Search engine optimisation is a constant work in progress. There is NO quick and easy way to the top – you MUST earn it. Getting traffic to your website through SEO is an achievement, but staying in strong positions in Google for numerous keyword variations, and continuing to generate traffic to your website is the real challenge. Why? … because it is an ever changing environment.
Google update their SEO algorithms regularly; competitors are as eager as you to be on the first page and have refined their own SEO strategy; searchers have moved away from the single keywords they were once using to find your business, social media has becoming more important, you need to keep creating fresh content on your website that ADDS value … this list goes on. Doing nothing about any of this contributes to your website slipping down the pecking order, with less traffic, and less enquiries and sales. Not what you want!
While you can’t influence the algorithm directly, a proactive approach to your website’s on-page optimisation and conversion analysis will go a long way towards ensuring that your rankings and traffic doesn’t deteriorate over time, and that you are converting as many visitors as you can.
You may ask yourself “why test landing pages on your website?”. Taking the time to do this, for both paid and/or organic traffic, can help you achieve a greater level of conversion. And everyone wants more sales and enquiries, right?
But of course, it is not only about having landing pages per se. It is the information they provide you through tools like Google Analytics that is so valuable. By comparing variations of the same pages, you will be able to pinpoint exactly what works well for your visitors, what’s converting for you, and what you can improve on.
A-B split testing takes time
Rome wasn’t built in a day …
It takes a continual process of analysis, website optimisation and refinement to increase the percentage of website visitors that actually DO what you want them to do. And this is where ‘split testing’ comes to play.
Split testing is simply testing one version of a page on your website against another similar version. You compare which of the two versions perform better (i.e. more sales, more leads, more email opt-ins etc). Once you got yourself a winner, then the top-performing page becomes the master. Ideally, you should then repeat the process. With continual split testing, you are improving the conversion rate of your page on an ongoing basis, making the most out of the traffic you are receiving to the web page.
A/B split testing of your landing pages (as it is called in the industry), will return first-hand information about the usability of your website, provided your method is incremental and progressive. Testing everything in one go will overwhelm you with data that will be impossible to interpret accurately. To get meaningful results, you should concentrate on one area at a time. You don’t want to change too many variables on the page at once. Perhaps just change a headline, one of the graphics, etc. By doing this, when results are showing that one page out-performs the other, you will know why. If the two versions are completely different, then there are too many variables that could be affecting the results and you will have no way to act upon these.
In the first stage: pay special attention to your content. You optimised it to be found by web crawlers, and now you need to fine-tune it to make sure that you give human beings a compelling reason to continue their journey on your site and hopefully purchase your goods or services. How you word your call-to-actions for example is particularly crucial and can make a big difference to your conversion rate.
In the second phase: your design will come into focus and you can test whether the graphic elements of your site and the overall layout make it user-friendly. Website design trends are currently about clean lines, but too minimalist a design can lead to an unclear path, frustration, and ultimately loss of customers. A/B testing will be an indispensable tool to assess what works best.
Likewise, for ecommerce facilities, thorough analysis of the buying and check-out processes can potentially save you from losing sales at the last hurdle. Too many steps to go through, confusion around entering payment details may well be putting people off at the last minute.
Once these 2 areas have been tested and changes implemented, it is time to polish off your website and think about all these extra features which enhance it and make customers want to come back again and again. Enabling them to review products they purchased is a good way to engage them for example, and will also make your site a useful resource for other shoppers.
When it comes to best practise SEO and rankings, Google puts a great emphasis on user experience so you want to make sure that your visitors find what they are looking for on your website and landing pages are one of the most efficient ways to achieve this.
If you are interested in split testing check out this blog post where we delve a little deeper into the subject.