Thursday, October 7, 2010

Two Impacts of A/B Testing On Your SEO Efforts

...two major concerns:

  • Content Cloaking: the act of showing different content to search engine bots and actual human visitors. A/B testing software (such as Visual Website Optimizer) swap content on the page using JavaScript, so some users see different content (of variations) and bots see original page only.
  • Duplicate Content: the act of copying content from elsewhere and hosting it on your site. Search engines penalize for such stealing of content because you cannot expect to rank on keywords for the content that isn’t yours. Again, many A/B and multivariate testing software (including VWO) have an option where you can redirect site traffic to different variations of a page which raises this concern.

Properly done A/B and multivariate testing do not ruin your SEO investments. I have done numerous tests like that and analytics from search engines never pissed me off afterwards. (Triple knock on the wood though. Never say never. :)

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