So Long Website Optimizer and Hello Experiments.

In a recent update from Google, Website Optimizer will no longer be available starting August 1, 2012 and we think this is a great change. Experiments will replace website optimizer as your A/B testing tool and finally be integrated directly in Analytics under the content tab. In the past, website optimizer was not directly integrated into Analytics, making for a cumbersome experience when it comes to reporting through Analytics. Not any more!

The Benefits of Experiments

With experiments you now have the ability to test up to 5 variations of a page. Like website optimizer, you can use these separate pages for testing layout items like headlines, text, calls to action, and any layout design.

Track More Goals!

Website optimizer only had the capability of tracking destination url goals.The two kinds of goals you can use in your experiments are URL Destination goals and event goals. The url destination goal could be a confirmation or thank you page. If a user lands on a destination you’ve set as a goal point, this would indicate the user was a successful conversion. However, if you were testing multiple versions of a shopping page, you may want to set up an event goal that tracked when a user added an item to their cart.

SEO Warnings

When you run variations of a page on your website, always make sure to us the rel=”canonical” link attribute on your variation pages. This will tell search engines that the original page should remain indexed and not your variation pages.

When your experiment is finished, what will you do with those testing urls? To accommodate visitors who may have bookmarked one of your variation pages, set up a 301 redirect back to the original page. If you plan to reuse your testing urls in the future, set up a 302 redirect. This will tell search engines to check back to those pages to see if you want to index them in the future.

Recommendations For Your Experiments Testing

  • 1) 1 change at a time: Test variations of one item instead of pages with multiple differences between them. If you are testing different headlines, test page variations by only changing the title, and so on.
  • 2) Duration: Make sure to run tests on pages with higher traffic volume. Your top landing pages that people enter your site through are perfect starting places for increasing conversions. Focus on these pages first, or pages that have enough traffic to draw statistical conclusions.
  • 3) Never stop testing: Once you receive positive winners in your initial test, continue to improve them. People and visitors are always changing. Make sure your high traffic pages get the optimization they need!

 

If you would like more information on Experiments, visit Google’s help center here, or contact us with your questions. Conversion optimization offers huge potential for your website and you don’t want to miss out.