Why A/B Testing Is The Perfect Complement To SEO
If you’ve been in the online marketing space for a while you’ve probably heard of A/B testing. What is A/B testing, you ask? Optimizely (a leading A/B testing software company) defines the term as follows:
“A/B testing is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage or app against each other to determine which one performs better. A/B testing uses data & statistics to validate new design changes and improve your conversion rates.” —definition via Optimizely.com
A/B testing is web development methodology used by companies such as Amazon, Netflix, and many other companies to run tests on their sites and use data, rather than hunches or guesses, to determine how their websites should look and function.
What does all this have to do with SEO?
Most of what SEO’s focus on is driving traffic to webpages. We create content, optimize site architecture, and build links all in the hopes of driving more organic traffic to our websites.
However, we often ignore a critical part of web marketing: what the user does once they actually arrive at our site. If you’re running a business, it doesn’t really matter how much traffic you drive to a website if none of the traffic comes in.
That’s where A/B testing comes in. A/B testing can be used to test out different variations of your landing page to see which one converts better. A/B testing software displays the variations of your page at random to web visitors, and tracks how they behave on the page. Then it figures out with mathematical accuracy which version of your page converts better, and by how much.
A/B testing (which is one of the core technologies behind conversion rate optimization or CRO) is a great skill for SEOs to include in their toolbox since it magnifies the impact of the traffic that SEO brings in. Tripling the amount of organic traffic coming into a website can often be a daunting task, but tripling the conversion rate of a key page may be easier. And if you manage to do both at once, the benefits are multiplicative: you will see a 9-fold increase in sales and conversions.
Whether you are an SEO working at an agency, or in-house at a company, consider adding A/B testing in addition to traditional SEO skills like content marketing, on-page SEO, and link building. You’ll greatly increase your value to the business, which will lead to higher pay and more opportunities down the line.