What is SEO Testing?

SEO testing can be broadly defined as the process of evaluating the SEO impact of any change you make to your site or a specific page. SEO testing aims to measure the site's performance against several factors that influence site rankings on search engines. It is a litmus test to check if the SEO strategy you implemented is showing the desired outcome.
Google and other search engines employ dozens of algorithms that rank sites based on a wide range of parameters. However, businesses prioritize their parameters based on their niche and competition.
These include on-site design elements, content, and technical aspects such as security and mobile compatibility.
Each website domain is ranked on specific parameters relevant to that industry. For instance, a food recipe site's ranking factors will be vastly different from an ecommerce site. Identifying and implementing changes that are determined to be the best for your industry is the first step of SEO testing.
Roll out SEO changes in a phased manner and use reporting tools to generate daily and weekly metrics. The metrics must focus primarily on the parameters related to the changes made to the site or pages.
SEO testing is a good practice after implementing any significant change to the site. It begins tracking the changes immediately and signals areas where you must concentrate your SEO efforts.
You can choose between several tools to perform SEO testing.

How to Perform SEO Testing?

1. Change the Tagging on Pages

HTML tags on your page directly impact a customer's perception of your site and its SEO ranking. Some of the common tags on most web pages include:

  • Title tags
  • Header tags
  • Bold tags

Title tags are essential as they are the first thing a visitor may see on your website. They are also one of the main tags crawled by search engines to determine a user's query's relevancy in relation to your page's content.
Other tags such as Bold and Header tags provide crucial information about the content within a page.
A popular testing technique for SEO with tags is to change them and measure your click-through rates.
With attractive Title tags, your website can have more CTR audiences, thus maintaining a top rank on SERPs.
A popular testing technique for SEO with tags is to change them and measure your click-through-rates. Change a few words or rearrange them. Measure the visitor traffic over a week or more to determine if these changes have the desired impact on SEO.

2. Switch Link Positions

Links within your pages that point to other pages on your site are crucial to scoring higher with search engines. It leads visitors to valuable and relevant content within your site. The position on the page where the link is placed plays an important role in SEO.
Link positions on a page can compel a visitor to click or ignore them.” The chances of passing a link juice are more when a link is placed on top of the page than keeping it at the middle or bottom.
Link positions on a page can compel a visitor to click or ignore them. The anchor text on the links and the number of internal links on a page are important parameters that affect SEO rankings and customer experience.
Test changes to internal links on your site to gauge its SEO impact. You can reduce the number of links, change the link text, or change the page's links' position. Measure your click rates and dwell time to evaluate if the internal link changes positively impact your SEO.

3. Juggle with Content Types and Word

Content is indisputably the most important part of any website. It provides visitors with the information they require and builds your company's brand image and perception. The type of content you feature on your site has a direct bearing on SEO.
Common content types for the web include articles, blogs, infographics, and embedded videos. Trying out a mix of these on your site can bring out a positive impact on SEO. Use informative content without being text-heavy or unnecessarily lengthy.
With a Here’s an example who have used infographics, content, and podcast in the same page. This increases the chances of ranking and a large number of audiences.
The new generation of web users prefers clear, concise, and interactive content which can be consumed quickly and provides accurate information. Test your SEO score after making changes to the word count of articles or blogs with high-ranking keywords.
Keep content on landing pages as visual as possible, emphasizing infographics and 'How-to' videos.

4. Rework Call-to-Action (CTA) Strategies

Call-to-Action (CTA) is a popular marketing technique that entices visitors to click on links that lead to a sale. CTA's generate a sense of interest and urgency within the visitor to engage more deeply with your brand or products.
CTAs get special attention from the audience and have the capacity to turn them into your customers or subscribers.
SEO testing helps you identify the best methods to reel in customers without seeming to pressure them. Tweak the CTA's on your website and track the lead generation to evaluate what works best. Change the position of your existing CTA artifacts such as content or links on pages and measure the effectiveness.
Evaluate if CTA's placed at the top or the bottom of pages or content are more effective. Increased engagement through compelling CTA's on the site has shown to have a dramatic impact on SEO. Working on good CTA's is vital for Local SEO to increase online sales and more footfalls in your physical storefront.

Related : Importance of User Engagement on SEO

5. Tweak Elements That Affect Site Speed

It's no secret that fast-loading websites delight customers and send a positive signal to search engines. Standard SEO practices like site audits can only help you with identifying ways to increase site loading times. SEO best practices suggest that the acceptable FCP time is below 1 sec while LCP should be less than 2.5 seconds.
However, the proof of its working lies in SEO testing.
SEO testing is a foolproof way to determine if your site enhancements increase customer engagement and decrease bounce rates. Reducing bounce rates is especially important for mobile users. Even a 2-3 second delay in page loading can negatively impact customer experience and, consequently, your SEO efforts.
Here are a few tips before SEO testing:

  • Swap out images or reduce the file size
  • Index your database frequently and clear out the clutter
  • Use caching and Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

Track key metrics such as bounce rates and compare visitor traffic regularly.

6. Author Credentials and Publish Dates

Google and other search engines sometimes list search results for some keywords based on updated content. This is especially true for current affairs and events. Customers may prefer to click the link which has the most recent information. If you see the results as in the image, which link are you going to open first? Undoubtedly the recent one.
They may also pick blogs or articles from a famous web author.
If your website caters to news or event-related content, it is a good idea to add timestamps, dates, and author information if they aren't present. This tells the search engine how relevant your content is for a related query.
Experiment with removing author names and publishing dates if present to check if they impact visitor traffic. If they show organic growth in rankings, automate the process to automatically update this information each time you edit a page on your site.

7. Tweak Visual and Interactive Content

Visual content such as images, videos, and GIF files are attractive to visitors and add a dimension of interactivity and engagement to your website. For instance, here’s a blog that has put together a Table of Content Visually, which you typically see as a list or table. This fascinates readers, ain’t it?
Images with metadata like alt-text are great for accessibility and rank higher with search engines.
For SEO testing, there are several tweaks you can consider and track their effectiveness in raising your SEO scores organically. Some of them are:

  • Change location of images and videos on the page
  • Host video content on sites like Vimeo instead of YouTube
  • Add relevant descriptions for pictures and videos
  • Would Infographics fare better compared to short videos?
  • Replace instructional content with 'How-to' videos

If your website uses an image or video gallery, experiment with click-activated sliders and carousels. Evaluate the effectiveness of these changes by tracking the video view and overall increase in site visitor traffic.

8. Experiment with UX and Design Changes

Site design and Information Architecture play a crucial role in usability and SEO. Design aspects such as mobile compatibility, color schemes, and navigation are driving factors that enhance the visitor experience and brand credibility.
Information Architecture elements that include internal links and site directory structure enable search engines to crawl sites easily and index them for relevancy.
You can experiment by modifying these elements on your site and measuring their impact on search rankings. Here are a few things to try:

  • Change the color schemes to warm palettes
  • Add related article links to content pages
    It increases engagement, authority, ranks of various pages on SERPs, and reduces bounce rate.
  • Redesign menus and navigation bars
  • Focus on Mobile-first approach
  • Display estimated read time for blogs/articles
  • Suppress slow-loading features on mobiles
  • Feature most viewed articles on home page

Gather feedback from visitors about the new design changes and track visitor traffic regularly to get the most out of it.

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SEO Audit Vs. SEO Testing

No. SEO Audits SEO Testing
1 SEO audits are comprehensive and cover a wide range of parameters that affect SEO rankings. SEO testing is situation-based and could be performed to test a specific SEO parameter or multiple features.
2 SEO audits are detailed and in-depth. They could take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. SEO testing is experimental and usually takes a much shorter time compared to SEO Audits.
3 It is performed on existing websites or new websites that have gone live for visitors. SEO testing can be performed even on websites that are not yet launched. You can test link, tagging, and technical SEO aspects in your local workspace.
4 Best performed by an experienced 3rd party SEO agency for unbiased results. SEO testing can be performed in-house without external resources.
5 SEO audits can be performed for free or incur costs based on the level of inspection of your website. Usually incurs no additional cost.
5 Uses a combination of manual and automated tools. Uses mostly manual methods to perform specific tests and monitoring.

Helpful SEO Testing Tools in the Market

1. Google Optimize

Google Optimize is a free and powerful tool for SEO testing. It helps you add various changes to your pages and test them against several SEO performance indicators.
Google Optimize makes it easy to set clear SEO testing objectives and gather useful analytics with a few clicks.
Also, it’s very user-friendly, as you know Google is best at it.
There are a number of in-built testing options free within Google Optimize. These are:

  • A/B testing
  • Multivariate Testing
  • Redirect testing
  • Split URL testing

Using Google Optimize for SEO testing is a cost-effective way to narrow down the best SEO strategy before you use it permanently on your website.

2. Woorank

Woorank is a popular SEO testing tool in the industry that helps with tracking conversions and lead generation. It allows you to track the impact of site changes on visitor traffic and your sales campaigns.
It’s superfast and offers better user experience for the newbies to cope it easily.
Woorank closely monitors changes in keywords, site content, and links on your website. Its comprehensive analytical tools and reports give you a clear picture of SEO impact after making changes to your site or individual pages.

3. SEMrush

SEMRush is a comprehensive SEO testing and audit platform with a wide variety of tools to boost your SEO efforts. It's a great software suite for SEO testing. You can measure the impact of changes in keywords, content, and backlinks on your site to evaluate your SEO strategy.
It also lets you perform several other SEO testing.
Features like regular rank tracking and keyword performance tracker let you test if your site changes show positive SEO results.

4. Majestic

Majestic is an excellent SEO testing tool for measuring the SEO impact after tweaking links on your website. You can generate actionable reports about the most viewed links, citation flows, search trends, missed link-building opportunities, and much more.
Its most powerful feature is that it can analyze any new and updated links on your site and provide inputs about its quality and ability to rank. Its Trust Flow and Citation Flow are considered as crucial SEO factors.
This feedback is helpful for SEO testing. You can make the recommended changes and generate a fresh report to analyze the impact of the changes.
Majestic browser plugins are available for Firefox and Chrome.

5. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is another popular SEO tool suite that you can use for SEO testing and comprehensive SEO audits. Websites that do business online will find a robust set of features to test sales campaigns' effectiveness after making changes to their website's marketing content.
Ahrefs identifies content gaps, tracks backlinks and overall rank based on the filters you define.
It has several filter options that help you perform content and backlink auditshasto enhance your website.
Use Ahrefs to test your SEO improvement after making changes to the content, links, keywords, and much more. You can set e-mail alerts to notify you of an increase in SEO performance for any changes made during SEO testing.

6. Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a leading SEO and SEM software that helps you identify critical SEO and technical issues related to your website. The 'Spider' feature of Screaming Frog crawls every inch of your website to generate detailed reports about SEO and content gaps.
It's a viable option for SEO testing any changes to your new or old website.
Evaluate the performance of your site after changes to content, links, redirects, and much more. You can also test your site performance in areas related to sales and social media marketing. Screaming Frog makes it easy to test for improvement in specific SEO areas.

7. GTmetrix

GTMetrix is one of the most trusted tools out there for generating accurate analytical data and metrics for site speed optimization. Its most prominent feature is the ability to granularly break down the root cause of slow loading web pages or sites.
It’s also available as a plugin for WordPress websites.
Use GTMetrix during SEO testing to get actionable insights for improving your site loading speed. You can test the performance of your website in over 20 countries worldwide. GTMetrix monitors site optimization changes and delivers detailed reports which can be scheduled.
Use these reports as part of SEO testing to validate your optimization changes.

SEO Testing FAQs

1. What is SEO Split Testing?

SEO Split Testing is a technique when you divide a bunch of similar web pages on your site into two groups and make similar changes to them. These pages are then split into a control and variant group and tested for variations in SEO performance. Your audience remains the same, but the content and on-page elements between the two groups vary.
Split testing is a great way to figure out which website changes have the most SEO impact.

2. Is SEO Testing expensive?

It is often assumed that SEO testing requires additional technical know-how or costs more money. This is far from the truth. There are dozens of world-class SEO testing tools in the market which are free and deliver exceptional SEO testing results.
You may have to spend more if you are looking to go into an exceptional level of detail to investigate a specific SEO parameter, which is not often the case.

3. How long will SEO Testing take?

There is no specific timeline for SEO testing defined in the industry. But it’s sure that SEO testing is a continuous process.
Remember that SEO testing can be carried out for just one or several SEO-related parameters. The time to properly test for white-hat SEO could vary from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the complexity of your website's changes.

4. What are some free SEO testing tools?

SEO testing tools come in different flavors and can test just one SEO aspect or several of them. Most popular SEO tools come with a seven or 14-day trial version or limited to a certain number of software runs.
A few popular SEO tools are Ahrefs, Google Search Console, GTMetrix, and Moz.

5. Can I test a website that is not yet launched?

The answer, in short? Yes! The key is to get your website from your local working folder to a publicly accessible space. You can use tools like Ngrok to transition your site for SEO tests.
Also, you can try comparing with alternatives of Ngrok.
After your site is publicly accessible, you can use any SEO testing tool to monitor SEO performance. Tools like Screaming Frog can be used to identify link and site issues even when the site is in your local workspace.

6. What are the top-3 SEO tests to run on my website?

You can perform multiple experiments with SEO to formulate a long-term SEO and Content strategy for your website. The SEO tests you choose largely depend upon your SEO strategy areas where you wish to see improvement.
Recommended SEO tests include:

  • Making content and metadata, descriptions, and tagging changes
    Most SEOs start their SEO testing with these.
  • Repositioning links on pages
  • Optimizing images and site structure for mobile compatibility

Do you need help in doing SEO testing? Drop your details here to get in touch with an expert now!

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Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.