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Does Website Testing effects site performance in Search Results?

If you own a blog or a website and look forward to earn with it, you need to take care of a lot of technicalities other than attracting tr...



google website testingIf you own a blog or a website and look forward to earn with it, you need to take care of a lot of technicalities other than attracting traffic and producing quality content, which are also essential for a consistent earning. It has been seen that the main center of attention for bloggers is to ensure whether their content is available to their potential users on search engines or not, which is undoubtedly justified. To ensure that what you are sharing with your potential readers is actually been offered to them while they are searching about it on search engines, website testing is a good practice. According to the latest release, Google has encouraged website testing and found answering several questions about it.

We will discuss Google recommendations in latter part of the post, but for now, let us see what Website testing is all about!


Note: This post is aimed for webmasters with self hosted cloud servers or similar


What is Website testing?



As an owner of your website, it is most likely that you would like to know how and which content of your page is visible to the readers. To monitor your website, you need to do website testing. What happens is you try different versions of your website and collect data about the response of the users to it. There are softwares available that helps you in tracking that which version of your website is working out the best for you. The websites that are based on signups and memberships make a use of these website testing the most because, its one of the finest methods to drive potential traffic to make money with every signup.


What is A/B testing?



What developers do here is they create multiple versions of their page and give them their own URLs. Now that when the users try to access the original URL of the site, they redirect the users on these different URLs to compare which page is more effective in terms of response.


What is Multivariate Testing?



Another kind of testing is Multivariate testing, where there is one URL and the variations are inserted dynamically on the page. Software is used to change different parts of the website on the fly, allowing you to test changes to multiple parts of the page like changing headings and photos, layout, etc. By the end of the test, the software will show variations of each of these sections to users different combinations to produces an analyzed result of which variations work most effectively.




As now we are done with what actually the website testing is, Lets discuss about the Google’s recommendations for running these tests to enhance site’s search performance.




1)Do not Hide it- Google Knows Everything!



While testing your website to know about the traffic status, what happens sometimes is people show one module to the visitors while displaying the other aspect to the Googlebot. Google prohibits this and takes severe action against the site by either demoting your website from Google search or removing it completely.


2) Use of rel=“canonical”



Google believes in clarity. We saw in A/B testing that multiple URLs are created for an original URL to your site. Google strictly recommends to use rel=“canonical” link attribute on all of your alternate URLs to indicate that the original URL is the preferred version. This is because the use of this is better than a noindex Meta tag as your intentions becomes visible, telling Google that an A/B testing is going on.


3)Use 302s, not 301s



Its important to mention here that the URLs you create for an original URL in A/B testing are temporary, therefore it is mandatory to inform Google about their temporary status which can easily be done by using 302s’ redirect that indicates that the URL is temporary. This will be only available as long as you are testing the website. This is essential so that the Google keeps the original URL in its Index rather than replacing it the temporary links.


4) Test only when necessary



It is always preferable to consider these experiments as testing only and the test should always be held when needed. Once you are done with your test, you should update your website with the changes and then remove all elements of the test like alternate URLs, Scripts and Markups. This is really important to do because if Google caught that your site is running an experiment for an unnecessarily long time, they might take it as an act of deceiving search engines and can then take actions against it.


Website testing plays a significant role in enhancing your website’s status in the search engines, but you really need to play it safe in order to avoid Google penalties that can bring a disaster in your blogging career!


All the Best


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Experience Lab - Online business creation and development guide for bloggers and startups: Does Website Testing effects site performance in Search Results?
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