Split testing is a method of AB testing where the challenger experiment or experiments are identified by another URL instead of just chaing elements within the existing page.
Usually each variant is assigned an equal % of the traffic flow. However, it is possible to change the % of traffic assigned to each experiment. This practice may be particularly useful when introducing a new funnel, when the % of visitors to the new journey may be increased gradually.
The performance of each variant is analysed against the KPIs and the winning experiment, that converts best, is determined at the end of the test.
Sometimes when trying to improve the site, redesigning each individual element may not be enough and a more dramatic overhaul is needed. A radical redesign of a web page is classic case when split testing should be used. Redirect tests allow to test very different versions of the page in cases when the transformations are too complex to be done within a scope of AB or ABn test.
Split testing is not limited to two variants, and it is possible to test multiple options of the page.
A benefit of split testing is its technical ease. All it requires is the capacity to create another URL. Split testing is also a great tool when carrying out large tests on, for example, a new checkout, sales funnel or form re-design.
If testing multiple URLs there may arise a legitimate question whether this type of test may impact SEO ranking.
If the test runs for a long period or you are using this practice to redirect visitor flow on a permanent basis, your redirect page may be indexed by search engines and they may rank higher than the original page.
Therefore, the test ideally should run within a limited period of time, we recommend 2 to 3 weeks maximum, and once a winning variant is established it should become part of a permanent user journey.
To avoid issues Google provides advice that you can use the rel=“canonical” link attribute on all of your alternate URLs to indicate that the original URL is the preferred version. They also recommend using rel=“canonical” rather than a noindex meta tag because it more closely matches your intent in this situation.
Split testing is an excellent way to test complex redesigns, a new checkout or sales funnel, new form designs and it allows to draw data driven conclusions and get more insight into the behaviour and preferences of your customers.
Webtrends Optimize allows all of these to be undertaken as well as AB, ABn, multivariate and Server-side testing. Our CRO experts can also help you when deciding which type of test is best for what you are trying to achieve in any given situation.
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