I'm Michael Costanzo

Senior SEO Manager


Thanks for watching my BrightonSEO talk...
Automating Content Optimisation & How To Test The Impact on CTR and Ranks.

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Check out these handy readings and resources to try out automating your content at scale. If you missed the talk, head over to the BrightonSEO website and upgrade to the Live Pass + Replays ticket so you can watch the replay anytime. 

Google Sheets templates and formula cheat-sheets

How-to guides

Google Sheets add-on

Google Sheets add-on settings

Setup guide for Search Analytics for Sheets to extract data across multiple pages using your seed keywords

Verified Site:[Your domain - you'll need to connect this to your GSC]

*Tip: If you have multiple properties for a domain set up (e.g. language subfolders), use those. You'll get way more data from your exports vs. your domain rollup if you have a big website
Date Range:12 months is good. Make sure it’s the same for every export
Group By:Query
Filter By:Page includes /your-category
(or use regex to stitch multiple URLs or paths together)
Filter By: (#2)Query includes [seed keyword]
Examples for a seed keyword from this presentation would include: "price", "cost", "speed", "fast" etc. 
*Repeat this step for every seed keyword
Results Sheet:New Sheet
Tip: Rename every tab as you generate the reports to your seed keyword. It'll make it easier to find later.

SEO Pre-Post Testing: Dos and Don'ts

A good way to understand any external factors that could be impacting your SEO metrics is by looking at CTR by Position plotted on a graph over time. With that, you might for instance see periods where pages (or keywords) ranking at position 1 did see a temporary decrease in CTR. That is often driven by more PPC appearing in search, or more featured content (e.g. news) appearing ahead of the organic results. When it comes to measuring the impact of your SEO tests, doing it during periods with mostly stable CTR by Position will allow you to get a much clearer read.


When doing SEO testing:

  • DO capture ALL metrics that matter: Go beyond just the metrics available in GSC by default, and aim to capture also things such as Count of Keywords with Impressions, Count of Pages with Impressions as means to understand the impact on your coverage. Site Conversion Rate is also another metric that often matters (increasing the amount of Clicks for poorly converting keywords is not always something that you want to happen).
  • DO use “control” pages to validate your pre/post test results: Often you'll find changes over time might simply be driven by the changes in demand, and so comparing changes of your “test pages” vs changes to your “control pages”  is the best way to isolate these external factors from your analysis.


When doing SEO testing: 

  • DON'T look at metrics in isolation: A drop in Average Position (Rank) for a URL set, for example, may not necessarily always be a bad thing - it could actually be a result of a lot of new keywords starting to rank in lower positions. Remember, your new content isn't going to go straight to P1. Equally, the increase in CTR may be driven by fewer PPC ads appearing in the search results rather than by your optimizations.
  • DON'T ignore PPC: Both internal and competitors’ PPC activity will impact your SEO metrics (CTR and Clicks in particular). And although there usually isn’t a lot that you can do about PPC, at an absolute minimum you can at least monitor the levels of PPC activity, and consider it when assessing the impact of your SEO optimizations.
  • DON'T run tests during highly volatile periods: Getting a read from a test done during highly volatile periods will make it difficult, if not impossible, to get a good read of your test. So aim to test during more stable times where possible.

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