A/B Testing – Everything You Need to Know for Website Improvement
What is A/B Testing?
A/B Testing comes handy when you need to compare two different web pages to decide which one is better. Also known as Bucket Testing and Split Testing, A/B Testing helps you determine the better performing version of your web page. Overall, A/B Testing can be called an essential experiment to show two or more variants are shown to the random users in order to generate a statistical report regarding their preferred version.
While running an A/B Test, you will be able to gather the statistics about the effect of changes made on your website or app and ask the focused questions about the changes. The comparison of variation against the current experience will hand you over all the required details regarding your website improvement.
A/B Testing is one of the rarest approaches which let you work on figure-based decisions instead of guesswork. This particular certainty takes your business conversion to ‘We Know’ from ‘We Think’ very effortlessly. You can be assured regarding the positive result of the changes you’ve made by gauging the impact of the changes on your website’s metrics.
How Does It Work?
Two versions of the same web page or app screen are used to do the A/B Testing. The original version of the web page or app screen along with its modified version are displayed to your target audience. While half of them see the original version (control), the other half is provided with the modified version (variation). The modification can be as extensive as complete redesign or as minimum as a simple change of button or headline.
Each of the visitors is provided with either the variation or the control. Thus, measuring and collecting the engagement with each experience becomes easier. The engagement can be examined through a statistical engine or can be accumulated in an analytic dashboard. Now, based on the result, you can take the decision whether the change has a positive or negative impact on your audience behavior or have no impact at all.
Reasons to Do A/B Testing
According to the data of the results, teams, individuals, and companies are able to make cautious changes to their websites by availing A/B Testing. This testing can result in two different ways: Either they will be able to create hypotheses and learn why specific components of their experiences put an effect on the user behavior or they will be proven wrong when the variation will be less interesting to people compared to the control. Therefore, the bottom line is A/B Testing can be useful and convey you what’s right and what’s wrong for your website in terms of audience opinion.
A/B Testing does much more than just answering a single-time question or resolving a difference. You can make steady use of A/B Testing to improve a single vision such as conversion rate or revenue continuously.
If we take a look at an example, a B2B company would probably want to advance their sales lead quality as well as volume from the campaign landing pages. A/B Testing changes to call to action, form fields, visual imagery, headline, and overall layout of the page can be effective in this scenario in order to reach the desired goal.
The one-at-a-time change will help you rectify which changes are leaving a good impact on users and which are not. With time, all these can be accumulated and calculated collectively to understand the audience behavior on a much larger prospect. Moreover, the changes to user experience can be positively optimized that will only result in a lucrative outcome which is one of the most crucial aspects of an effective marketing campaign.
A/B Testing Process
Following is the process of A/B Testing. You can start your first A/B Test by following the points below.
Analyzing your site analytics will provide you a great insight into where you can begin optimization. So, you can start by roaming around the high-traffic portions of your website to gather data faster. However, look for the low-traffic pages [eavaluate your website traffic] as well to rectify which pages stand a chance to improve.
You need to understand and recognize your conversion goals in order to come to the conclusion that whether or not the redesigned version of your web page (variation) is better and more accepted than the original version (control). Your conversion goal can vary and can be anything from linking to product purchase to email signups and clicking a particular button.
After you have recognized the goal, it’s time to begin producing the A/B Testing notions and hypotheses why you believe the redesigned version will be better than the previous version of your design. Now, when you have a list of concepts, you can order them according to the difficulty of employment and anticipated effect.
Now, it’s time to get into the main play. At this stage, you are required to make use of an A/B Testing software to change any element of the website you would like. The changes can be minimal to massive. Changes like the color of a button, hover animation, reordering the elements of your web page, adding or removing navigation elements, or complete custom redesign of a web page come under creating variations. Most of the A/B Testing tools come with a visual editor which make it immensely easy to make the changes and see the changes promptly.
Once you are done with the A/B Testing part, the next step is to showcase it to your target audience. During the experiment, your audience will decide which one from the Control and Variation works well. They will be availed either with the Control or with the Variation. So, you will get a clear winner from this experiment.
Now, you can examine the results after the experiment is finished. You will get the data from the experiment which will help you discover whether or not the variation has been the winner between the two versions of your web page. You will see the difference along with all the relevant statistics.
If you have got a result which announces the variation as the winner then it cannot be any better. You need to keep on exploring and searching for more scopes to improve your website’s other pages. On the other hand, if there’s no difference found on the A/B Testing and you do not even see the least improvement, don’t get demoralized. Consider this as a learning lesson and build another hypothesis which can be more fruitful.
What we want to say is regardless of the outcome, you need to keep putting your efforts and finding new ways to make your web page better. Even the most nominal change can create a great impact on your conversion and revenue.
A/B Testing and SEO
Some of you may be concerned about your website’s ranking and the impact A/B Testing may have on the SEO. Well, let us tell you A/B Testing has been approved and encouraged by Google and it does not affect your ranking a bit. However, if you employ an A/B Testing tool for violating purposes such as cloaking, you are endangering your search ranking. Thus, a few practices have been availed by Google to ensure this sort of violation does not happen.
Do Not Cloak
Cloaking is the practice of showing search engine different content from what your visitors actually see. So, clearly, you are abusing. This kind of practices can demote or even remove your website from the search ranking! In order to prevention, you should stop abusing visitor segmentation to display different content to the Google Robot based on IP Address or user agent.
It’s necessary to use rel=”canonical” attribute while running a split test with numerous URLs. Using the attribute will help you direct the variation back to the actual form of the page. This way Googlebot will be able to differentiate between the numerous versions of your web page.
302 Redirection Instead of 301
In the test phase, if you want to convey to Google that you are redirecting the actual URL to the variation URL, the wisest thing to be availed will be using 302 Redirection in place of 301! 302 Redirection signifies a temporary redirection which is always preferred while testing. If you use 301 Redirection, it will be permanent and Google will not index the original URL anymore.
Don’t Stretch the Experiment
You should never run an experiment more than the necessary time. Specifically, when you are catering a single variation of the web page to a large number of audience, the search engine can consider it as an effort to misleading. It would be preferable if you remove all the test variations and update your website right after a test comes to the conclusion.
So, this was everything about A/B Testing. You can start improving your website right now by availing this test. We believe you will see a good outcome just like the others have got. Create variations you think would be liked by everyone and which can make a good impact on your website and conversion. However, the main goal should be gaining some learning which can be immensely fruitful in future.