Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Friendly Testing

Adobe Target aligns with search engine guidelines for testing.

Google encourages user testing and has stated in its documentation that A/B and multivariate testing will not harm organic search engine rankings as long as a few simple guidelines are followed.

For more information, see the following Google resources:

Guidelines were presented in a Google Webmaster Central Blog post. Although the post dates back to 2012, it remains Google's most recent statement on the matter and the guidelines remain relevant.

Googles states that following these guidelines "should result in your tests having little or no impact on your site in search results."

In addition to these guidelines, Google also provides one more guideline in the documentation to their Content Experiments tool:

  • "Your variation pages should maintain the spirit of the content on your original pages. Those variations shouldn't change the meaning of or your user's general perception of that original content."

Google states as an example that "if a site's original page is loaded with keywords that don't relate to the combinations being shown to users, we may remove that site from our index."

We feel that it would be difficult to unintentionally change the meaning of the original content within test variations, but we do recommend being aware of the keyword themes on a page and maintaining those themes. Changes to page content, especially adding or deleting relevant keywords, can result in ranking changes for the URL in organic search. We recommend that you engage with your SEO partner as part of your testing protocol.