Is your website experiencing high bounce rates and you’re not sure what’s causing your users to leave?
If so, it’s time to call in the experts so they can audit your content through content testing.
We’ll walk you through what content testing is exactly, share the top testing methods full-service digital agencies utilize to assess your content, and explore the tools they use to help them throughout the process.
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What Is Content Testing?
Content testing is a UX research method that assesses your website content’s quality and performance.
Typically, experts from a full-service digital agency perform content testing to ensure your content contributes to your website’s user journey, without disrupting it.
Content testing answers the following questions:
- Does your content speak directly to your audience?
- Does your content address your audiences’ pain points?
- Does your content provide value to your audience?
What Should Experts Test Content For?
When testing content, experts typically look at five main factors usability, readability, accessibility, searchability and brand voice.
When testing for usability, experts examine how easy your content is to engage with, from the moment users land on your website to the moment they complete a desired action, such as making a purchase.
Digital agencies consider these questions to assess your content’s usability:
- Is your copy clear, direct and benefits-driven?
- Do you provide clear directions on what you want your user to do?
- Does your copy answer your target audience’s pain points?
When testing for readability, experts assess if your content is easy to read and understand.
Let’s say you run a financial website, for example.
In this industry, credibility is key. Your website content needs to be understood by the average reader so avoid jargon keywords that might scare them away.
Digital agencies consider these questions to ensure your content’s readability:
- Is your language consistent with that of your target audience?
- Is your copy skimmable?
- Is your copy direct and easily understood?
When testing for accessibility, experts assess whether your website is able to cater to any audience, regardless of limitations.
Why does this matter? Because 60% of Americans who live with a disability have access to the internet.
Regardless of your industry, there’s a high possibility that there are customers with some sort of limitation or disability who visit your site.
Here are some best practices digital agencies consider to ensure your website is accessible for every type of user:
- For blind users: Enable assistive technology such as screen readers that allows users to “read” content using a braille display or speech synthesizer
- For visually impaired users: Utilize contrasting colors to make your typography stand out
- For deaf users: Utilize subtitles for video content
When testing for searchability, experts examine whether your users can easily find your content online.
This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in handy. SEO improves your website’s visibility so it can rank high on Google.
Here are some best practices digital agencies consider to ensure your content is fully optimized:
- Use targeted keywords by putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience and thinking of the keywords they’re most likely to enter into Google.
- Utilize target keywords in title tags, headers and meta descriptions to fully optimize your content
- Use featured snippets to increase your chances of appearing at the top of Google's search results. A featured snippet is content pulled by Google to answer a search query.
5. Brand Voice
Are you familiar with Dunkin’s warm and energetic brand voice, with its signature tagline, “America runs on Dunkin’”?
What about Coca-Cola’s friendly and cheerful brand voice that evokes emotions of happiness?
And who can forget Old Spice’s masculine yet humorous advertisement punches?
Brand voice refers to the language that reflects your brand values, personality and identity. You use this language consistently across all channels to connect with your target audience.
To ensure your brand voice is consistent across all channels, digital agencies build a style guide that helps clarify and standardize the rules your brand needs to follow for all content.
Top Content Testing Methods
Now that you understand the different factors behind content testing, it’s time to examine the four testing methods experts utilize.
1. Cloze Test
A cloze test, also known as an occlusion or a deletion test, is a testing method that measures how well users understand your content, using prior knowledge or context.
Typically, this testing method pulls a 125- to 250-word piece from your web content, which consists of blank spaces where the participant is required to fill in the missing words.
A full-service digital agency presents this test to a participant and examines how many missing words they can correctly guess.
If the participant gains an overall score of 60% or above, then the content is considered comprehensible enough to meet a user’s needs.
2. Five-Second Test
A five-second test is a testing method that presents participants with a design. Only five seconds are allotted for the participants to look at the design and ask questions.
A full-service digital agency uses a five-second test to assess your content’s user interface (UI), landing page and web copy, to see if the participants can quickly understand your content within five seconds.
Here are some questions that are asked during a five-second test:
- “What do you think of the brand’s website?”
- “Are there important elements that you remember?”
- “What is the brand’s offering?”
3. A/B Test
A/B testing occurs when two variations of content are created and pitted against each other to determine which variation your users prefer.
A/B tests provide a full-service digital agency with quantitative or measurable data on which content performs better, measuring KPIs such as click-through rates (CTR) or the number of clicks your website receives.
To gain significant results, the full-service digital agency typically needs a large sample size of participants with at least 1,000 contacts.
Global streaming giant Netflix is famous for A/B testing their homepage, to determine which variation provides a better user experience for their viewers.
Netflix conducts A/B testing by changing the hero image whenever a different account is used to log in.
In addition, the brand previously performed an A/B test by creating different movie artwork variations to assess which artwork received a higher click-through rate in 2013.
4. Highlight Test
A highlight test is a testing method that utilizes highlighted words to examine how people understand your content.
A highlight test seeks to improve your content by analyzing which parts need to be rewritten for clarity.
To perform a highlight test:
- A full-service digital agency asks participants to highlight confusing phrases or words from your content using a red highlight
- The agency asks participants to use a different color, such as green, to highlight phrases or words they understand
Typically, a highlight test can be conducted using a shared document such as Google Docs.
7 Content Testing Tools Experts Use To Test Content
From managing your SEO content to identifying keywords that rank on Google, here are seven content testing tools the experts swear by when testing your content.
If your website runs on WordPress, a digital agency can integrate Yoast SEO into your website to manage your search engine optimization efforts.
Yoast SEO is a free plug-in, designed exclusively for WordPress websites.
Yoast SEO allows you to set canonical URLs, set up page redirects and test content for readability.
Experts use SEMrush to perform competitor research, identify keywords that your audience is searching for in Google, run SEO audits and gather recommendations to improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
In addition to SEO, experts utilize SEMrush for content marketing to discover topics that your audience can engage with and monitor brand mentions to see what your audience is saying about your brand.
Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool that experts use to research keywords your target audience is looking for and analyze your competitors’ keyword rankings and backlinks.
In addition, Ahrefs scans your website for SEO issues and monitors your ranking position on Google.
Crazy Egg is a software that displays how your users are interacting with your site.
With CrazyEgg, you can see which buttons your users are clicking on, thanks to the Snapshots feature.
From web copy to headlines, CrazyEgg allows experts to experiment with variations and see which variation your customer likes best thanks, using the A/B testing feature.
Google Search Console is a free content testing tool that improves how Google sees your site.
It allows experts to optimize your website’s visibility by requesting that Google index your web pages, and helps you track, manage and troubleshoot your website presence in Google Search.
SEO Minion is a free SEO extension that’s available for Google Chrome and Firefox.
SEO Minion helps experts assess on-page SEO, including title tags and meta descriptions, check broken links, monitor redirects and preview your content’s ranking on Google.
Mouseflow allows experts to record your website sessions to further understand how your users are interacting with your website.
With Mouseflow, you can replay any site visit recording to discover opportunities for optimization and determine user experience pain points.
Wrapping Up On Content Testing
Content testing is a time-consuming and complex process that requires the expertise of a full-service digital agency.
To recap, here are four content testing methods that experts use to audit your content:
- Cloze Test
- Five-Second Test
- A/B Test
- Highlight Test
Content testing is key to ensuring you’re getting the results you want, as high-quality, valuable content boosts your website’s user experience, increases on-site engagement and generates better leads.
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