A/B testing is a critical digital marketing technique that can help your business improve its website’s performance, usability, and SEO.
But what is A/B testing?
And how can you make the most of it for your business?
In this post, we’ll provide a comprehensive definition of A/B testing, discuss its importance in SEO, explain how it can help with your SEO efforts, and offer some best practices to help you get started.
- What Is A/B Testing?
- How Does A/B Testing Work?
- Different Types of A/B Testing
- Example of A/B Testing
- Does A/B Testing Affect SEO?
- Process of Setting up an A/B Test
- How To Set up an A/B Test
- A/B Testing Best Practices
- A/B Testing Tools To Save Time and Money
- Other Related SEO Terms To Know
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
What Is A/B Testing?
A/B testing is a technique used to compare different versions of a web page or app to gauge which one works best.
You can use A/B tests to assess anything from the design of a web page to the copy on a button.
Difference Between A/B Testing and Usability Testing
It’s important to note that A/B testing is different from usability testing.
Usability testing is a technique used to assess how easy it is for users to use a website or app.
A/B testing, on the other hand, compares different versions of a page, headline, or other types of copy.
How Does A/B Testing Work?
A/B testing works by showing different versions of copy to different groups of users.
In an A/B test, visitors randomly get shown either the “A” version or the “B” version of a page.
The version that performs better then gets used as the new baseline for further testing.
To set up an A/B test, you’ll need to create different versions of the page or app that you want to test.
You might use two completely different versions or start with smaller variations.
What Is the Purpose of A/B Testing?
The purpose of A/B testing is to find out which version of your copy works best.
By running A/B tests, you can make informed decisions about how to improve your website.
Different Types of A/B Testing
Here, we’ll take a look at three types of A/B testing you can use with your search engine optimization efforts.
- Split Testing: Split testing is the most common type of A/B testing. It involves creating more than one version of a page, then showing each version to a different group of users. The goal is to see which version performs better in terms of conversion rate or another metric.
- Multivariate Testing: Multivariate testing is similar to split testing, but it involves testing multiple page variations at the same time. It is a type of A/B testing often used to test different combinations of copy, design, and layout.
- Multi-Page Testing: Multi-page testing involves testing multiple pages of a website at the same time. It is helpful for testing things like the user journey or the effectiveness of a sales funnel.
Example of A/B Testing
In one of their A/B test case studies, Moz.com found a surprising result when they saw a 20% dip in rankings in one of the tests.
The drop resulted from A/B testing higher-volume keywords against lower-volume keywords in title tags.
Interestingly, the lower-volume keywords performed better.
Does A/B Testing Affect SEO?
A/B testing can have a positive effect on SEO for WordPress sites.
For instance, if you make changes that improve the user experience, such as making it easier to navigate your site, your A/B tests will have a positive effect on your SEO.
Why Is A/B Testing Important for SEO?
A/B testing is important for SEO because it allows you to make informed decisions about the changes you make to your website.
By running A/B tests, you can determine which changes are most effective at improving your website’s performance in search engines.
Is A/B Testing Necessary?
A/B testing is not necessary for SEO, but it is helpful.
While you can achieve successful SEO rankings without A/B testing, you can improve those rankings by implementing A/B testing.
How Long Does It Take for A/B Testing To Work?
The amount of time it takes for A/B testing to work depends on the size of your website and the complexity of the changes you’re making.
A/B tests on small websites can take a few days to complete, while tests on large websites can take weeks or months.
Simple tests like changing a button’s size can show results quickly.
More complex tests, like changes to a website’s theme, may take longer to show results.
Process of Setting up an A/B Test
Here are factors you should consider when undergoing the process of setting up your next A/B test.
- Step 1: The first step in setting up an A/B test is to choose your goal. There are several factors you can test, such as the color of a button, the copy on a web page, or the layout of a website.
- Step 2: There are several A/B testing tools available, such as Google Analytics, Optimizely, and Visual Website Optimizer. Each tool has unique features and pricing plans.
- Step 3: Once you’ve chosen your goal and decided on an A/B testing tool, it’s time to create your A/B test. The process of creating an A/B test will vary depending on the tool you’re using.
- Step 4: After you’ve created your A/B test, it’s time to run it. Once your A/B test is active, you’ll see the results of your A/B test and determine which version performs better.
- Step 5: Stop your A/B test after determining which version performed most effectively. Doing so will allow you to implement the winning version on your website.
How To Set up an A/B Test
Now that you know the process of setting up an A/B test let’s review how to set up a more specific scenario.
Step 1: Choose Your A/B Testing Goal
For this example, let’s suppose you want to test a button’s color on your website.
Step 2: Choose Your A/B Testing Tool
You’ll need to select your A/B testing tool before proceeding further. For this example, we’ll use Google Analytics.
Step 3: Create Your A/B Test
Next, you’ll create your A/B test.
In Google Analytics, you can create an A/B test by going to the “Experiments” section and clicking “Create Experiment.”
Step 4: Run Your A/B Test
After you’ve created your A/B test, it’s time to run it.
Google Analytics will automatically run your experiment and determine which version performs best.
Step 5: Implement the Winning Version
Once your A/B test is complete, you’ll implement the winning version on your website.
In this example, if the button with the blue color performed better, you would permanently change the button on your website to blue.
A/B Testing Best Practices
Use the following best practices as you set up your A/B tests.
1. Always A/B Test One Variable at a Time
You should focus on one variable at a time. It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in testing multiple variables simultaneously.
Testing too many items at once will only serve to muddle your results.
2. A/B Test for a Statistically Significant Amount of Data
A/B tests are all about comparing two sets of data.
You need to have a large enough sample size in each group to produce reliable results.
A good rule of thumb is to have at least 100 conversions in each group.
3. Use a Randomized Control Group
A randomized control group is a set of users that do not get exposed to the new test.
The group provides “control” against which you can measure the results of the new variation entered into the picture via your A/B test.
A/B Testing Tools To Save Time and Money
Performing accurate A/B tests can be a challenge without the correct tools. Here’s how A/B testing tools can help you be more efficient.
What Is A/B Testing Tool?
An A/B testing tool is a piece of software that helps you run A/B tests, track results, and make changes based on those results.
Without using the correct A/B testing tool, you will find it almost impossible to track your data accurately.
Our Favorite A/B Testing Tools
Consider using one or more of the following A/B testing tools inside your business.
1. CRO Agencies
CRO stands for “conversion rate optimization.” CRO agencies are companies that specialize in A/B testing and conversion rate optimization.
They will work with you to help increase your conversion rates through A/B testing and other methods.
Using one of these companies can help you achieve the most accurate results as you benefit from their expertise.
The people inside these companies run A/B tests daily.
You can stay in your area of genius while a CRO agency tells you which variations work best on your website.
Using ClickFunnels, you can A/B test everything from headlines to calls-to-action (CTAs) to entire web pages.
The software helps you build marketing funnels.
As you do, run experiments that tell you which parts of your funnel require additional improvement.
3. Rank Tracking Tools
Rank tracking tools A/B test your website’s ranking on SERPs.
They also track your competitors’ rankings.
These tools will help while you learn how to improve SEO over time.
You can A/B test different WordPress SEO tactics to see which of them improves your ranking the most.
Other Related SEO Terms To Know
As you start using A/B tests to improve your SEO results, we want to make sure you know about the following SEO terms.
- CRO: It is the practice of making changes to your website to increase the percentage of visitors who take the desired action. A/B testing is one type of CRO.
- Benchmarking: A/B testing allows you to compare your results against a “baseline” or “control,” when the baseline is the current state of your website. A/B testing lets you see how making changes to a benchmark affects your conversion rate.
- Organic SEO: Organic SEO is the practice of optimizing your website to rank higher in Google’s search results. A/B testing can help you improve your organic SEO results by allowing you to test options like title and description tags.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have a few questions about A/B testing?
Here are the answers to two of the most commonly asked questions about the subject.
What is A/B testing in email marketing?
A/B testing in email marketing is the process of sending two different versions of an email to a group of people.
The goal is to see which version performs better.
You can use lead generation A/B tests to test anything from the subject line to the call-to-action (CTA).
What is A/B testing in digital marketing?
A/B testing in digital marketing involves making minor changes to your website and testing to see how those changes affect your conversion rate.
Inside your overall digital marketing strategy, you can test a multitude of options.
A/B testing is a powerful way to determine how well your website performs and which changes to make over time.
A/B testing can also help you improve your SEO by showing you which elements of your website most effectively attract visitors.
Although A/B testing can appear intimidating, you can use the tools above to start learning the process.
It will help you perform better than competitors that fail to use A/B testing properly.