At Safari Digital SEO Agency, we spend most of our time trying, testing, and learning about the latest developments in SEO.
By testing new theories and trying new things with our own websites, we are able to learn about how different changes can impact rankings and how we can pass these learnings off onto our clients.
To stay ahead in 2021, you need to be three or four steps ahead of the rest. Rather than looking at what your competition are doing and developing a strategy to mirror their success, the best SEO strategists are trying new things. Just because you are at position number one in Google does not mean that you will stay there for the long term.
One thing that we have discovered about SEO over the last decade is that everything is dynamic. The most effective strategies in 2021 are different from the most effective strategies in 2015. We have seen countless digital agencies get left behind, as they have refused to move on and experiment with SEO testing to learn and grow.
Whenever we work with clients, we are always engaged in SEO testing to improve their SEO methods. We do not implement huge, irreconcilable changes that could potentially cost them a lot of money – but we do make small, gradual tweaks over the course of an SEO campaign to implement SEO testing techniques that we have seen be effective. By working with clients across a broad spectrum of industries, we are able to see what works and what does not and implement changes accordingly.
To have a professional team of SEO consultants perform a comprehensive SEO audit of your website, you can get in touch using the contact form down below. If you’d like to learn more about how we implement some fundamental SEO testing with our clients, take a read of some of the fundamentals that we are constantly experimenting with.
What Does SEO Testing Involve?
SEO testing is an all-encompassing term that relates to the testing of different on-site and off-site elements to enhance the organic visibility of a website. In essence, you are looking at the cause and effect of changes that are made to your website with the intention of improving your organic visibility.
By testing different theories across different pages with A/B testing, you can gain insights into what is effective and what is not. At Safari Digital, we often run tests across similar sets of pages to see how different strategies impact rankings for different websites this may mean testing between product pages, category pages, location pages, or service pages to see which strategies yield the most effective results.
One of the difficult parts about SEO testing is that there are more than 200 individual ranking factors that affect how a website appears and ranks on Google. To get an insight into what is and what is not effective, it is important to have a control group of similar pages that can be used as a baseline testing tool.
What Are the SEO Tests That You Run?
There are a number of standard tests that we will run affecting the onsite elements such as meta data, content positioning, images, image positioning and content length – just to name a few. Generally speaking, we run these experiments across a range of pages to understand which elements are effective.
Once we are able to draw causation from experimentation, we are then able to combine the best elements of each experiment across a wide cross-section of website pages.
Here are four of the most common on-site SEO tests that we run across websites to understand how SEO tweaks can impact search rankings:
1. Internal Linking
Internal linking between pages is one of the most underutilised and neglected aspects of a successful SEO campaign. The positioning of internal links, the hierarchy of internal links, and the number of internal links are all factors that we will experiment with when planning a new website or fixing an existing website structure.
For different websites, there are different results. From our research, we understand that there is no ‘one size fits all’ internal linking structure that is going to be beneficial for all websites. What we have learned is that what is effective on some websites is not always going to be effective on other websites, and vice versa.
Some of the best practices that we have been able to deduce for internal linking based on SEO testing that we have conducted include:
- Information hierarchy is important
- Don’t overdo the number of internal links
- Make sure that the anchor text sends consistent messaging
- Plan out the user journey – not just the internal link journey
- Internal linking for UX is more important than internal linking for SEO
2. Image SEO Testing
We are constantly conducting SEO testing on the ideal number of images to have on a web page. On some landing pages, we may only require one or two different images, while on others, we may need significantly more. Some of the important things to remember with images and SEO include:
- Review the best ranking pages for number of images on page
- Compress images
- Properly scale images for users
- Try lazy loading off-screen images for improved load times
- Ensure that the images enhance the user experience
- Alt Text should accurately reflect the content and context of images
SEO testing for images can lead to big rewards with improved load times, better on-page experience and improved conversion. Remember, users generally do not like big blocks of uninterrupted text. They can be intimidating and lead to a high bounce rate. It does not matter how good your content is if users find it to be off-putting. Breaking up content with images is an effective way to improve the layout and readability of content.
3. Optimal Copy Length Testing
According to the latest data from SEO Moz, the average page one result on Google features 1,890 words of copy. That’s a lot of content writing!
The word count on your page is something that you need to focus on if you are serious about improving the rankings of your website. At Safari Digital, we have a very simple rule – keep it long and insightful. We favour long-form content because it means a few very important things:
- We can find the optimal keyword density
- We can use a range of related keywords
- We can cover a topic in-depth
- We are able to answer all user questions
- We are able to provide the best possible user experience
Having long content is generally a positive for increased search rankings. However, long content does not always equal high search rankings. It is important that content is relevant, interesting, engaging, and aims to provide the best user experience.
Long-form content is not always necessary. In some instances, a simple question requires a simple answer. A good rule of thumb is to take a measurement of the top 10 pages (page one of Google) for your desired search term. Look at the average content length between these pages and then create a piece of content that falls somewhere along the mean length. Focus on providing the best on-page experience for users and avoid waffling for the sake of dragging out your word count.
As of 2021, Google is getting better at dissecting what informative and overly long content look like. Back in 2017-18, it was simple to rank long-form pieces of content as there was less emphasis on the quality, and more on the quality. In the same way that Google now looks at the quality of links over the quantity, it is important to look at website content as a way to provide a positive user experience.
We predict that content length will become less important in years to come as Google AI improves. When that happens, websites that have created content that enriches the user experience will be the ones that float to the top.
4. Meta Data SEO Testing
Testing Metadata is one of the fastest ways to see the cause and effect of your changes. We have seen websites skyrocket from page 10+ onto page one in a matter of days with effective metadata tweaks. Some of the most common SEO testings that we conduct for metadata includes the following:
- Meta title
- H1 tags
- H2 tags
- Meta descriptions
- Header tags
As of 2021, your meta title and h1 tag are two of the most important on-site ranking factors. Ensuring that these are in-line with the keywords that you want to target, using the right adjectives and avoiding cannibalisation is essential for on-site success. Metadata is one of the fastest ways to see what is working and what is not. We recommend experimenting with different formats, different vernacular, and different keyword positioning to see what is most effective.
Warning: Try to limit the amount of metadata SEO testing that you conduct on important landing pages. Metadata changes can have wide-reaching effects on the search engine visibility of your site. When done incorrectly, it can take weeks or months to recover from the effects of metadata changes.
Start SEO Testing Today
SEO testing is the key to online search engine visibility. It is almost impossible to get everything right without conducting constant testing and constant tweaks. The most successes websites are the ones that are constantly experimenting and making changes to their website.
Over the last three years, we have helped more than one-hundred businesses to increase their organic visibility by staying at the forefront of SEO. By testing and implementing experimental SEO techniques, we have been able to define the industry standard and have left competitors scratching their heads.
With Safari Digital, we are always going to push the needle (in a white hat way) to see what the most effective SEO techniques are for your business type. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy; however, the SEO testing that we have conducted over the last three years has provided invaluable insight into the most effective SEO techniques. With each website, we have been able to learn, adapt, and grow to deliver the most comprehensive SEO strategy on the market. If you’re ready to see what a leading SEO Agency can do for your business, fill out the form below to get in touch with an SEO expert at Safari Digital today.