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

The world of SEO is constantly changing and evolving. As marketers, it can be difficult to keep up with the ever-shifting landscape, and the ways in which the various elements of SEO play off of one another. As such, it’s important to remember that not every test or experiment you run in the pursuit of higher rankings, higher traffic, and better conversion rates will always result in success. In this Whiteboard Friday, we’ll talk about what we can learn from SEO tests that don’t seem to pan out.

1. Don’t Make Decisions Based on Partial Data

When you’re, for example, testing a new title tag, or a new meta-descriptive copy, it can be tempting to make the change based on a small sample of the expected data. However, in most cases this is not recommended, as you will likely not get the desired results if you don’t give it enough time to be put through its paces.

2. The Evidence May Not Point to What You Expected

When you run an SEO test, you may think you know exactly what the evidence will point to, only to find out that it points in the opposite direction. This can be disappointing, but it is important to remember that this can often mean that there is a new avenue of exploration, just waiting to be stumbled upon.

3. Don’t Shy Away From Trying Again

While it can be discouraging to see a test fail, it is important to remember that sometimes it may simply be a case of bad timing or incorrect implementation. If you think the test is worth running again, don’t be afraid to try it again, as you may find that the second time around everything works as expected.

4. Be Prepared to Change Course

If a test simply isn’t working, or if the evidence points in the opposite direction of what you had expected, don’t be afraid to pivot and look for a different approach. This is something that all successful marketers know: no matter how much you may want one strategy to work, if the data isn’t supporting that path, it is important to be willing to change course and try something different.


At the end of the day, not every SEO test will be a “winning” experiment. However, if you take the time to examine the data and look for patterns, there is likely a great deal that can be learned from tests that don’t go as planned. Whether you decide to try your test again, look for a different approach, or simply put the lesson learned in your back pocket for future use, there is always something to be taken away from a failed SEO experiment.