In this article, we will learn Split testing strategies while doing Search Engine Optimizations. Below are the topics we will learn –
- An Entirely Split-Tested and Optimized Business Strategy.
- Why SEO is Becoming Almost Impossible, and What to do about it.
- How to Use Redirects for Split Testing Without Hurting Your SEO.
- How to Use Google Analytics for Split Testing and Smarter SEO.
- How to Make Failure Impossible in Business.
An Entirely Split-Tested and Optimized Business Strategy
Data driven is a term that a lot of businesses like to throw around, but what does it really mean?
Well essentially, it means that you will be making decisions based on pure data that comes from research and testing, rather than decisions that are based on hunches and emotion. Often, we make the mistake of thinking that we know our audience. We might say to ourselves that because we would prefer a web page to be blue, so too must everyone else. We then make a change, and find that it actually hurts our profits.
So what do you do? You test. And this can help you to build a business strategy that absolutely cannot fail. To demonstrate, let’s see how you might conduct split tests (comparing two versions of something) and other tests in order to build an ideal business selling an eBook.
The Set Up
To get started, you are going to choose a digital product to sell, then create a sales page to sell it from. The digital product can be an eBook you bought the rights to, and the sales page will talk about how that eBook can help the readers.
You then choose your target demographic and you attempt to conduct some SEO on a related blog in a bid to get your sales page to the top of Google for a related search term.
You might also use some advertising in order to drive more sales.
As long as you make more money on average from each visitor than you spend, then this simply business model will generate income as you sleep. Pretty straightforward!
How to Win
Problem is, that countless people try this and fail.
Why? Because they choose the wrong eBook. They market to the wrong people. They set the price wrong. They aren’t good at persuasive writing. Or they don’t do their SEO correctly.
Testing can solve all these issues.
First, choose a product that you already know is selling well. Many PLR products will provide some sales figures you can go off. You know this book sells, so you know the product won’t be the issue.
Next, use split tests to create the ideal sales page with a high conversion rate (meaning a high proportion of people who land on the page go on to buy something from you).
A split test means you’ll make two identical copies of your sales page apart from one small difference (the headline, the size of the text, etc.). You then send half of your visitors to page A and half to page B and you see which version sells the most copies.
You can do the same thing with the price as well to get the idea price for your book!
Before you perform any SEO, try out the top of the SERPs for different keywords by using AdWords. You can then see which keywords have the right intent for your product BEFORE you invest a huge amount of time or money into SEO.
Finally, use split testing to write articles with the ideal SEO techniques. Do all this and your business model will evolve to become the perfect cash-cow!
Why SEO is Becoming Almost Impossible, and What to do About it
SEO is now the most complicated and difficult it has ever been. Google has been changing the game for years now, and it’s only getting harder all the time.
If we want to survive and thrive in the SEO/digital marketing industry then, we need to adapt and be smart. In this post, you will learn precisely how this is happening and the steps you need to take.
If you read that title and thought that this was going to be a post about the dangers of SEO, then don’t worry. IN truth, Google’s agenda is nothing sinister – it just doesn’t always align with what our agendas might be.
Specifically, Google is not particularly interested in helping you to get to the top of the SERPs. In fact, Google isn’t interested in helping site owners at all! Rather, Google wants to help its users – the people who search using it – in order to find the content they want quickly and easily.
Moreover, Google wants to make this interaction more natural and organic. Google now considers itself to be an ‘AI first company’, meaning that Google Assistant is very much its main focus.
Google Assistant can do many things – from controlling the lighting in your home to helping you order a taxi. But it’s coup de grace, is in helping you to answer questions and find answers – which it does by using search to return answers.
Google doesn’t just want to find keyword matched websites when someone types in “how to burp baby”, rather it wants to be able to provide useful snippets of information in a conversational manner, when someone asks “hey Google, how do I burp my baby?”.
That means that traditional keywords don’t work the way they once did. And it means that Google now wants to see more natural language on your website, not to mention useful additions such as rich snippets that it can use to more easily trawl your content.
Moreover, Google still wants you to provide great quality content for visitors to your website to read. It still wants fast-loading sites with entertaining information and news.
And of course, Google is incredibly vague about how it looks for all of those things.
One of the things that makes this hardest of all, is just how mixed this can make the different signals you get from Google.
For example, Google still wants you to use search terms in your content. Okay. So, you diligently do your keyword research, pick your term, and then insert it into your text in a subtle manner.
But you chose a keyword that doesn’t lend itself well to LSI (natural language terms) and so it doesn’t get as much love as it could. Moreover, you find that your readers don’t particularly appreciate the use of keywords and it ends up hurting your bounce rates. That is to say that more people end up leaving your site immediately, which hurts SEO.
So, what’s the answer? Well, as the title might have hinted at – the solution is to be smart and data driven. By using split testing, you can trial every decision you make first in order to see whether it affects your SEO in a positive or negative way. Once you’ve done that, you don’t need to guess any more.
How to Use Redirects for Split Testing Without Hurting Your SEO
Redirects are a crucial aspect of split testing in many cases.
A redirect is essentially a piece of code that will take visitors immediately to a different page. In a split test, this works by sending half of the visitors to a different version of your web page, so that you can then track which version of that web page works best and make sure to keep the one that works better.
The problem is that redirects can hurt your SEO if you do them incorrectly. So read on and we’ll see how to avoid letting that happen.
The Danger of Split Testing
The reason that split testing can be potentially harmful for SEO, is that some webmasters use it in a malicious way. Specifically, they do something known as ‘cloaking’, which means that they intentionally hide the true nature of their website to make more sales, or to push an agenda.
For instance, they might create a website with great SEO and get to the top of the SERPs for ‘fitness tips’ and then redirect that site to an affiliate product to make money. Google understandably doesn’t like this, and so it will penalize sites it suspects of that practice. Your job is to use redirects without raising a red flag.
Another risk is that using a redirect will slow down the load times of your website. Seeing as page load speed is one of the critical factors that Google considers in its current search algorithm, that can really hurt your progress.
How to Split Test Safely
So how do you go about split testing safely and using redirects so that they won’t harm your site?
One tip is to make sure that you use the ‘canonical’ attribute. Using canonical tells Google that one version of your web page is THE main version, and it will therefore know that you’re not trying to trick it or spam the system.
Adding this is extremely easy and can be done with just a little bit of HTML.
Another tip is to use a PHP redirect rather than a HTML one. For those unfamiliar, this basically means the code will run on the server rather than in the browser. That in turn means that Google won’t be able to see the difference at all between the two versions.
One thing you absolutely must not do, is to block robots from viewing one version of your page in the HTaccess file. This is a logical method that you may think to use, but it can actually end up doing more harm than good in the long term.
Finally, you might decide to use a tool or app tom handle the whole process for you. This is fine, but it’s important to make sure the one you choose understands the concepts above and won’t hurt your ranking. A good choice is Optimizely. This will use the canonical tag, and redirects pages very quickly to avoid slow loadspeeds.
How to Use Google Analytics for Split Testing and Smarter SEO
Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that is used by nearly every SEO professional and webmaster. That should tell you something about just how important and valuable it is. And it should tell you that you really need to get set up with it as well!
Google Analytics provides analytics, as the name suggests. This means that you値l be able to see how many people visit your site, how many come from one source or another, what those people do on your page, and MUCH more. This can be help you to make better choices about how you proceed with your future SEO decisions, and it is essential if you want to try your hand at split testing.
Read on and we値l explore precisely how to use Google Analytics for split testing.
To get started, you値l first need to set up a Google Analytics account. You can log into the tool by using your regular Google account, and from there you値l need to add accounts for each site you want to use.
When you do this, you値l start by entering the name of the account, the name of the website, and the URL. From there, you will get a tracking ID. You値l want to paste this onto each of your pages, which will in turn allow Google Analytics to get stats from them.
The good news is that if you have a WordPress site, then you can do this very easily by installing one of several plugins. A good one to use is Google Analytics Dashboard for WP. This will not only make it easy for you to set up your tracking code, but will also mean that you can easily view advanced settings through your WP dashboard.
You値l be asked to add an access code, which you can do as easily as clicking a button, signing into your Google account, and then copying and pasting it.
Using Google Analytics
So now you have Google Analytics, exactly what do you do with it?
The stat you will likely look at most often is the Audience Overview. This will show you who has been viewing your site and a graph at the top will show you how many users you get on a daily basis. A pie chart will show you how many of those are returning visitors.
Acquisitions tells you where your traffic comes from and how the source will impact their behavior. For instance, you might find that traffic coming from Google is more likely to have a higher bounce rate, but also more likely to convert.
A real time tab on the left shows you how many people are on your site at any given time. Conversions lets you set up goals such as sales, and then see what percentage of visitors are converting and carrying out their goals.
All this data will allow you to see what works and what doesn稚 for your website. As a result, you値l be able to make smarter, data-driven decisions that will ultimately lead to more success. And it痴 very encouraging seeing those numbers go up!
How to Make Failure Impossible in Business
Perhaps the most serious mistake that is made across all types of business, is acting on hunch. The issue is that many business owners will make decisions based on what they think people want to see. Worse, they might make those decisions based on what they want to see.
Let’s take a simple example. When a site owner is redesigning their blog, they might choose to use a new font. As they do, they might look at a selection of different fonts, and then choose the one that they like the most.
The problem is that just because they like the font the most, that doesn’t mean that everyone else will as well – or that it is the best font for their site.
As such, they might well change the font, only to find that it actually puts people off of visiting their page or spending long on there. And as a result, they may find that they end up losing a huge amount of traffic and money.
Make Failure Impossible
This is why everything must be TESTED and checked. There are a few ways that an SEO can check that this decision is the right one before they go ahead.
One is to perform market research. Rather than just pick a font, you might first speak with a cross section of your audience, attempting to choose an audience that will be reflective of the general public.
From there, you can then choose the font that is most likely to please your audience.
Better yet, why not use a split test? A split test is a test that involves creating two different versions of a website, and then seeing which one performs best. In this case, you might create one website with one font, and another with another. You would then wait and see which one performs best in terms of low bounce rates, high conversion rates, CTRs etc.
This is even smarter than doing market research. Why? Because what people want from their websites doesn’t necessarily correlate with what will improve engagement the most. With a split test, you can measure only the metrics that matter to you in a real world setting.
In this way, you make failure impossible.
What do you do when you can’t make failure impossible? You make it fast!
What I mean by this, is that you should never spend months working on a website project without knowing for sure that it will be successful.
So many people come up with a ‘great idea for a website’ then work on it for years, only to release it and see no success.
The problem is that they never verified the idea (i.e. asked for preorders or signups to gauge interest) and they invested lots of time with no reason to believe their idea would be a hit. Remember, you shouldn’t act on a hunch!
Instead then, the better option would be to build a bare-bones and very basic version of that website. If the website does well, then you will spend more time bulking it up to be amazing. If it doesn’t, then you should move onto something else quickly. No harm done!