Why You Should Run SEO Tests
  • Blog
  • SEO
  • Feb 28,2020
  • selena

Why You Should Run SEO Tests

No one is interested in higher organic rankings just for the sake of seeing their brand name at the top of the SERPs (well, no one professional, that is).

The whole reason you are search engine optimizing your site is to acquire more traffic to generate more sales to earn more revenue. Every move of your SEO strategy is aimed towards bringing users to your site and converting them.

This is what successful SEO campaigns do. 

Converting the visitors on your site is an integral part of a Conversion Rate Optimization Strategy, and A/B SEO tests are crucial to identify the elements that have the highest impact on conversions. 

The sad reality is that:

Let’s learn the benefits of running SEO tests and the impact it can have on your overall SEO strategy.

Benefits of SEO Tests

Testing is the only way to learn about user behavior. Otherwise, you’re just guessing.

You can make accurate SEO decisions when you have the data like what users love the most on your site and which elements they completely ignore. 

Here are the top benefits of running SEO tests on your website:

  • Achieve a higher conversion rate and convert more visitors into buyers
  • Improve the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy, which leads to lower bounce rates and higher dwell time
  • Maximize your ad spend and minimize cart abandonment
  • Test every element, like images, text, links, CTA, colors, videos, menu, etc.
  • Instead of running a separate customer feedback campaign to understand what people like the most, you run SEO tests and identify the elements that receive the maximum customer engagement
  • Understand what changes resonate best with your audience and keeps them engaged
  • Avoid mistakes that could otherwise tie up your resources for minimum or negative gain
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest consumer trends and quickly adapt to changes, which leads to an increase in engagement
  • Grow your traffic without the cost of creating new content and building safe backlinks

Related Content: 15 Fast and Easy Ways to Improve Your Site’s Conversion Rate

Running SEO Tests with ClickFlow

ClickFlow is feature-rich SEO software that allows you to test the effectiveness of each page.

Whereas a tool like HubSpot lets you A/B test your website/landing pages or calls-to-action, ClickFlow enables you to A/B test your SEO elements. 

ClickFlow syncs up with Google Search Console and helps you do things that GSC cannot do from an SEO perspective, such as improving the click-through rate of a page. 

With ClickFlow, you can also test keyword changes that might affect the ranking of your pages. 

Related Content: 9 SEO Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2020

How Does ClickFlow Work?

ClickFlow scans your website and finds pages that have the potential to improve in terms of click-through rate and ranking on Google’s SERPs. 

You can test how changes to your post’s title and meta description affect the ranking of your page. 

Here are some of the ways ClickFlow can help you:

Run Grouped URL Testing: If you have a large website, running single tests can be overwhelming. That’s why ClickFlow allows you to run tests using the group testing feature where you can test multiple URLs at once. 

Automatic Reporting: ClickFlow automatically records each test that you run so that you can check how much success you have had with this tool over time. 

Stay Up-to-Date on Opportunities: ClickFlow sends you notifications every time there’s a new opportunity for you to boost CTRs and improve ranking in the SERPs. 

Revenue Calculator: The results of your tests are recorded automatically and are displayed in a revenue calculator that shows how much your company will benefit from the increased traffic. 

CTR Goal: In the suggestions tab, ClickFlow shows you the average click-through rate for the top 100 pages. You can set your CTR goal and check how many clicks you can gain by improving the click-through rate by a certain percentage. 

ClickFlow also shows you how each page on your site is performing over time, the top 50 keywords for each page, average position in the SERPs, impressions, clicks and CTR. This can help you identify your top-performing pages quickly and gives you more ideas for writing better titles. 

Please note: One of the best features of ClickFlow, “Done For You,” is about to be released soon. This feature will be beneficial for marketers who don’t have the time to come up with new test ideas. ClickFlow’s SEO experts will make recommendations to help you grow your business. This way, you can focus on other essential aspects of your business while still improving your organic traffic. 

Related Content: 8 Quick SEO Wins You Can Get by Using ClickFlow

SEO Tests You Should Run on Your Website

Here are some SEO tests that you need to run on your website to optimize for maximum conversions and traffic.

1) Improve Organic CTR

Most webmasters spend a lot of time finding new keywords to attract traffic but forget about the pages that are already ranking well in the organic search results. But sometimes a little push is all that’s needed to improve the CTR for these results that can result in immediate improvement in traffic.

IMPACT, a digital sales and marketing company focused on educating and training business leaders, was able to increase traffic for high-volume keywords that had moderate rankings. 

By using ClickFlow, IMPACT saw a rise in CTR by over 20K on 75+ articles. 

It might not have been possible without ClickFlow’s Keywords report. This report lists the top 50 keywords your site is currently ranking for, along with the ones that will help you generate more traffic:

After running a few A/B SEO tests in ClickFlow, IMPACT noticed there was a collection of five elements (low price, freshness, brand, volume, and speed) that drove clicks which, when used alone (or together), could result in a drastic increase in organic CTR. 

By combining one of these elements in the title or meta description, IMPACT received over 3,800 additional clicks:

Another interesting thing they discovered with the help of ClickFlow was that much of their content offered great explanations describing how to do something. However, they missed those keywords altogether in the title and meta description. 

By adding “how to” in the title and optimizing the content a little, they saw an average of a 75+ click increase with impressions increasing by over 100%. 

IMPACT also found an opportunity to optimize old articles (that have the year in the title):

After updating the content and titles of over 78 articles, IMPACT saw a 35% increase in CTRs and a 23K increase in overall clicks. 

Out of the 78 tests they ran, 76 won:

One of the significant advantages of this SEO testing is that you don’t have to write brand new content every time in order to increase traffic to your website. You can optimize the content you already have on your website and witness a positive impact on CTR, traffic and conversions.

Related Content: How to Write Hero Headlines to Skyrocket Click-Through Rates

2) Check the Effectiveness of Bold Tags

Although keyword stuffing is an outdated SEO practice now, webmasters still add keywords to their pages and bold them. Few of them know that it might backfire and cause a decline in organic rankings. 

To be sure, you should run an SEO test to determine if bolding a keyword in your page has a positive or negative effect on rankings. 

Alistair Kavalt of Sycosure did an experiment to test the effectiveness of bold tags on keywords. He added bold tags to the primary keyword “parasite SEO” and three days later, the page dropped 53 positions:

When Alistair removed the bold tags, the page jumped back to the first position. Nice!

3) Split Test Your Title Tags

A/B testing does not necessarily mean you must test CTA buttons and colors. You can also check the title tags that are displayed in the search results. 

Coderwall did an experiment by adding the word “example” to their title tags and saw a 57% increase in organic traffic.

Coderwall realized that there were two ways to improve traffic on their website:

  • The first was to increase their rankings in the search results
  • The second was improving the CTRs on their existing rankings 

The team decided to improve the CTR by making changes to the title tag.

The original title format was “{Title of post} | Coderwall”

The new title format was “{Title of post} (Example) | Coderwall”.

Take a look at the below screenshot to see the title tags in action:

The new version of the title attracted 14.8% more clicks and helped the website gain 57% more traffic:

4) A/B Test Your Content Copy to Maximize Conversions

Carolanne Mangles of Smart Insights did an experiment to increase the conversions on their key membership pages. 

Smart Insights has four membership pages, but all of them had content that was 95% similar and gave only basic information about Business Membership. The test was aimed towards improving the volume of leads/conversions, increase the quality of leads, and increase the value per sale.

A messaging framework was created that provided readers with all the information needed to increase trust:

All the older pages were designed according to the new messaging framework, with each of them having its own unique selling point (USP).

A/B testing was done to compare the new pages against the existing ones. The new pages that didn’t have the older navigation won and generated a 27% increase in revenue for the company.

5) Improve Checkout Rates by Optimizing Product Pages

Testing is an absolute necessity for e-commerce websites.

One of the fastest-growing online fashion retailers, Zalora, was able to increase their checkout rate by a little over 12% by making some changes to its product page. 

Here is what the control version looked like:

The CTA buttons lacked uniformity (“Free,” “Free” and “Yes”). The team decided to remove the word “Free” from the buttons and add it to the preceding text.

Here is what the variation looked like:

Notice the changes made to the button text. Now all three CTAs have the same text on them, and they added the most important word – “Free” – to the preceding text.

By merely testing the button text on their product pages, Zalora was able to increase the checkout rate by 12.3%!

Looking for alternatives to your Shopify website? Check out these e-commerce alternatives.

Related Content: How to Set Up Your E-commerce Product Page for Maximum Conversions

SEO Test Best Practices

Follow the below best practices for running effective SEO tests:

  • Know what you need to test and why, and what impact it could have on your business.
  • Test the items that can make a difference in your overall SEO strategy. 
  • Set goals for your tests to determine whether the test was successful or not. 
  • Use Google Analytics to discover what your audience is more interested in and then run A/B test to measure the effectiveness of the content of your pages. 
  • Instead of focusing too much on design, test your website’s copy and value proposition.
  • Test the standard CTA language against more personal and more direct language.
  • Test for a longer time and stop when the results are statistically significant enough to determine the reliability of your results. 
  • Test one element at a time to get a better idea of which part of your site has the maximum impact. 
  • Do not exclude Google bots from your A/B tests. 
  • Don’t cloak your test pages. Show one set of URLs to both Google bots and humans. 
  • If you’re running an A/B test with multiple URLs, ensure that you use a canonical attribute to indicate the original version of the web page to search engine crawlers. 
  • Optimize and test low traffic and low conversion pages. 
  • Test pages with a high impression but a low click-through rate.
  • Every A/B test you run must be data-backed and not something you have seen working effectively elsewhere. 
  • Use 302 redirects instead of 301. 
  • Run a page speed test before you make your tests live. 
  • Always keep testing. Don’t stop after a successful or an unsuccessful test!

Who Should Run A/B Tests?

SEO tests aren’t for everyone. You can’t expect to see positive results from your tests unless you are already attracting a decent amount of traffic to your website.

Run tests only if you are generating 25,000+ visits organic traffic from Google each month. Invest in SEO testing and try new tools only when you have figured out your marketing and sales strategy. 

Learn More: How to Decide What SEO Tests to Run

Wrapping Up

Running SEO tests is a great way to increase the number of conversions happening on your website.

In 2020 and beyond, you can’t rely on HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) advice to make changes to your site. You need data, and you need tests that can provide answers in the form of concrete results to see positive changes.

Click here to get a quote or get started with ClickFlow for free!

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