According to Google, query volume has nothing to do with search rankings. But Martin MacDonald isn’t buying that, and might have evidence that search volume can affect Google rankings after all.

MacDonald, head of SEO for global media agency OMD (that’s this OMD, not the first OMD that comes to mind for Generation X), conducted a little experiment. By creating more search volume than usual for the term “Martin MacDonald SEO,” he was able to nudge his personal site up into the first page of Google results. Google also started appending “seo” to searches for Martin MacDonald in its suggest results.

Assuming it works, what does that mean to you? You can’t influence what people search for, right? Wrong. MacDonald notes that some companies are spending ad money to tell people to “search for Samsung TVs” or the like. Of course, if your company doesn’t have a TV or radio advertising budget (and if you’re sitting there hoping to nudge the SEO results with search volume, that seems likely) then MacDonald has a few other tricks to suggest.

For example, MacDonald says that some companies use tweets that link to search results, instead of linking directly to the site. The same for company newsletters – if you’re convinced that search volume will help, link to search results instead of the page.

Does it work? MacDonald’s results seem to suggest that it does. It’s doubtful that Google is going to confirm it, of course, but I suspect we’ll see many more experiments in the near future to see how it turns out.