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SEO Testing: 8 Experiments To Improve Organic Traffic

Imagine the results you could achieve if you knew the Google search algorithm.

Just think of the organic traffic you could drive to your site if you knew exactly what Google took into account when generating search results, the exact amount each factor plays on rankings, and exactly what it would take to get to the top.

But of course, Google would never let you see behind the curtain. Not only could a bad actor use this information for nefarious purposes, but it would take all the fun out of search engine optimization.

So instead, every time there’s a new algorithm update, it’s up to us to figure out what exactly has changed and how best to use this to our advantage.

And because we in search engine optimization are a community, we tend to figure these things out collectively.

And since there are no (or very few, anyway) absolute answers, a lot of optimization relies on best practices, theories, and straight-up guesswork.

Fortunately, there is a great way to determine if these theories are based in reality or just pure speculation. Of course, we are talking about experimentation.

(Insert mad scientist laugh here.)

Before you get carried away and rush to put on your safety glasses and lab coats, relax. No bubbling goblets full of mysterious liquids are involved, and your risk of accidentally creating a monster is very low.

(I’d say zero, but I’ve seen the “Terminator” series, and it never explicitly says that a search engine optimizer didn’t create Skynet, so let’s play it safe.)

All your SEO experiments can be done from the comfort (and safety) of your desk chair.

But before we dive into those, let’s first talk about how to test your SEO.

Steps For A Successful SEO Experiment

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Fortunately, we don’t have to develop an entirely new framework for devising, performing and measuring our SEO tests – we can reuse the scientific method you’re probably already familiar with.

Been a while since high school chemistry? Don’t worry; these five steps will surely sound familiar:

You want to do what marketers call A/B testing for accurate results. This means creating two versions of the same page, with only one difference, so you can see which one gets the better response.

Before you begin, remember one thing: Incremental changes are essential. If you go crazy and change all of these at once, you’ll have no idea which one(s) makes a difference.

Play it slow and be patient. Test one, then wait for the results before moving on to the next. This will give you a clear idea of ​​what you need to do going forward to ensure you always claim front page real estate.

With that out of the way, here’s a look at eight different things you can try to improve your site’s ranking:

1. SEO Title

Have you ever written what you thought was an awesome page title, only to have Google rewrite it in search results? This usually happens when the search engine does not feel that your title was a good reflection of the content of the page.

But you can change this whenever you want.

And even if Google replaces the one you created, Google’s John Mueller confirmed that the original title is still used for ranking purposes. This means that even if you change your SEO titles, it’s still a good idea to try to optimize them.

Here are some things you can try to see if they generate results:

2. SEO Meta Description

Now, wait just a minute – you’re probably saying now – Search Engine Journal was clear that Google has not used a meta description in its rankings since sometime between 1999 and 2004.

Put down your forks. Just because they aren’t a direct factor in SERPs doesn’t mean meta descriptions aren’t an essential SEO element.

For example, they can help improve your click-through rate, drive search engines, generate brand exposure and help differentiate you from the competition. And all of these influence the user’s behavior, which is a signal that Google takes into account.

There have been entire articles written about creating awesome meta descriptions. But for our purposes, here are a few things you can A/B test to see if you can improve your organic traffic:

3. Internal Anchor Text

You may know anchor text as the visible, clickable (usually blue) text in a hyperlink like this one.

Not only is this useful for providing additional context to users, but Google has confirmed: Anchor text helps it better understand the content of a page, allowing it to rank those pages for relevant searches.

For example, in the paragraph above, “Google has confirmed” is the anchor text attached to the target link, which points to a link proving that verification.

There are several types of anchor text you can use, including those with exact or partial match keywords, branded (Search Engine Journal), images, plain (“click here”), and naked links (https://www.searchenginejournal .com).

To experiment with the effect internal anchor text can have on your organic traffic. You can try things like:

4. Schema Markup

Schema markup is a type of structured data used by Google and other search engines.

Following guidelines established by Schema.org, it is essentially a lingua franca for search engines. It is an established standard that uses a unique vocabulary to help search engines understand your content more clearly.

It is used to create rich snippets to add information about events, recipes, people, videos, reviews and products, among other things. These in turn make your link appear more prominent in SERPs.

And while schema isn’t directly factored into your ranking score, like an SEO title, it can improve your click-through rate and affect your user behavior scores.

Experiment with adding schema markup to your pages and see if it improves your results.

5. Images

A picture is worth a thousand words – everyone knows that. This is because humans are visual creatures. Both web developers and SEO professionals have recognized the importance of including images on web pages for a long time.

And it’s not just because they add visual interest and grab attention; they can also improve your search ranking.

Original (not stock), high-quality images optimized for SEO can reap the rewards.

Here are some things you can try with your images to improve your traffic:

6. Headers

Your headings and subheadings give your page structure. This makes it easier for people to browse and for search engines to understand what each section is about.

John Mueller of Google was very clear about this, emphasizing the presence of certain headings, not only H1s, sends a strong signal about the content of the page. It would be best if you take care with all your H tags, from H1 to H6. This is because they also serve as an accessibility and navigation tool in addition to their structural benefits.

Once upon a time your headlines were a huge factor in your ranking. But then, as always, people abused them, and Google began cracking down on keywords, overuse, and other dirty headings.

That said, while they are far from the only factor Google considers, there is no question that they are essential.

Here are some things you can play with to try and improve your SEO results:

7. Word Count

You already know that content is the essential thing in any SEO strategy. But you may not have given much thought to how the number of words you use can affect your ranking and traffic.

While you shouldn’t expect word count to push you over the top and take you from page six to the top result, it can help define your site as relevant and valuable to a search query – and attract readers.

What do we mean by this? Again, it’s not a direct ranking factor, according to John Mueller.

That said, longer form copy tends to rank higher. This is because using more words provides Google with more information about what your page is about.

And if these longer pieces are well-written (like the one you’re reading in the author’s ever-so-humble opinion), they’ll help establish you as an authority on the subject.

And experimentation is easy. Take one of your existing articles or blog posts and duplicate it. Regarding the second one, explain more about your topic.

Please note that we’re not talking about using your word count tricks from college (eg, “at a later date” instead of just “later”). Instead, you should expand on ideas and topics, add examples, and cite additional sources.

Then, see which one performs better on search engines. It looks like it will be the longest.

Read this piece for more on using word count for SEO optimization.

8. URL

Some SEO experts will swear keyword-rich URLs are better than generic ones. Is this the case?

On the one hand, Google has confirmed that when it does its initial crawl of a website, keywords in URLs help it understand what the website is about.

However, since this is only taken into account when a new site is crawled, its role in an ongoing SEO strategy is minimal.

But again, this doesn’t mean you can’t use them to your advantage. Clear URLs create a better user experience and can be used as bare anchor tags much more accessible than one with 75 random numbers and letters stuck on the end.

Experiment with your URLs. Take some of your old, non-descriptive links and add keywords to them. Shorten long URLs.

If you are concerned about losing links from the old page, add a 301 redirect pointing to the new one.

Don’t Be Afraid To Try Something New

Search engine optimization is a constantly changing landscape. Changing trends can change how people interact with your website.

As algorithms change and new technologies emerge, your strategy must evolve.

There has never been, and probably never will be, “set it and forget it” search engine optimization. It will always require forward thinkers and people willing to experiment to find new ways to get their sites to the top of the rankings.

Who says you can’t be one of them? Someone had to be the first to figure out that keyword stuffing helped rankings, and someone else had to figure out when it stopped working.

If you’re willing to experiment and try new things, you might find the next brilliant new strategy. Just don’t forget to share it with us.

Featured image: Tatyana Vyc/Shutterstock

What does organic traffic mean in SEO?

Organic Traffic This traffic is defined as visitors coming from a search engine, such as Google or Bing. This does not include paid search ads, but that does not mean that organic traffic is not affected by paid search or display advertising, either positively or negatively.

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Why is organic traffic better than paid traffic?

Simply put, organic traffic is traffic that comes to your website from organic rankings in search results, while paid traffic comes from paid online advertisements. The most obvious difference between organic versus paid traffic methods is the cost. Since growing organic traffic is focused on organic methods, it is free.

Which is better organic or paid? The difference between organic search versus paid search is simple: it’s the cost. While organic search focuses on unpaid rankings in search results, paid search focuses on paid rankings. With organic search, companies use SEO to optimize their website’s visibility or rankings in search results.

What are the advantages of organic traffic?

The most obvious advantage of organic search traffic is a cost advantage. Pay-per-click ads are guaranteed to put your company’s links in front of potential website visitors. But over time, the amount of cash you’ll spend on click-throughs can add up.

What are the benefits of organic SEO for business growth?

There are multiple types of SEO, and one of the most important is organic traffic. Among the biggest benefits of organic traffic is that it will help you rank high in the search results shown to customers who are interested in the product and services you provide.

What are the benefits of organic traffic?

Why Organic Traffic Is More Valuable Than Paid Traffic

  • Low cost. One of the most important benefits of relying on organic traffic is that it doesn’t have to cost you anything. …
  • More Accessible. …
  • Build Brand Awareness. …
  • Long Term Benefits. …
  • Better ROI. …
  • Add More to Your Website. …
  • Reuse Your Content. …
  • Get More Traffic.

Is organic traffic better than paid?

Increases credibility This is especially true for organic versus paid traffic. Users are much more likely to click on your site if it is at the top of the regular search results (and not the paid ads section). In fact, one study found that 53% of web traffic comes from organic search, while only 27% comes from paid ads.

Is organic search or paid search better?

Quick Takes. Organic search requires no upfront investment, while paid search has costs to launch. Paid search earns more immediate results and attracts buyers with high buying intent, while organic search builds engaged audiences over time. Both organic search and paid search provide important data.

Why are organic search listings more valuable than paid search listings?

Paid search is a good short-term marketing solution, but organic search creates long-term, compounding ROI. Social media helps you build your brand, but organic search helps you target high-intent consumers.

Which is better organic or paid SEO?

While organic search focuses on unpaid rankings in search results, paid search focuses on paid rankings. With organic search, companies use SEO to optimize their website’s visibility or rankings in search results. In comparison, paid search allows users to pay for a prominent place in search results.

Is organic search the best?

Organic traffic gives you a competitive edge and creates a digital flywheel in Google – good, optimized content leads to better search visibility, more clicks increase your site authority, and site authority gives your content better chances to rank.

What is the main difference between paid and organic traffic?

1. Organic Search results appear in the middle of the page. Paid Search Results appear at the top of the web page.

How do I know if a website has organic traffic?

Having said that, let’s look at the best tools to check how much traffic a website is getting.

  • SEMRush. SEMRush is an all-in-one traffic analysis and competition research tool. …
  • SimilarWeb. …
  • Google Search Console. …
  • Ubersuggest. …
  • Serpstat. …
  • Ahrefs …
  • MonsterInsights.

How is organic traffic measured on a website? The best way to view your organic traffic metrics is through analytics tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Organic traffic is the traffic that comes to your website through free or paid search results.

How do you identify organic searches?

A free listing on Google Search that appears because it’s related to someone’s search terms. Non-organic search results are paid ads. The ads above organic results contain an “Ad†box. The ads to the right of organic results have an “Ads†box above them.

How do I know if I have organic search?

Organic traffic in Google Analytics can be found under the Acquisition section. Click All Traffic, then Channels. By navigating to this section, you will find the different traffic sources, including organic traffic. It will show you the number of sessions, plus the percentage of your traffic to each source.

How is organic search defined?

Organic search results are the unpaid listings that appear on a search results page (SERP). These results are based on factors such as relevance to the user’s search query, inbound links, valid search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and domain authority.

How is organic search measured?

Organic traffic is a metric measured by google analytics that shows how many visitors arrived at your website from the search results pages (SERPs) on google or bing, for example.

How do you know if traffic is organic?

Organic traffic in Google Analytics can be found under the Acquisition section. Click All Traffic, then Channels. By navigating to this section, you will find the different traffic sources, including organic traffic. It will show you the number of sessions, plus the percentage of your traffic to each source.

How does Google Analytics identify organic traffic?

Google Analytics states that it separates traffic that arrives at your site via a search engine result from traffic that arrives through other referral channels, such as a paid advertisement or another site that links to yours. In your reports, this traffic segment is called organic search traffic.

How do I know if a website has organic traffic?

Organic traffic is any traffic that comes to your website from a search engine, but that is not paid for. Any organic traffic will be a result of your inbound marketing and SEO efforts. Paid search traffic is any traffic that comes from a paid search campaign that you ran on a search engine like Google or Bing.

What is organic SEO?

Organic SEO refers to getting natural placement and getting results that are done through various proven strategies like optimizing the web page by writing high quality and highly relevant content, boosting keywords, incorporating meta tags and backlinking.

Why is organic SEO important? With relevant and quality content, organic SEO will generate more clicks. As users read useful content that solves their problems or answers their questions, it builds greater trust among users. When you match keywords to user intent, it means the user will find you more consistently the longer they search.

What is meant by organic in SEO?

Organic SEO is the practice of using white hat SEO strategies to increase your website traffic and improve your website’s presence in unpaid search engines. The word organic is used to distinguish between natural search engine optimization methods and paid tactics for ranking in SERPs.

Is SEO same as organic?

Based on these definitions, we can establish the fundamental difference between Local and Organic SEO: local SEO is about optimizing for locations, while organic SEO is about optimizing for content. They both have to do with optimizing your website and online presence for search engines.

What is an example of organic search?

What is organic search? Organic search results are the unpaid results that appear on a search results page after a query. In the example below, when I typed “athletic clothing” into Google, the unpaid results are all part of that organic search.

How do you use organic SEO?

Some organic SEO strategies include: Keyword research: Researching the keywords you should target so that your website appears at the top of SERPs when people search for keywords and phrases related to your business. Content creation: Creating different types of content to target valuable keywords for your organic SEO campaign.

What is the difference between organic SEO and local SEO?

Based on these definitions, we can establish the fundamental difference between Local and Organic SEO: local SEO is about optimizing for locations, while organic SEO is about optimizing for content. They both have to do with optimizing your website and online presence for search engines.

What is the difference between SEO and local SEO?

While traditional SEO focuses on improving your website’s visibility on a national or global scale, local SEO allows you to capture local search territory to connect with searchers in your area. SEO and local SEO use many of the same strategies.

What is organic vs non-organic SEO marketing?

Non-organic SEO can provide faster results and increase your initial rank and placement, but the effects are generally less effective in the long run compared to organic SEO. Most popular in Inorganic SEO includes Pay-Per-Click (PPC) like Google AdWords, Bing AdWords and other Paid Advertising Services online.

What’s the difference between the local algorithm results and organic results?

Organic search and results are completely independent of the locations. On the other hand, local SEO is inherently linked and associated with brick and mortar business and necessarily has a geographic component.

Does SEO drive organic traffic?

A main function of SEO is to increase visibility, which affects your ranking. The higher you are on a search engine results page (SERP), the more likely prospects will see you and click to visit your website. This means more organic visits with a higher rate of conversions.

Is SEO organic or inorganic? Inorganic SEO brings inorganic traffic to a website. Inorganic traffic refers to website visits that come from social networking sites, paid advertisements, and affiliate marketing. The benefits of inorganic SEO include more visibility, quick results and more traffic in a short time.

Does SEO generate organic traffic?

Your SEO plan will guide you on your journey to get more organic traffic. To get the most ROI (return on investment) from your SEO, you want to identify which pages on your website contribute the most to your bottom line and focus on optimizing those pages. Some call this your “money pages.â€

Does SEO influence organic search?

Organic search results are based on several ranking factors, including relevancy, inbound links, device, domain authority, and user location. Your key to generating organic search traffic is effective search engine optimization (SEO).

Does SEO increase organic traffic?

The higher you appear in the search results for search terms that get a lot of traffic, the more organic traffic you tend to have. To rank high in the SERPs, you need to publish quality content on a solid SEO foundation. You can also create content that is likely to be shared, increasing your referral traffic.

What drives organic traffic?

Consistent content marketing Content marketing is one of the most effective and affordable tools to grow organic traffic, build authority in your domain, and grow your online business. You can create different types of content, such as blog posts, videos, e-books, and podcasts.

What is meant by organic traffic?

The term ‘organic traffic’ is used to refer to the visitors who join your website as a result of unpaid (‘organic’) search results. Organic traffic is the opposite of paid traffic, which defines the visits generated by paid advertisements.

What increases organic traffic?

Blogging is perhaps the most effective way to increase your organic website traffic. It allows you to go deeper than your website allows and creates a large catalog of helpful, person-optimized content centered on your market niche. However, poorly written, spammy or cheap content can do more harm than good.

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