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Next Era of SEO: A Guide to SEO Split-Testing

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SEO focused A/B Testing or Split-Testing is fast becoming an important new technique for digital marketers. This deck explains why it is important, and how you can do it.

Published in: Internet
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Next Era of SEO: A Guide to SEO Split-Testing

  1. 1. A GUIDE TO SPLIT-TESTING THE NEXT ERA OF SEO
  2. 2. STANFORD STUDY Frank George
  3. 3. Risk Aversity Performance Cautious Fantastic. Recommend for awards. Cautious Terrible. Close to getting fired. FIREFIGHTER TRAITS Frank George
  4. 4. Students were now told: We made it up. Entirely fictional! !
  5. 5. How should a firefight treat risk? They should be cautious! They should embrace risk. It is a dangerous job! STUDENTS NOW ASKED: Frank George
  6. 6. People cannot let go of old beliefs. See what they want to see. !
  7. 7. Have you recommended ALT attributes on images for SEO reasons? ?
  8. 8. ALT ATTRIBUTES GOOD FOR SEO
  9. 9. TEST RESULT: ALT ATTRIBUTES HAD NO IMPACT
  10. 10. Google algorithm is too complex. We are too biased. !
  11. 11. Blog Post
  12. 12. Blog Post
  13. 13. Blog PostBlog Post
  14. 14. HOW YOU CAN TEST — FREE TOOL
  15. 15. ‘TRADITIONAL’ CRO A/B TESTING IS USER ORIENTED Visitors A & B: control version of a page Visitors C & D: test version of the same page
  16. 16. SEO A/B TESTING IS PAGE ORIENTED Pages 1, 2, 3: Control Layout Pages 4, 5, 6: Test Layout All users see the same as each other
  17. 17. SEO A/B TESTING INCLUDES GOOGLEBOT Googlebot sees the same as users Pages 1, 2, 3: Control Layout Pages 4, 5, 6: Test Layout
  18. 18. OVERVIEW
  19. 19. SEO SHOULD BE INFORMED BY DATA & TESTS 1
  20. 20. 2009: ALGORITHM IS PRETTY WELL UNDERSTOOD No Panda No Penguin No RankBrain No Machine Learning We know what to do.
  21. 21. AMIT SINGHAL - HEAD OF SEARCH, GOOGLE
  22. 22. See this fascinating comment from a user called Kevin Lacker (@lacker):
  23. 23. I was thinking about it like it was a math puzzle and if I just thought really hard it would all make sense. Kevin Lacker
  24. 24. Hey why don't you take the square root? Amit Singhal according to Kevin Lacker
  25. 25. I was like, why a square root, it doesn't make much sense Kevin Lacker
  26. 26. Multiply by 2 if it helps, add 5, whatever, just make things work and we can make it make sense later. Amit Singhal according to Kevin Lacker
  27. 27. THE ALGORITHM WAS MOSTLY HANDMADE
  28. 28. ALGORITHM IS TOO COMPLEX TO VISUALISE
  29. 29. EARLY 2016: AMIT SINGHAL RETIRES
  30. 30. JOHN GIANNANDREA TAKES OVER
  31. 31. PREVIOUSLY HEAD OF MACHINE LEARNING
  32. 32. IMPACT OF MACHINE LEARNING
  33. 33. IMPACT OF MACHINE LEARNING Translate 10 YEARS RESEARCH 2 MONTHS MACHINE LEARNING Imagine the same step change in the search algo…
  34. 34. IMPACT OF MACHINE LEARNING
  35. 35. It will be extremely hard to understand many rankings. Even for Google. !
  36. 36. No, but I’m still pretty good at this You’re thinking this to yourself right now.
  37. 37. How good are we? ?
  38. 38. Google Information Needs Study (NBED LINK) http://adage.com/article/media/future-tv/303508/ SEARCH: future of tv advertising
  39. 39. Google Information Needs Study (NBED LINK) http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2016/04/television-advertising-native/ SEARCH: future of tv advertising
  40. 40. DA PA LRDs Rank http://dis.tl/rankq-1a 91 47 2 ? http://dis.tl/rankq-1b 86 57 9 ? SEARCH: future of tv advertising
  41. 41. DA PA LRDs Rank http://dis.tl/rankq-1a 91 47 2 3 http://dis.tl/rankq-1b 86 57 9 8 SEARCH: future of tv advertising
  42. 42. https://www.jensinkler.com/fix-your-kettlebell-swing/ SEARCH: kettlebell technique
  43. 43. http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/perfect-kettlebell-swing SEARCH: kettlebell technique
  44. 44. DA PA LRDs Rank http://dis.tl/rankq-2a 41 42 12 ? http://dis.tl/rankq-2b 76 44 20 ? SEARCH: kettlebell technique
  45. 45. DA PA LRDs Rank http://dis.tl/rankq-2a 41 42 12 4 http://dis.tl/rankq-2b 76 44 20 6 SEARCH: kettlebell technique
  46. 46. http://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/iphone/how-to-back-up-iphone-ipad-backup-3595444/ SEARCH: do I need to backup my iphone
  47. 47. http://www.idownloadblog.com/2013/08/28/not-enough-icloud-storage-iphone-cannot-be-backed-up/ SEARCH: do I need to backup my iphone
  48. 48. DA PA LRDs Rank http://dis.tl/rankq-3a 77 59 16 ? http://dis.tl/rankq-3b 67 34 3 ? SEARCH: do I need to backup my iphone
  49. 49. DA PA LRDs Rank http://dis.tl/rankq-3a 77 59 16 7 http://dis.tl/rankq-3b 67 34 3 5 SEARCH: do I need to backup my iphone
  50. 50. How do we compare? ?
  51. 51. WE SURVEYED 2000 PEOPLE FOR 10 QUERIES
  52. 52. % OF UK SEARCH RESULT PAIRS PREDICTED CORRECTLY 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Laypeople
  53. 53. % OF UK SEARCH RESULT PAIRS PREDICTED CORRECTLY 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Laypeople <= 3 yrs SEO
  54. 54. % OF UK SEARCH RESULT PAIRS PREDICTED CORRECTLY 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Laypeople <= 3 yrs SEO > 3 yrs SEO
  55. 55. % OF UK SEARCH RESULT PAIRS PREDICTED CORRECTLY 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Laypeople <= 3 yrs SEO > 3 yrs SEO Coin flip
  56. 56. % OF UK SEARCH RESULT PAIRS PREDICTED CORRECTLY 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Laypeople <= 3 yrs SEO > 3 yrs SEO Coin flip DeepRank
  57. 57. TESTING - STOP GUESSING WHAT WORKED Testing the same type of change on different sites can have differing effects.
  58. 58. THE CASE FOR TESTING 1) Predicting effect in algo is really hard (no best practice)
  59. 59. THE CASE FOR TESTING 1) Predicting effect in algo is really hard (no best practice) 2) Some sites respond differently to others for same change
  60. 60. THE CASE FOR TESTING 1) Predicting effect in algo is really hard (no best practice) 2) Some sites respond differently to others for same change 3) Machine Learning impact on algo will make this worse
  61. 61. THE CASE FOR TESTING 1) Predicting effect in algo is really hard (no best practice) 2) Some sites respond differently to others for same change 3) Machine Learning impact on algo will make this worse 4) Optimise further than previously possible
  62. 62. 2 SOME RESULTS FROM OUR SEO TESTS
  63. 63. DistilledODN Your Server Your Home Page CDN Distilled ODN Your Optimized Home Page
  64. 64. 2 IMPORTANT GRAPHS. THIS IS THE FIRST.
  65. 65. BLACK IS THE VARIANT, TREAT BLUE AS THE CONTROL
  66. 66. BLACK (ACTUAL) HIGHER THAN BLUE (CONTROL) - POSITIVE
  67. 67. THIS IS THE START DATE
  68. 68. SECOND GRAPH: TOTAL ADDITIONAL SESSIONS
  69. 69. SHADED AREA SHOWS CONFIDENCE INTERVAL
  70. 70. TEST IS SIGNIFICANT WHEN THE FAN CROSSES 0
  71. 71. IN THIS CASE IT HAPPENED HERE:
  72. 72. HERE THEY ARE TOGETHER.
  73. 73. ALT ATTRIBUTES 1
  74. 74. HYPOTHESIS: ALT attributes on images are good for SEO
  75. 75. RESULT: ALT attributes had no effect
  76. 76. SEO ‘CONTENT’ 2
  77. 77. HYPOTHESIS: Text content on category pages is sort of good?
  78. 78. RESULT: No real impact when removed
  79. 79. RESULT: A 3.1% improvement in organic performance
  80. 80. Not every site is the same. Identical changes can have different results. !
  81. 81. JAVASCRIPT RENDERING 3
  82. 82. HYPOTHESIS: Javascript impacts Google’s crawling / indexation MAY 2014 “our indexing system has been rendering a substantial number of web pages more like an average user’s browser with JavaScript turned on. OCT 2015 “We are generally able to render and understand your web pages like modern browsers.”
  83. 83. Javascript EnabledJavascript Disabled SITUATION: Javascript needed to render product list
  84. 84. RESULT: CSS fallback led to a 6.2% uplift
  85. 85. TITLES: HIGHEST SEARCH VOLUME 4
  86. 86. Title tag before: Which TV should I buy? - Argos Title tag after: Which TV to buy? - Argos HYPOTHESIS: Title tags should match greatest search volume term
  87. 87. RESULT: Organic sessions decreased by average 8%
  88. 88. STRUCTURED MARKUP ON CATEGORY PAGES 5
  89. 89. SITUATION: Category pages have lots of images but little text
  90. 90. HYPOTHESIS: Structured Markup per product will help
  91. 91. RESULT: Organic sessions increase by 11%
  92. 92. 3 HOW YOU CAN RUN TESTS YOURSELVES (+ A FREE TOOL)
  93. 93. 3 STEPS TO DIY SEO SPLIT-TESTS 1. Create two buckets of pages. 2. Make a change to all pages in one bucket. 3. Analyse which bucket performs better.
  94. 94. 1. CREATE TWO BUCKETS OF PAGES. A good DIY approach is using GA segments. Easy to make (see link). Suggestion: Create Segments by category (e.g. blog tag, product category).
  95. 95. At least 1,000 organic sessions per day to each bucket !
  96. 96. 2. MAKE A CHANGE TO ALL PAGES IN ONE BUCKET. Control Variant This will be your variant bucket. Utilise your CMS where possible. Ask Dev for scalable approach.
  97. 97. 3. ANALYSE WHICH BUCKET PERFORMS BETTER. distilled.net/diy-splittester
  98. 98. Typically takes 2 - 3 weeks to reach significance. !
  99. 99. READ THIS: Blog Post
  100. 100. THEN READ THIS: Blog Post
  101. 101. 4 SUMMARY
  102. 102. SPLIT-TESTING IS BECOMING MORE NECESSARY 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Laypeople <= 3 yrs SEO > 3 yrs SEO Coin flip
  103. 103. SPLIT-TESTING IS BECOMING MORE ESTABLISHED
  104. 104. SPLIT-TESTING MAKES YOU MORE CREDIBLE
  105. 105. SPLIT-TESTING IS ALREADY ACCESSIBLE
  106. 106. Step change in your SEO approach. Start now. !
  107. 107. WWW.DISTILLEDODN.COM CHECK OUT OUR SEO A/B TESTING PLATFORM: @TomAnthonySEO @Dom_Woodman @WillCritchlow DIS.TL/SMXDE17 GET THE DECK:

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