10 steps to higher conversions using Google’s Website Optimiser. CHRIS THOMAS
By Chris Thomas
This blog first appeared 31 October 2008
This year the really big trend by online businesses in Australia has been towards landing page optimisation and testing. As usual, we’re about 12 months behind the US and Europe, who have always been the “early adopters”.
For the big offshore sites, their SEO strategies have matured; they’re ranking highly for targeted traffic and their brand-related keywords. Naturally, the next step is to convert as much of that traffic as possible into revenue.
It’s also vital to optimise and test landing pages to improve conversions given the constant changes to Google’s AdWords system. It’s becoming more and more expensive to bid on keywords, so improving your chances of high ROI makes perfect sense.
Landing page testing tools have been quite expensive, putting off the smaller players. However, Google has created a free tool that can make testing your pages inexpensive; the only expense is your time.
If you’ve got a Google Analytics or Google AdWords account, you might have noticed a link to a free product in Google’s offering called Google Website Optimiser.
In Google Analytics you’ll find it in the “visitors” section
In Google AdWords you’ll see it as a tab…
Note: You will need Google Analyics to use the Website Optimiser tool.
If you have basic HTML skills and have access to pages on your website, it’s not too hard to set up, so let’s go through the steps together. This will really help your online sales!
Step 1. Click on the Website Optimiser link
Glad we got that out of way.
Step 2. Create your experiment
Select which one you’d like to try – A/B split testing is the easiest, but multivariate testing is probably the most powerful.
I’m going to focus on multivariate testing today because many of you have product pages in shopping carts that will really benefit from this.
Google says you should have around 1000 page views a week, but it will work on pages with much less than that; you just have to wait longer for the results to shine through. So treat this as a long term project.
Note: there are more expensive third party tools on the market that can speed reporting up considerably which use the Taguchi method of statistical analysis.
Step 3. Choose the page you would like to test
You can test your homepage or a product detail page for example.
Step 4. Choose which elements of the page you’d like to test
Examples of potential test page sections could be headlines, images, testimonials, call-to-action buttons and promotional body copy.
Step 5. Identify your conversion page(s)
This is an existing page on your website that users reach after they’ve completed a successful conversion. For example, this might be the page displayed after a user completes a purchase, signs up for a newsletter, or fills out a contact form.
Step 6. Input the page addresses into the forms
A screen shot tells a thousand words. This is very easy!
Step 7. Input the test codes
Google supplies you with special code to place into the testing page. Again, at first glance this appears complicated, but it’s really just a common sense cut and paste job. You’ll also need to add code to the conversion page.
Step 8. Add the variations
This is easy too. Just enter variations for headings, images, body copy, buttons etc. Try not to go too far and add scores of variations. It will make your experiments far too complex and you’ll wait even longer for meaningful results to be established. So add two to three variations for each element.
Step 9. Preview and launch
Here you can double check everything you’ve done and then hit the launch button. Again, nothing scary here.
Step 10. Read your reports and take action!
This is the fun part where all your hard work pays off. If you’re running an e-commerce site for example, you may have found conversions increased by 5% using a certain combination of images and messages. I’ve heard of instances where conversions have jumped as high as 20%!
You can roll out the successful results from your test out the rest of your product pages, potentially creating a huge uplift in sales and revenue across the board.
As they say, times are tough, so give it a try – it might help you ride-out the downturn while your competitors whither under the weight-slowing sales.
Chris Thomas heads Reseo, a search engine optimisation company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.
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