SEO A/B testing with Tom Anthony | R&D Head at Distilled


When we were planning our SEO event, Tom Anthony was one of the first names we jotted.

Meet Tom Anthony. Most people who know him in the industry simply call him TA.

Tom has been at Distilled for 7 years now, initially in the consulting team, but for the last few years he has led the team building DistilledODN, an SEO A/B testing platform which allows a more data driven approach to SEO.

“My path was a weird one but just so happened, by chance, to be a good combination for SEO. I started web development in the 90s and did that for many years before I started a PhD in Artificial Intelligence. The freelance web development led to people asking me about SEO and so I taught myself and then attended a Distilled conference and the rest is history!”

He tells, “Working on a platform means that my job is really varied, on one day I could go from helping a customer ideate and analyse results from their SEO tests through to working with the engineering team on improvements to our cloud infrastructure, and the next day I might be speaking at a conference.”

Read about Tom Anthony’s work experience here – 3XE Speaker, Tom Anthony

On October 18th, 2018 Tom is speaking at 3XE Search Conference in Dublin.

SEO A/B Testing with Tom Anthony | 3XE SEO Event

Distilled is a well known name in the SEO industry and for over 10 years they have helped businesses of all shapes and sizes to thrive in the online world. Their skills span a wide range of creative and technical areas, allowing them to cover every corner of a digital marketing campaign.

Tom says “The majority of Distilled is an SEO agency that has been consulting for 14 year or so now, but the team I sit in is a SaaS platform for SEO. With our software you can actually measure the SEO impact of a change on your site by doing a controlled test. CRO teams have been doing A/B tests for many years, and now we have brought that same rigour to SEO. It is exciting to work on and provides so much value.”

3XE Search Conference

At the upcoming 3XE Search Marketing event, Tom is delivering a presentation on the topic What if ‘what’s good for users’ isn’t good for Google? Combining CRO and SEO testing.

Describing his presentation, Tom says “Whilst CRO A/B testing is well established, SEO A/B testing is fairly new. Over the last few years, the Distilled team have run hundreds of SEO split-test experiments across dozens of sites, and we have learnt a lot. Often we have found CRO teams and SEO teams working independently to optimise different halves of the same funnel, which means missed opportunities. We have recently started running ‘full funnel’ tests, that allow us to run a single test measuring impact on search traffic and conversion rate.”

In this session, Tom will introduce SEO A/B testing, highlight some interesting results from those tests, and share some preliminary results from the new full funnel methodology.


SEO A/B Testing with Tom Anthony | 3XE SEO Event

Highlights of the SEO talk at the 3XE event

  1. “For those who haven’t previously encountered SEO split-testing, I will be introducing how that works.
  2. I’ll then reveal some of the surprising results we have learnt from running many tests.
  3. Finally, I’ll explain how we are now looking at ways to bridge the gap between SEO and CRO — we are all working on the same funnel and if we can combine our testing efforts into one, then the payoffs can be huge.”

He states the most common SEO mistake is thinking that what worked for one client or scenario will transfer to another. “We know that is no longer true, and you can’t shortcut it.”

SEO Tools that Tom recommends!

“I love data, so I’ve been a fan of DeepCrawl right from the very start – they took crawling to the next level. STAT continues to be very impressive for ranking data, and more consistent than many others. For visibility reports I am a fan of Searchmetrics. Finally Ryte (formerly can so quickly start pulling data into an actionable format, it is hard not to want it.”

What influences Tom on a day to day basis?

“I load Hacker News several times a day, and there are quite a few good sub-Reddits. Then I’m in various groups with other SEOs, which I find hugely valuable – being able to ask and answer questions and exchange ideas with your peers on an informal and real time basis is so valuable.”

The future of SEO!

“Hah – I need like 5000 words or a couple of conference decks to answer that! The biggest thing is that despite everything that has changed in how users search (in various topic-specific apps, or via smart speakers etc.) the practice of SEO is still website-centric. I’m interested in when that will change.”


Check the 3XE Search Marketing Event Schedule and book your tickets ASAP!