What is SEO Split Testing?

“The best place to hide a dead mans’ body is on the second page of Google and beyond.”

As a startup business, you would probably think of the best ways to optimize your pages and improve search engine rankings on the internet. Being on the first page of Google is one of the most outstanding achievements for every brand with a website because they can get the chance to capture the 92% of web search traffic

“Today is not about ‘get the traffic,’ it’s about ‘get the targeted and relevant traffic’ – according to Adam Audette, Chief Knowledge Officer of RKG.

Given that the internet is now widely used to generate leads and sales, SEO changed from merely getting many website visitors to getting a positive business revenue. Ultimately, the SEO strategy of well-known brands starts with finding the right keywords to drive conversion to their business. One of the best tools for keyword research is Google’s Keywords Planner Tool. This tool will help you organize target keywords that you can find into two categories: buying intent and research intent.

Quickly as you can guess, buying intent keywords are those that people search to make a purchase. Example of these are:

  • Best red lipstick
  • Effective skincare for acne
  • Affordable house and lot in Australia


On the other hand, research intent keywords are the terms used for searching. Examples of these are:

  • List of effective home remedies for acne
  • Top 10 most glamorous lipsticks
  • Best homes in Australia


But how will you know the best steps to optimize your pages for the search engine results pages (SERPs)?

Remember your scientific research during your school days using dependent and independent variables? That is the best way to know your brand and your website’s best practices to drive organic traffic to generate leads and sales. Instead of using tangible materials for testing, we use your website’s resources and your chosen keywords. This method is known as SEO Split Testing. 

In SEO Split Test, you generally compare a controlled and variant version of a page or pages to see which one performs better in terms of organic search traffic. It is not as easy as “which one drives more organic traffic” as each variation you test has different attributes. For example, if you choose to split-test a product page, each variation’s actual products can contribute a big part to its performance.

There’s a hefty amount of lifting that goes into the setting and then executing an SEO Split Testing. It might sound easy, but it requires significant development resources and risk. Note that once you’ve made a change to hurt your rankings, it will take a long and challenging path to get them back.

When to run an SEO Split Test?

A/B Testing your sites’ pages can help you determine the best keywords to bring organic traffic to your website. Here are some cases highly recommended for split testing.

Uncertainty of keyword or query performance.

When a particular page category has a wide variety of keywords that web users search for a topic, you are safe to engage in a meta-description or meta-title SEO Split Test. Technically, the more relevant keywords to a user’s intent will generally lead to higher engagement.

Say, for example, that you have a line of luxurious perfumes. If your products always show up in all of the SERPs for all kinds of “perfume” queries, you can hypothesize that including a more specific phrase such as “sweet” perfume instead of just “perfume” would lead to a higher Click-through Rate and organic traffic.

Although this strategy is never a sure thing, it is worth a test for every brand on the internet.


Proof of concept and risk mitigation for large-scale sites.

“Trying something on a smaller subset of pages or categories as a ‘proof of concept’ is extremely effective.” – Jenny Halasz, President at JLH Marketing, on SEO Split Testing.

Focusing on trends and keeping control over one subset of a page positively impacts search and conversions. Taking an example of an existing product page; whereas what we test is not the whole product page but a particular product with added smart internal linking; over the raw and posted product.

However, making a change on a large-scale like more than ten pages of a website, it just right to run a split-test. Google is unpredictable, and if you are changing many pages, you can manage the risk that your website might experience.


Template Changes

Are you planning on changing your website appearance? Now that is one of the typical calls for SEO Split Testing.

Some websites on the internet might be outdated and scream for a revamp, but having them change abruptly might be a pain to its organic web traffic. The reality is when familiar website visitors get used to what is already on the website, changing it might mean another thing to get used to.

Author’s Conclusion

When you are redesigning a website architecture, consider making it noticeably different from both the visual and back-end perspective. Doing this, users can behave differently, and Google is sure to evaluate and rank your page differently.

It is undeniably true that SEO split-testing could give you more confidence in generating enough organic traffic to your website by determining the best keywords or phrases and getting you to Google’s first page. But it is also true that doing so might mean that you need to kick your butt to work on double and require more complex monitoring and redesigning of the website.

Not everything can do A/B testing as it requires enough data and traffic to generate the most accurate results. Start on small and simple details like changing meta-data and meta-description before split-testing and redesigning large scale websites. Remember, it is better to do testing slow than to hurt your Google rankings in the first place.


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