Case Study: Cutting-Edge SEO Split Testing Drives & Proves ROI for Apparel Brand

By Lena Liberman
TOPICSFeatured, SEO

SEO Split Testing Case Study Client Background

Created by a woman for women, Unique Vintage combines iconic retro flirty fashion into modern, ready-to-wear contemporary designs for today.

Since its founding in 2000, Unique Vintage has continued to grow, becoming the go-to online destination for vintage-inspired dresses, swimwear, separates, accessories, and footwear in inclusive sizes from XS to 5X. Recently named to the prestigious Inc. 5000 and to Newsweek’s Best Online Shops for the second year in a row, UV continues to expand its offerings.

  • Industry: Apparel
  • Location: Burbank, CA
  • Marketing Mix: eCommerce and physical store

Client Challenges

COVID-19 upended many industries and it hit apparel particularly hard. Unique Vintage was facing its biggest challenge in 20 years. The UV team knew it could continue to thrive, it just needed help with a strategy for the new normal, which presented challenges such as:

  • Significant decline in demand during 2020 pandemic
  • Store’s natural decrease in organic traffic in 2021 as the pandemic continued
  • Measuring SEO impact and proving effectiveness

Bringing Quantifiable Results to SEO

UV SEO Split

Following the store’s pandemic-related decrease in organic traffic in 2020, EXCLUSIVE focused on regaining traffic by optimization for relevant categories that had better chances for recovery during the pandemic. “We faced a dilemma while applying various SEO strategies: How would we know if the traffic changes were caused by our actions or a change in demand?” said Rebecca Stewart, Director of Organic Search at EXCLUSIVE. 

“Black Friday and the holiday season were nearing. We also had to assume there would be changes with regard to holiday shopping habits, but this was all a brave new world.” Understanding that being able to identify performance drivers was key, the EXCLUSIVE team chose to work with partner SEMrush and use the in-beta SplitSignal tool for A/B testing.

“The direct impacts of SEO efforts are very difficult to quantify. We can test pretty much everything else but SEO. Testing our SEO optimization tactics similar to how we test CRO has been something we’ve always wanted to try. Now we had a relevant case, a client with whom we had a long-standing relationship, and access to an SEO tool unlike any other. The timing was perfect,” —Rebecca Stewart, Director of Organic Search at EXCLUSIVE

Solution: Cutting-Edge Split Testing

UV SEO Split Testing

Test Hypothesis

Selecting Control and Variant Pages (Bucketing)

“We had a theory that Unique Vintage customers love to see when new styles have been added, so we added the phrase ‘New Styles Just Added!’ to the beginning of our meta description,” said Stewart. EXCLUSIVE’s Organic Search Team chose the site’s Collections section (consisting of 28 categories) as the test location.

The variant and control groups were designed to be statistically similar to each other: both included pages from all 28 categories, with each page getting a similar amount of traffic. As a result, the test was grouped into two sets of pages: the control group and the variant group. We applied “New Styles Just Added!” to the variant group only. As a part of the test, the two different templates were live at the same time, so there was only one version of each category page, and we could see any consumer behavioral changes.

Running the Test

For the test to be accurate, SplitSignal requires access to Google Analytics and Google Search Console. From these sources, SplitSignal gathers and analyzes 100+ days of historical organic traffic data. The platform uses this information to estimate the statistical significance of the proposed change post-launch.

Setting up the test took only 1 hour and we launched it on October 15, 2020. After just 28 days, the test clearly showed a significant improvement in the variant group performance. The pages with “New Styles Just Added!” in the meta description garnered 21% more organic sessions. Unique Vintage, Exclusive Concepts, and SEMrush were so impressed with the results that they chose to collaborate on another SplitSignal test. Learn what that test produced by reading Split Testing Shows the Best Place for Content on Category Pages.

“I was pleasantly surprised that changing the meta description created such a noticeable effect on traffic,” said Stewart. “While meta descriptions aren’t a ranking factor from a keyword relevancy standpoint, this test proved their importance in driving more users through at a higher click-through rate. That 21% increase in sessions could translate to a 5% increase in sitewide revenue over 12 months.”

Want Results Like These Achieved in the SEO Split Testing Case Study?

SEO is just one of the many components of the EXCLUSIVE eCommerce holistic strategy. We’ve been delivering success to merchants for 24 years and we’re always adding to our playbook. Contact us for your free eCommerce analysis or use our free Content Scorecard for SEO to see how your SEO is performing. We’ll help you understand the results and make changes that lead to massive improvements and revenue increases.

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