SEO Split Testing Lessons

SEO Split Testing Lessons
For this edition of #SPQuiz, we asked our Twitter followers what they thought the impact would be on organic traffic of adding the current month and year to title tags on a listings website. Opinion was split between positive and no detectable impact, with a majority thinking it would be a beneficial change.

Twitter poll result showing 53.6% of people choosing positive

In this case, the majority of voters showed how smart they are by picking the correct answer! In this case, as you’ll read below, adding the month and year to title tags showed a 5% uplift for organic sessions.

The Case Study

As well as being an important place to include relevant keywords to help rankings, title tags serve another purpose in signalling to users. Title tags are often the first interaction a user will have with a website’s brand, and it’s important to make a good first impression! With that in mind, there is often a tradeoff between including relevant keywords, and having a listing that will draw searchers’ attention and make them want to click.

At SearchPilot, we have the luxury of being able to test this tradeoff directly, and measuring what the impact of making a user-focussed title tag change is on organic traffic.

For listing sites (think real estate, jobs, coupons etc.), one important factor that can help stand out from competitors is freshness: users will want to go to the site with the most up-to-date items available. One way that sites try to demonstrate the freshness of their listings is by including the date of the most recent update in titles or meta descriptions.

This is particularly important at certain times of the year. For example, around the new year, sites will want to show that their listings are from the current year.

With this in mind, in January 2020 we ran a test on listings pages on a client’s website to add “in January 2020” to title tags. The website is in an industry where January is a key peak time, and there is high turnover of their listings, so freshness is a key signal to their potential users.