How to AB test without hurting your Google rankings

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How to AB test without hurting your Google rankings

In life, there is such a thing as balance. There is always an up to a down and a ying to a yang. There is the inevitable presence of negatives within the positives in the things we do. Take AB test for example, sure it’s a good way to experiment and test our web designs and strategies to gain a wider scope and increase our sales. In fact, one could almost say that split testing is a necessary endeavor one must go through if you want to stay on the online business. But here’s the thing, we can’t really say split testing goes to be of little consequence. There are certain disadvantages in split testing that has a tendency to hurt our Google rankings, which as we all know can be quite vital in terms of audience reach and boosting our sales.

But, what if we manage to keep the advantages and taper the disadvantages to a certain degree that it would not hurt our rankings too much. Here are some tips to start you off.

Tip One: Spiders are friends, do not filter!

Here’s a question. Do you still cloak your content? Do you still have the tendency to filter out the spiders when you’re doing tests?

You do, do you?

Well, stop right there!

Filtering out the spiders and using the ‘user-agent’ code is such an arcane task and not really recommended because Google prefers to see things that way users see it. So no, do not make a magical doorway where Google gets to see what you want it to see.

This filtering method is usually common amongst the older versions of split testing tools therefore, just simply deactivate the features that does the redirecting and filtering. That way, you can avoid being demoted in the rankings by the big bad spiders.

Tip Two: Thou shall not pass, Google!

Okay, here is where we get a bit torn. We want to show Google our pages but we do not want it to index the wrong one. Therefore, the issue is not in the terms of openness but more along the lines of it being misunderstood.

Worry not, I have a solution.

The first thing you do is to find out what Google is allowed to see. You can do this by accessing your ‘robots.txt’ file, which basically gives you a quick generalized rundown on the guidelines on what and what-not to access.

Now, some will put up with it like the good little spiders they are. Others will not.

You can remedy this dilemma with the use of password protections and other blocking alternatives that won’t damage your rank.

Tip Three: Stop. Wait. Do not delete!

One of the most common errors a person makes when split testing is deleting the less effective page. Now, this is an understandable action to do. After all, this design or strategy is really not reeling in that many customers to your product so it is only within the bounds of common sense to just be done with it, right?


Why, you ask?

It’s because despite it performing poorly in a statistical point of view, you must keep in mind that these pages did manage to catch other people’s attention. This means will have an untapped market and on the process, lose a percentage of prospective customers who will end up getting the ‘404 error’ page instead.

And nobody likes that, especially Google.

Therefore, in the place of deleting those ineffective pages, you should just do some redirecting or overwriting instead. That way, you would not lose those prospective customers these pages actually managed to catch.

And there you go my fellow split testers, some basic start off tips on how to lessen your burdens when it comes to split testing. Hope this helps, good day.

elena Sciberras

elena Sciberras

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