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March 16, 2011

Optimising web pages using Google Website Optimiser

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Once you have successfully implemented your SEO program, it’s time to do an experiment with some pages in your website. If you react a little nervously when you come across the word “experiment” then you seem to be apprehensive in trying something a slightly different! Don’t worry, if your experiment does not go to plan, it shall not affect your rankings. It’s all about experimenting and analysing the results you get to do a more fruitful Conversion Rate Optimisation!

There are two ways to do an experiment with the web pages.

  • A/B Experiment
  • Multivariate Experiment

I will only cover A/B experiment in this post and will write about Multivariate experiment in a future post.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is one of the various methods for experiments in Google Website Optimiser (GWO) that compares the performance of entirely different versions of a page. For an example, if you had two possible headlines for your web page and you could not decide which one to use, you could use the A/B testing experiment in which – half of your visitors would be shown first headline and the other half would be shown second headline.

You could then analyse the results and figure out which of the headlines brought you the most conversion.

Implementing your first A/B experiment

The first step is to choose your test page. Try choosing a page that receives a high volume of traffic so that you can see meaningful results in short periods of time – for an example, your landing page. The test page you choose needs to offer an action that your visitors can take, for an example, a page that has a member sign-up form that leads to another page (conversion page).

The second step is to create the different versions of your test page. You will need to create the alternate versions of your test page such as different hero banners, different texts or layouts. The GWO will then measure the performance of each version of the web page and gives you the result.

The third step is to choose your conversion page. Choosing the conversion page is easy; Its the page that represents result. In the above example, your conversion page would be the page that visitors see when they click sign-up button.

Once you have the test page, the alternate page and the conversion page ready, sign in to the Google Website Optimiser and create a new experiment. Choose the A/B experiment when you are asked to choose between the experiments.

Give your experiment a name, enter the URL of the original page and the URLs of the alternate pages and then the URL of the conversion page.

You can save the progress of your work as you go or click “Continue”.

The final step is to implement and validate the JavaScript tags on the original page and alternate pages. Once you get the JavaScript codes from GWO, you can copy and paste them into your pages and validate them. Please read the instructions carefully in the GWO.

Viewing the results

The difficult part is over! Once the experiment process is completed successfully, the conversions/impressions will be recorded and can be viewed from the “View Reports” link under the experiment list in the GWO.

Image Source: http://www.google.com/analytics/siteopt/images/rptsections.png

Hope you will engage yourself in an experiment soon and start increasing your conversions! Keep visiting to check out the Multivariate experiment or click here to start implementing.

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One response to “Optimising web pages using Google Website Optimiser”

  1. Michelle writes:

    This is one of the best articles about SEO. I like the fact that you have used real, concrete examples in order to show us some results. Before this article I had no idea what is A/B testing and A?B expreiment, so thank you for the great info.



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