Lessons Learned from SEO Tests that Didn’t “Win” – Whiteboard Friday

Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about continual testing, tweaking, and optimizing. But, unfortunately, sometimes tests don’t turn out the way we’d hope. A test won’t always deliver the dramatic or expected improvement in search visibility and organic traffic.

In this edition of Whiteboard Friday, we’re taking a look at what happens when companies hit a dead end with an SEO experiment and how the process can still be valuable, even if it does not end with the big “win”

Understanding the SEO Process

In order to get the most out of our SEO experiments, it’s important to understand the SEO process. SEO involves testing and analyzing site performance, then adapting strategies and tactics according to the data gathered. This process includes:

  • Creating hypotheses: This is the first step in any SEO experiment. You must first identify which areas you believe would be the most beneficial to test and why.
  • Implementing the new changes: Once a hypothesis is created and a plan of action established, you can begin the process of implementing the changes.
  • Analyzing the data: After successfully implementing the changes, it is crucial to measure the success of the SEO experiment. Data should be collected and compared to the baseline data to measure the impacts of the changes.
  • Drawing conclusions and taking action: After completing the analysis of the data, draw conclusions from the data and use it to inform future decisions.

Lessons from Experiments that Didn’t “Win”

The success of an SEO experiment does not always result in a significant improvement in results, and that doesn’t mean your efforts have been for nothing. Every test will give you valuable insights that can help inform future testing and optimization efforts.

  • Start with the basics: If the experiment didn’t produce the desired result, it could be because the basics weren’t addressed. Make sure all core elements that affect SEO – website structure, page speed, and page title optimization, for example – are taken care of before moving on to more complex tests.
  • Review your targeting: Assess whether the results of the experiment are in line with your target audience. If it’s not something that resonates with your audience, then it’s unlikely to deliver the desired results.
  • Stay flexible: Tests can take time and typically the results are not immediate. So stay flexible, keep an open mind, and be willing to make changes to the plan mid-experiment if necessary.
  • Identify the positives: Even when an experiment “fails,” there is always something that can be learned. Spend some time reviewing the data and identifying any takeaways or positive change you can use moving forward.

SEO Testing Is an Ongoing Process

Even when SEO experiments don’t turn out to be the surefire winners we’d hoped, the testing process still offers valuable insights that can be used to shape future SEO efforts and campaigns. SEO experiments will always be a juggling act, but facing the challenges and learning from our mistakes are some of the most invaluable lessons we can gain.

Happy testing!