What is A/B Testing & Why Should You Be Doing It?

Everyone knows you need a good website in order to rank well and see consistent traffic. A lot of the strategies involved in creating a good website are also common knowledge, but how do you know if the effort you’ve put into your website is paying off? With A/B testing, you can eliminate the guesswork.

A/B Testing for SEO: The Basics

A/B testing, also known as split testing or bucket testing, is a tried-and-tested tool in the SEO toolbox. Essentially, when you make a change to a web page, you need to compare different versions of the page to see which performs best and isolate the changes that are more valuable than others. 

By serving users with different versions of a page at random, you can better determine which version of the page performs better. You will no longer have to wonder whether or not your changes are making a difference, and this certainty can help drive further changes, which you can trust to turn into further revenue. 

There are many tools out there that help you conduct A/B tests for your site. Google has an Optimize tool which can be integrated with Google Analytics, and it’s a great tool to start with if you already have a working Google account for your business.

How A/B Testing Works

A/B testing, as the name suggests, usually works by comparing two versions of a page—the “A” version, and the “B” version. It’s worth noting that this may not always be the case; it’s possible to test more than two versions of a page at once. 

Versions of a page don’t need to be drastically different, either. The difference may be as subtle as a colour alteration to a button or a slight in the turn of phrase on a CTA banner. On the other hand, there’s nothing stopping you from serving a completely redesigned page to users too. Ultimately, it depends on what you’re testing for, and what you want your focus to be. By testing smaller changes, you can really narrow down your focus and know with certainty what exactly is making the difference for your users. 

No matter how you approach it, the results work the same way. After enough users have been served either the control page or any one of its variations, the data collected can be analysed to improve your site, and tap into your audience’s priorities and perspective. 

There are a wide variety of web elements that you can test in this manner; tweaks to on-page content, graphic elements, page layout, etc. Developers and UI/UX Designers can also use A/B testing to highlight changes that are more significant than others, and optimise their work by helping to create and test hypotheses.

Why You Should A/B Test Your Pages

The key benefits of A/B testing are clear—the process helps you clarify and justify the changes you need to make to your site. 

There are less obvious benefits, but they become more apparent if A/B testing is applied over a longer period of time. Rather than using it to understand minor changes, regular A/B testing can be used to constantly improve on not just your site, but your optimisation process itself, providing better and better results over time.  

This drives down marketing costs, as the elements being implemented are made as cost-effective and efficient as possible.

Want to learn more about how to optimise your page? Get in touch with our digital marketing experts here at Pure SEO today!

Sam Mannell

Sam Mannell has been a writer for the Pure SEO content team since August '18, and is now Lead Editor. He quickly found his place in the company as resident Dungeon Master and coffee expert. Sam holds a BA from University of Auckland, where he double-majored in Linguistics and English.

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