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PPC tips and advice

Testing landing pages with Google's Website Optimizer

Another way to improve response rates from online advertising is to use Google's Website Optimizer tool. This is designed to enhance the return on investment (ROI) for websites that use some form of 'conversion tracking' to record the number of enquiries or sales generated from a landing page the point of entry that visitors arrive on a website, either from a search or other form of online advertising by creating a series of tests to identify the best performing web pages.

The Website Optimizer tool effectively complements Google AdWords or Google Analytics by providing more information beyond just showing how effective a site's content is in currently getting conversions, to indicate how to improve this content to get more. It's a testing tool that allows users to analyse different aspects of a website's landing page content to indicate which alterations may improve or reduce the conversion rate.

This is done through two different types of 'experiments' performed upon either complete pages of the website, or their individual elements. These types of experiments are known as A/B or Multivariate tests. Website Optimizer will not help a website to increase its SEO or PPC ranking positions, but it targets the actions that users may take once they arrive on the website page to result in an eventual outcome.

The Website Optimiser tool provides results on the estimated conversion rate range when comparing the original and revised versions of a web page. It requires advance planning to determine which elements of the website's landing page/s will be tested (such as a headline, an image, or changes to an enquiry form) and it requires changes to the website to add JavaScript code that controls and manages the different test elements.

Depending on the type of testing undertaken, the Website Optimizer tool also needs a good statistical sample of site visits and actions to generate a meaningful percentage likelihood that a new page has to beat the original in this respect. In addition, the report logs the likely improvement, which is a projected percentage of conversions over or below the original web page, which would be generated by implementing the tested variation compared to the original.

Overall, Google's Website Optimizer is a useful addition to their arsenal of website data feedback tools. It fills a niche through its ability to rapidly compare variations of a landing page or series of pages and so it should prove to be effective in allowing website designers or marketers to become pro-active in ongoing site development so as to reduce costly redesigns based upon guesswork, whilst simultaneously succeeding in the goal of increasing a site's conversions.

This article was first published in the December 2008 edition of our monthly newsletter.

If you'd like to know more about using the Website Optimizer tool to support your online marketing activity, please contact us now for a discussion. Alternatively, please request a FREE website assessment and see what you could achieve with a successful search engine marketing campaign.