What is A/B Testing? How is it done?

If you have doubts about the performance of your website, or if you think there might be a better version for users, you can try A/B Testing. So, what is A/B Testing and how to use it? As E-Commerce 101 Academy, here is our article where we answer these questions!

What is A/B Testing?

A/B Testing is a method used to understand which one performs better between two websites or applications with different content. Within a page, features such as function, design, campaigns, shopping options, subscription services are presented to users in two different versions. At the end, data is collected and a statistical analysis is made.

Since the test is conducted entirely by real users, it gives the most reliable results within the framework of the specified parameters. Thus, it becomes predictable how users will react when changes are made to the site or application.

The purpose of these efforts is to provide a better user experience. The site is optimized for users both visually and in terms of SEO. The experiment focuses on text, visuals, CTA, Landing page, SEO and personalization.

Optimizing the user experience to appeal to the general public benefits the site in many different ways. For example, e-commerce sites gain regular customers. After all, customers who have problems with payment and difficult access to products will prefer other sites for their next shopping. With this test method, customer loss due to such problems is minimized.

How is A/B Testing Done?

A/B Testing can be done on all websites and applications. For this, you can choose different tools that can be used for free or for a fee.

It is not correct to analyze the test results manually. Small mistakes can lead to wrong conclusions and the whole test can be wasted. Instead, you can use some of the free tools listed below to get accurate results. Commonly used AB testing tools include Google Optimize, Clickflow, Optimizely, Unbounce and VWO.

Google Optimize is an application that was launched in 2016 and allows analyzing visitor habits with free tests. By integrating it with Google Analytics account, much more different statistics and data can be accessed.

Optimize is especially ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. It can produce solutions for almost every need. It is easy to use and install.

Clickflow; It is an analysis tool that you can use with Google Search Console, where you can make SEO optimization according to click rates.

Optimizely is one of the paid test tools. It is easy to use and does not require any technical knowledge. Users can create A/B Test by just drag and drop. Optimizely allows testing with Landing page.

Unbounce; It is also an AB test tool that you can test on the Landing Page. Its use is paid.

VWO; It is a tool that focuses on the visual design of the site. It is paid to use.

So, what does the test cover?

Data from many parameters such as session logs, on-page text and surveys, usability metrics, visitor behavior are collected.

  • Different designs including visual design, banners and product images are presented to users.
  • Various headlines are tested and interaction rates are compared.
  • Content language and addressability are tested. Users’ reactions are analyzed by preparing formal or more sincere texts.
  • Advertisements, e-mail marketing campaigns and ads on search engines are tested.
  • Surveys are used to determine the target audience and their tendencies.
  • The optimization process is planned.
  • Various variations are created to be put into practice.

A/B Testing and SEO

When AB tests mislead Google bots, your ranking in search engines can be negatively affected. However, when applied correctly, it definitely does not change your SEO values. Although some site owners are concerned about this issue, you can make the experiments you want without any problems with small adjustments. So, how are these adjustments made?

  1. First of all, keeping the test up for too long is not something Google would want. Since bots will perceive this as a scam, your SEO values will suffer. The ideal period is between 2-4 weeks.
  2. Using Rel=”canonical” code allows different web pages to direct Google bots to a page during the indexing process.

Is A/B Testing Useful?

First of all, let us state that such a method will be beneficial under all circumstances. As a result, thanks to the data you will obtain, you can optimize your site and increase both the number of users and the time spent on the site. In other words, you have the opportunity to do the research that survey companies do for brands in the field, online in a cheaper way.

Maximizing benefit;

If you want to get the most out of A/B Testing, you need to decide on some things first. For example, if you are thinking of using A/B Testing for your website, first determine what you are going to do it for. Determining your goal beforehand will not only help you use the right tools, but also help you analyze the data you will get from the test more accurately.

If you start planning in this way, the changes you will make to your site or application will be directly targeted to the target audience and you will reach the goal you set at the beginning much more easily.

After determining your target, determine which elements you want to change on your website. However, note in detail not only the visual designs and texts, but also the conversions you will make in marketing and advertising.

The bottom line is that with the right strategy, there’s almost no chance that such experiments won’t be useful. However, A/B testing can also help you figure out how to go about SEO.

What should be considered?

  • The variants to be presented to users in the A/B Test should be shown in the same period. Especially in e-commerce sites, the test period should be kept at a reasonable level since the number of visitors may change according to the seasons.
  • In connection with the first point, the timing of the test is also extremely important. Again, if we give an example through e-commerce; it is not right to test in summer on a website that sells winter products. Because the lowest traffic of the site is in the summer months. The best time for testing is when the site is the busiest.
  • There should be no rush to get test results. It should stay on the air for at least 2-4 weeks. But it is also not right to go over this period. When you keep the test online for too long, your SEO values can be negatively affected.
  • In order to make a healthy analysis, both variants offered to users should receive interaction. If one of the variants is not getting enough traffic, it should be changed.
  • It is important to do research and get information about the versions to be checked beforehand. Thus, statistics can be interpreted in line with expectations.
  • The test audience that would not be enough for another site may be enough for you.
  • Having visitors test both versions makes the analysis more accurate.
  • When offering A/B Testing, there should not be too many differences on items that confuse users. For example, only a banner or a button can be changed between the two versions. After determining which one is more useful according to the results, other items can be tested.
  • This kind of experimentation does not give results in one go. It requires a certain continuity. For this reason, you should offer at least 4-5 tests to your visitors by proceeding step by step and optimizing your site.
  • When the test is completed, the result should be analyzed with various tools. Manual evaluations can cause you to make misleading inferences.

Do EU Tests Damage the Site?

A/B tests do not have any negative impact on the site. On the contrary, Google loves such methods to improve the user experience. Only tests initiated for malicious purposes that will mislead visitors will lower SERP rankings.

In this article, we have covered the subject of EU testing in detail. For more information, you can visit our website and contact us.

This article was translated from the Turkish original using deepl.com. Click here for the original text.