Let's say I have a production site for my company, and I have a page on it called "ERP" about our company's ERP-related services, and at the bottom of the page, I have a "call to action" sentence, something like "Enter your email address here for a free ERP services consultation".

But I want to present site visitors one of 10 different "call-to-action" sentences in that space, maybe randomly, in order to see statistically which sentence gets the best response.

What are some ways I could keep this from hurting my SEO?

1 Answer 1


Impact of A/B testing on Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Matt Cutts: Split Testing Is Approved By Google

To quote:

Will using Visual Website Optimizer negatively affect your SEO rankings? Good news, no it will not. This is because your test pages are created dynamically when a visitor visits your page. And for displaying the dynamically generated page, a visitor needs to have both JavaScript and cookies enabled. Googlebot and other search engine crawlers do not support Javascript and cookies, so they see your original page. For search engines your page stays the original one.

Here is a link to an article with more information about the topic.

UPDATE: There’s official confirmation from Google’s Matt Cutts that split testing does not impact search rankings

So, to answer your question, no. you don't need to worry about your A/B testing having any effect on your SEO.

If you're using a JavaScript-based A/B testing platform (such as Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer), there's even less chance of having a problem.

From a technical perspective, I suspect part of the reason for this is that tools like Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer use JavaScript to run; and JavaScript isn't parsed by Google's search engine - HTML is.

(I should add - if you've written your own server-side A/B testing platform - that could theoretically have some effect on your SEO, but it would be negligible if any. And it could be fixed by not running A/B tests for Google bot.)

[Update as at December 2016: Googlebot now renders JavaScript - nevertheless, the answer to this question doesn't change. Here's Optimizely's official helpsheet on the topic: AB Testing and Search Engine Optimization]

  • Since you're referencing "Visual Website Optimizer" and "Optimizely", can you elaborate on how they relate to the question for those that don't know?
    – dan
    Jun 5, 2013 at 5:39
  • Yeah. Sure. Can do. Jun 5, 2013 at 5:50
  • Great. Upvoting in advance - interesting information.
    – dan
    Jun 5, 2013 at 5:59
  • @JamesSpittal That is not correct, google see also data changed with javascript. Probably google already supported javascript also back in 2013 when writing this answer. Dec 10, 2016 at 10:14
  • 1
    @user1324762 Actually, it didn't. According to Google's announcement - Googlebot only started rendering JavaScript in or around the time of their official announcement (May 2014). Dec 11, 2016 at 11:01

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