On The Map SEO Team Testing Results March 2022
Table of Contents
Removing Authority Links on Home Page
It’s standard practice to only have internal links on your home page, as your home page should be considered a primary money page. At OTM, we have a habit of including authority links to all content. This is done for two primary reasons:
- It helps our editing team verify that the information our writers include is actually accurate
- It should help Google understand we are relaying factual information and not making things up.
We decided to test what would happen if we removed authority links from a clients home page, as we have some clients’ home pages that have external “authority” links.
To be clear, regardless of individual test results, we don’t believe in adding external links to a websites home page unless it’s something directly related to the business (i.e. an awards page the business earned). This is because it can drive potential clients to other websites.
Our test was on stevenrubinlaw.com. Here are the results:
We see some gains, but nothing really monumental. Looking at individual keywords rankings, here are some results. Please note, we removed the external links on the 17th.
As you can see from the screenshots above, removing the external links actually seemed to hurt the rankings, though temporarily.
We find these results to be inconclusive and will continue testing the importance of having authority links on the home page.
Adding Authority Links on Inner Pages
Same as above, we wanted to see the importance of authority links on inner pages of a website. These are pages that we typically would always include authority links on. In this example, we found a primary page that had 0 external links on it. We added a few external authority links on 3/25. Here are the results:
Here are individual keyword reports:
From the results of this test, it seems that adding a few authority links to the pages does have a positive impact on rankings.
Since this is an isolated event, we will require further testing on this theory.
Title Tag Maps Test
We’ve been experimenting with how effective title tags are in regard to map rankings. The hypothesis is that by including a primary keyword in the title tag to the page linked from your GBP, the GBP listing will rank higher for that specific keyword.
To clarify, most sites naturally have this, but in some cases we link to an authority page but the client is more interested in a specific type of work. The best example I can give of this is a personal injury lawyer who is only interested in car accident cases. Since car accidents is a separate page on the website, we use the primary “personal injury” page on the Google Business Profile. Our test was to add additional keywords to the personal injury page title tag and see if it affects rankings.
For this test, we did not set up a geo-grid to track performance. We simply kept a log of where the client ranked for a specific phrase at time of updating. Our target client was tjryanlaw.com. At the time of the test he was ranking position #5 in Maps when searching for “Huntington Beach car accident attorney”.
We updated his home page title tag (the page his Google Business Profile links to) to say:
Huntington Beach Personal Injury Attorney | Huntington Beach Car Accident Attorney | Timothy J. Ryan & Associates
Almost immediately after the update we saw him reach position #3 in maps. He has since been stable in position #3. Here’s a screenshot one month later:
We have done additional rather unstructured tests around this and seen moderate gains in keyword rankings on maps, but not a silver bullet.
We will be further testing/improving this with more structure.
Title Tag Stuffing Test
With the update of Google now truncating or rewriting title tags of pages in the SERPs we have a unique opportunity to test longer title tags than are standardly accepted. As a point of reference, in our audits, we identify an error with title tags that are over 60 characters in length.
Our test consists of adding multiple keyword variations into the title tag and testing to see if all variations move up in rankings. Our first test was on the 1800injured.care site for their Jacksonville car accidents page. Here is the updated title tag we implemented:
Jacksonville Car Accident Lawyer | Auto Accident Attorney Jacksonville | Car Accident Attorney Jacksonville | Car Crash Lawyers in Jacksonville | FREE Case Review | 1-800-Injured
And here are the results:
Looking closer at individual keyword rankings, we can see the ranking improvement comes almost immediately after the update.
For reference, here is how their listing looks on the SERPs currently. As you can see, the longer title tags are not affecting how the listing looks in the SERPs:
After our successful test on 1800injured.care, we implemented the same test on another client website, this one targeting Employment Law in Los Angeles for stevenrubinlaw.com.
His title tag was updated to:
Employment Lawyer Los Angeles | Employment Law Firm Los Angeles | Los Angeles Employment Attorney | Los Angeles Employment Lawyer | Employment Law Firm | The Rubin Law Corporation
Here are the results:
On an individual keyword review, you can see that, same as before, we have seen an immediate ranking increase after implementing this change:
Here is how Steven’s title tag currently looks in the SERPs:
Article by Kevin Cook
I was the SEO Director at On The Map Marketing overseeing strategy for our clients as well as the products we provide. I oversaw over 100 SEO campaigns and begun our structured SEO testing experiments. In my free time, I purchase expired domains and run numerous testing experiments with SEO and website development. Outside of SEO, I’m a big fan of snorkeling and exploring nature.