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A/B testing in Search Engine Optimization. How can you use them?

6 minutes of reading
A/B testing in Search Engine Optimization. How can you use them?
Category SEO

A/B tests are an invaluable tool to anyone looking to optimize their website to increase search engine optimization. By testing different elements of your website you can determine what works and what doesn’t when it comes to engaging visitors and influencing their behavior. This guide will show you how to use A/B tests in your own online marketing strategies.


What is an A/B test?

The majority of the work in any business is going to be invested in marketing and promotion. If a company isn’t investing the time, effort, and resources into ensuring they’re providing the best possible product or service they can, they will never generate enough revenue. This rule also applies when it comes to web content, you want your company’s site to rank as high as possible on search engines like Google.

A/B testing is a statistical analysis that compares two versions of the same page and evaluates their success. The idea behind tests is simple – try new ideas out, see how they work, and improve your website based on what people do with it. By setting up a system where you will be running the test periodically, you can incrementally improve your rankings by increasing the chance of getting visitors who are more interested in your products or services.

Types of tests

  • A/B/n tests – “n” represents just this added number. Nevertheless, if we choose this solution, we risk a lot by multiplying subsequent versions of the website. More variants – the greater the risk of making the wrong decision, and thus the more complicated the process will become.
  • MVT (multivariate tests) – this alternative is more complex, but worth considering for sites with a high amount of traffic. The purpose is to test many different combinations at once, such as several heading versions, several graphics, and several pieces of text, to determine which combination influences conversion the most.
  • Multi-armed bandit test – uses machine learning algorithms here. By directing traffic to both the original version and its other variants and examining which one turns out to be highly effective, the best versions of the website are dynamically targeted.

What and how can we test?

Tests are effective, but only if we have a specific goal. Speaking of which, what are the most common motivations behind testing?

  • The first point is to redesign the website. It is always a great change in terms of user experience, but also the work of web robots. It is easy to ruin your achievements, so it is worth checking first what will support us and what can harm us.
  • The second is the willingness to change services. You then have to check whether the new options will be functional and whether they will work properly, e.g. a new method of sale, payment, delivery, registration.
  • The third is the desire to detect existing errors on the website in order to improve its traffic, clicks, conversion, and reduce the bounce rate.
  • In the case of the e-commerce industry, tests are also carried out when the price list is changed. How will the new prices affect the conversion?

It is good to know what the testing process itself looks like in general. It consists of several stages:

  1. Data collection and analysis.
  2. Hypothesis.
  3. Choice of tools.
  4. Identification of variants.
  5. Data collection and its repeated analysis.

Basic tools. How to do A/B testing?

There are a number of basic tools you can use to improve your rankings on Google. Some popular options include Google Analytics, GWT Insights, WMT Rank Tester and urchin pro. All of these offer comprehensive tracking and advanced features that can help you monitor the effectiveness of your optimization efforts.

However, the best solution is always to establish cooperation with a professional SEO agency that will match the tools to your needs and conduct tests.

Choose an optimal split

Split tests are done by changing one element on your site and presenting it as a completely different page with new content in order to test the effect it has on user behavior. When the user clicks on this new link, they will be randomly shown one of two versions of the home page. In split testing, only one variable changes between each version of the home page – usually with A being the control group and B being modified in some way.

Choose a comparison group

In order to really measure the impact of an A/B test, you will need a control or comparison group that can help you determine if your changes have caused a positive change. This might be visitors who were not exposed to your website during the testing period or one group might receive the new content while the other group has identical content with no changes made.

Decide what metric to measure success by

As with any business, the measure of success will vary depending on what your goals are. If you are focusing on driving traffic to your site, then a high volume of visitors is the metric you should measure. On the other hand, if you want people to stay on your page longer and sign up for your newsletter, then time spent on a page is more important. Whether it is search engine rankings or direct sales conversions that matter most for your business, choose the appropriate metrics.

Analyze the results and decide what to do next

Now that you have the data and results of your experiment, it’s time to take a look at them and decide what to do next. We recommend following the A/B testing framework to figure out how you can improve your rankings. If there are some ideas about different changes in tactics or campaign structure, now is the time to try them out and see if they work better than what you’re currently doing.

In conclusion

So, all in all, the most important thing when running an A/B test is considering what the results will mean. Sometimes it’s a matter of just trying something out and seeing what happens. But if you’re not careful about your goal and how you plan on calculating success, then there’s no point in starting at all.

Aleksandra Pietrzak
Curator at the National Museum in Poznań, graduate of Art History at the Jagiellonian University and Contemporary Art at the Pedagogical University of Krakow, curator of exhibitions and author of scientific and popular texts. A lover of contemporary art, literature and travel.
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