A/B Rankings Review Based on Extensive Blog Post Title Testing Across 2 Big Niche Sites

narrow alley with cobblestone in Skiathos, Greece

Cobblestone street in Skiathos, Greece

The more content I publish and rank across my fleet of niche sites the more I believe to be true about SEO:

  • On-site metrics (dwell time) matter,
  • User experience (site load time, content quality and relevance) matters, and
  • SERP performance matters (click-through rate from Google search pages into your site).

This A/B Rankings review discusses a new software that helps with SERP performance that I’ve been using for two weeks now.

What is A/B Rankings Software?

  • Features
  • Ease-of-use
  • Effectiveness
  • Price
4.6

A/B Rankings software a cloud software that makes it possible to split tests titles in Google search results.  It works by syncing in with Search Console in some way.

Here’s a screenshot from the A/B Rankings dashboard for one site showing the Search Console data (so that you can see it’s actually connected):

AB Rankings chart of Search Console Data

Here’s a screenshot that sets out the actual CTR for URLs for the site.  This list goes includes every page/post in your site.  You can go through and decide which URLs have low CTR so that you can decide which titles need to be tested.

AB Rankings Search Console CTR rates chart

Why use article A/B title split testing software?

It’s a very easy way to increase traffic from the SERPs without adding or updating content.  This benefit alone is worth it, but there are SEOs who suggest that when you improve SERP CTR, your rankings will improve as well.  That’s a huge potential benefit.

I’m very excited to write this A/B Rankings review because it’s been 6 months in the making.

6 months ago I tried Clickflow software to do the same thing.  It worked great except their pricing was totally out of control.  I get millions of page views so they gave me a custom quote of $350 per month.  I really didn’t want to spend that much.

I then tried Backlinko’s YoRocket, which is very reasonably priced but there must have been a plugin conflict because it didn’t work on my site.  I wish it had, but it didn’t.

Fast forward 6 months and I decided to see if there were any other solutions on the market.

Lo and behold, I stumbled on A/B Rankings, which launched at the end of Summer 2018.  The sales materials clearly stated it split tests titles in the SERPs.  I checked the pricing and it is very reasonable for what it does.

The Agency plan suited me perfectly since I have 8 niche sites.  Yes, it’s a bit pricey but less than Clickflow.  Clickflow wanted $350/month for one site (after haggling, Clickflow offered me $250/month for one site, but that wasn’t worth it either).

With A/B Rankings I pay $179 per month for up to 10 sites and no limits on the number of tests I can run or page views that my sites get.  It was the perfect plan.

Day 1

I signed up and within 8 hours had dozens of title A/B tests running for two of my niche sites.

Why did it take me 8 hours to set up a few dozen tests?

I decided to be very methodical about my first batch of tests.  I spent a couple of hours brainstorming all kinds of titles and words for titles for each type of article on my sites.

I then cherry-picked articles on my site with decent SERP traffic but not a very good CTR.  I also made sure I chose all different types of articles so that I could get results for different content types.

By end-of-day, my first round of testing across two sites was up and running.

Day 4

4 days after setting up the tests, results started coming in.  It took 4 days because the software integrates with Search Console which has a 3 day lag reporting period.  What this means is that the most recent data you see in Search Console today is actually from 3 days ago.  I loathe waiting for results, but I had no choice.

On day 4, results started coming in.  They weren’t statistically significant, but I was happy to see the software working.  The percentage increases and decreases were huge, but that’s because there weren’t enough impressions yet to deal with fluctuations.  However, I was thrilled with all this title split testing data.  I could see that this would help me get more traffic from the SERPs for hundreds of articles and maybe, just maybe, rankings will rise simply by improving article titles.

Day 6

More data still coming in but not enough to decide whether the original or variation titles are best.  Here’s a screenshot at the 6 day mark.  No CTR data is “significant” yet.

AB Rankings Testing Results Partway Through - 6 Day Mark

Day 9

I’m starting to get more “signifcant” results for the CTR column.  Here’s a few examples from the two niche sites I’m using at this point.  So far, one test resulted in the varied title (new title) increasing CTR while for another, the original performed better.

AB rankings split testing results two niche blogs

Day 24

After 24 days I ended all tests.  Here are the results:

Site #1:  26 Tests

8 resulted in higher CTR.  18 lower CTR.

Site #2: 19 Tests

7 resulted in higher CTR.  12 lower CTR.

The best part is I identified two title configurations that consistently out-performed the original titles.

However, I’m going to set up more rounds of testing to confirm these results and then test those two title configurations against one another.

It’s the fastest A/B title split testing software I’ve used

By fastest, I mean I can set up tests faster than any other A/B title split testing software.  The reason is all work is done in the A/B Rankings backend.  You don’t need to make any changes in the individual posts that some software requires.

I’m told by the founder of A/B Rankings that the software overrides the SEO title in the SERPs.

However, if a new title performs best and you want to make it the permanent title, then you need to go into the post and change the SEO title (as well as the article title if you want it to match the SEO title).

Customer service

Customer service is delivered through Intercom live chat.  If support isn’t on, you can leave a message.  I had some questions while setting it up and responses were delivered within one day, which is more than sufficient.  I suspect as more customers use this platform (it’s fairly new), more customer support will be added to speed up response times.

CAUTION: Similar software is out there but it DOES NOT split test titles in the SERPs

As stated above, I’ve been on the hunt for this type of testing software for 6 months.  The thing is there are several HEADING split testing options for not all that much money.  The problem with these is that they don’t split test titles in the search engines.  They only split test blog titles on your site.  I don’t really see the point of that, especially since it takes quite a bit of work to set up split tests.

Examples of software that only split tests blog titles on your site are:

I’m only telling you this so that you don’t buy them thinking they do something that they don’t.  Unfortunately, they are not clear that they don’t split test in Google SERPs.  I wasted a lot of time setting up split testing with Thrive’s plugin only to discover after the fact it wasn’t split testing in the SERPs.

And that’s why I’m very happy with A/B Rankings.  It actually split tests titles in the SERPs and provides a lot of really good data as to which is the best title.

Final Opinion

So far I’m very happy with this software.  I will continue using it.  What I ultimately want to figure out is if there are title formats and words that perform the best to attract visitors to my blogs posts.  Once I see patterns, I can create better titles from the get-go.

Learn more about A/B Rankings here.



What do you think? Leave a comment!

  • I’m glad you made the distinction about the split tests showing up or not showing up in serp results. My mind jumped immediately to Thrive since it’s something I’m already paying for.

    Another great article and recommendation, Jon. Thanks so much.

    • Jon says:

      Hey Curtis,

      I spent a few hours setting up Thrive and then noticed it didn’t work in Serps. I contacted support and they said only on the site. Talk about a total waste of time.

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