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Completed students

img alexanderMr Arthur Alexander

BTech (IT) at CPUT
Article title: Impact of website design and usability on trust within B2C e-commerce
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Article abstract

This research is focused on understanding how the aesthetics and design of an e-commerce landing page affects the trust a first-time user has in the site. The goal is to see whether or not this trust encourages or discourages further exploration based on the initial first impressions only. The results are likely to be useful to Web designers and users alike.


img-current-banganiMr Ayanda Bangani

Currently registered for a BTech (IT) at CPUT
Article title: A comparison of the effect of single-word and hyphenated domain name choices on website visibility
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Article Abstract

Single-word domain names are more popular, but the domain name space has been exhausted for most common single English words. This research set out to determine the effect of single-word domain names versus hyphenated names on website visibility.


img-current-bougaardtMr Ryan Bougaardt

Passed Project 4 in December 2014 with 73%, graduated with a BTech (IT) from CPUT in April 2015.
Article title: The effect of search engine interface design on query generation
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Article Abstract

Search engines are tools that enable a user to retrieve information from the Web. Interface design is one aspect to consider when designing a search engine. This research paper focuses on how search engine interface design affects the user’s perception of these programs. The objective of this study is to determine which of the three well know search engines is the most popular (based on its interface), as well as to find a link between the search engines interface design and the users choices. This study utilized a quantitative research method. A questionnaire was used to collect the data which involved 20 participants. Based on interface preference, Google was the preferred search engine amongst participants, followed by Yahoo! and then Bing.


warc students chambersMr Rickard Chambers

Graduated with an MTech (IT) from CPUT in March 2006
Thesis title: Search Engine strategies: A model to improve website visibility for SMME websites
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Rickard Chambers completed his BTech at the Cape Technikon in 2004, and then continued pursuing an MTech degree at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. After graduating in 2006 he relocated to the UK where he was employed as a Business Consultant at Allocate Software plc, the leading workforce optimisation software applications provider for world-wide organisations. After braving four years of the British climate he decided to return to South Africa to continue a career in consulting. He is currently employed by Blue Turtle Technologies, working in the Service Management sector on projects which include clients like Capitec Bank, MMI Holdings and Murray & Roberts.

Thesis Abstract

The purpose of this research project was to identify potential elements which could provide a possible increase in website visibility. A criteria list of these elements was used to evaluate a sample of websites, to determine to what extent they made use of these potential elements. An evaluation was then conducted of 144 different SMME websites by searching for nine individual keywords within four search engines (Google, MSN, Yahoo! and Ananzi), and using the first four results of every keyword from every search engine for analysis. Elements gathered through academic literature were then listed according to the usage of these elements in the top-ranking websites when searching for predetermined keywords. Further qualitative research was conducted to triangulate the data gathered from the literature and the quantitative research. The evaluative results provided the researcher with possible elements / designing techniques to formulate a model to develop a visible website that is not only supported by recent research, but also through real current applications. The research concluded that, as time progresses and technology improves, new ways to improve website visibility will evolve. Furthermore - there is no quick method for businesses to produce a visible website as there are many aspects that should be considered when developing these.


img dirkMr Moegamat Zain Dirk

BTech (IT) at CPUT
Article title: Search engine response to the implementation of grey-hat techniques to improve ranking.
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Article abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate and record the response of search engines to the implementation of grey-hat SEO techniques in order to improve search rankings. Literature indicates that some designers tend to implement black-hat SEO techniques for this purpose. Others try to avoid search engine penalties by implementing grey-hat systems. The results of this research will be valuable to users, companies, and Web developers who would like to increase the ranking of their website without relying on black-hat techniques.


img-current-farrellMr Jason Farrell

Passed Project 4 in December 2014 with 64%, graduated with a BTech (IT) from CPUT in April 2015.
Article title: Using past search engine algorithm updates to predict future trends
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

 Article Abstract

Search engine algorithm updates cause millions of dollars’ worth of spending to adapt to changes implemented by them. Being able to predict future trends in the updates could save a business much expense and provide them with an unrivalled competitive edge. Comparing the most recent updates made to the Google search algorithm and analysing the potential impact future updates may have, is the key point of interest. This research will provide an understanding of the latest updates and offer an explanatory overview of where future trends may lead. It was found that Google does not give warning about updates, increasing the importance of knowing what elements the updates focus on. So far, these have been mostly the; authorship, quality, structure and uniqueness of content.


img-current-konaMe Oyanda Kona

Passed Project 4 in December 2014 with 79%, currently registered for a BTech (IT) at CPUT.
Article title: Website interface design: a study on the status quo of website interfaces
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Article Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the usability of South African e-commerce large retail concerns’ websites. The research methodology included user testing on four of these websites. A prior literature study indicated that a fairly low percentage of retail e-commerce websites are usable. The sample consisted of the websites of four of the well-known retailers in South African e-commerce. In conclusion, the study has shown that these South African e-commerce websites lack usability in general. This result is useful to customers, retail companies and website developers.


img kotloloMs Mogoloma Lizzy Kotlolo

Currently registered for a BTech (IT) at CPUT
Article title: Website interface design: A study on the usability of the Capitec Bank online banking system
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Article abstract

In this research, the focus is on Capitec Bank, as it is currently the fastest growing bank in South Africa. With more of their customers adopting online banking, it is essential that the website interface is usable. Other South African banks have implemented website interface designs with a high degree of usability with the aim of increasing revenue. The literature proves that commercial banks need to focus on customers’ expectations to add a competitive advantage and gain market share. A usability study is being done, where participants have done a live testing of the interface, recording their experiences. The participants have executed various transactions, including creating a new payee and viewing/printing/saving online financial documents. The results are likely to be useful to Web designers and banks.


 warc students kritzingerMr Wouter Thomas Kritzinger

Graduated with a D.Tech (Informatics) from CPUT in 2017
Dissertation title: Development of a search engine marketing model using the application of a dual strategy
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Wouter Thomas Kritzinger was a Doctoral student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town. He is keen on search engine optimisation (SEO), and his Master's dissertation focussed on the role webpage keywords play in website visibility. He is currently employed as a Senior SEO Specialist at Takealot.com and his responsibilities include applying SEO to improve the visibility of customer websites. With his in-depth understanding and knowledge of the principles of SEO; he has solved various customer problems.

Dissertation abstract 

Firstly, an empirical experiment was done, involving fat head and long tail key-phrase searches. The top 10 websites of the sponsored section were recorded and investigated to see if they also had an SEO ranking within the top 100 results. It was found that website owners seldom invest in SEO as part of a SEM (search engine marketing) campaign.
Secondly, the digital marketing campaign of a small company was monitored. The PPC (pay per click) system was running and produced results, but required regular monthly payments. It was de-commissioned at a given point, and an SEO campaign was started. Traffic and expenses were recorded. The results indicated that the expenses on the two systems crossed over after about six months, with SEO becoming an increasingly better investment from that point onwards.

Finally, various successful e-commerce websites were evaluated on their CPA (cost per acquisition). SEO and PPC costs, as well as the CPA were calculated over a set period. It was found that the CPA for SEO, for each of the websites, was significantly lower than that of the CPA for the PPC campaigns.
In conclusion, a model was produced to summarise this complex interplay of determinants, showing that prevailing conditions and requirements from owners prescribe whether only one or both SEO and PPC should be the focus of a marketing budget. This kind of research has not been done before, and is considered to be ground-breaking in the field of e-commerce marketing visibility.


 warc students le rouxMs Suzaan Lourens (Le Roux)

Graduated with an M.Tech (IT) from CPUT in March 2006
Thesis title: The development and evaluation of an interactive computer-based training (CBT) module
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Suzaan is employed as a lecturer in the Financial Information Systems Department at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). She has been teaching at CPUT since 1999 and specializes in the areas of Programming, Software Engineering and Systems Analysis and Design. Her research interests include computer based training, computer based education and programming.

Thesis abstract

The primary objective of this research was to establish whether or not an interactive multimedia Computer-Based Training (CBT) module could assist learners to gain an improved understanding of their learning material. The secondary objective was to measure if learners will show a positive attitude/reaction towards CBT if applied to the COBOL programming language in a Development Software 1 (DOS1) programme. Research has shown that learners using interactive multimedia CBT material attain a “learning advantage” over learners receiving classroom-based instruction. Little research however has been conducted in the application of CBT instruction in the teaching of programming languages. The methods employed in this research include the development of a Macromedia Flash CBT module that supports various animations, and the evaluation of the module’s effectiveness as a method for introducing learners to the COBOL programming language. Results indicate that even though the experimental group (who made use of the CBT module) obtained a higher mean gain score than the control group (who received traditional classroom-based instruction), it proved to be insignificant. Even though CBT instruction did not show a significant improvement in learner performance, it proved to be at least as effective or equivalent to traditional instruction. Furthermore, results show that CBT lead to improved learning motivation and contributed to a positive attitude towards teaching the COBOL programming language.


warc students mbikiwaMs Fernie Neo Mbikiwa

Graduated with an M.Tech (IT) from CPUT in April 2006
Thesis title: Search engine exclusion policies: implications on indexing e-commerce websites
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Fernie matriculated in 1998 in Botswana.  She then completed her National Diploma, B.Tech and Master's degree, respectively at the Cape Technikon in 2003, and at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2004 and 2005. She has been working in the Business Intelligence field for various companies since 2006.  She is currently employed by The Foschini Group in Cape Town as a BI Analyst/Developer.

Thesis abstract

The aim of this research was to determine how search engine exclusion policies and spam affect the indexing of e-Commerce websites. The unexpected growth of the World Wide Web made it essential for firms to adopt e-commerce as a means of obtaining a competitive edge. It was estimated that 88% of users start with search engines when completing tasks on the web.  This has resulted in a high placement of websites in search engines as one of the strongest contributors to a commercial website’s success. To achieve such high rankings, web designers often adopt Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. The research contained in this thesis concluded that search engines adhere to their own policies, but lack stringent controls for the majority of websites that contained spam, and were still listed by search engines. In this study, the author only analysed e-commerce websites, and cannot therefore generalise the results to other websites outside e-commerce. 


img mogailaMr Lesiba Eugene Mogaila

Currently registered for a BTech (IT) at CPUT
Article title: Voice search on smartphones: The role accent plays in success rate
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Article abstract

This research focuses on voice search technologies on mobile devices. The objective is to determine if user accent plays a role in the success rate of mobile voice search applications. The research will focus particularly on official South African languages. A set of standardized queries will be provided to testers with various South African home languages. It will be executed in a controlled environment using both Android and Apple-based platforms. The results will be useful to application designers for both local and the international market.


 img mpofana Mr Philani Mpofana

Currently registered for a BTech (IT) at CPUT
Article title: Mobile application technology and IT security threat to South African consumers
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Article abstract

Most mobile users obtain and save valuable data daily on their mobile devices. This includes critical and sensitive personal information that could put their safety and health at risk, like banking details, physical location and medical history. Some devices save all financial data on the applications with a once of logon. Sensitive passwords and login names are always available to users via their mobile devices. This research will focus on identifying these risks and measuring user perception of these threats.


 warc students neethlingMr Riaan Neethling

Graduated with an MTech (IT) from CPUT in December 2007
Thesis title:
Search engine optimisation or paid placement systems – user preference
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Riaan completed his B.Tech degree in Information Technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in 2005. On completion of his B.Tech, he moved into a lecturing role at CPUT and enrolled for his master’s degree, which was completed in 2007 under Prof Weideman’s supervision. He is currently working in risk development in the UK where he focuses on market risk.

Thesis abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate and report on user preference of SEO, versus PPC results. Research shows that online advertisers perceive PPC as a more effective SEM strategy than SEO. However, empirical evidence exists that PPC may not be the best strategy for online advertisers, creating confusion for advertisers considering a SEM campaign. In order for online advertisers to choose the most relevant SEM strategy, it is of importance to understand user perceptions of these strategies. The methodology consisted of a quantitative research design in the form of a questionnaire and an interview for qualitative research. Results showed that failing to invest in either one could cause a significant loss of website traffic, and indicated that advertisers should invest in both PPC and SEO. The results can further be used to adjust a SEM strategy according to the target market group profile of an advertiser.


 warc students ngindanaMr Mongezi Ngindana

Graduated with an M.Tech (IT) from CPUT in March 2006
Thesis title: Visibility of e-commerce websites to search engines: a comparison between text-based and graphic-based hyperlinks
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Mongezi Ngindana is a lecturer in Information Technology, at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. His subjects include Communication Networks, Development Software and Information Systems. He completed his undergraduate and Masters in Information Technology degrees at CPUT, where he was appointed as the “Best Student of the Year”. Currently he is studying towards his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Cape Town. He has been qualified as a Certified Cisco Network Associate, and a Certified Cisco Instructor. He is currently busy working on his Cisco Certified Network Professional certification. His research interests include Communication Networks.

Thesis Abstract

Research has shown that most website developers first build a website and only later focus on the ‘searchability’ and ‘visibility’ of the website. Companies spend large amounts of money on the development of a website which sadly cannot be indexed by search engines, is rejected by directory editors and which is furthermore invisible to crawlers. The primary objective of this dissertation is to compare and report on the impact of text-based versus graphic-based hyperlinks on website visibility.

The method employed in the research was to develop two e-Commerce based websites with the same functionality, contents and keywords, however utilising different navigation schemes. Both websites were submitted to the same search engines at the same time. A period of eight months was allowed to ensure that the websites drew sufficient ‘hits’ to enable a comparative analysis to be conducted. Graphs as well as text-based reports produced by the ranking programs and the t-test were used to compare and analyse the results.

Evidence based on the reviewed literature indicated that there are conflicting reports on the impact of text as opposed to graphic hyperlinks on website visibility. However, there is unsupported evidence that text hyperlinks achieved higher rankings than graphics-based hyperlinks. Although the ‘human website browsers’ find a certain amount of graphical aids conducive to easier navigation, ‘search engine crawlers’ find many of these same graphic aids impossible to index. The study supported that the graphic-based website ranked higher than the text-based website, which calls for a balance to be found between these two extremes. This balance would satisfy both ‘human website browsers’ and ‘search engine crawlers’.


img-current-pandyaMr Rushi Pandya

Passed Project 4 in December 2014 with 69%, graduated with a BTech (IT) from CPUT in April 2015.
Article title: Building a bridge between dynamic webpages and high visibility through SEO
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Article Abstract

A website look-and-feel plays a vital role in making the first impression on a first-time visitor. Basing a website on static design might present a company’s products/services to the visitor as being out of date. Static Web pages normally do not offer user interaction, and are often not used in online business and e-commerce platforms. One alternative is to use dynamic Web page design – it could provide a more positive user experience. However, if a dynamic website is not created with Search Engine Optimisation in mind, it might hurt the visibility of the website. Therefore, it is required to find ways to mitigate the negative influences of dynamic Web pages on visibility. A dynamic website called http://crickygeeky.com was developed and its visibility monitored. After recording initial results, techniques were used to mitigate the negative influence on visibility. It was found that crawlers have trouble in navigating dynamic websites, and URLs were adapted to reduce this effect. Positive results were also achieved by feeding crawlers with components of static webpages.


img-current-pomboMr Leonardo Pombo

Passed Project 4 in December 2014 with 72%, graduated with a BTech (IT) from CPUT in April 2015.
Article title: The implementation and perception of paid placement schemes in the three top search engines
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Article Abstract

The purpose of this research was to analyze the current top three search engines in order to find a correlation between the implementation of their paid placement or sponsored search result schemes, and user’s perception thereof. An analysis of current literature was done, finding similar work surrounding these topics and going into more specific work done regarding the implementation of paid placement results and user perception. Empirical work was then planned and executed in the form of two pilot studies. In the first, the top three search engine result pages were analysed to find how each implemented their various paid placement schemes. A few searches were decided upon and each of these was used and the results noted. The second study took the form of personal interviews - ten participants were interviewed. Each one was shown the same results page from a search conducted on Google and questions were based on that page. Results from both studies combined with previous work confirmed that users are not satisfied with the level of separation between organic and paid results. Users would prefer more separation between the two sets of results. There is evidence that search engines are trying to accomplish the opposite as this would benefit the income potential of their paid placement results.


warc students schwenkeMr Freddie Schwenke

 Graduated with an M.Tech (IT) from CPUT in April 2010
Thesis title: Access channels for mobile banking applications – a comparative study
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Freddie finished his National Diploma in 1992, after which he completed his (at that stage compulsory) military training in 1994.  In 1995 he started working at Sanlam as a Trainee programmer for four years. In 1999 he joined a German company where he started his Java development career.  In 2000 he joined a local company, Exinet, which accelerated his Java career as a developer. In 2004 he joined Fundamo (a local company doing Mobile Banking software).  Here he moved through the ranks to where he currently is as a Java architect in the Professional Services department.  He completed his B-Tech (IT) degree at Unisa in 2006 and an M-Tech at CPUT in 2009.

Thesis abstract

This study was conducted to obtain an answer to the question: “Which access channel is the most appropriate to mobile applications?”  This is a question asked by mobile application and service providers all over the world.  The study includes a literature survey that was conducted to find available mobile access channels as well as their characteristics.  A number of access channels were found and it became clear that not all channels are equally applicable to all applications.  The characteristics were measured to determine applicability and appropriateness of each channel for specific types of applications.  The study focussed on three different characteristics of the different access channels: Security, Ubiquity and Usability.  In conclusion it was found that different types of applications may have different preferred access channels.


warc students shashaMr Ziphozakhe Theophilus Shasha

Graduated with a M.Tech (Business Information Systems) from CPUT in September 2016.
Thesis title: Measurement of the usability of Web-based hotel reservation systems
Supervisor: Prof Melius Weideman

Background

Ziphozakhe Theophilus Shasha was born and raised in Qobo-qobo, a rural area of Eastern Cape Province. He matriculated in 1999 from Esangweni Senior Secondary School. After working for four years in Dining In Food Company, he registered for a National Diploma in Tourism Management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2007. On completion of the ND, he registered for the B.Tech degree in Tourism Management at the Cape Peninsula University in 2010, with an emphasis on business management. After completing the B.Tech, he registered for an M.Tech degree in Business Information System at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2011, under the supervision of Prof Weideman.

Thesis abstract

The aim of this research project was to determine what the degree of usability is of a sample of online reservation systems of Cape Town hotels.

The literature has indicated that the main aim of website usability is to make the engagement process with a website a more efficient and enjoyable experience. Researchers noted that well designed, high-quality websites, with grammatically accurate content, create a trustworthy online presence. User-friendly sites also attract far more traffic. Previous research has also shown that a loss of potential sales is possible due to users being unable to find what they want, if poor website design has been implemented. Loss of potential income through repeat visits is also a possibility, due to a negative user experience.

The research instrument that was employed in this research is usability testing. It is a technique used to evaluate product development that incorporates user feedback in an attempt to create instruments and products that meet user needs, and to decrease costs. The research focused on Internet-based hotel reservation systems. Only the usability was measured. Both standard approaches were used in this research project, in a combined quantitative and qualitative research design.

In conclusion, the purpose of this research was to determine the degree of usability of specified Cape Town hotel online reservation systems. The outcomes of this study indicated interesting patterns in that reservation systems met user requirements more often than expected. However, the figures of acceptability obtained were still below the generally accepted norms for usability. The amount of time spent to complete a booking also decreased, as users worked on more than one reservation system.

 


 

warc students uwimanaMs Iris Uwimana

 

Graduated with an MTech (BIS) from CPUT in March 2017
Thesis title: Postgraduate student success rate with free-form information searching
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

 

Background

 

Iris Uwimana is originally from Rwanda, and she has resided in Cape Town for almost a decade. Currently she lives and works in the USA. After completing her B.Tech in Office Management and Technology at CPUT in 2009, she registered for an M.Tech degree in Business Information Systems at the CPUT under the supervision of Prof Weideman. Her research focus was on the usage of search engines and free-form information searching. In her free time she enjoys watching sports.

 

Thesis abstract

 

The main study objective is to investigate the success rate of postgraduate students at CPUT when using free-form Internet searching. The term “free-form” in this study indicates the use of a search engine to find information, as opposed to the use of academic databases.

 

The literature has shown that free-form Internet searching plays an important role as one of the main sources in accessing of information by students. The study utilized the survey approach. A questionnaire was sent to postgraduate students at CPUT. They were asked to use free-form searching to find academic materials, and to record their methods and results.

 

The study determined that the most popular free-form search engine used was Google and the majority of respondents indicated that they have more than two years’ experience with search engines. The Success Rate result, although higher than most other studies, shows that postgraduate students have a lower than expected rate of success. Suggestions will be made as to how to improve this situation.

 


 warc students visserMr Eugéne Bourbon Visser

Graduated with an M.Tech (IT) from CPUT in April 2007
Thesis title: Search engine optimisation elements’ effect on website visibility: the Western Cape real estate SMME sector
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Eugéne Visser, raised on the West Coast of South Africa, matriculated in 1996 from Groote Schuur High School. He registered for the National Diploma in Information Technology at the Cape Technikon in 2002. On completion of the ND, he started the BTech degree in IT at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2005, with emphasis on IT business management. On completion of the B.Tech, he elected to further his studies with special emphasis on search engine optimisation, and registered for the MTech degree in IT at CPUT in 2006. With the thesis title "Search Engine Optimisation elements’ effect on website visibility: The Western Cape real estate SMME sector", he has created a search engine optimisation model, which evolved from collaborating search engine optimisation theories, models and research.

Thesis abstract

The primary objective of this research project was to determine whether search engine optimisation elements as specified in the Chambers model, affect real estate website visibility. The methodology consisted of two stages - a questionnaire and empirical experiments. Five websites from five real estate companies which have been hosted on the Internet for no less than three months were used. The Chambers model was used in the development of five new optimised websites, one for each company. The results from comparing the old and new websites were applied to a process which produced a combination of results known as the ‘quality factor’. The quality factor indicated either a visibility improvement or visibility deterioration with regard to the old and new company’s website. The elements specified in the Chambers model were re-evaluated whereby new elements that had not been specified in the original model were identified. Based on the new findings, a new search engine optimisation model was developed.


warc students visserDr Eugéne Bourbon Visser

Graduated with a D.Tech (IT) from CPUT in April 2012
Thesis title: Fusing website usability variables and on-page search engine optimisation elements
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Eugéne Visser matriculated in 1996 from Groote Schuur High School, then served for five years in the South African Police Service. Afterwards he completed his National Diploma, B.Tech and Master's degree, respectively at the Cape Technikon in 2002, and at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2005 and 2006. Subsequently he registered for and completed his D.Tech degree, which was based on the contradictions between the artificial intelligence of search engines and the website usability experiences of visitors. Some practitioners deny that this contradiction exists, which is to the detriment of websites in general and the human experience with websites.

Thesis abstract

Search engine optimisation can directly assist a business not only with its online marketing campaign, but also with generating revenue. Website usability is just as important as SEO, as proven in prior research. However, the two concepts individually are hardly ever applied correctly to its full potential. This research project investigated how SEO elements and WU variables can be applied to a single website simultaneously, without resulting in degradation of service by either of the two concepts. In the first article the author attempted to identify the WU variables that are in contradiction to SEO from a WU perspective. The WU variables identified were then applied to a new website ignoring all contradictory SEO elements. The second article the author attempted to identify the SEO elements that are in contradiction to WU from a SEO perspective. Research results were then utilised to create a fused website usability and search engine optimisation model. The author’s previous research findings have resulted in an updated SEO model, which was developed as a framework to improve website visibility in general.


img warc students zuzeMr Herbert Zuze

Graduated with an M.Tech (BIS) from CPUT in September 2011
Thesis title: The crossover point between keyword rich website text and spamdexing          
Supervisor: Prof M Weideman

Background

Herbert Zuze is a Zimbabwean born but living in Cape Town. His obtained a BSc Honours degree in Computer Science in 2007 in Zimbabwe. His current research focused on search engine optimization, keyword density and spamdexing.

Thesis abstract

With the exponential growth of the internet and utilisation of websites as a marketing tool, SEO practitioners abuse SEO techniques in order to trick the search engine algorithms, by using spamdexing techniques to earn a high search engine ranking on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). The author explored the fundamental contribution of keywords to webpage indexing and visibility. Furthermore the aim was to determine whether or not there was a crossover point between keyword rich website text and spamdexing. The research proved that search engines’ interpretation of spamdexing on varying keyword densities was not based on a scale; a site could be indexed regardless of how low or high the keyword density was. The author also proved that Yahoo! and Bing favour sites with high keyword density when indexing, compared to the ones with a low keyword density. The research further proved that, other than keyword stuffing and cloaking, other unethical techniques such as content scraping were still being used on the Internet.