The Google Website Optimizer is not a search engine optimization (or even optimisation) tool. This poorly named product is at best an amateur landing page split testing device.
In order to improve conversion rates of a landing page advertisers should test different page designs, text copy and graphics to find the perfect combination that prompts the highest percentage of visitors to fill in a form, click a button, buy a product or carry out any other action that the advertisers perceives to be a conversion.
Split testing is the process of splitting the total number of visitors into two (or more), sending half of them, at random, to one version of the landing page and the other half to the second version. Over time a sufficient number of unique visitor hits will be collected to allow a reliable analysis of the two results to decide which version yields more conversions.
Google’s latest tool attempts to help make this process of campaign split testing easier for users. This has nothing to do with search engine optimisation or website optimisation fororganic search ranking, which aims to improve a website’s natural ranking on the search engines by manipulating the text, code and links to the site.
Using Google Website Optimizer
Apart from the extraordinarily poor nomenclature, the Google Website Optimizer is a handy tool for regular advertisers to improve their AdWords conversion rates. The process is relatively simple:
- Set up a landing page that will be tested and analysed
- Set up a conversion or “thank you” page
- Identify sections within the landing page that need to be tested
- Install the Website Optimizer code on the landing page, in the areas to be tested on the landing page and on the conversion page
- Create variations that need to be tested against the original design
- Collect enough data, via clicks from Google AdWords, to make the analysis statistically viable
- Review the reports generated by Optimizer to identify the best versions of the landing page design.
MSN adCenter have touted the fact that their advertising platform yields double the conversion rate that Google AdWords does. This might have been one of the reasons the latter felt the need to help their advertisers improve their own conversion rates.
Like most other Google AdWords tools, though, this one is destined to be used by a very small percentage of savvy businesses and a large number of mediocre PPC advertising agencieswhose knowledge of marketing goes only as far as Google stretches it.