Most marketers are all too familiar with A/B testing of campaigns and assets to see what drives user engagement. Measuring content's impact is one of the top 6 challenges content marketers face today. What makes it more difficult is when you're A/B testing a page layout for an asset. Why? These tests are actually hurting your site's SEO.
You may be thinking "How is this possible—the same content is being displayed, so how could it be hurting my SEO?" Allow Khalid Saleh to explain in "How to Split Test Without Harming Your Site’s SEO":
Let’s say that Google’s bots land on your site and start indexing its pages. After it’s done indexing, the Googlebot beams the data to Google. Google now runs its algorithm to determine where to rank your site’s indexed pages. However, while going through this exercise, Google notices a problem: multiple pages on your site seem to have the same content with minor differences... Google might construe the similar pages as duplicate content and penalize you in the SERPs. This is how split testing affects your SEO. It confuses search engine bots and can trigger duplicate content warnings.
So does this mean no more A/B testing pages? Fret not. Khalid provides helpful tips and tricks to address the issue via the link below, from not SEO-optimizing your pages to directing a Google bot which pages to index. If you're looking for other great tricks for your marketing strategy, check out these 10 Facebook and Twitter hacks.