Making changes to your website is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s difficult to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and by extension search result rankings without making any changes to your site.
On the other hand, making a change that your site’s visitors don’t like can have them scrambling to get off your site.
One way that your business can balance these two considerations when launching a new landing page on your site is to perform some A/B testing on the new page.
What is A/B testing exactly?
A/B testing, or split testing, involves creating two slightly different versions of your landing page and tracking their performance. Typically, the original version of the landing page will be known as variant A. The alternate version will be variant B.
Commonly, A/B testing is used to test page versions with minor differences to things like the call to action (CTA) or the colors used on the page. The A and B versions of your landing page will be served to users via different URLs. For landing pages, users are typically redirected to a particular version depending on the test thresholds you’ve set in place.
2 key factors to consider before starting landing page A/B testing
The quality of the results are paramount when you’re A/B testing a new landing page. After all, you’ll be deciding which landing page version will be used to drive conversions on your site based on these results.
However, there are certain factors that can muddy the results of your landing page A/B testing, and it’s important to consider these factors before beginning your test. A couple of the factors you should consider prior to starting your test include:
1.A/B testing possibly negatively affecting your site’s SEO.
We’re back to that double-edged sword again. It’s important to have a deeper understanding of how users interact with your landing pages, but it’s equally important to be aware of the negative effects A/B testing can have on your website.
The potential negative impact of A/B testing is rooted in the very thing that makes up the test: It involves changing a page’s content or serving users duplicate pages with minor differences.
This fact can lead to a variety of SEO issues, including:
- Cloaking — Search engines can see an A/B test as cloaking in several instances. The first element that can get your test pages flagged for cloaking is when the test versions vary dramatically from one another. The second is when search engines are seeing a very different version of the landing page compared to what the site’s users are seeing. Cloaking is a serious problem that is against Google’s Webmaster guidelines, and it can lead to negative SEO consequences that range from your site’s demotion in search rankings to your site being removed from organic search results entirely.
- Page duplication — Duplications issues arise when the A and B variants of a page are nearly identical, are not managed correctly, and are available to search engines. SEO consequences of page duplication can include making it harder for search engines to determine which page to include in search results for a given query. Commonly, this confusion leads to ranking and traffic losses.
- Inconsistent redirects — This is a common issue for A/B tests that serve different URLs to users depending on the user and session. However, this can cause confusion for search engines as they will see the main URL sometimes and be redirected to a different URL other times. The result is that search engines can become confused about which page is the primary one that should be indexed, which can lead to rankings drops and lower traffic.
Considering each of these possible SEO issues before beginning your landing page A/B testing can help you avoid them. Taking a look at Google’s information about minimizing A/B testing’s impact on your Google Search performance can help, too.
2. How long you’re going to run the A/B testing on your landing page.
You want your landing page A/B testing to run long enough that you can gather meaningful data from it. But you don’t want your testing to go on so long that it affects organic search performance.
Fortunately, knowing search engines’ expectations for how long website tests usually run can help you strike the right balance. And doing so is vital. Search engines may view tests that go beyond their expected time period as an attempt to fool them. Their response to this perception will not be good for your site.
However, search engines can accommodate A/B testing on a landing page that falls within their run-time expectations. According to Google, you can keep an A/B test running until it meets one of the following conditions:
- Two weeks have passed — This time frame allows you to account for any cyclical variations in web traffic that may occur in any one week.
- At least one variant has a 95% probability to beat the baseline, or original/A variant, of the page being tested.
Want to ensure proper A/B testing is done on your landing page? BURG+CO. can help
Increasing traffic to your website plays a role in increasing conversions and bringing new clients. And creating a new landing page can help increase both site traffic and conversions. However, it’s difficult to ensure that your landing page can meet these goals without doing some A/B testing on it. Fortunately, BURG+CO. can help.
Our team has years of experience in helping businesses improve their digital presence. One way we’ve done so is by creating new landing pages for our clients’ sites and A/B testing them to ensure that they’re ready to attract the highest possible number of new leads. If you’re looking to build a landing page that will perform better in search engine results and attract more visitors to your site, we’re ready to talk to you to see how we can help.
Contact our team today for more information about all the web development and digital marketing services we offer or to schedule a complimentary consultation.