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Any digital marketer who wants to stay ahead of the competition needs to be experimenting with SEO. It’s no secret that SEO is changing, and what works today may not work tomorrow.
The only way to stay out of the latest trends is to experiment and see what works for your particular business. Of course, this can be a bit of a gamble; you may not always get the results you’re hoping for. But the best rewards are well worth the risk.
Table of Contents
Why run an SEO experiment?
Some people believe that SEO experiments are not essential because they think Google’s Webmaster Guidelines are enough. Others believe that SEO tutorials and some videos you might be watching can set you up for SEO success.
But the truth is, it’s much more complex than that. According to Gert, Google’s algorithm is complicated. For instance, whenever you type in a search query, it is going to create essentially a mini algorithm where it figures out what is the best search result.
So, what does Google want?
Gert agreed that Google wants to make Google users happy. One way is by providing the most relevant answer to a search query as fast as possible.
In short, even if you know the best SEO practices and apply them to your site, you still don’t know if they will work for a particular algorithm. Even if something doesn’t work for one website, it will still work and produce instant results on other websites.
As an SEO expert, Gert witnessed this in his clients before. Some sites got almost an instant 20 to 25% boost on the set of URLs. But it didn’t work on another website. His team has their own testing sites to see how Google reacts to testing things in a safe space before applying them to their clients.
Framework for SEO Experiments
Do you ever feel stuck in a rut for your SEO? You may be looking for innovative and new ways to improve your site’s ranking, but you’re unsure where to start.
That’s where experiments come in. So, let’s go over the steps on Gert’s framework for SEO experiments.
Step 1: Figure out what you need to test
In order to minimize risk, you need to test things before rolling the critical factors out.
There are many ways to get ideas, including SEOLeverage™️ podcast or YouTube on what you can try on your website. Anything you change on a website can potentially impact it, whether negative or positive. So if you test it on a small sample set of URLs, you minimize the risk while still trying to leverage more SEO tactics and strategies.
Some key areas that might be worth testing include your website’s meta description and titles, the quality and relevance of your backlinks, and the keywords driving organic traffic to your site. With so many potential variables to test, it is vital to prioritize what is most important for achieving optimal SEO performance. This will ensure that you get the most out of your experiments.
Remember, you can’t stay where you are now in search results. Even if you have good rankings, you still want to ensure that you’re ahead of the competition. So SEO tests are just a vital thing to engage with.
Step 2: Know your data
Gert agreed that you couldn’t test or improve something you can’t measure.
One important consideration is to identify your critical metrics for success. These might be impressions, click-through rates, average position, and whatever you want to track. It is also vital to compare benchmark values afterwards.
Be sure to track results carefully over time to draw meaningful conclusions from your data. And most importantly, remember always to keep SEO testing and iterating to find ways to improve your performance over time!
Step 3: Set your time frame
Once both data on what to test and the metrics are gathered, you can proceed to the timeframe.
You cannot change something and immediately expect results. Google, however, is going to take your while. And for one reason, Google will take a while to crawl your page, index, and process it. Then roll out those changes across all the data centers around the world.
Pro tip: Have SEO experiments run for at least 4 - 8 weeks to make sure that you can trust the data more. Plus, give Google enough time actually to do something to rank your site.
Step 4: Select sample URLs carefully
Of course, you don’t want to test new things on your most essential URLs. Or those that bring in the conversions and sales. But you want to try things on your ads that get a decent amount of traffic, although they are not really crucial for your business survival.
Moreover, you can’t also use URLs that Google doesn’t care about at all. It’s because it then might take them weeks or months actually to process. So results are going to take too long to kick in.
Step 5: Implement changes
As anyone in the online marketing world knows, Google constantly changes its algorithm. This can make it uneasy to keep up with the latest trends, and it can be tempting to just stick with the basics. However, if you’re implementing changes, focus only on one factor, as you have defined on the URLs.
For example, if this is a content page, you build links simultaneously, and when you want to test the blog post, it will skew your results. As much as possible, try to eliminate all other factors. In short, just do a single variable test, where you change one thing and see what happens.
Step 6: Evaluate
In the world of SEO, evaluation is an essential part of any successful experiment. In order to accurately measure the impact of different strategies and techniques, it is vital to evaluate how users interact with each change carefully.
For instance, if this was an eight-week test, check the test results after eight weeks and compare them to the eight weeks before. Then see what happens. Besides that, account for peak periods, or avoid them as much as possible.
Step 7: Make testing a habit
After all, testing is not a one-day experiment that you can quickly run and then move on from. It’s an ongoing process that requires consistency. And the only way to truly reap the benefits of an SEO test is to make it a regular part of your routine.
It’s simple to work with if you have a good team, like the R&D. But if you don’t have one resource in your team or on your business, either get in touch with SEOLeverage™️. Or find a way to make R&D and testing part of your day to day SEO strategy routine.
SEO testing is a great way to learn about how search engines work and what you can do to improve your website’s ranking. Using the framework above, you can see what works best for your website and its audience. And who knows – you even stumble on a goldmine of SEO success.
After all, even a tiny improvement in your SEO can make a big difference in your bottom line. So if you’re not experimenting with your search engine optimization, now is the time to start. You may be happy at how much you can improve your business by taking a few risks.
Podcast episode about SEO Testing
Doing SEO experiments in a safe space is essential before actually rolling them out site wide. Any change you will do on a website will have results that can have an impact on it, either on the positive or negative side. By doing the test, you minimize the risk while at the same time trying to leverage more SEO tactics and strategies that actually can bring you to the next level. But even so after doing the changes, we cannot expect Google to give you the results immediately. It will take time. Going to page one in ranking will naturally take time if you are currently ranking from page five.
01:16 Beginning CTA
01:33 Introduction of the topic
01:43 Why is it important not to disregard SEO Experiments in relation to Google's algorithm?
02:56 What is it that SEO Leverage does when it comes to testing different websites?
03:24 SEO Leverage's framework for SEO experiments, what are the things you need to consider?
05:02 How long will it take Google to return results given that SEO experiments are already underway on the site?
06:28 In order to get the best results on SEO experiments, what are the steps that need to be done?
07:52 Ending CTA
The ERICA SEO Framework:
Connect with Gert Mellak:
Email: [email protected]