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Google has always been a step ahead of the other search engines in terms of providing tools to maximize the performance of your pay-per-click campaign. For instance, the Google Adwords interface has allowed for ad split-testing (or “A/B testing”) for quite a while. The new Yahoo Search Marketing interface, still being rolled out, allows for ad split-testing.

In keeping ahead of the curve, Google has launched a beta version of a tool called “Website Optimizer.” The tool allows you to test creative elements on your landing pages – titles, images, content, etc. Changing a single element of an ad or landing page can make a profound difference in its effectiveness. But to learn exactly what works the best, you have to test. The Website Optimizer tool makes it easy to test these elements in relation to your AdWords ads.

The basic way it works is this:

After signing up for the service (and receiving access – access is limited right now), you create an “experiment”, which is similar in concept to a “campaign” in that it encapsulates a set of landing page elements the way a campaign encapsulates a set of ads.

Then you add “tags” to your landing page in the places where you want to test content. A tag is a Javascript script that allows for content to appear dynamically on the page. You also tag the page at the end of a conversion, which will be something like a form thank you page or order confirmation page.

Then you set up the page sections and variations for the landing page. The default is set to the content on the landing page that was tagged. Then you add variations. The variations will be rotated, with page content alternating between the variations.

The power of the Website Optimizer really comes into play when you perform the final part of the experimenting process, which is to view the reports generated by the data. If you use a fairly limited number of total variations and perform the test for a long enough period of time (probably a month of more), you will have strong proof of what landing page elements convert the best.

We’ll discuss this tool in more detail in later posts.

To try Google Website Optimizer, visit http://services.google.com/websiteoptimizer/.

Contact Work Media for help maximizing the effectiveness of your Google AdWords or other PPC campaign.