An Introduction to A/B Testing
If you want to boost your content’s ranking on a SERP, you need to experiment with your SEO variables. It’s not effective, however, to work and rework your content every month. That’s why A/B testing comes in handy. Over 71 percent of companies run two or more A/B tests a month to ensure that their content draws in as many eyes – and conversions – as possible.
In this four-part series, you’ll learn the basics of A/B testing. We’ll explore the actual process, its benefits, A/B testing strategies and the tools you can use to compare variations of your content.
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is A/B testing, and what does it look like in practice?
A or B? An Introduction
A/B testing allows you to compare two different versions of the same content against each other to determine which will perform best online. This content can be as small as a blog post or as large as an entire app. The versions you compare need to vary one or two of their SEO variables to help you determine which will lead to more attention and conversions.
This form of testing – also known as bucket testing or split testing – came about to make these sorts of comparisons simpler. There’s no need to modify your content on a monthly basis and assess consumers’ reactions yourself. Instead, you can use a litany of tools to predict your content’s performance ahead of its publication. With that comparative ability at hand, you can publish the content that you know will generate the most conversions.
How Does A/B Testing Work?
You’ll use this technique to compare two different versions of the same content. But, in order to do so, you’ll need to have two versions of the same content containing modified elements. These elements could be different headers, different CTAs, different technical SEO—literally anything to which you want to gauge consumer reactions.
You’ll run these two versions of your content through an A/B testing tool. A testing tool divides your audience’s attention at random. A portion of your audience will see one version of your content while the other potion sees the altered version.
You can A/B test on any size of the audience, whether you use a 50/50 split to weigh equal reactions, or a 90/10 split to test the waters with new content.
Split testing tools monitor consumer reactions and engagement with each variation of your content. By the time your test is done, you’ll be able to tell where you’re generating the most positive engagement, which will tell you how to focus your attention.
What You’re Here For The Breakdown
This technique can sound complex, but it’s a simple step-by-step process. Get started with these steps:
- Identify your content. Which pieces of your platform do you think would benefit from increased optimization?
- Create a goal. Do you want to boost conversions, lower bounce rates, increase newsletter sign-ups, or something else?
- Find the page elements that you think are detrimental or beneficial to your goal.
- Create a variation of your webpage.
- Run your experiment. You’ll need the help of an applicable A/B testing tool — we’ll suggest some in a later part of this series.
- Assess the data that your tool of choice gathers.
A/B testing, as you might guess, can be addictive once you start. For small businesses that constantly want to improve their online presence, the opportunity to test content represents the constant opportunity to improve.
But that achievement element of A/B testing is just one of the practice’s benefits. We’ll touch on the others in Part 2 of this series so you can understand why you need to integrate A/B testing into your business plan.
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