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We are switching to a new Wordpress template and need some help.

We will monitor if the test version improves the sites performance (CTR, Revenue)

Technically we will:

  • Split A Records by 50% for the all users (Googlebot included)
  • Utilize smart DNS management system (weighted load balance by A record pool) for each request
  • CMS will be the same, Wordpress

Variant A & Variant B be will have the same:

  • Main content

  • Same urls besides images, CSS and JS

  • Same 301/410
  • Same robots.txt
  • Both will be mobile friendly

Variant A & Variant B be will have different:

  • SC (supplemental content) and ads

  • Widgets and CTA’s (due to different designs)

  • Structured data
  • CSS (fonts) & JS

Wondering the best practice for this process to prevent negative organic traffic? Any disclaimers or risks I should be aware of?

Can images (urls specifically) and videos can be different? How do I decide if the images and videos are main content or supplementary?

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  • what Structured data is changing, adding, or removing? – Max Aug 22 '18 at 7:24
  • Both of them, differ from site to site – Menashe Avramov Aug 23 '18 at 8:24
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The only way to do A/B testing without affecting SEO traffic is redirecting users and search bots to a different temporary URL that have the changes on.

On these test URLs you would have a canonical tag pointing back to the usual URL for these pages, so they won't get indexed in Google as duplicate pages, and you would use a 302 redirect so that tells Google it is temporary.

The way you are proposing sounds like you will not use temporary URLs for the test, but will be changing the content on the usual permanent URLs? If that is the case, then you could see organic fluctuations, that is sometimes inevitable when changing designs.

However, if you ultimately go with the new design anyway, you would see the fluctuations when rolling it out, so maybe testing the way you propose can be a good gauge to see how it will affect it.

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  • In my way i use DNS records as A/B test algorithm and gives different hosting to 50% of users – Menashe Avramov Aug 23 '18 at 8:26
  • Right, so you will be using the same URLs, but with different content? – Max Aug 23 '18 at 9:25
  • main content remains the same – Menashe Avramov Aug 24 '18 at 12:55
  • I meant you will be using the same URLs, but changing the website theme on them. – Max Aug 27 '18 at 4:28

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