Search engine optimization is an ongoing process. It involves changing aspects of your website to improve traffic and search engine rankings.
However, you want to ensure that any change you make to your website doesn’t affect its SEO performance negatively. The best way to measure the SEO impact of an intended change is to run a test using SEO testing techniques.
Whatever change you make to your website should be based on actual results, not just an assumption that it’s a likely improvement. An SEO test accurately assesses the change’s potential impact – whether good or bad – on your website’s SEO performance.
By testing this intended change in several ways, you can determine whether it’s the best choice for your website. This article discusses some SEO testing techniques you can use.
What Is SEO Testing?
SEO testing is the process of implementing changes to your website and tracking the results of these changes on organic search rankings and traffic.
An SEO test may determine whether or not a change to part of your website promotes natural organic traffic and ranking improvements. If a test shows positive results, i.e., improved clicks, impressions, and click-through rates, you can fully implement the change across your website.
And if the results show adverse effects, you know to avoid that change. SEO tests help you determine what works and what doesn’t. This way, you can make informed changes that will improve your website’s SEO performance.
Why should you run SEO tests?
1. Discover What Works for your Website
Making sudden massive changes across your entire website based on assumptions or results seen by another website can be costly. It’s easier to implement a change in a part of your website and evaluate the results to see if it helped your SEO performance. Once you get a positive impact, you can scale up the change across your website or test a larger group to confirm the results.
The point is to test small changes, learn from the results, and work up to bigger changes if the result is positive!
2. Justify the use of resources
Implementing SEO changes to your website can take time and money. It’ll be a total waste of resources if the modification doesn’t produce the desired outcome. Testing informs you of any measurable turn-around your website might experience when implemented with a particular change.
3. Make decisions based on data instead than opinions.
Regarding SEO, marketers and SEO experts have a perspective on what works and doesn’t. Rather than rely on opinions, you can be sure that a change to your website is a good idea by conducting an SEO test. You want to avoid making a change that could ultimately backfire.
4. Discover New Opportunities
Conducting experiments will help you discover the value of various internet marketing strategies. And give you insight into how to choose which strategies to focus on next. Running tests on new SEO strategies will help you discover which to focus on.
SEO Testing Techniques
1. SEO A/B testing
A/B testing, also known as split testing, is great for testing changes to your website. Pages of a website are divided into two groups: the control group and the variant group. Changes are implemented in the variant group, and the SEO performance is compared to that of the control group.
A/B testing provides significant data and has several benefits, including:
- Only a limited subset of pages is affected if the modification hurts SEO performance.
- You only need to make changes to a small number of pages; therefore, it takes less time.
However, A/B testing comes with some complexities. You’ll typically need the following to run an SEO A/B test.
- Several programmatic (templated) pages already producing large amounts of organic traffic.
- CMS setup or tool that lets you group and modifies some pages separately from others.
- A program that gathers and analyzes data from both groups over time.
- A qualified expert to perform the setup and measurement.
2. Individual time-based testing (Single-URL)
Individuals conducting first-time SEO experiments typically begin with individual time-based testing. But because this method is difficult to control, the confidence scores are likely unreliable.
3. Group experiments
Group experiments typically use the same methodology as single-URL studies but offer better confidence intervals. This is because you can test your hypothesis across many templatized web pages. To run group experiments, the pages in your group must be templatized (programmatically generated).
How To Run A/B SEO Test
1. Create a control group
Group your website pages into two: control and variant groups. The variant group should consist of the pages on your website where you want to implement the change. This group should be similar in content and structure to the control group, that is, the unchanged group.
2. Implement changes
Make changes to the variant group depending on what you want to test. These changes may be to title tags, meta descriptions, headings, or images.
3. Monitor the results
Use tools such as Google Analytics to monitor the performance of the test group compared to the control group. Observe metrics like traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rate to determine the effectiveness of the changes.
4. Analyze the data
Analyze the data you collected and identify any patterns or trends. This will help you understand which changes had the most significant impact on your SEO and which changes may need further optimization.
5. Implement the changes
Based on your collected data, implement the changes that significantly impacted your SEO across the rest of your website.
6. Repeat the process
Continuously monitor and test your SEO efforts, and repeat the process as needed to ensure your website is constantly optimized for search engines.
SEO Experiments to Try
1. On-Page Elements
- Content Length
- Titles and Headings
2. User Experience and Design
- Page Speed
3. SERP Appearance
- Meta Titles And Descriptions
- Date Stamps & Publish Dates
- Structured Data
4. Information Architecture
- Internal Links
Implementing sudden changes to your website can be costly and unsuccessful in delivering good SEO results. You can’t expect assumed SEO changes to drive significant changes if you don’t have data to back your decisions.
SEO testing is the key to gaining the insights you need for significant changes. If you don’t have the time or resources to test your website’s SEO, you should hire a professional to help you do this.
Testing your ideas and making decisions based on data is a powerful way to optimize your website for success.
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