A Guide to Core Web Vital Metrics for eCommerce Sites

Are you ready for Google’s Core Web Vitals update? Don’t worry if not — our complete guide has five recommendations for improving your site score.

Unless you’ve been living under an SEO rock, you know the deadline for Core Web Vitals ranking signals is rapidly approaching. Starting May 1, Google will start using these metrics as contributors to Page Experience.

It’s impossible to say exactly how these changes will affect organic performance and search engine results (SERPs) — but there’s no shortage of predictions for and research into Google’s largest algorithm update in years. In fact, new research from BrightEdge indicates that eCommerce and retail sites are the least likely to receive a ranking boost from the Core Web Vitals update.

But that doesn’t mean that you should give up on your eCommerce site meeting Core Web Vitals standards. Remember: A good page experience isn’t just critical for organic performance. It also plays a huge role in your users’ satisfaction and your site’s overall conversion rate.

We’ve been helping our clients prep for the Core Web Vitals update since it was first announced. And while there’s no single “proven” approach for beating Google at its own game, there are some strategies for improving your Core Web Vitals score, even with just a few weeks to go.

In this blog post, we’ll help you prep for the upcoming algorithm shift by explaining:

  • What Core Web Vitals metrics are and how to measure them
  • How important Core Web Vitals are in reference to your overall SEO strategy
  • And which five steps you can take to improve your site score

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are metrics created by Google that help measure and indicate the Page Load Performance of a webpage. Combined with existing Google page experience signals, they provide important insights into user experience on a webpage.

There are three Core Web Vitals metrics:

1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This measures the loading performance of a webpage. Scores are based on the render time of the largest image or text block visible within the viewport.

2. First Input Delay (FID)

This measures the interactivity of a web page: the time from when a user first interacts with a page (by clicking a link, tapping on a button, or using Javascript-powered content) to when the browser actually being processing event handlers in response to that interaction.

3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

This measures the visual stability of a webpage by evaluating layout shifts. Layout shifts occur any time a visible element changes its position from one rendered frame to the next — for example, shifts in appearance between mobile and desktop browsers.

CLS is calculated as the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page. A “zero” score means no layout shifts; the larger the score, the more layout shifts on a page.

How to Measure Core Web Vitals with Google PageSpeed Insights

All three Core Web Vitals metrics can be measured with one Google tool: PageSpeed Insights. This tool measures how a single page performs across both mobile and desktop devices by reporting metrics as “good,” “needs improvement,” or “poor.”

Breakdown of Google's Core Web Vitals ranking scores by "good," "needs improvement," and "poor."
PageSpeed Insights provides both lab and field data about a page. (Field data can be seen in the screenshot above.) In comparison to lab data, field data better captures true, real-world experience, but it does have a more limited seat of metrics.

Core Web Vitals report showing field data of mobile analysis.

Lab data, on the other hand, is useful for debugging performance issues, because the data is collected in a controlled environment. However, it may not always capture real-world bottlenecks. Therefore, take both sets of data into account when creating your Core Web Vitals strategy.

Lab data from Core Web Vitals report of mobile analysis.

In addition to reporting metrics, the PageSpeed Insights tool also provides suggestions on how to improve a page. We recommend using it to spot-check individual page performance and gain insights from Google on what to prioritize. 

To check how your eCommerce site is performing, run a few product and category landing pages through the PageSpeed Insights tool. Take a note of what needs to be fixed, and then deploy those solutions across all pages of that type. Later, evaluate your page performance changes to see whether those changes were successful.

Why are Core Web Vitals So Important?

The short answer: Because Google says so.

The better answer: The Core Web Vitals update is another part of Google’s prioritization of sites that provide the best experience for the user. Core Web Vitals are folded into Page Experience ranking signals, which are designed to keep Google’s users satisfied in their searches. These ranking factors include creating a safe browsing experience (HTTPs), optimizing for mobile-friendliness, and being free of intrusive interstitials — all of which create a better interaction for the user with the web page.

But Google has been vague on the exact effect of the update. It recommends fixing any aspects of your site that fall under “poor” or “needs improvement.” But, once you’re in the green, you’re good. 

There’s little (if any) discernable difference between a 90 and 100 score; if your site is reporting decent or good scores, there are more worthwhile SEO strategies to spend your time, effort, and money on. Google says as much itself — subpar scores aren’t necessarily a barrier from having your pages served up in search results:

Page experience is just one of many signals that are used to rank pages. Keep in mind that intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a page with a subpar page experience may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.

But, if your site is showing poor scores, Core Web Vitals could be a crucial part of your overall SEO strategy and resulting performance. We recommend addressing those areas of concern as soon as possible with an experienced development team.

5 Ways to Improve Core Web Vitals Scores on Your eCommerce Site

Every eCommerce site is different, and your site’s needs in regards to Core Web Vitals will be unique. Before you do anything else, we recommend a full audit by an experienced developer or technical SEO team to find out what your biggest issues are (and how to fix them).

That said, there are a few suggestions we have for improving your site’s Core Web Vitals scores, based on common issues we’ve seen during our clients’ site audits.

1. Continuously Evaluate Your Site’s Performance

We don’t expect all hell to break loose on May 1. Like many updates, Core Web Vitals metrics will likely take some time to roll out, and the impact on your organic performance probably won’t be seen right away.

That’s why we recommend a long-term approach. Watch your site’s performance over time leading up to and after May 1, and make changes as appropriate to continually improve your performance.

Rather than checking individual pages with PageSpeed Insights, you can easily evaluate your site’s cumulative performance through the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console. This tool shows URL performance grouped by status, metric type, and URL group — and also rates them as “poor,” “needs improvement,” or “good.” After you make a change to a group of URLs on your site, you can use the “Validate URL” button to ask Google to re-review performance.

Because this report tracks URLs over time, you can monitor your site’s performance before and after implementing changes. This will tell you whether your strategies are working. (You can also use an open-source auditing tool like Lighthouse to perform similar analysis.)

2. Eliminate Large Layout Shifts

More users than ever search for and compare products on their mobile devices. This year alone, mobile eCommerce sales are expected to make up 53.9% of all eCommerce sales.

Keeping that split in mind (and knowing that many users will use both devices during the research process), Core Web Vitals metrics will help reward sites and retailers who present a united appearance across mobile and desktop devices. Your site’s mobile layout shouldn’t be an afterthought or a poor copy of our desktop layout. In fact, with Google’s mobile-first update, it should be the optimization priority.

We see a few common eCommerce site features bring down overall layout score:

  • Ad slots (especially those that collapse when there’s no ad)
  • Chat features, particularly on the mobile side
  • Banners above the fold

Your developer should be able to minimize layout shifts by deploying responsive screens and prioritizing load time for the biggest offenders impacting your CLS score.

3. Scale Down Your Images and Videos

You don’t need us to tell you how crucial images and videos are to eCommerce sites. Your customers want to see as many details about your products as possible — so the more, the better, right?

Only when they’re properly optimized.

Large images may display fine on desktops and tablets, but they can seriously slow down your mobile site and negatively impact your users’ page experience. They’re also a huge detriment to your Core Web Vitals performance.

Work with your developer to determine which image sizes are best for your site and start implementing that standard across your site. You may be able to use an image resizing plugin (like ShortPixel Adaptive Images), or you may have to make individual page updates after prioritizing the largest images. 

Don’t forget your featured images and any videos as well. Native videos can be replaced by embeds from Youtube or Vimeo to cut down on load speed.

Moving forward, make sure to always include width and height size attributes on your images and video elements.

4. Load Page Content in Viewing Order

Most eCommerce sites have a lot going on for each webpage: images, videos, product page links and embeds, and more. A browser will automatically try to load all of these assets in sequential order; if you do not have your most important assets prioritized, it can negatively impact your Core Web Vital metrics.

We recommend prioritizing the loading of your page content as your viewer sees it by preloading important resources and implementing lazy load images. In short, content that appears above the fold should load first; additional content should wait until a visitor scrolls down the page to view it. This can improve your time to First Contentful Paint and time to interactive.

Talk to your developer about eliminating render-blocking resources to deliver critical Javascript and CSS first and defer all non-critical Javascript and CSS styles. They can ensure important page assets are delivered to the visitor first, without wasting page speed uploading what isn’t yet necessary to view.

5. Use a Content Delivery Network to Employ Aggressive Caching

A content delivery network (CDN) is an amazing asset for reducing page load speed. It minimizes load lag time between your site’s server and your user’s browser by caching page information for future page loads. While the difference between using and not using a CDN can seem minimal to most (often a few seconds), it can impact your load speed score immensely.

If you don’t have a CDN in place, when a customer loads your site, the page files are accessed from wherever your main server is hosting them. The server stores those files through caching, preventing a browser from re-downloading everything on a page every time it’s visited.

But, if that server isn’t local, loading time will lag. For example, if your customer is located in Florida and your server is located in Europe, those files will take a longer time to load on your customer’s browser.

A CDN spreads your network out, reducing that lag time. Instead of just one server, your site can be loaded from dozens of different servers. A user’s browser will load files from the server closest to them, and your page speed score will lift.

The CDN’s caching abilities also ensure a page’s assets are displayed faster the second time a consumer visits the site, because the assets are already downloaded from the server and stored in the CDN.

If you don’t have a CDN, now’s the time to get one. Speak with your developer about which CDN is right for your eCommerce site and getting it implemented for page speed improvements.

Prepare Your eCommerce Site for Core Web Vitals Now

With just a few weeks to go until the implementation of Core Web Vitals ranking signals, your eCommerce site has no time to lose. But don’t panic! Focusing on the biggest challenges now can help put you in the right position for the update rollout.

While we’ve offered some helpful places to start, we simply can’t cover every aspect of an exhaustive Core Web Vitals audit in this blog. If you’re still playing catch-up, start with the suggestions above and work your way forward from there.

When you and your developer are ready to dig deeper into the weeds, check out these additional resources:

Want to stay on top of Google updates like Core Web Vitals in the future? Our SEO team can create a custom strategy for your site’s SEO success, whatever changes may come. Request a free proposal anytime for more information.

How to Use Your PPC Campaigns as A Prospecting Tool for SEO

When launching a digital brand, PPC can be a great way to immediately break into a new market and start generating website traffic. But with rising CPCs and unmitigated click fraud, PPC can also get really expensive quickly. Even the most skilled digital marketers can struggle to run profitable Google Ads campaigns. For this reason, […]

The post How to Use Your PPC Campaigns as A Prospecting Tool for SEO appeared first on CXL.

When launching a digital brand, PPC can be a great way to immediately break into a new market and start generating website traffic. But with rising CPCs and unmitigated click fraud, PPC can also get really expensive quickly. Even the most skilled digital marketers can struggle to run profitable Google Ads campaigns.

For this reason, getting more out of your PPC spend is not just about properly optimizing; it’s about using all of that PPC data to shape a smarter SEO strategy. In this article, I’ll break down how to use your Google Ads campaigns as prospecting tools for SEO. 

Why PPC is an effective short term strategy, but SEO is the long game.

With PPC, it’s critical to remember that you’re in essence “renting” visits to your website in the short-term. 

Brands that rely heavily on revenue from paid than organic search are only one crisis away from having their business turn upside down. The moment you stop paying for search ads is the moment your traffic dries up.

You can certainly jumpstart traffic with paid search, but if you’re on a budget this strategy can be difficult to maintain.

Unlike PPC, organic SEO allows brands to earn that same traffic without paying, and if done correctly, continue to benefit over time. That doesn’t mean Google Ads can’t be a valuable part of your marketing strategy, but putting all your eggs in one basket can come back to haunt you.

Depending on the competition and the rate at which you build your site authority, seeing the rewards of SEO can take months. That’s why PPC is one of my favorite ways to quickly start testing out digital strategy and sales processes. 

To prospect well, you need to properly optimize your Google Ads campaign

Before we look at how PPC campaigns can help with SEO, it’s critical to ensure you’re already optimizing your PPC campaigns first. 

There is a lot that goes into optimizing Google Ads campaigns, here are some 

1) Take an iterative approach

Most likely, your first campaign will not be profitable. But an unprofitable campaign can still give you loads of information about your set of keyword targets, bid amounts, ad formats, and the details you need to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns .

For example, if your ad is being triggered for irrelevant search terms or generating the wrong types of clicks, add those terms to your negative keyword list. If your ads are earning impressions but not clicks, revise your ad copy and work towards making them more relevant. 

In terms of the ideal length of a PPC campaign, I recommend you have enough monthly budget to acquire at least a few hundred clicks (you need enough conversions to calculate a statistically significant conversion rate.) In my experience three months of PPC budget is enough time to iterate your optimizations and prospect for SEO. 

Make small adjustments, monitor your results, then implement new changes accordingly. 

2) Use single keyword ad groups

Many PPC managers agree that one of the best optimization practices is single keyword ad groups. Yes, it takes more work for your marketing teams, but pages with the most relevant ad copy will generally improve click-through-rate and conversions. 

Adwords Account.
Single Keyword AdGroup Structure (Image source: LinkGraph)

I find the SKAG campaign structure to be incredibly helpful, and it uses only one keyword per ad group (rather than one ad group targeting multiple keywords). SKAGs make it easier to determine which keywords will perform well or not for SEO because:

  • The SKAGs with the highest CTRs and conversions will likely be winning SEO keywords
  • SKAGs help uncover relevant search terms that are worth targeting organically
  • SKAGs make split testing easier (the next optimization step) and can help you identify the most effective headlines and descriptions that you can utilize on SEO-driven pages.

3) Write highly-targeted ad copy and utilize A/B testing

If you’re structuring your campaigns properly and using SKAGs, you can create unique text ads for each target keyword in an ad group. With the Google Ads built-in A/B testing feature, you can also test out different headlines or descriptions to see which performs better. 

With the “Optimize,” ad rotation setting, ad served get weighted toward the ad that statistically appears to perform better. To run a proper A/B test, you need to have a clearly defined variant that you are testing, as well as two sets of ad copy that are unique enough to produce different results. In the below example, the description is the variant being tested, and the data shows that the B variant performed better (despite far fewer impressions).

Ad tests.
Example of Google Ads A/B testing feature

One of the most common pitfalls of A/B testing is that advertisers test out too many variants making it difficult to determine why one ad performed better over another. For this reason, it’s important to only test one variant at a time. 

4) Use a Google Ads bid simulator to determine the price you’re willing to pay

A bid strategy will ultimately play a big part of paying less for better clicks in PPC campaigns. There are benefits and drawbacks to manual and automatic bidding, but both require advertisers to determine appropriate keyword bids for their highest-value keywords—marketing effectively is hard work!

The Google Ads bid simulator is a great tool for finding this magic number. Many digital marketers often set their max bids too high and end up overpaying for clicks.

Google Ads bid simulator.
Google Ads bid simulator for the keyword “kitchen curtains.” 

The degree of the curve can help you determine an appropriate price to set your max bid amount. Where the curve flattens off shows where increasing your bid will only result in minimal traffic increases. 

In the above example, if you increase CPC from $1.41 to $3.00, the marginal cost-per-click for the incremental traffic is over two times more expensive for only 7% more impressions. I would bid $1.07 – $1.41 here. 

5) Optimize your landing pages for conversion

The work of PPC doesn’t end after the click. Although some brands run PPC campaigns just for brand awareness, performance-based campaigns are easier to measure, and in my opinion, conversions should be the ultimate goal of paying for your clicks. This means your  PPC landing pages need to be designed to be efficient mouse traps. Check out CXL’s guide on how to build high converting landing pages to help ensure your landing pages are optmized. 

How to use PPC Campaigns to Prospect your SEO strategy 

Once you’ve optimized your Google Ads campaigns and start buying clicks, you will begin collecting loads of data not only about whether your PPC campaign structure is effective, but whether or not you can redeploy it in SEO. 

PPC campaigns can help digital marketers simultaneously test out three things: 1) keyword targeting, 2) traffic quality, and 3) their website’s conversion funnel.

1) Use PPC to identify the high-value keywords for which your website can realistically rank 

One of the most advantageous elements of a PPC campaign is it helps digital marketers test out certain keywords before designing an SEO strategy around ranking organically for them. 

The Search Terms Report is the best place to go to get information about your keyword targeting. 

Example of a Google Ads Search Terms Report

It’s important to remember that your Google Ads are not only triggered for the search phrases or words that you add to your campaign, even if you use “Exact Match.” 

So be sure to review your search terms report to see the various phrases your ads are being triggered for and utilize that data. 

There will likely be many search terms that are generating clicks that weren’t originally on your radar. This report will also give you a broader sense of the long-tail keyword variants that present SEO opportunities, because those keywords are often less competitive to rank for (but still have high search intent). You can then create new landing pages or blog posts that are optimized for those long-tail phrases.

The search terms that generate quality clicks help establish that those keywords are likely worth targeting in SEO. If you find search terms in this report that are not relevant to your products or services but your ads are showing up, there is likely something off with your keyword targeting. 

There are of course many possibilities for this, but the most common errors are that your keywords are either too broad or they are multi-intent keywords that bring traffic that is not necessarily in the sales funnel. To correct this, add those keywords with less relevance to a negative keyword list.

The cost-per-conversion of your Google Ads can also help you understand the potential long-term economic value of ranking organically for certain keywords. 

Google Ads cost per conversion metrics.
Google Ads cost-per-conversion metrics

If it would cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to generate clicks in a PPC campaign, but you can find a way to get that same traffic to perpetuity from organic rankings, you can make significant headway in improving the overall ROI of your marketing spend. 

SEO has a wonderful way of drastically lowering cost-per-acquisition over time. Once you understand which search phrases have the potential to bring clicks and customers, you can optimize your website to rank for those same keywords and get the same traffic (but this time, for free.)

2) Understand traffic quality and the economic value of clicks

The second major benefit of PPC is that you can use their campaigns to prospect the economic quality of the traffic that comes with specific keywords. 

What makes traffic have economic value? If it enters your conversion funnel. 

Naturally, Google charges advertisers more money when the data shows that the keyword is more likely to result in conversions for your business. But any well-seasoned digital marketer will tell you that high CPCs don’t always directly translate into quality traffic. 

If a user clicks on your search ad and doesn’t enter the conversion funnel on your website, you’ve essentially paid for nothing. The consequences can be deadly: Low-quality traffic (whether from click fraud or improper keyword targeting), higher cost-per-conversions, lower Quality Scores, and higher CPCs in the long run. So the best place to understand the traffic quality of those keywords targets is by using Google Analytics

Another essential step in optimized PPC campaigns is setting up proper tracking (this is especially important for B2Bs where marketing attribution is already pretty tricky.) If you’re not doing so already, it’s critical to  link your Google Ads account with Google Analytics so you see exactly what your site’s visitors are doing once they arrive on your website via a paid click.

Here are some of the Google Analytics metrics that provide insight into the quality of your PPC clicks. Remember, bad keyword targeting and irrelevant ad messaging is bound to return low-quality clicks (but that’s on you). 

  • Geographic Location: Traffic from certain geographic areas can mean site visitors with smaller budgets or less buying power. To understand buying power even more, you can use geo-targeting to segment audiences in their PPC campaigns by region and compare conversion rates and economic value. When it comes to applying this to your SEO strategy, although some keywords may have high global search volume, it doesn’t guarantee the traffic will have strong buying intent.
  • Desktop vs. Mobile: In general, mobile has a lower conversion rate for most products and brings wildly different traffic than desktop. A poorly designed mobile version of your site may prevent qualified users from entering your conversion funnel, but if a lot of your PPC clicks are coming from desktop but are not converting, it could be a sign of low-quality traffic with less buying intent. 
Desktop vs mobile.
Desktop versus mobile conversion rates tracked in Google Analytics. (Image Source: Hallam)
  • Exit Rate: This metric represents the rate at which people leave your website on specific pages. If your exit rate is high on those pages that have lead capture forms, pricing information, or checkout pages, it’s likely that traffic is not ready to convert or make a purchase and should be categorized as low-quality.
Exit rate metrics on Google Analytics
Exit rate metrics on Google Analytics

Low-quality traffic can destroy your PPC campaigns, with organic SEO there’s more room for error. Even if it is easy to rank for a specific keyword organically, Google doesn’t consider site traffic in its ranking algorithm. Although that low-quality traffic might have brand awareness value, the SEO value is little to none.

3) Test whether your landing pages are well-designed to convert

PPC campaigns also provide the opportunity to test your website’s conversion funnel. With Google Ads conversion tracking, you can get a great sense of whether your landing pages are pulling their weight and guiding users toward the desired conversion action. 

To set up conversion tracking, you need to select which conversion actions you want to track. For ecommerce companies you’ll likely want to track when a user adds items to their shopping cart. For B2B or B2C brand (where the next step in the sales funnel isn’t necessarily a purchase) you may want to track actions like lead form submissions, downloads, or demo bookings.

Example of conversion actions that can be tracked in a Google Ads campaign.
Example of conversion actions that can be tracked in a Google Ads campaign

If certain conversion actions are significantly higher with your PPC campaigns, your landing pages that rank well will likely benefit from harnessing similar CTAs, lead capture forms, or design elements.

Traditionally, specialized PPC landing pages look much different than SEO-driven landing pages. With PPC, landing pages usually present users with a more obnoxious call to action, limit the content depth on the page, or sometimes even remove the nav bar to prevent users from browsing through the website. 

Illustration of a landing page designed for SEO and one designed for PPC (Image Source: TempleToaster)

These design elements can often conflict with what it takes to get a landing page to rank organically (e.g. In-depth content, breadcrumbs, external links, information architecture, rich media, etc.) 

Use your PPC campaigns to test out different landing page design elements or conversion-optimized practices and identify what works best. Some ideas include:

  • Number and placement of of CTAs;
  • Design elements like fonts, colors, size of buttons, etc;
  • Conversion-optimized features like sticky bars;
  • Removal of navigation menu.

You can also send PPC clicks to landing pages that already have strong keyword rankings, or you know have ranking potential, to test whether your conversion journey will translate for users who arrive to your website organically.

Conclusion 

PPC campaigns can be a great way to generate clicks in the short term, but are also incredibly helpful in improving your overall SEO strategy as well.

Though coming at a cost, PPC campaigns provide incredible amounts of valuable data about keyword targets, traffic, and whether your website is or isn’t conversion optimized. 

Here are the key takeaways to execute a SEO prospecting process with your PPC campaigns.

  • Use your PPC campaigns to identify the highest value keywords for your SEO strategy— keywords that get impressions, clicks, and bring quality traffic to your website.
  • Prospect traffic quality by linking your Google Ads campaigns with your Google Analytics account. Look at the data to help you determine buying intent, such as geographic location, traffic by device type, and exit rate.
  • Use Google Ads conversion traffic to test and iterate on your website’s conversion funnel. Incorporate the conversion-optimized design elements that worked in your PPC campaigns to your SEO-driven pages. Or, send PPC traffic to your SEO-driven pages to test the conversion journey.

The post How to Use Your PPC Campaigns as A Prospecting Tool for SEO appeared first on CXL.

Closing The Backlink Gap: What It Takes To Outrank Your Competition

There’s no shortage of SEO advice on how to rank higher for key terms. Create high-quality content. Have an effective distribution strategy. Optimize your on-page SEO. Yet, even today, acquiring high-quality backlinks is still one of the most effective components of a successful SEO strategy. But what does it take to do it right?  In […]

The post Closing The Backlink Gap: What It Takes To Outrank Your Competition appeared first on CXL.

There’s no shortage of SEO advice on how to rank higher for key terms. Create high-quality content. Have an effective distribution strategy. Optimize your on-page SEO. Yet, even today, acquiring high-quality backlinks is still one of the most effective components of a successful SEO strategy. But what does it take to do it right? 

In this article, we’ll look at what the link gap is, how to effectively close it, and the keys to outrank your competition through your link building efforts. 

Is investing in a link building strategy still worth the effort? In most cases, yes. 

One study by Moz has shown that brands that don’t do link building have significantly lower chances of ranking high in Google. 99% of the top 50 Google results had at least one backlink to their website. 

Another Moz study, makes the strong case that the nature and the quality of links matter too. In other words, the authority of the linking site or page can significantly impact your position in SERPs. Paying for a bunch of low quality links is not a winning strategy. 

While backlinks are important, they aren’t the only thing that matters when working rank higher, even if they are coming from a super-authoritative website. 

Through my work, I’ve seen dozens of situations where a site built tons of valuable links, but it didn’t help it rank higher. Investigating further, I found that the most common scenario was the lack of meaningful content backed up by well-delivered keyword research. 

First and foremost, your content needs to be written to rank for key search terms. Without that foundation, backlinks really won’t move the needle. 

In addition to that, the responsiveness of your website is also an important ranking factor. If your website doesn’t display properly on every device, isn’t protected by HTTPS protocol, and loads very slowly, don’t be surprised if your link building efforts don’t work out. 

Links are extremely important for ranking higher in SERPs, but you shouldn’t disregard the rest of the ranking factors as well. Don’t make the mistake of investing in an expensive and time consuming link building strategy without getting the basics right first. 

Now let’s talk about what you came here for—the definition of the backlink gap and how to calculate it. 

The link gap is a difference in the number of referring domains that you have vs. that your competition has already acquired. 

In practice however, the link gap formula isn’t as straightforward because not all links are created equal.

When calculating the link gap, you should consider only the links that are valuable, not ones from sites with a low DR. 

To better illustrate my point, on the screenshot below, I used Ahrefs’ Domain Comparison report to run a quick analysis: 

You can see that my website is doing quite well since our DR is nearly as high as Page One Power’s, which as one of the oldest link building agencies is a competitor. 

However, if we look at the number of referring domains, you’ll see that, Digital Olympus, has about half the referring domains of Page One Power. 

Why then, do we have such a difference in referring domains while our DRs are nearly the same?

The answer is quite obvious—not all links that Page One Power has built are considered valuable. If we take a closer look at Page One Power’s link profile, we’ll see that the majority of referring domains are low quality. 

To calculate the link gap, your focus should be on the  number of meaningful links. The easiest way to get that number is by evaluating the DR of each referring domain. You can do it via Ahrefs’ Referring Domains report, which shows you the number of all referring domains. Other SEO tools such as SemRush have similar features.

At this point, filter the results from the highest to the lowest DR (for me, the minimal DR is 30): 

Once you have a  list of websites and their DR, you need to export the results and see how many links the top-quality (DR > 70), medium-quality (DR ≥ 30), and low-quality websites (DR < 30) have:

Here’s a side-by-side backlink profile comparison of Page One Power and Digital Olympus and the link gap we have for each link type:

In the screenshot above, you can see what I’ve been talking about a bit earlier – the link gap between Page One Power and Digital Olympus is significant, while our DRs are very close. This is already a warning sign since building about 400 links should have boosted Page One Power’s DR up to 75. The difference makes me suspect many of their links are low-quality.

So how can you determine how valuable your competitors’ links are? 

One of the easiest options is to run these links through a tool such as LinkResearchTools. If a link has a value above 1000, it is considered low quality. While it may be tempting to load up on low quality links in volume, the likely penalties can be costly. 

Below, I checked the links from Page One Power’s profile, and 200+ of them had an incredibly poor link quality score. 

While you can check each individual link manually, it’s quite a time consuming process. To speed things along, you can use a tool like  Majestic Bulk Checker which crawls page titles and helps you quickly find suspicious and low quality links. 

In this example, the initial link gap was over 400, and we cut it to a bit less than that by filtering the websites with low DR. Next, we figured out that around 250 of these links are low-quality by running them through LinkResearchTools. The final link gap ended up to be a bit more than 100 links, which is much easier to compete against. 

Okay, so we’ve defined the backlink gap and why the initial formula needs to be tweaked for more accurate insights. 

Once you’ve closed the gap, how do you stay ahead of your competition? The answer lies in link velocity. 

Simply put, link velocity is the number of monthly referring domains that a website gets. This number may include organic links as well as those generated through link building strategies. 

To help you understand the nature of link velocity, think about the movie called Catch Me if You Can. In it, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a very talented forger, who also was a master of deception and scams. Even though he was pursued by a detective, he managed to stay ahead every time because the detective didn’t follow his pattern of thinking. 

Essentially, link velocity resembles the same idea of thinking and acting like competition. If you ignore link velocity, it becomes the reason why your competitors always beat you to the punch. 

So how do you calculate it?

The easiest way to get the roughly estimated link velocity of any domain is through the Newly Acquired Links report in Ahrefs. Just make sure you’ve selected a decent time frame (at least 3 months) to get a more accurate result. 

Then the formula is simple—you get the general number of links, divide it by the number of months you’ve selected, and you get your link velocity. In the example above, our competitors have built 289 links in 3 months. Hence, their link velocity is 96. 

Once you’ve calculated your competitor’s link velocity, you’ll need to calculate yours. If you have a lower number than your competition you have work to do. 

I’m not going to sugar-coat it—closing the backlink gap is not something you can do once and cross off your todo list. It’s an always evolving process that requires constant attention. 

Here are a few effective strategies that can make your link building routine easier that I’ve used at my own link building agency.


Even if you’re a relatively new SEO, you’ve likely heard about the importance of ‘quality links.’ And it may be tempting to nod your head and say “I know!” Yet, you’d be surprised at how many marketers ignore this critical component of an effective link building strategy. 

The question is, which factors determine the quality of links? I’d recommend considering the following ones:

  • The website’s DR should be higher than 50. But if it’s an influencer’s blog and the DR is only 30, this site can still be considered trustworthy enough for link building
  • The historical growth of referring domains should be a slow rise not a massive spike. Here’s a graph from SEMrush do give you an idea of how a progressive growth looks like:
  • The referring domains that a website has should be related to its niche. Majestic can be of great help here as it analyzes page titles of all referring domains of a website and makes it easier to identify the relevant ones. You can also scan the list of referring domains manually if you know your industry well enough. 
  • The sites with a high DR and but low number of referring domains aren’t as trustworthy.
  • Generally speaking, a linking website should have a blog with a history of publishing high quality content. 

All these metrics show whether a website you’re analyzing is following a shifty link building strategy or not. Any suspicious spikes in the growth of referring domains or a lot of irrelevant backlinks are a reliable indication as to whether or not a link is quality. 

In my experience, I’ve noticed that SaaS brands are often a great place to start with link acquisition. Many SaaS websites often show strong DR growth dynamics as well. Theoretically, if you build a link on a website with DR 30, this metric has all the chances to reach 60-70 very soon. 

However, when it comes to link building, caution is the parent of safety. Again, before you get involved with a SaaS brand and jump right into building links, always check the historical growth of its referring domains: 

If this metric shows smooth link acquisition without abrupt spikes—it’s a good sign you can proceed with little risk. 

I would recommend starting your link prospecting by checking various products featured on G2, Capterra, ProductHunt, and so on. I’ve also found great success by scanning private groups on Facebook related to SaaS products. For instance, here’s a link to the group that has over 13k members:

The next step is to find marketers from tools that are relevant to your niche and connect with them via LinkedIn. I traditionally recommend against using Facebook for outreach as it can be perceived as spammy.  

I wrote a previous article here on CXL that covers the most effective link building outreach strategies.

When possible, prioritize links from pages with a high quantity of relevant links over links that are just related to your niche.

You can find such pages in Ahrefs’ Best by Links report. Ideally, if you get a link from such a page, this link’s value will jump through the roof. 

Of course, many high DR websites are pitched daily, so it’s not always easy to build a link building relationship. Instead, you can switch your focus on the pages that are currently attracting a lot of links. This can be done through the Best by Links’ Growth report in Ahrefs:

Additionally, you can use LinkResearchTools to spot such pages as well. They have the LTV metric that shows the link growth to a particular page or domain in general:

Essentially, these pages show a good link building potential and will soon become rich with links. If you take advantage of them, you’ll have a high-quality link in your profile over time. 

4) Seek out the industry professionals who write guest posts

One more way to build top-notch links is through guest posts. While not as valuable as they once were, they are still an excellent method to get links though somewhat time consuming.

I recommend finding someone from your niche who has submitted guest content on industry-relevant websites and pitching a collaboration. 

You can find such industry professionals through BuzzSumo—just take a couple sites with guest posts, run them through the BuzzSumo search, and it will show all the authors who have submitted content there: 

Next, click on the author’s name, and BuzzSumo will show their content portfolio.

Your task here is to get the contacts of at least 15 writers. If just starting out, don’t pitch high level marketing celebrities right off the bat. 

Once you’ve finalized your list of attainable folks to outreach, you can begin building the relationship. Here’s an example of an outreach email with a partnership offer: 

At this point, keep in mind that you will also have to return the favor. And, if you don’t write guest posts yourself, you will have to allocate the backlink to those folks on your website which may not always be ideal. 

In this case, the best solution is to write a guest post yourself or hire someone to do it for you and place the reciprocal link there. If you write at least 2-3 guest posts, you can include about 10-20 links in them. However, be sure to make that decision based on the number of reciprocal links your partners expect from you. 

5) Outreach through email and social media is still effective 

Of course, email outreach is also a common practice in link building. Its perk is not only building partnerships but also developing long-lasting relationships. 

Traditionally, this strategy is most effective when you send a high volume of emails. Keep these things in mind.

  • Personalization is a must. And no, adding a name is not enough. Try to diversify your emails by mentioning the previous company where the person worked, their last publication, tweet, etc. Most of us can spot insincere flattery a mile away. But when done right, it can be a great hook to get you in the door. In the example below, we used Pitchbox merge fields to identify the right personalization hook for the email—the country where the addressee lives. 
Protip: Never ever lie or mislead with your outreach. Not only is it morally wrong, it can cause harm to your reputation.
  • Provide a reason for a link building partnership. Here the goal is to demonstrate what’s in it for them. For example, altering them of broken links from their website or highlighting the issue with their mobile experience. You can also point out some toxic links in their backlink profile.
  • Mind your reputation. Do your email outreach campaign in a way that won’t negatively impact your brand. Remain classy, provide solid reasons for a link building collaboration, and don’t beg for links if you want to build meaningful relationships with a potential partner. 

There’s one final suggestion I find incredibly important—don’t start the outreach process via email if you can. Instead, try contacting a potential partner on LinkedIn. There, you can learn more about the person’s professional activity and find an interesting topic that will help break the ice. 

Conclusion

Closing the link gap and maintaining high ranking compared to your competition is not a one and done process. Taking a long term approach to your link building strategy will help you build a strong foundation and continue to dominate your rivals. 

Here’s what to keep in mind.

  1. Determine your linkgap and account for the quality of links of your competitors. 
  2. Calculate the link velocity of both you and those you’re trying to out rank. If your link velocity is lower, there’s plenty of room for improvement. 
  3. Link quality matters, ignore this advice at your own risk.
  4. Experiment with getting links from up and coming SaaS companies.
  5. Prioritize links from pages with a large number of quality links.
  6. Create link building partnerships with industry experts who are known to guest post.
  7. Outreach via email and social media is still quite effective. 

The post Closing The Backlink Gap: What It Takes To Outrank Your Competition appeared first on CXL.

How to Test SEO-Related Changes on Your eCommerce Site

What is SEO testing and how does it work? Learn how to set up tests that will help measure & evaluate the results of your website optimizations.

One of the more challenging aspects of SEO is proving that the juice is worth the squeeze, especially with eCommerce websites. With so many moving parts involved, it can be difficult to directly attribute improvements in organic performance to SEO initiatives. In turn, convincing your company or client to invest in those initiatives can take a lot of time, persuasion, and frustration on both ends.

Proper SEO testing can help. There are now more resources than ever to quickly and efficiently pinpoint what does and doesn’t work in SEO marketing — and how a business should invest in SEO strategy moving forward. If you’re not using an SEO testing tool yet, you’re missing out.

In this post, we’ll give you all the info you need to start your SEO testing initiative successfully, including:

  • What SEO testing is and why it’s important (especially for eCommerce sites)
  • How SEO testing works
  • How you build and run tests as well as track results with SEO testing tools
  • And more

What is SEO Testing?

SEO testing is just like any other technical performance test: You make a change to your site or web page and evaluate how it affects your organic traffic.

In theory, it sounds simple. But, unlike PPC testing or CRO testing, it’s not always easy to trace one SEO-related change to increases in organic traffic. A lot of factors will influence your site’s organic performance at any given time; concluding that a single change made a specific difference is near impossible if you don’t do it right.

For this reason, SEO testing must be conducted precisely. Like any good experiment, you can’t adjust a bunch of variables and expect clean results. You’ll need to choose one change to make, set it up with a control group, and then see what happens.

If you conduct testing on your product pages incorrectly, you may find yourself doing damage control a few weeks later — watching organic traffic fall for your product pages and sales numbers take a hit. Working with an SEO testing tool (or an experienced SEO strategist) makes this far less likely.

The Basics of SEO Testing

Search engine optimization isn’t an exact science. There seems to be a new theory every week on “the next big ranking factor,” and SEO strategies go in and out of fashion all the time.

So, when you sit down to do website SEO testing for your product and category pages, put those out of your mind. The goal is to find out what works well for your site’s performance, no one else’s.

How It Works

We’ve found most eCommerce businesses go about SEO testing in three ways — but only one is the clear winner in terms of efficacy, timeliness, and results.

SEO Serial Test

This is the OG SEO test: You make a change to an entire page type across you site, and then you monitor the organic traffic and rankings for that page type over the weeks and months to come.

We used this exact tactic to test category page descriptions for an eCommerce client. We added short 75–100 word descriptions to category pages (following specific guidelines) and, over the course of 18 months, saw a 46% increase in organic sessions to those pages. While we couldn’t confidently say the increase was solely due to the category description optimizations, the results did give us reason to move forward with this optimization on any remaining category pages.

Time-Based SEO Testing

A time-based SEO test uses the same concepts as a serial SEO test. However, in this test, you’ll only make a change to one page and watch how it performs. 

Here’s an example of and the results from a traditional time-based test we ran for one of our clients through SEOTesting.com:

An example of time-based SEO test through SEOTesting.com

This may seem like the simplest way to test SEO changes, but proceed with caution. Many outside factors can impact your page during the testing period, including algorithm updates, seasonality trends, and other seemingly unrelated website changes. It’s risky to assume positive results came straight from your page edit, especially if you plan to roll out that change across your entire site. Be proactive in eliminating as many variables as possible before implementing an SEO test like this.

A/B Testing or Split Testing

If you want the best results for your eCommerce site, SEO split testing is the way to go.

SEO split testing uses the same concept as its more popular cousin, CRO A/B testing. But, because we’re only serving an audience of one (a search engine), we have to change up the process a bit.

Split testing begins by creating two groups of web pages — the control group, which will remain the same, and the variable group, where we’ll apply the test we want to run. After enough time to generate statistical significance, we’ll evaluate the results. If the variable group’s organic performance improved, the test is a success.

Here’s an example: Say you want to test whether adding “free shipping” to your meta titles will increase clicks from searchers. You’ll create one group of products for your control, keeping their meta titles as is. Then, you’ll create another group (the variable group), and you’ll apply “free shipping” in the same place in the meta title. Analyzing the results will tell you whether or not your hypothesis was right — and whether you should roll out the change across all of your product pages.

Most of the SEO testing tools available today use split testing. Keep in mind: A/B SEO testing is most successful in eCommerce sites with substantial (at least 100k) monthly organic sessions.

A/B testing has often been the most successful testing method for our clients. In one of our most recent tests, we took two groups of blog posts: a variant group of 159 and a control group of 159. The client’s site had H2s and H3s all over the site, including on unimportant text. To test the effects of changing those subheads, we experimented with the variant group by keeping only one H1 and one H2 on the most important headers of the page. The control group we left untouched.

A few weeks later, we took a look at the results:

SEO test 1 results, showing positive effect. SEO test 1 graph, showing positive growth over time.

Overall, we saw an increase in organic traffic to the variant blog pages. We concluded it came from increased rankings from our experiment changes — and that we could reasonably assume the same effect would be felt on other blog pages, as well.

The Features You Should Test

For best results, these accepted ranking factors should be a part of any SEO testing strategy. But, remember: Don’t start changing them all at once, or your test results will be worthless.

As you’re testing changes on your page types, remember to follow SEO copywriting guidelines for the best chance of success.

The Metrics You Should Watch — And How to Measure Them

It’s no use testing SEO changes if you’re not going to measure the results. But exactly which metrics to measure will often depend on the changes you make. For example, if you edit your meta titles or descriptions, changes in clicks to that product or category page may indicate efficiency.

Before you implement an SEO testing strategy, identify exactly which metrics you will monitor. It will make your job easier in the long run.

Proper SEO testing will reveal changes in:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Position
  • Click-through rate
  • Number of ranking keywords
  • And more

The bottom line: The more data you collect while SEO-testing your website, the better. 

There’s another reason we recommend an SEO testing tool: They make tracking and reporting on your results simple. You’ll easily be able to see whether your changes made a difference and, if they did, whether they’re significant enough to roll out across your site. Bonus: Many tools will also report statistical significance for you, indicating whether you can expect similar effects on other pages.

How to Choose Which Technology is Best for You

Before you choose an SEO testing tool, you’ll need to evaluate a few things:

  • What kind of tests you want to run
  • Your budget
  • Your tech stack

Certain tools will require integration with apps, like Google Search Console or Google Analytics. Others will collect the data and analyze the results within one platform, but you may need to standardize results with your other reporting tools for accuracy.

Learn more about your options and find the tool that’s right for you below. Or, if you want our help in selecting the best tool for your eCommerce site, request a proposal here.

The 5 Best SEO Testing Tools

1. SplitSignal

Semrush recently introduced a SEO split-testing tool, which they (fittingly) named SplitSignal. The tool is client-side rendered, focused on the number of organic sessions, and based on a statistical model. Inflow is one of the few agencies invited to test SplitSignal in its current early stages. 

How It Works: SplitSignal automates the process of splitting test groups and generating Javascript snippets for the pages to be tested. It also establishes a statistical model based on a site’s existing traffic trends, so you can easily see the estimated impact of changing certain on-page elements.

Tech You Need: 

  • Semrush account
  • Google Search Console
  • Google Analytics
  • Javascript Snippet

What It Tests:

SplitSignal tests on-page elements, including:

  • Titles
  • Meta tags
  • Structured data
  • Ad-block placements
  • Alt tags
  • And more

Signs It’s Right for You: 

  • You want to get your test set up quickly and efficiently. SplitSignal takes care of all the work; your developers will simply need to add the Javascript snippet to applicable pages.
  • Your site has more than 100,000 visits per month and more than 300 pages on a similar template (for example, product pages).

Signs It’s Not Right for You:

  • You have a small eCommerce site, selling only a few products.
  • You want a tool that will suggest test conditions for you.

Price: SplitSignal pricing is not yet available in the private beta phase. If you’re interested in this testing program, contact our SEO team for more information.

2. RankSense

RankSense is an automated tool that generates optimized, accurate titles and descriptions for web pages, based on the text on the page. It tracks the performance of the updated pages to confirm the changes are working before applying them elsewhere on your site.

How It Works: RankSense is integrated with Cloudflare to track all the visits to your site from organic searchers and search engine bots. Whenever a visit occurs, the tool scans your page for SEO issues and makes any necessary changes to the page’s HTML, including changes to meta data. Because RankSense works within Cloudflare, no additional Google integrations are required; results are analyzed and reported within the tool itself.

Tech You Need:

  • A content delivery network (CDN). Currently, RankSense uses Cloudflare, but integrations with Akamai are coming soon.

What It Tests:

  • Meta descriptions
  • Meta titles (coming soon)

Signs It’s Right for You: 

  • You have a large eCommerce site with hundreds or thousands of products, making meta changes difficult to complete manually.
  • You don’t have the manpower or expertise to choose which optimizations to make, and you want a program to do it for you.

Signs It’s Not Right for You:

  • You have a small eCommerce site, selling only a few products.
  • Your site runs on Shopify.

Price: Free to $500 a month, depending on how many URLs you want to optimize

3. ClickFlow

ClickFlow is content intelligence software that performs SEO split testing and offers other automated optimization tools, including a keyword-suggesting content editor and a content-decay discovery system.

How It Works: ClickFlow’s SEO testing tool centers on changes to page titles and meta data. The tool allows you to test single URLs or groups of URLs against each other, depending on your subscription type.

Tech You Need:

  • Google Search Console

What It Tests:

  • Meta descriptions
  • Meta titles

Signs It’s Right for You: 

  • You’re comfortable with writing testable title tags and meta descriptions on your own.
  • You want a tool that does more than just test; it also suggests content and meta data optimizations for you to implement.

Signs It’s Not Right for You:

  • You want a program that’s as hands-off as possible and implements site changes for you.

Price: Starts at $109 a month for sites with up to 10,000 Google Search Console clicks a month

4. SEOTesting

SEOTesting allows for traditional time-based and split SEO testing efforts. It also offers optimization guidance through search intent highlighting, long-tail keyword reports, and more.

How It Works: SEOTesting integrates with Google Search Console to record the changes you’ve made to pages on your site and track the results. You can also back-date your tests to compare historical data for better analysis. The tool also annotates Google algorithm updates, so you can quickly see how those updates may be impacting your site and SEO tests.

Tech You Need:

  • Google Search Console

What It Tests:

While SEOTesting offers optimization guidance, it doesn’t make those changes for you. In theory, you could track tests to all kinds of meta and structured data through SEOTesting, as long as you make changes to the control and variant groups yourself.

Signs It’s Right for You: 

  • You are willing and able to make changes to the pages you’re testing.
  • You want to test only a few pages at a time. 

Signs It’s Not Right for You:

  • You wish to test a large number of pages at the same time. Because SEOTesting does not integrate the actual changes to your site, your developers will spend a lot of time implementing those changes across your pages — and, if the test fails, reversing the change.
  • You don’t have the manpower or ability to make changes to your site on your own. 

Price: Free 14-day trial, after which prices start at $19 a month

5. SearchPilot

SearchPilot performs A/B SEO testing through a streamlined deployment. After you choose a group of pages and the edit you wish to test, SearchPilot splits them into a control and test group for you. The SearchPilot Optimization Delivery Network (ODN) analyzes the organic traffic (taking into account external influences) and allows you to immediately make that change across your entire site, should you want.

How It Works: SearchPilot operates as an ODN, meaning the platform makes changes to HTML files as requests pass through to users and search engine bots from your server (think of it as a more advanced CDN). Because it operates directly on HTML and a cloud platform, SearchPilot is compatible with and operates independently with any CMS.

Tech You Need:

  • A content delivery network (CDN). SearchPilot is deployed within your site’s CDN.
  • An analytics platform, such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics

What It Tests:

SearchPilot can test any aspect of a page’s HTML or http response, including:

  • Meta data
  • Structured data
  • HTML structure
  • Page content
  • Internal links
  • And more

The tool can also combine results across multiple similarly structured sites (“compound testing”) to test the changes across multiple different country websites (cctlds). SearchPilot can also conduct “full-funnel” tests, combining analysis of SEO impact with CRO testing impact.

Signs It’s Right for You: 

  • Your eCommerce site has at least one section of hundreds of pages or more within the same template and more than 30,000 organic sessions per month in that section.
  • While you want to choose the modification to test, you want a tool to implement the changes for you.

Signs It’s Not Right for You:

  • You have a small eCommerce site without large numbers of pages on the same template.

Price: Contact SearchPilot for a quote.

The Benefits of SEO Testing on Your Site

Most digital marketers are familiar with SEO best practices and apply them across their site. But SEO testing is the only way you can prove that those tactics are actually working. It’s the closest you can get to beating search engines’ algorithms at their own game.

Rather than applying sitewide changes and hoping for the best (and frantically doing damage control when they don’t), you can use SEO tests to evaluate and validate your efforts ahead of time. If a strategy doesn’t work in your test, you avoid implementing failed efforts across your entire site. But, if they do, you can roll out your optimizations with full confidence in the positive results to follow. 

In the long term, using test-driven SEO efforts will save you time and money — and, of course, provide the SEO “proof” that your clients always ask for.

Here’s another example: Inflow and SplitSignal ran an additional test (for the same client mentioned above) on meta description updates (specifically, replacing a custom description with the page’s H1 and subheadings).

SEO test 2 results, showing no significant change. SEO test 2 graph, showing no significant change.

While we didn’t see significant changes, the test wasn’t in vain. Because we knew the change didn’t have any effect, we could avoid wasted time and move onto another test.

Measuring Your SEO Test ROI

But how exactly can you measure the money made or saved with SEO testing, and how can you prove to your team or clients that SEO testing is worth the investment?

With a little bit of data, it’s easy to calculate the estimated ROI for if you roll out your tested change across the entire tested page type. You’ll need:

  • Organic traffic, Average Order Value, conversion rate, and revenue generated over the trailing 12 months for the tested page type.
  • The results from your SEO test — specifically the expected lift in organic traffic to the tested page type. 
  • A calculator or spreadsheet!

An example: Say our SEO test involved adding “New Styles” to a group of Collections pages’ meta data. Here, we’ve calculated the predicted revenue lift that that client should anticipate after rolling out this winning test. 

The test was run on Collections (category) pages and showed a 21% lift in organic traffic. After calculating the predicted traffic numbers and considering the average conversion rate, we’d assume about 10,924.85 customers would convert (give or take a few decimal points). Multiply that by average order value, and you’ll get the new total predicted revenue: $1,431,155.

In this case, we would expect the client to see a 12-month increase in organic revenue ($248,382) after rolling out this change across all Collections pages. 

Table showing estimate revenue lift from SEO testing efforts.
*Screenshot courtesy of SplitSignal

Remember to always take into consideration if you hadn’t run any SEO tests. Think about the costs of the worse results if you hadn’t performed any tests, as well as any unavoidable negative changes that are part of the SEO beast.

Because you may not see discernible changes in your analytics quickly, this is the best way to evaluate your test results. From there, you can decide whether the revenue increase will pay for — and validate — the costs of testing.

Start Your SEO Testing Program Now

As with any SEO experiment, SEO-testing your eCommerce website comes with some risk. You can hypothesize all day about how a change will affect your performance, but you won’t really know until the test is underway. For this reason, many eCommerce owners and marketers shy away from this kind of testing, fearing potential losses.

But, in our opinion, SEO testing is well worth the effort. Yes, you may experience some small losses (or, even better, gains) from running the tests, but the knowledge you gain will shape your SEO strategy moving forward. And, with so many tools readily available, getting started is easier than ever.

Want an experienced hand to guide you through your testing strategy? Our SEO strategists frequently run tests for clients and can do the same for your eCommerce site. Request a free proposal now to learn more.