Using SEO Data to Identify A/B Testing Opportunities

August 24, 2020

Understanding A/B Testing

A/B testing is a great strategy that allows marketers to compare two variables of a tactic to see which one performs better. This method helps gather data on which levers drive higher conversions and helps make data-driven decisions for future optimizations, leading to an improved marketing strategy.

Evaluating on-site metrics such as engagement and conversion rates will ultimately help better understand audience behavior and allow marketers to determine if they are connecting with audiences in a meaningful way. By thoroughly analyzing organic search site metrics, we may come across pages where engagement or conversion rates are low or no valued actions are being taken.  A/B testing may be a great way to determine how optimizations can influence behavior and improve the outcomes for these types of pages. This method will allow us to test SEO elements to see which factor drives a higher success metric for the brand.

Fitting A/B Testing in SEO

One way to perform a SEO A/B test is by adjusting the targeted language and utilizing keyword synonyms. Keyword synonyms or keyword variations can be treated as different searches with different intents by Google. Testing those keywords variations can help identify which version drives a higher site engagement or conversion.

Collaboration with other digital marketing teams can also help identify testing opportunities. For example, through analyzing social listening data we can discover trends in conversations amongst patients and caregivers or HCPs and apply those insights to the testing. The SEO team can also collaborate with the Paid Search team to get insights on testing opportunities by evaluating what targeted terms in ad copy drive a higher CTR. The better performing term can then be applied to the SEO A/B test. Looking at different channels to gather insights will lead us to finding testing opportunities that best fit each brand’s unique audience and create an integrated voice throughout all channels.

Benefits of SEO A/B Testing

Apart from A/B testing results helping marketers identify which variable drove a higher engagement or conversion, A/B testing can also positively influence a website by:

• Providing users with better content as old ineffective content gets replaced

• Increasing landing page engagement, performance and conversions

• Improving landing page experience as optimized content better aligns with how each audience speaks and searches

• Helping gather data over time on audience behavior to learn which optimizations could drive more conversions

•Gathering data to help make decisions in future content marketing strategies based on A/B testing results

• Applying learnings to messaging used across owned creative assets and paid search ad copy

Factors to Keep in Mind

A/B testing certain SEO factors also has its limitations. For example, CMI/Compas does not recommended drastically changing content or URLs, unless the full impact of these types of changes are clearly understood.  These changes could negatively impact the current web page authority that is built as search engines crawl and index content, which takes time to establish and can impact page rankings.

Timing should also be considered when building out an A/B test plan. SEO is a slow-moving channel so you will want to consult with your SEO partners to determine the appropriate length of the test.

Another factor to keep in mind is how A/B testing in pharma can be challenging due to regulations. 

We recommend that you work with your regulatory teams to get tests pre-approved ahead of time.  Getting content pre-approved will help save time and avoid any hurdles that could present itself during the PRC or MLR review process.

Lastly, cost considerations should be taken into account when making additional updates to the site. Testing can require additional time of website development and reviews so make sure that you are budgeting for the additional time required and finding efficiencies where possible. One way to reduce time is by getting all versions of the A/B test copy pre-approved so multiple rounds of med legal review are not required.


A/B testing is a great strategy to analyze how current content marketing efforts are performing with your audience. Testing SEO efforts will ultimately help us make data-driven decisions to improve the user site experience. Whether your test shows that the program was successful or unsuccessful, the results can always be utilized as key learnings. Though A/B testing SEO in pharma may be an uncommon strategy, it can be successful in the long run if there is a goal in mind to meet. If you currently have a landing page that is not driving conversions or meeting its valued actions, reach out to your SEO team to discuss how A/B testing can improve your current optimization efforts.