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How (and Why) to A/B Test Your Landing Pages: Part 2

SEOWebsitesMultimedia & Design

Jasmin headshotBy: Jasmin Bollman, Rebel.com

Now that you’ve got the basics of landing page A/B testing down, it’s time to chat results. Namely, how do you interpret the data you are getting? And will this have an impact on your SEO strategy? Let’s bring this blog in for a landing.

What is Statistical Significance?

In part 1 of this blog, we discussed statistical significance. When A/B testing anything (landing pages, emails, social media graphics), you need to ensure that your audience is split 50/50. Even if your total audience size is on the smaller side, you can still gain some insights by doing this. 

Let’s say you set-up two landing pages to see which one would get you more newsletter sign-ups. If your control landing page had a bright, bold image and your B variant was clean and simple with no photography, what page gave you the highest number of sign-ups? You might be surprised at the answer, or you might find that your audience is almost equally split with their preference. 

In the case of the latter, what do you do? The experts at Hubspot recommend you don’t make any massive changes to your landing pages based on an A/B test that resulted in the winner being chosen by a small margin. In fact, they suggest that your winning page should be determined when the preference of your audience reaches a clear 97% range. So a two-way tie means only one thing: it’s time to test again, this time with a different variant. 

Even if there is not a clear winner in your initial test, you can still gain valuable insight on your audience. In this example, you learned that imagery is not a make-or-break barrier to you increasing your newsletter sign-ups. So move on to the next item to test, such as your call to action (CTA) to see if that helps to move the needle.

What Does This Mean for Google Rankings?

Ah, SEO. The ever-changing beast is hard to keep up with at the best of times, so adding more landing pages in to the mix will probably make your Google ranking plummet, right? As it turns out, that is not necessarily the case.

In fact, Google themselves wrote a blog about this to help dispel the rumours and provide guidance on how to prevent A/B testing from having any negative effect on your SEO. As they point out, many of the items you will be testing will actually not hurt your ranking at all:

“Small changes, such as the size, color, or placement of a button or image, or the text of your “call to action” (“Add to cart” vs. “Buy now!”), can have a surprising impact on users’ interactions with your webpage, but will often have little or no impact on that page’s search result snippet or ranking.”

But that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of the woods. If you’re testing larger elements and/or will be running your test for a long time, there are a few things you need to do to ensure your Google ranking is not negatively impacted:

  1. Use rel=“canonical” on your variants to indicate that the original page is the preferred one, and therefore Google will not index the subsequent test pages.
  2. As soon as the test is over, remove all elements of it from your website.
  3. When redirecting users to your page variants, use a temporary 302 redirect. A 302 redirect can be done using a meta tag or Javascript, rather than accessing server files and expending additional time and effort needed for a 301 redirect.

The above three tips are straight from the mouths of the masters at Google, so you can rest-assured that they should help you keep your ranking in tip-top shape.

Remind Me Why I Should Do This Again?

If you’ve read this far, you might be thinking that this whole A/B testing thing sounds like way more trouble than it’s worth. Perhaps these two statistics will change your mind:

  1. Companies see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15. 
    Lead Generation
    Source: Hubspot

  2. Using correct targeting and testing methods can increase conversion rates up to 300 percent. (Source: Marketing Experiments)

While it is true that creating landing pages for every new campaign you launch can be tedious, it has proven to be essential for increasing your conversions. And when it comes to raising money for awareness for your cause, that is time well invested.


About the author:

Jasmin Bollman is the Marketing Manager of Social Media and Content for Rebel.com. With a background in journalism, she spent several years working behind-the-scenes in public relations before making the leap to full-fledged brand builder. Her love/hate relationship with Twitter has given her a unique way of looking at marketing and how brands can stand out online. She also moonlights as a freelance writer and is an aspiring introverted inspirational speaker.