Ever wonder if your website design is giving visitors what they need to complete the actions you want? Is your navigation intuitive? Does your website give users an easy opportunity to reserve a room online or sign up for a newsletter? How much time do visitors spend on different pages on your website? With the new Google Website Optimizer landing page test tool, you can find the answers to these questions. Google’s Website Optimizer can work in combination with Google AdWords and Google Analytics to take the guess work out of knowing what aspects of your website are more likely going to convert into reservations, newsletter subscriptions, etc. Website Optimizer allows you to experiment by testing different versions of your web pages. That being said, Google Website Optimizer can be used independently of AdWords and Analytics – but packaging them together is easy and adds to the features available.
The “before and after” test is simple to setup with Website Optimizer. You can make a small change on a page to see if the performance improves. This test is uncontrolled since many factors can contribute to an improvement or decrease in the performance of the page.
We recommend using a control page (no change) and the test page (small change) to see how what you’ve done effects traffic and conversions. Keep in mind, if your website traffic is seasonal, comparing March to April is probably not a valid measure, but comparing April to April could be.
The A/B test is useful for those that want to test small changes without a large amount of time investment or complication. A/B testing allows you to change the content, the look and the overall layout of two or more pages on your website.
Multivariate testing allows you to test multiple variables on different versions of your web pages. This type of test can be used to change different aspects on the page, such as the header photo, headline, and the text content on the page. If these are areas you wish to improve, Google Website Optimizer would show visitors the different versions of each design aspect. Website Optimizer is also capable of showing visitors several different combinations of the page versions; for example, Headline #1, Header Photo #2, and Text Version #3) to see what brings the best response.
You can also use the test for the time spent on a page, to let you know if the content on your web pages is of interest to your visitors.
The test pages that are set up in Google Website Optimizer will be alternated by scripts when the page is opened in a browser a visitor. The tool does show the each unique visitor the same version of the page, even if they visit more than one time. Soon after you begin your A/B or Multivariate testing with Google Website Optimizer; the tool will start showing you reports allowing you to decide which pages are leading to the desired results from your visitors. If the visitor ends up on the desired conversion page, Google Website Optimizer will record the conversion and display it in the reporting section of the tool. It is important for you to remember that tests need to measure a significant portion of traffic before conclusions can be drawn. One day is not indicative of a trend, but one month may be if you have high unique visitor counts.
By combining Website Optimizer with Google AdWords allows you to test and refine your landing pages, ensuring increased conversion rates from your paid advertising.
For each text or local map ad within your Google ad groups, you can designate the landing page URL and utilize either Google Analytics or other tracking software to see the results of each click. You will also be able to see the results of any test you are running in the Google Website Optimizer tool. The scripts that you are required to use on your desired conversion pages will not interfere with any existing tracking scripts on those pages.
Testing different variations of your landing pages will allow you to increase conversions, decrease the bounce rate of visitors to your website, increase visitor approval, and increase the amount of time visitors spend on your web pages. While Google’s Website Optimizer is a new tool, just out of beta testing, it could prove to be invaluable in finding out what aspects of your website are attractive to visitors, leading to more online conversions.