Tag Archive | "Test"

Native ad test in Google Discover feeds gets a new look

The ads reflect the new design of Google Discover, previously known as Google Feed.



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Surprising SEO A/B Test Results – Whiteboard Friday

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You can make all the tweaks and changes in the world, but how do you know they’re the best choice for the site you’re working on? Without data to support your hypotheses, it’s hard to say. In this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday, Will Critchlow explains a bit about what A/B testing for SEO entails and describes some of the surprising results he’s seen that prove you can’t always trust your instinct in our industry.

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Video Transcription

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another British Whiteboard Friday. My name is Will Critchlow. I’m the founder and CEO at Distilled. At Distilled, one of the things that we’ve been working on recently is building an SEO A/B testing platform. It’s called the ODN, the Optimization Delivery Network. We’re now deployed on a bunch of big sites, and we’ve been running these SEO A/B tests for a little while. I want to tell you about some of the surprising results that we’ve seen.

What is SEO A/B testing?

We’re going to link to some resources that will show you more about what SEO A/B testing is. But very quickly, the general principle is that you take a site section, so a bunch of pages that have a similar structure and layout and template and so forth, and you split those pages into control and variant, so a group of A pages and a group of B pages.

Then you make the change that you’re hypothesizing is going to make a difference just to one of those groups of pages, and you leave the other set unchanged. Then, using your analytics data, you build a forecast of what would have happened to the variant pages if you hadn’t made any changes to them, and you compare what actually happens to the forecast. Out of that you get some statistical confidence intervals, and you get to say, yes, this is an uplift, or there was no difference, or no, this hurt the performance of your site.

This is data that we’ve never really had in SEO before, because this is very different to running a controlled experiment in a kind of lab environment or on a test domain. This is in the wild, on real, actual, live websites. So let’s get to the material. The first surprising result I want to talk about is based off some of the most basic advice that you’ve ever seen.

Result #1: Targeting higher-volume keywords can actually result in traffic drops

I’ve stood on stage and given this advice. I have recommended this stuff to clients. Probably you have too. You know that process where you do some keyword research and you find that there’s one particular way of searching for whatever it is that you offer that has more search volume than the way that you’re talking about it on your website right now, so higher search volume for a particular way of phrasing?

You make the recommendation, “Let’s talk about this stuff on our website the way that people are searching for it. Let’s put this kind of phrasing in our title and elsewhere on our pages.” I’ve made those recommendations. You’ve probably made those recommendations. They don’t always work. We’ve seen a few times now actually of testing this kind of process and seeing what are actually dramatic drops.

We saw up to 20-plus-percent drops in organic traffic after updating meta information in titles and so forth to target the more commonly-searched-for variant. Various different reasons for this. Maybe you end up with a worse click-through rate from the search results. So maybe you rank where you used to, but get a worse click-through rate. Maybe you improve your ranking for the higher volume target term and you move up a little bit, but you move down for the other one and the new one is more competitive.

So yes, you’ve moved up a little bit, but you’re still out of the running, and so it’s a net loss. Or maybe you end up ranking for fewer variations of key phrases on these pages. However it happens, you can’t be certain that just putting the higher-volume keyword phrasing on your pages is going to perform better. So that’s surprising result number one. Surprising result number two is possibly not that surprising, but pretty important I think.

Result #2: 30–40% of common tech audit recommendations make no difference

So this is that we see as many as 30% or 40% of the common recommendations in a classic tech audit make no difference. You do all of this work auditing the website. You follow SEO best practices. You find a thing that, in theory, makes the website better. You go and make the change. You test it.

Nothing, flatlines. You get the same performance as the forecast, as if you had made no change. This is a big deal because it’s making these kinds of recommendations that damages trust with engineers and product teams. You’re constantly asking them to do stuff. They feel like it’s pointless. They do all this stuff, and there’s no difference. That is what burns authority with engineering teams too often.

This is one of the reasons why we built the platform is that we can then take our 20 recommendations and hypotheses, test them all, find the 5 or 6 that move the needle, only go to the engineering team to build those ones, and that builds so much trust and relationship over time, and they get to work on stuff that moves the needle on the product side.

So the big deal there is really be a bit skeptical about some of this stuff. The best practices, at the limit, probably make a difference. If everything else is equal and you make that one tiny, little tweak to the alt attribute or a particular image somewhere deep on the page, if everything else had been equal, maybe that would have made the difference.

But is it going to move you up in a competitive ranking environment? That’s what we need to be skeptical about.

Result #3: Many lessons don’t generalize

So surprising result number three is: How many lessons do not generalize? We’ve seen this broadly across different sections on the same website, even different industries. Some of this is about the competitive dynamics of the industry.

Some of it is probably just the complexity of the ranking algorithm these days. But we see this in particular with things like this. Who’s seen SEO text on a category page? Those kind of you’ve got all of your products, and then somebody says, “You know what? We need 200 or 250 words that mention our key phrase a bunch of times down at the bottom of the page.” Sometimes, helpfully, your engineers will even put this in an SEO-text div for you.

So we see this pretty often, and we’ve tested removing it. We said, “You know what? No users are looking at this. We know that overstuffing the keyword on the page can be a negative ranking signal. I wonder if we’ll do better if we just cut that div.” So we remove it, and the first time we did it, plus 6% result. This was a good thing.

The pages are better without it. They’re now ranking better. We’re getting better performance. So we say, “You know what? We’ve learnt this lesson. You should remove this really low-quality text from the bottom of your category pages.” But then we tested it on another site, and we see there’s a drop, a small one admittedly, but it was helping on these particular pages.

So I think what that’s just telling us is we need to be testing these recommendations every time. We need to be trying to build testing into our core methodologies, and I think this trend is only going to increase and continue, because the more complex the ranking algorithms get, the more machine learning is baked into it and it’s not as deterministic as it used to be, and the more competitive the markets get, so the narrower the gap between you and your competitors, the less stable all this stuff is, the smaller differences there will be, and the bigger opportunity there will be for something that works in one place to be null or negative in another.

So I hope I have inspired you to check out some SEO A/B testing. We’re going to link to some of the resources that describe how you do it, how you can do it yourself, and how you can build a program around this as well as some other of our case studies and lessons that we’ve learnt. But I hope you enjoyed this journey on surprising results from SEO A/B tests.

Resources:

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Google Introduces New Metrics to Help Marketers Test Ad Strength

For some time now, Google advertisers have been frustrated by a lack of reporting metrics on Universal App marketing campaigns and responsive display ads. The limited data has made it difficult for these advertisers to determine which ad combinations are the most effective.

Research by Google, however, revealed that 91 percent of mobile device users have purchased or planned to purchase something after they saw a relevant ad. 

Since relevance is a key factor behind the which ads most appeal to consumers, Google recently rolled out an ad strength metric and also suggested best practices and key insights that can help marketers improve their ad’s performance.

The metric on ad strength will provide advertisers with a barometer that can measure an ad’s content. Ratings will range from “poor” to “excellent.” The metric will also measure an ad copy’s diversity, relevance, and quality. It will also have actionable feedback, thereby making it easier for this tool to check and enhance an ad’s effectivity.

Image result for google ad strength

Marketers will have access to ad strength early September and the metric will hit the responsive search ad platform shortly afterward.

Google also shared some tips and best practices to improve campaign performance. For instance, the company recommends that ad executives utilize several unique headlines, design elements, and product descriptions to assist Google’s machine learning feature in churning out multiple ad combinations.

Another suggested best practice would be to create a minimum of five headlines for responsive search advertisements. For responsive display ads, it would be best to come up with five brand logos and about 15 images, descriptions, and headlines for every ad.

The combination of diverse ads and Google’s machine learning feature is a potent one. The feature ensures that your advertisements are personalized, helpful, and relevant to a wider group of consumers. This customization will result in ads being shown more often, thus reaching a large pool of prospective customers. According to Google, marketers that integrated machine learning with their campaign saw 15 percent more clicks.

Google has also taken steps to make it easier for advertisers to design effective responsive search ads. The company now gives marketers a sneak peek of different ad combinations as they are developed. They can also check the reports and details for descriptions, headlines, and top combinations. Knowing these numbers will help you see which ad appears more frequently in search results.

The post Google Introduces New Metrics to Help Marketers Test Ad Strength appeared first on WebProNews.


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How To Craft Content That Stands The Test Of Time (And Grows Your Email List On Autopilot)

 [ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] Have you ever heard the advice, spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time marketing it? In recent years I’ve dished out this wisdom as well, but it’s actually dangerous advice. I…

The post How To Craft Content That Stands The Test Of Time (And Grows Your Email List On Autopilot) appeared first on Yaro.blog.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Microsoft Previews New Privacy Controls for Windows 10 in Insider Test

With the rising concern over online privacy, Microsoft is taking greater steps to improve security for users of its browser. The software giant is testing out a new Windows 10 preview build for PCs which is already available on Windows Insider, its open software testing program. The new build comes with 13 bug fixes as well as a layout for the browser’s privacy screen settings.

Microsoft released the Windows 10 preview build 17115 on Tuesday which offers a host of fixes and improvements. One of the major changes that will be introduced with the new update is the redesign of its privacy setting which, according to the company, “conveys focused information to help our customers make focused choices about their privacy.”

A blog post by the company included a snapshot of the new privacy settings screen showing a very streamlined way Windows 10 users may tweak their browser experience. For instance, they can turn on or turn off Find My Device, Location, and even Speech Recognition very easily because these options can be all found on the same page.

Windows 10 Privacy Setup

For those who really want absolute control over their browser data, they can disable the Inking & Typing option which prevents the browser from sending data to Microsoft. This is good news for users who are a little bit concerned over the potential privacy issues posed by Windows 10’s built-in “keylogger,” a feature that records typed characters and other data with the aim of improving next word prediction and autocompletion features.

However, Windows Insiders participants might not be seeing the same kind of privacy setting. Apparently, Microsoft is testing two very different styles of the redesign. While one design favors a single screen crammed with all options available, the other design opts for seven separate screens to handle all privacy settings tweaks. It seems that the software giant is hoping to gain insight from participant’s feedback to find the right balance between the two designs.  

Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 update will arrive this spring. No specific release date was announced.

[Featured image via Microsoft]

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Marketing 101: What is an A/B split test?

A/B split testing is a powerful way to improve marketing and messaging performance because it enables you to make decisions about the best headline, ad copy, landing page design, offer, etc., based on actual customer behavior and not merely a marketer’s opinion. Let’s break down the process.
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How a Famous Robot Test Can Help You Beat Impostor Syndrome

Have you ever had that nightmare where you’re sitting in an examination room in front of a panel of experts, watching a timer count down to zero? You’re being asked a series of critical, complex questions, and you’re running out of time to answer. In fact, you haven’t answered one correctly, or at all, and
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The post How a Famous Robot Test Can Help You Beat Impostor Syndrome appeared first on Copyblogger.


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How To Craft Content That Stands The Test Of Time (And Grows Your Email List On Autopilot)

 [ Download MP3 | Transcript Coming Soon | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] Have you ever heard the advice, spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time marketing it? In recent years I’ve dished out this wisdom as well, but it’s actually dangerous…

The post How To Craft Content That Stands The Test Of Time (And Grows Your Email List On Autopilot) appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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SearchCap: Apple search ads, Google’s newest search features & latest carousel test

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Apple search ads, Google’s newest search features & latest carousel test appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Google Test Card Style Local Finder In Maps Results

Mike Blumenthal spotted Google testing a new format for the local finder results in the map results. Instead of a list view…


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