Success in SEO is achieved, not only by an effective strategy, but also by the speed and accuracy of implementation.
If you are unable to get your SEO optimizations implemented, it’s impossible to see substantial growth, and if you can’t get them done fast, you’ll never get SEO results quickly. Recently, Semrush asked 100 SEOs if they were able to implement SEO changes as quickly as they’d like. Sixty-six percent said no.
To meet that need, a number of players have come to the forefront of the ‘meta CMS’ or ‘Edge SEO’ revolution. This has included the increased availability of tools that not only enable A/B testing, but also allow you to implement your SEO changes via a tool rather than directly in a CMS (Content Management System), some of which can be difficult to use.
In this article we’ll compare two great tools that facilitate SEO implementation, PageImprove and SearchPilot.
How Does PageImprove Work?
Years ago, simply modifying the client-side HTML may have resulted in your changes not being seen by Google. But today this is a totally viable way to implement changes.
This is because Google looks primarily at the Rendered HTML and not the server-side HTML when evaluating pages. Years ago Google provided clarity around rendering and shared that there were two waves of indexing.
The first “wave” was said to have involved crawling the page and extracting just the server-side static HTML. For the second wave, as system resources are available, they said they rendered the page with their headless chrome browser.
Years ago, the delay between waves could be as long as a week. Back then the Stella Rising SEO team cautioned brands about differences between their server-side delivered HTML and client-side rendered DOM, however as Google has reduced the rendering delay to just 5 seconds in most cases, this is no longer an issue.
How Does SearchPilot Work?
SearchPilot works by serving up changes to html files by intercepting requests to your host. This happens on the “edge” of the cloud by pointing your DNS (Domain Name System) records at SearchPilot.
SearchPilot was designed as an SEO testing tool, but since many organizations using the tool also have issues with implementation, SearchPilot also offers what they call a “Meta CMS” that enables you to make changes to the website.
Implementation of PageImprove and SearchPilot
How to Implement PageImprove
PageImprove is the easiest to implement out of any of the current available solutions. Simply download the Chrome extension and add a few lines of code to the header of each page of your site.Install and make changes instantly. You can access your snippet from the settings on your newly-installed Chrome extension anytime.
The team at Stella Rising has set PageImprove up on a number of sites and each time it takes us around 5 or 10 minutes. To maximize the bot and user experience and reduce any flickering, Semrush recommends installing the JS snippet directly to the <head> tag.
If you use Google Tag Manager, you can implement the pixel from there which makes this even easier to add to almost any website but this is only recommended if you can not add the pixel directly to the <head>.
However, it might work to change metadata which is one of the tools key capabilities. Before totally ruling out PageImprove, please consult with your developer to see if PageImprove may work for you. You can always add it to Google Tag Manager and test before rolling it out fully.
How to Implement SearchPilot
SearchPilot uses what they call an “Optimization Delivery Network” (ODN). If that sounds familiar to you, sort of like “Content Delivery Network” that’s because they are very similar.
You can deploy the SearchPilot ODN in front of your server by making DNS changes to point to the ODN, and then ODN points to your server. This enables SearchPilot to intercept requests to the server and allows them to make changes to HTML files as they pass through.
Ease of Use
While both platforms are easy to use, SearchPilot may have a steeper learning curve as it offers a greater number of features. PageImprove is as easy as point, click, and edit text on any page. You can also easily use PageImprove to add or edit attributes on a page. For example, you can add an alt tag or change a hyperlink destination.
To use all the features of both platforms you’ll need some foundational and even slightly more advanced knowledge of html attributes and identification of CSS classes. If you feel comfortable with those topics, making full use of all the capabilities of PageImprove will be a breeze for you. If not, you can still make many meaningful changes instantly.
Features & Capabilities
Both tools boast a sizable number of features and capabilities. PageImprove allows you to do the most critical of SEO changes, but CDN based solutions like SearchPilot allow you to make a broader set of changes that JS based tools like PageImprove can not.
SearchPilotUpdate/add title & meta Change header tags Edit copy Change text on a page Edit hyperlinks Change log for documentation Change or add canonical tags Edit anchors Hide or delete elements Add hreflang Add/change image alt text or titles No minimums to how much traffic a site receives Implemented through at simple pixel Update/add title & meta Change header tags Change text on a page Edit copy Edit/Add hyperlinks Change log for documentation Change or add canonical tags Edit anchors Hide or delete elements Add/change image alt text or titles Add hreflang Create new pages Edit robots.txt Create new pages Edit XML sitemap Modifying HTML headers ISO Certification Requires at least 30,000 organic sessions per month Functionally acts like a CDN which requires DNS record changes
PageImprove vs Search Pilot Cost
This may be perhaps the biggest differentiator between these two great tools. SearchPilot aims itself at the enterprise market and has a price tag to match. PageImprove aims to empower SEOs everywhere to make changes they can’t otherwise make.
Right now PageImprove is offering a FREE beta so you can put PageImprove to work for you totally free. Pricing has not been fully established for PageImprove once it is out of beta, but will likely be in the range of $100-$200/month.
The cost for SearchPilot starts at $72,000/year. Pricing is based on website traffic, which means the cost can get pretty high.
PageImprove or SearchPilot: Which Is the Right Platform for Your Needs
When it comes to choosing the platform that is best for your needs, you’ll first need to evaluate what sorts of changes you need to make the most and which platform allows you to do that. If you just need to make some of the most critical SEO changes, PageImprove is likely perfect for your needs.
When asked how important SEOs feel it is to implement a particular type of change, 88% said fixing linking issues is important or very important. Eighty-seven percent said the same for on-page SEO issues (content, title, header, metas, and image issues). A full 94% said fixing content issues (like adding target keywords) and semantic issues is important or very important, and 85% rated fixing technical issues such as using duplicate <title> tags as important or very important. You can do all of this (and more) with either PageImprove or SearchPilot.
If you need to create pages or edit your robots.txt, SearchPilot may be best for you, that is unless the cost of the tool is more than the cost of having your developer create the pages.
Many of the things that SearchPilot can do that PageImprove can't are things that you probably do not need to do that often, so consider frequency too when making a selection.
Lack of implementation often comes down to lack of resources, and resources are always tied to money. In many cases, the more affordable solution makes the most sense.
Final Thoughts: PageImprove vs SearchPilot
Both tools have the potential to change the way we work as SEOs and provide differentiators for agencies which helps to win SEO clients. With that said, the true promise of the Edge SEO future democratizes the ability to implement and puts the power back in the hands of the people, not a chosen few.
For most of us, cost is a major factor, making PageImprove the best choice for many. If you think PageImprove may be right for you, try PageImprove now and get early access to this amazing tool.
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