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SEO Split Test Result: Small H3 Change, Big Click Result


Brian Moseley

Semrush Before you start: what do you know about SEO split-testing? If you’re unfamiliar with the principles of statistical SEO split-testing and how SplitSignal works, we suggest you start here or request a demo.


First, we asked our Twitter followers to vote:



The majority of our followers guessed it right! The test result was POSITIVE. The Case

Greetings fellow SEO professionals, are you ready to take a look at another test result?


The results of this test are really fascinating, so buckle your seatbelts and let’s go!


For today’s test review, we’re looking at a nationally known stock image and photography website. On their image/photo singleton pages, they have a grouping of “tags” that link to other search results pages on their website. For example, a tag might say “cute dogs” and link to an internal search result page of, you guessed it, cute dogs.


The current H3 for this group of links is “Related tags.” Hypothesis

We hypothesized, by changing the text content of the H3 to “Related photo searches,” would increase clicks to the test pages.


What do you think? Would such a small tweak have any impact at all?



The Test

The SEO experiment was set up and configured using our SEO testing tool, SplitSignal. 3,500 photo and image pages in total were selected for the test, with 1,793 as the test variant, and 1,707 selected as the control group.


On all 1,793 test pages, we changed the aforementioned H3 to “Related photo searches.” The test ran for 21 days with a confidence level of 97% (even though only 15% of the control pages were recrawled during the time period for testing). The Results

After three weeks, we observed a very statistically significant, POSITIVE result for the website.


We asked you earlier what you thought would happen. Our expert SEOs at LOCOMOTIVE Agency below have an opinion, but we’d love to hear your opinion in the comments of what you originally thought, and whether you think it could be something different?


Overall, the test pages received 27% more clicks during the test period, a gain of 1056 clicks.

LOCOMOTIVE Agency Analysis

Sometimes, even we’re surprised at how a simple change can have such a dramatic impact, even in today’s day of really hard SEO being the norm. Playing with heading tags can be a good practice if you want to start running your SEO experiments.


In this instance, the H3 in question on the page appeared almost directly above the “tag cloud” of related searches.


There are two distinct possibilities, in our opinion, which may be at play here. JR Oakes, our VP, Strategy, weight in below:


First, direct impact: by using the words “related photos” rather than “related tags,” it provided additional relevance to these related keywords to the page at hand.


Second indirect impact: the addition of the new text better contextualized the links, allowing Google to reclassify the link type, which imparted more weight to the linked URLs, and improved overall equity distribution to the website in general, including the test pages.


Words and how we choose to use them, even in seemingly insignificant on-page placements, can add a lot of meaning and context Google can use to better interpret our content and intent. And Google having a better understanding of your good content is a win-win.


What small test could you try on your site today to improve Google’s understanding of your content?


Have your next SEO split-test analyzed by the technical SEO experts at LOCOMOTIVE Agency.

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