Before you begin: What do you know about SEO split testing? If you are unfamiliar with the principles of statistical SEO split testing and how SplitSignal works, we recommend that you start here or ask for a demo SplitSignalista.


First, we asked our Twitter followers vote:

The result of the survey on Twitter

Only 31.6% of our respondents guessed correctly, the test result was negative.

Read the full case study to find out why.

Case study

Greetings, SEO enthusiasts!

No doubt you’ve probably worked on or seen ecommerce sites where category descriptions are at the top or bottom of category pages. Have you ever wondered whether it matters whether the content is at the top or bottom of the category page?

We often recommend placing valuable content at the bottom of the page so that product categories are available at the top of the page and not moved to the “bottom of the page” (use an outdated phrase). But as you know, if you put a group of SEO professionals in the room, you will get multiple answers!

So let’s test, right?

We’ve run a few tests on the vintage-inspired clothing online store retailer site. This website had category descriptions at the top of the page.

Hypothesis

The purpose of the working hypothesis was to confirm or not to claim that placing important category content at the bottom of the page would increase ranking + traffic to the test pages, while the control pages (content at the top) would remain the same.

Test

We set our test in SplitSignal. Shared pages – We selected a total of 339 pages for this test. Fifty percent (50%) of the category pages were selected as the test version, while the remaining category pages served as a control group.

One of the really great things about SplitSignal, if you didn’t know, is the client-side nature of the SEO testing tool. All you need is a line of JavaScript installed on your website, connect to the Google Search Console and you’re ready to test.

SplitSignal took category descriptions from the top of the categories and moved them to the bottom of the page under products like this:

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Example of control and variant

Result

After running the test for 21 days, we were able to see a decrease in clicks of 4.8%.

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You can track the decrease in clicks from this screenshot from the Google Search Console information displayed in the Google Datastudio Dashboard:

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Screenshot of the Google Data Studio dashboard

What happened?

Google has evolved as a search engine over the years, and no doubt they have a large number of such pages that they have rated over the last decade.

I think it makes sense that Google typically sees three broad variations of an e-commerce category page, one with content at the top and product categories below, another with categories at the top and content at the bottom, and the final variation is not relevant content at all. Most e-commerce platforms organize products into categories and subcategories with a very similar layout and design and content elements.

Because most of these page types vary and the descriptive content (if any) is primarily about the category, Google can easily find and rate the content without having to use spatial data to prioritize the importance of the content. This results in what we see in our test results, a minimal negative change.

However, it is worth researching and continuing to test this result on other e-commerce websites and platforms to definitively determine (until the next algorithm update) whether content placement at the top or bottom is a significant investment factor.

So even if the test result was negative on this website, the question arises because of the relatively small perceived impact, would it also be negative for other websites, positive or neutral? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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