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BrightonSEO - SearchPilot - Will Critchlow - When what’s good for users isn’t good for Google

CRO and SEO together. How can product and SEO teams work together productively?

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When what’s good for
users isn’t good for Google
slideshare.net/willcritchlow
@willcritchlow
Will Critchlow | SearchPilot
This was a WINNING conversion rate test
-25%
organic
traffic!
In the olden days:
“Can you just SEO this page?”
UX is a ranking
factor
Our call to adventure:
UX is a ranking
factor

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BrightonSEO - SearchPilot - Will Critchlow - When what’s good for users isn’t good for Google

  • 1. When what’s good for users isn’t good for Google slideshare.net/willcritchlow @willcritchlow Will Critchlow | SearchPilot
  • 2. This was a WINNING conversion rate test
  • 4. In the olden days: “Can you just SEO this page?”
  • 5. UX is a ranking factor Our call to adventure:
  • 6. UX is a ranking factor
  • 7. UX is a ranking factor How users see your site
  • 8. UX is a ranking factor
  • 9. UX is a ranking factor
  • 10. UX is a ranking factor Affects organic search performance
  • 12. CTR for algorithm evaluation This has been confirmed repeatedly.
  • 14. “I’ve talked explicitly about using clickthrough rate for experiments” Paul Haahr - @haahr
  • 17. Human UX ratings Qualitative ratings of pages that rank: used to evaluate algorithms
  • 20. “... make this page a frustratingly poor user experience” -- reason for poor page quality rating Search quality rater guidelines [PDF]
  • 22. ML models trained on ratings E.g. Panda - trained to like the things humans like
  • 23. Back in 2011, I was suggesting we run our own Panda-like quality surveys (WBF here, instructions here)
  • 24. Sidenote: totally worth running these surveys for executive buy-in Since Panda went real-time, quality issues don’t necessarily cause obvious drops correlated with algorithm history dates
  • 25. Client site 1 Client site 2 Would you trust information from this website? 72% 64%
  • 26. Client site 1 Client site 2 Key competitor Would you trust information from this website? 72% 64% 81%
  • 27. Client site 1 Client site 2 Key competitor Would you trust information from this website? 72% 64% 81% Is this website written by experts? 50% 46% 65%
  • 28. Client site 1 Client site 2 Key competitor Would you trust information from this website? 72% 64% 81% Is this website written by experts? 50% 46% 65% Would you give this site your credit card details? 29% 21% 43%
  • 29. Client site 1 Client site 2 Key competitor Would you trust information from this website? 72% 64% 81% Is this website written by experts? 50% 46% 65% Would you give this site your credit card details? 29% 21% 43% Are there any noticeable errors on this page? 6% 4% 1%
  • 30. Client site 1 Client site 2 Key competitor Would you trust information from this website? 72% 64% 81% Is this website written by experts? 50% 46% 65% Would you give this site your credit card details? 29% 21% 43% Are there any noticeable errors on this page? 6% 4% 1% Does this page provide original content or info? 76% 72% 85%
  • 31. Client site 1 Client site 2 Key competitor Would you trust information from this website? 72% 64% 81% Is this website written by experts? 50% 46% 65% Would you give this site your credit card details? 29% 21% 43% Are there any noticeable errors on this page? 6% 4% 1% Does this page provide original content or info? 76% 72% 85% Would you recognize this site as an authority? 44% 33% 58%
  • 32. Client site 1 Client site 2 Key competitor Would you trust information from this website? 72% 64% 81% Is this website written by experts? 50% 46% 65% Would you give this site your credit card details? 29% 21% 43% Are there any noticeable errors on this page? 6% 4% 1% Does this page provide original content or info? 76% 72% 85% Would you recognize this site as an authority? 44% 33% 58% Does this website contain insightful analysis? 72% 62% 81%
  • 33. Client site 1 Client site 2 Key competitor Would you trust information from this website? 72% 64% 81% Is this website written by experts? 50% 46% 65% Would you give this site your credit card details? 29% 21% 43% Are there any noticeable errors on this page? 6% 4% 1% Does this page provide original content or info? 76% 72% 85% Would you recognize this site as an authority? 44% 33% 58% Does this website contain insightful analysis? 72% 62% 81% Would you consider bookmarking pages on this site? 44% 38% 56%
  • 34. Client site 1 Client site 2 Key competitor Would you trust information from this website? 72% 64% 81% Is this website written by experts? 50% 46% 65% Would you give this site your credit card details? 29% 21% 43% Are there any noticeable errors on this page? 6% 4% 1% Does this page provide original content or info? 76% 72% 85% Would you recognize this site as an authority? 44% 33% 58% Does this website contain insightful analysis? 72% 62% 81% Would you consider bookmarking pages on this site? 44% 38% 56% Are there excessive adverts on this website? 2% 2% 8%
  • 35. Client site 1 Client site 2 Key competitor Would you trust information from this website? 72% 64% 81% Is this website written by experts? 50% 46% 65% Would you give this site your credit card details? 29% 21% 43% Are there any noticeable errors on this page? 6% 4% 1% Does this page provide original content or info? 76% 72% 85% Would you recognize this site as an authority? 44% 33% 58% Does this website contain insightful analysis? 72% 62% 81% Would you consider bookmarking pages on this site? 44% 38% 56% Are there excessive adverts on this website? 2% 2% 8% Could pages from this site appear in print? 54% 54% 59%
  • 37. Site speed measured directly Real User Metrics including site speed from Chrome
  • 41. CTR as a direct ranking factor This has been explicitly denied by Google reps.
  • 42. Some kind of SERP interaction affecting results we see My theory.
  • 43. We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If youʼre thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at custom.cigar.humidors@example.com Keyword stuffing: Doesn’t mean keyword density is the correct metric
  • 44. Most organisations refuse to accept they overlap SEO CRO Search Engine Optimisation Conversion Rate Optimisation
  • 45. But in truth there is a lot of overlap SEO CRO
  • 46. While some SEO changes donʼt impact CRO SEO Meta info - invisible to UX CRO
  • 47. And some CRO changes donʼt impact SEO SEO Non-indexed pages CRO
  • 48. An awful lot of changes affect both
  • 49. Crossing the threshold: Weʼre not in Kansas anymore
  • 50. We should be building SEO hypotheses from UX fundamentals
  • 52. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO We publish winning and losing tests at searchpilot.com We publish our case study email newsletter because itʼs the resource we wish existed
  • 53. Conversion rate optimisation focuses on converting more of your existing traffic (bottom of the funnel) Conversion Rate Optimisation
  • 54. Search engine optimisation focuses on getting additional traffic to your website (top of funnel) Conversion Rate Optimisation Search Engine Optimisation
  • 55. Elixir: Full funnel testing combines these approaches to do both at the same time Full Funnel Testing
  • 56. How do SEO and product teams work together well? Supreme ordeal:
  • 57. Green Totally safe: Not in scope for CRO testing
  • 60. We then use a flow chart for amber tests Road back:
  • 61. 1. Are there conversion rate tests running or planned on this site section?
  • 62. 2. Do the hypotheses affect the same part of the page?
  • 63. 3. Do the tests target the same user behaviour levers?
  • 65. We use a RACI matrix to keep the right people in the loop Test Type SEO Teams Product Teams Broader Marketing Engineering Ad Teams Leadership Green Tests Accountable Informed Informed Informed Informed Informed
  • 66. We use a RACI matrix to keep the right people in the loop Test Type SEO Teams Product Teams Broader Marketing Engineering Ad Teams Leadership Green Tests Accountable Informed Informed Informed Informed Informed Amber Tests Responsible Accountable Informed Consulted Informed Informed
  • 67. We use a RACI matrix to keep the right people in the loop Test Type SEO Teams Product Teams Broader Marketing Engineering Ad Teams Leadership Green Tests Accountable Informed Informed Informed Informed Informed Amber Tests Responsible Accountable Informed Consulted Informed Informed Red Tests Responsible Accountable Informed Consulted Informed Informed
  • 69. UX is a ranking factor?
  • 71. We just need to know that UX is aligned with Google’s goals But we don’t need the futurist perspectives or the tinfoil hat conspiracy theories for my purposes here
  • 72. We just need to know that UX is aligned with Google’s goals 1. Panda (ML-trained on UX signals) 2. Quant and qual measurement of algo changes using UX metrics
  • 73. To know that we should be building SEO hypotheses from UX fundamentals
  • 74. BUT: then we affect users and search
  • 75. So: we need to play nicely together Test Type SEO Teams Product Teams Broader Marketing Engineering Ad Teams Leadership Green Tests Accountable Informed Informed Informed Informed Informed Amber Tests Responsible Accountable Informed Consulted Informed Informed Red Tests Responsible Accountable Informed Consulted Informed Informed
  • 76. And ideally, test both the SEO and CRO impact of our ideas Full Funnel Testing
  • 78. Lessons from 100s of SEO tests The restaurant 4.10pm
  • 79. Image credits ● Hornet ● Beach ● Paul Haahr ● Google ● Smile ● Pug ● Chrome ● Tinfoil hat ● Broken plate ● Confused monkey ● Unicyclist ● Horse ● Phone ● Devil cat ● Coloured smoke ● Kansas ● Brighton ● On stage in San Diego