GSC Insights’ daily keyword tracking makes the platform the ideal choice for performing SEO A/B tests.

Using the Site Events feature, webmasters can track the optimizations they make to their websites and better understand whether those optimizations had a positive or negative impact on their SEO performance.
Article Contents

What is SEO A/B Testing?
What is the Site Events Feature in GSC Insights?
Why Run SEO A/B Tests Using GSC Insights?
How to Add a Site Event
How to Set up a SEO A/B Test
SEO Variants to Test in GSC Insights
Measuring the Results of a SEO A/B Test
SEO A/B Test Example

What is SEO A/B Testing?

A/B testing is the process of comparing two versions of an asset like a webpage, an advertisement, or a cold email, and measuring the results. A/B testing is commonly used in paid media campaigns to measure the effectiveness of ad creatives or copy, but this data-rich technique is one of the best ways for us to understand how Google responds to the changes we make to our websites.

What is the Site Events Feature in GSC Insights?

The Site Events feature allows site owners to track the optimizations they make to their landing pages and analyze those changes alongside their website’s historical data.

The Site Events feature is accessible in every Historical Data window of GSC Insights. After you click a “View” button in the Pages tab of your Search Performance feature, you will see the Site Events button in the right hand corner of the Historical Data Window.

This feature allows you to track any optimizations or changes you make to specific landing pages, groups of pages, or sitewide. Once you add a site event in GSC Insights, that event will now appear in your Historical Data.
Why Run SEO A/B Tests Using GSC Insights?

The data in your GSC Insights account comes directly from Google Search Console, making it the most comprehensive SEO dataset for your website available anywhere.

Because GSC Insights sees every keyword your website ranks for, is updated daily, and includes full impressions data, it provides the fastest, most accurate picture of how the optimizations or changes you make to your web pages impact your SEO performance.

With the Site Events feature, GSC Insights makes analyzing the results of A/B tests simple and straightforward.
How to Add a Site Event

To add a Site Event, click on the “Add Site Event” button at the top right hand corner of any Historical Data Window.

If you have not yet added any Site Events, your Site Event list will initially be empty and say “No Data”.

Click “Add Event” and a new window will appear that prompts you to give the Site Event a name, a date, and to specify whether the change impacted a specific page, a page group, or was a sitewide event.

If you select “Sitewide Event” in the “Event Affected” dropdown menu, that event will be added to the Historical data of all of your pages. If you select a specific page group, it will be added to the pages you have already assigned to that specific group in the Page Groupings feature. To add the event to just the single page, select, “This Page”.
You will also be prompted to select an icon for the Site Event. The icons represent the following:

😀 = Positive Event
😟 = Negative Event
↗️ = LinkGraph Software or Services
🔗 = Link Building
📣 = Digital PR
⏱️ = Page Speed Improvements
🤖 = Metadata Optimization
🐞 = Technical Bug

The icons will appear below your Impressions, Positions, Keywords, and Traffic charts in your Historical Data.

Place your cursor over the event icon to see the name and date of the event.

You can also add a Site Event by placing your cursor over the graph and clicking on the “Add Event” text.

Adding Site Events to your Historical Data allows you to easily see the relationship between any optimizations you make and your keyword rankings, impressions, and clicks.
How to Set Up an SEO A/B Test

Here are the major steps to performing a SEO A/B Test.

Choose your variant. Whether you want to test out copy changes, design changes, meta descriptions or internal links, make sure you only test out one variant at a time.
Choose the pages where you want to test the variant. If you include multiple pages in the test, make sure the variant stays consistent across all of those pages.
Once the changes go live, add a Site Event in GSC Insights. Make sure you clearly identify the date of the event and which pages were impacted.
Wait 10-14 days to measure results. depending on how frequently Google crawls the pages in the test.
Review your Historical Data. to see if there are positive or negative results in total keyword rankings, impressions, average position, or traffic.

SEO Variants to Test Using GSC Insights

There are a variety of on-page optimizations that site owners can test using GSC Insights.

Although these changes must be made in your CMS or in the backend of your website, they can be tracked and analyzed using the Site Events Feature.

Here are suggestions for on-page elements that webmasters can A/B test using the tool:

Page Titles
Meta Descriptions
Internal Links
Topical Depth
Content Length
Technical Optimizations
Rich Media
UI/UX Design

The Site Events feature can also be used to measure the impact of off-site factors like:

Link Building Campaigns
Digital PR
Google Algorithm Updates
Web hosting or server changes

Measuring the Results of an SEO A/B Test

Depending on the variant that you are testing and how often Google crawls your web pages, you can likely start measuring the impact of your variants within 10-14 days.

There are several SEO metrics in your GSC Insights dashboard that you can use to measure the impact of your optimizations:

Total Number of Keywords: This represents the total number of keywords that Google shows your web page in the search results. Ranking for more relevant keywords gets your website in front of more potential customers.
Impressions: Impressions are the number of times that searchers see your SERP result. As your total number of keywords improve, so will your impressions.
Average Rank Position: This metric represents the average rank position across all of the keywords the web page is ranking for. The higher your SERP result ranks on the page, the more likely you are to get clicks.
Traffic: Traffic is the total number of searchers who click on your SERP result and go to your website. Traffic naturally increases with a higher total number of keywords and the higher your rank position on the search engine results page.

SEO A/B Test Example

LinkGraph often uses GSC Insights to A/B test the impact of our optimizations and software products like the SEO Content Assistant.

In the below SEO A/B test, our “White Label SEO” page was earning no traffic from Google. We wanted to test whether increasing the topical depth of the web page (with the help of our SEO Content Assistant) could improve the web page’s overall SEO performance.

Prior to the optimizations, the page was getting no traffic and was only ranking for about 70 keywords.

The content updates went live on January 2nd. Within 3 days, we started to see improvements. The page's total keyword rankings increased from 71 to 176.

As a result of ranking for more keywords, the page naturally started earning more impressions. 30 days after the optimizations, impressions for the page nearly doubled.

Within 5 days, the page’s average rank position across all keywords also improved as Google recognized the higher-quality content. Within 35 days, we saw another significant jump in rank position, moving from 80 to about 32.5.

This SEO A/B test highlighted many insights including the importance of high-quality, in-depth content. But one particular insight is how important rank position is to earning organic traffic. Once we improved our average ranking position on Feb. 10, we finally earned our first organic clicks to the page on Feb. 12th.

Now, the page is receiving organic clicks on a daily basis.

Here are the keyword searches driving the most clicks.

In about 5 months, the web page now ranks in the number one position for it’s target keyword, “White Label SEO” Improving the topical depth helped us outrank competitors, even those with larger backlink profiles.

As a result of this SEO A/B test, we used our SEO Content Assistant to add content and topical depth to other web pages on our site and saw similar results.

To read more about how we’ve used our SEO Content Assistant tool to improve our rank position, read our case studies.
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