SEO Experiments - ideas to increase clicks and rankings

Looking for ideas to increase your clicks and improve your rankings? We've put together a list of things you can experiment with.

Looking to try and improve your rankings, or get your page ranking for more keywords?

There are hundreds of case studies all over the web and tips on twitter around what has worked for a certain site - but what works for one site will not necessarily work for another. This is why it is important to experiment and test everything in SEO - with a view point that it may or may not make a difference.

You can do this testing manually by recording data from Google Search Console - although as soon as you start trying to track more than a couple of tests it can become time consuming.

If you want to save time, the SEO testing part of SanityCheck is perfect for this. It will allow you to see how a page's performance over the last 6 weeks compares to the next 6 weeks - assuming you have just made the change you want to test. You can compare clicks, average position and impressions.

Looking for some inspiration on what to test? Below are some ideas for improving your page that could lead to more clicks from Google and/or a rankings increase.

These ideas aren't in any particular order - and I hope we can grow the list from community contributions

PageSpeed

Google have been quite clear that a fast loading page is important, so much so that it is one of the factors that goes into Googles ranking algorithm. Google is very secretive about what does and doesn't contribute to a page or sites ranking - so the fact they are clear PageSpeed is a ranking factor means it is worthwhile putting some time and effort into improving PageSpeed scores.

You can check a pages PageSpeed scores via Googles own tool : https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Or SanityCheck has the useful ability to run a daily PageSped test of your most important pages. This is useful in the case where users are editing content pages and may add images that are not resized correctly or optimized for web performance.

Found some pages to improve? First thing is to fix them - my target score is always 90 or above.

New links

Links are still a huge part in calculating your sites ranking.

If you have recently got a new link - why not create a test and see if this link moves the needle for the page.

Title tag

Does your page have a low click through rate from Google? If so crafting a new Page Title may help you get more clicks from the search results.

  • Is the title too long?
  • Do you have spare characters to play with?
  • Are you including your target keywords in the title?

Having a title tag that directly references the main topic or query your page it targeting should lead to a better click through rate, which means more clicks, and can lead to an improvement in rankings.

Meta description

Similar to Title Tag, a good meta description can improve the click through rate from the search results. If you find a page that gets a good number of impressions in the search results, but has a low click through rate - there could be the possibility of creating a more tempting meta description to encourage searchers to click on your page.

Does the meta description contain target keywords? Google will often bold these in the search results.

Finally Google has recently increased the number of characters it will display in the search results from meta descriptions from 160 characters to 230 on average, meaning you can write much longer meta descriptions that take up more space within the search results. You've still got to make the description useful - don't just blabber, but the longer option is available.

Page design

You may be considering a page re-design for a number of reasons such as low engagement/high bounce rate, or to freshen up the look and feel of your site.

Bounce rate and engagement are both factors that are rumoured to be part of Googles ranking algorithm so are useful things to improve.

A fresh new design can make information more clearly available, and increase the trustworthiness of your site and strengthen its brand.

A re-design of a page can also impact 'On Page SEO' - sometimes accidentally, and in a negative way.

Given these factors - if going with a page or site redesign it is a good idea to create a test around a change to see how a new design impacts rankings and clicks.

Content

People (and Google) love a well structure document. They are easy to read and understand.

Rather than a wall of text try adding relevant headings using h1, h2, h3 etc in the correct cascading order.

Check the readability of text using a tool such as Hemmingway Editor.

Information in a tabular or list format are also a structure Google likes and may even promote as a highlighted rich snippet within the search results.

Images

If your page does not contain any images - try adding some.

Are the images optimized for the web and correctly resized? Google PageSpeed will let you know about that.

Are they marked up with alt and title tags to help make the page Accessible to screen readers? Alt tags are also useful for improving the topic and keyword relevance of a page.

Canonical attribute

Your page may be linked to via a number of different external urls? Or have the same content on different urls (this can happen for a number of different reasons).

By setting a canonical value you are telling Google which the definitive page is for this content and potentially removing duplicate content issues.

Internal linking

Good internal linking is an important way to show Google which pages are important within your site. If you want to improve a page's ranking adding more internal links from other relevant pages is a good way to indicate to Google (and users) your page is of high(er) importance and relevance.

Once you have added some more internal links to a page - create the test and see if you can improve the rankings.

Structured Data

As well as general html document markup, you can also use structured data to mark up the information contained within your pages to help search engines crawl and understand the information:

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/intro-structured-data

If your page contains information that fits one of the Content Types supported - it would be worth marking it up and seeing whether this brings an improvement in clicks from Google.

Have we missed anything?

Above are the types of things I have been testing - but have we missed anything? What have you been changing and testing? Drop us a message with your ideas.