Apogee Search Founder, Bill Leake, explains how to use Google Website Optimizer to improve your website effectiveness.
Driving traffic to your website is only half the battle. Your site also needs to be constructed to convert those visitors into leads or sales. A valuable first step to making your website more effective is to utilize Google Website Optimizer. Google Website Optimizer is a free tool that website owners can use to determine the most effective combination of content on their site through a variety of tests. The results from these tests can then be used to maximize conversion rates among existing traffic to your site.
GWO can conduct both A/B testing and multivariate testing. A/B testing will test two different pages against one another, and multivariate testing will test the various elements on the page to determine the best combination.
Strategies to keep in mind when using Google Website Optimizer:
- Ask big questions. You will only receive answers for the things that you actively test. You should test drastic changes rather than slight changes to obtain statistically significant data.
- Spend time developing well-written copy to test.
- Wait for significant data. GWO will indicate when a sample is large enough to be useful.
Different situations in which one would want to use A/B testing versus multivariate testing:
- Multivariate tests compare different elements of a page. Google uses a full factorial test so it is very easy to generate a large number of combinations even when testing just a few elements. These tests require a high amount of traffic to achieve statistical significance.
- A/B testing is suited for sites with less traffic because it requires a much smaller sample size to achieve statistical significance. This is the best option for testing a complete site redesign.
Rules to follow when using Google Website Optimizer:
- Wait for statistically significant data. As discussed earlier, initial results might reflect random chance, so wait until you have had enough traffic for the information to be significant.
- Limit the elements being tested. If you create too many different combinations, it will take a great deal of time for GWO to produce meaningful results from your test.
- Spend as much time developing content for a test as you would for a website. Even though this is a test, you are testing potential real options for your site. Do not get sloppy with the content just because it is a test.
Bill Leake is the CEO and Founder of Apogee Search, the largest search engine marketing firm in the Southwest, one of the 20 largest in North America and one of the fastest growing companies on the Inc. 500 list. In addition to leading Apogee Search, Bill also serves as the president of the Austin Interactive Marketing Association, and as the chairman of the SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization) committee.