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What we can learn from losing SEO tests

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What we can learn from losing SEO tests

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Will Critchlow's presentation at BrightonSEO October 2022.

At SearchPilot, we run huge numbers of tests. It's natural to look first to the winning tests, but there is a lot we can learn from the tests that fail - both the inconclusive ones and the negative outcomes.

Learn how we run SEO tests, how we analyse winners and losers, and take advantage of the lessons we have learned from dozens of losing tests. Take away actionable insights you can use in your own testing or SEO program.

Will Critchlow's presentation at BrightonSEO October 2022.

At SearchPilot, we run huge numbers of tests. It's natural to look first to the winning tests, but there is a lot we can learn from the tests that fail - both the inconclusive ones and the negative outcomes.

Learn how we run SEO tests, how we analyse winners and losers, and take advantage of the lessons we have learned from dozens of losing tests. Take away actionable insights you can use in your own testing or SEO program.

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What we can learn from losing SEO tests

  1. 1. What we can learn from losing tests slideshare.net/willcritchlow @willcritchlow Will Critchlow SearchPilot
  2. 2. Have you ever…?
  3. 3. You cross over (Find an amazing keyword research insight)
  4. 4. Pull up (Modify titles and meta data to match search intent)
  5. 5. -27%
  6. 6. We’ll come back to this
  7. 7. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO What about this?
  8. 8. Request a change / create a ticket
  9. 9. Engineering says it’ll take 18 months
  10. 10. ? I feel like a lot of SEO is asking “Will you come on an adventure?”
  11. 11. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Will you come on an adventure? We don’t know what works
  12. 12. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Will you come on an adventure? We don’t know what works But it’s OK because our recommendations don’t get implemented anyway
  13. 13. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success. Ernest Shackleton
  14. 14. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO What if there were a better way?
  15. 15. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO What’s the benefit of SEO testing?
  16. 16. SEO testing means you can tie individual on-site changes to organic search performance (reference).
  17. 17. SEO testing means you can tie individual on-site changes to organic search performance (reference).
  18. 18. SEO testing means you can tie individual on-site changes to organic search performance (reference). +14% organic traffic
  19. 19. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO How are we running these tests?
  20. 20. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Flights NYC Search LA Search Seattle Search Austin Search Boston Search Dallas Search Find a group of pages using the same template
  21. 21. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Create a hypothesis you want to test {{City}} Flights Search {{City}} Flights Search Current template Proposed template
  22. 22. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO SearchPilot creates test buckets Dallas Flights Search Austin Flights Search Boston Flights Search NYC Flights Search LA Flights Search Seattle Flights Search Control Pages Variant Pages Dallas Flights Search Austin Flights Search Boston Flights Search NYC Flights Search LA Flights Search Seattle Flights Search
  23. 23. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Flights NYC Search LA Search Seattle Search Austin Flights Search Boston Flights Search Dallas Flights Search SearchPilot applies changes to the variant pages Austin Search Boston Search Dallas Search
  24. 24. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Flights NYC Search LA Search Seattle Search Austin Search Boston Search Dallas Search SearchPilot applies changes to the variant pages
  25. 25. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Search engine A/B testing is different from user A/B testing Key point
  26. 26. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO A B A B A B A B A B A B Splitting pages not users SEO Testing VS User Testing
  27. 27. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Conversion rate optimisation focuses on converting more of your existing traffic (bottom of the funnel) Conversion Rate Optimisation
  28. 28. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Search engine optimisation focuses on getting additional traffic to your website (top of funnel) Conversion Rate Optimisation Search Engine Optimisation
  29. 29. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Full funnel testing combines these approaches to do both at the same time Full Funnel Testing
  30. 30. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  31. 31. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Let’s talk business cases
  32. 32. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Obvious benefits! Positive
  33. 33. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Avoid losing changes Negative
  34. 34. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Save time and money No benefit
  35. 35. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  36. 36. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  37. 37. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  38. 38. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Save time and money No benefit Avoid losing changes Negative ← we’re going to talk about these cases
  39. 39. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Negative tests
  40. 40. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO #1 Titles!
  41. 41. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  42. 42. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  43. 43. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Video and slides here
  44. 44. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO #2 Removing terrible(*) content (*) not terrible, apparently
  45. 45. {{City}} Flights Search {{City}} Flights Search Control Variant That text looks like it’s just for SEO. What if we remove it?
  46. 46. “I would think about what you can do to make those pages rank well without having to put a giant paragraph of content below the page.” – John Mueller, Google
  47. 47. -4% organic traffic
  48. 48. Read the full “removing SEO text” case study here
  49. 49. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO #3 Adding timely offers
  50. 50. You cross over (Find an amazing keyword research insight)
  51. 51. People modify their searches with “Easter” (travel deals / flights)
  52. 52. -14% -11% Why?!
  53. 53. Read the full “Easter” case study here
  54. 54. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO #4 Avoiding terrible(*) auto- generated snippets (*) not terrible, apparently
  55. 55. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  56. 56. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  57. 57. -3% Why?! Read the full Google meta description rewriting case study
  58. 58. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Inconclusive tests
  59. 59. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Alt attributes #1
  60. 60. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  61. 61. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  62. 62. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  63. 63. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Read the full ALT attributes case study here
  64. 64. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO E-A-T & authorship #2
  65. 65. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO E-A-T has been on our minds recently (ahem, “helpful” content)
  66. 66. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO You might get “Authorship” recommendations
  67. 67. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  68. 68. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO
  69. 69. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO So be cautious if anyone says “we just need to add some authorship signals to this page”
  70. 70. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Read the full authorship and E-A-T case study here
  71. 71. ACTION: get access to all our test results: www.searchpilot.com/newsletter
  72. 72. SEO testing
  73. 73. Full funnel SEO testing
  74. 74. Testing cadence Full funnel SEO testing
  75. 75. Testing cadence Full funnel SEO testing Executives Marketing leaders Marketing team
  76. 76. Testing cadence Full funnel SEO testing
  77. 77. We are celebrating test momentum and cadence
  78. 78. & winning tests new pages Modern on- site SEO should cut out untested changes and focus on:
  79. 79. https://bit.ly/BrightonMoneyball
  80. 80. Things to DO
  81. 81. For everyone - including agencies and smaller websites www.searchpilot.com/newsletter
  82. 82. Things to DO For those of you who work in the SEO equivalent of the NBA:
  83. 83. Get me to speak to your whole team for free
  84. 84. Tweet me: @willcritchlow #BrightonSEO Thanks! Follow @SearchPilot to take part in polls Get on the email list at www.searchpilot.com Ask me questions: @willcritchlow

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