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A classic question for growth marketers: Do you gate content on a page to get more leads now or leave it ungated to let people get the information they want now and convert later (and boost SEO)? The answer might surprise you.

Watch this episode of The Cro Show, a game show for conversion rate optimization and marketing experimentation fans, and see if you can guess which test variation performed better during a recent Cro Metrics client experiment.

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Full Transcript:

Ryan Lucht: My pitch of the week is that I brought a test where we’re actually not testing to improve conversions we’re testing to improve SEO, which is interesting and something, I think a lot of our clients are thinking about all the time, usually in what is this testing software and is it hurting our SEO, but here’s an example of testing proving super beneficial for SEO.

So this is a pretty common landing page, but also just an important part of the overall site journey for a B2C lead gen client who helps folks find senior care options.

There are three main ways to convert on this page.

Obviously, there’s this big, just kind of general opt-in form on the right-hand side of the page. That’s actually relatively new.

There is a gate here on pricing information for each community.

And there’s a gate on the review content that we have for each community.

So the control, we show users three reviews from our database, and if they want to see any more they’ll have to opt in and unlock all reviews.

However, we have so many reviews it would be undeniably a huge win for SEO. If we could figure out ungating these reviews and having them all, not only accessible for a better user experience, but crawlable for Google.

If we could do that without, you know killing our conversions and really hurting the page for context in the control about 20% of all leads that come in from these pages come from that reviews gate from people clicking the unlock all reviews and submitting that.

We tried three variations:

  • One where we ungated two extra reviews so users could see five total;
  • One where we ungated four extra reviews so users could see seven total;
  • And then of course a third variation where we did the full Monte. You can read as many reviews as you want and we’re never going to ask you to opt in, so there’s no gate at all.

So I think what we can do thumbs down, if you think we weren’t able to unlock any reviews beyond three without hurting conversions, maybe a thumb sideways if you think we were able to get a couple more and things were okay, and a big thumbs up if you think that we could ungate all the reviews and not hurt conversion.

Carl Light: Ryan is the success metric here, it has nothing to do with SEO, it’s purely conversion rate?

Ryan Lucht: Correct, yeah, but we’re testing basically for non-inferiority as long as we don’t see the numbers drop a whole bunch, we’re good.

Grant Tilus: Assuming that it’s a benefit to SEO.

Ryan Lucht: Yeah. The answer is we are able to ungate, well we’re not actually able to ungate all the reviews without hurting leads, leads are down on the page quite a bit eight and a half percent.

However, when we look down funnel to who’s actually converting through the sales process, we’re up, we’re positive.

We’ve got a 7% lift in kind of the final success metric down funnel on offline for this client, which is called a referred lead.

And yeah, we can, we can totally ungate all these reviews and go get a bunch of SEO benefit give users a better experience on the page and we’re improving our lead quality while we’re doing that, cutting down on call center costs.