appreciate your fine comments – agglomerative clustering techniques are assistive in achieving “keyword spread”.

    Pattern recognition is a helpful skill in SEO! Have a great day.

  • Michael Duz

    The article is a master class in obfuscation.

    Obviously Ms Paulson knows less about Markov chains, LSI and Term Vectors than the gobbledygook implies. However you have to admire the chutzpah in using precise mathematical terminology in such an imaginative way.

    Even taking into account the poor grammar this is consummate marketing bullshit of the highest order. Nice one Heather!

  • Heather Paulson

    Hi Michael,

    I am not a professional writer by any stretch of the imagination! This was simply a post on things I consider when approaching a project.

  • CarstenCumbrowski

    Michael, just FYI, Heather is doing this for a long time (several years longer than I do).

    She might not be a good writer or poet, but she knows some stuff about analytics and math. My grammar isn’t the best either, but that is a different story.

    Oh, btw. She also used to work for a search engine in the past.

    Michael, you are doing this stuff also for a while and also know your stuff pretty well. If I were you, I would not just discard everything Heather wrote with her bad grammar, but listen carefully, because none of us knows everything with absolute certainty, don’t we?!

  • Utah SEO

    I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this stuff for almost 2 years now. It’s pretty complex.

  • Gab “SEO ROI” Goldenberg

    Also been having trouble with the vector space model and markov chain stuff, though I roughly get how it works. Some concrete examples would help.

    BTW, shouldn’t Heather’s article be on Sphinn, rather than this? Seems like this is taking attention that’s due to someone else…

  • Terry

    I am starting to actually wonder about all of this. I put a website together as a beginner just to learn some coding, upload, ftp, promoting and all that stuff. My main site I have worked tirelessly on trying to get keywords to rank to no avail. As a side I threw up a sub directory on a page that I thought was disastorous. Well that page, no seo, poor html tidy, no work, one I set and forgot, now has a result positioned on G page 1 position 3.

    It doesn’t figure sometimes. Thank goodness though it is loaded with adsense.

  • Goran Giertz – Website Marketing

    I have new domains that are a few months old with little SEO that our ranked higher then sites that are, well…. got some serious optimisation.

    I have come to the realisation that not all things can be explained.

    Wishing everyone an exSeollent 2008

  • Automotive Social Network

    I have performed SEO for 5 years and have learnt the fun in doing so. It is the end result that makes my day.