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Google Website Optimizer 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the google-google-google dept.
compuglot writes "Google has released the third leg of the stool in its quest to dominate online marketing. Google Website Optimizer is a multivariate testing application that allows users to test elements and combinations of elements in a website or landing page. The goal is increased conversions, and of course AdWords market share."
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Google Website Optimizer

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  • by DogDude (805747)
    Eh. It's a way for them to sell more ads. No big deal. Even local newspapers have design departments that do nothing but help people make better advertisements in their own newspaper.
    • Re:Eh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by N3Roaster (888781) <nealw@[ ].org ['acm' in gap]> on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:14PM (#18669155) Homepage Journal
      For certain values of "better". You wouldn't believe the stuff I've had to reject from such departments: confusing Columbia with Colombia, introducing spelling errors into the copy, confusing plural and possessive forms, using twelve different typefaces in a 1.8x4 inch space, messing with the company logo, you name it. Such a department has to be kept on a short leash. Always get a proof before the ad runs and make sure there's plenty of time to correct things before the ad runs.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:18PM (#18668673)
    This is pathetic: this "article" is nothing more than a PR release. I don't want to read that sort of thing, and especially not about something that makes online marketers' lives easier!

    Since I have the weakness to believe Slashdot isn't paid to plug Google, I can only deduce that they tend to post about anything that has "Google" written in it somewhere, which is lame...
    • by jfengel (409917) on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:33PM (#18668795) Homepage Journal
      I agree that Slashdot has serious "when somebody farts at Google it's news" syndrome, but I don't think that "online marketing" is necessarily disjoint with Slashdot readers.

      Especially Google's form of it. Slashdotters are coders and often want to put up interesting web sites to highlight their ideas, but that costs money, especially if significant bandwidth is involved. You can collect it from donations or support it with ads, and there aren't a whole lot of other options for sites which are interesting but don't have an obvious revenue model. Especially at the small scale, where the work of handling the revenue stream can distract you from doing the actual content of your site.

      At least the AdWords are relatively unobtrusive, and targeted, which means that they may actually be of some interest to the people reading your web site.

      Advertising is not evil. Flashing/spinning/dancing/up-popping/distracting advertising is evil. Polite, relevant advertising can be a way to support something without an immense amount of additional work.
      • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:47PM (#18668961)
        Slashdotters are coders and often want to put up interesting web sites to highlight their ideas, but that costs money,

        Actually developers (at least those who do free software) have it very easy to advertise their work on Google: it's very simple and quite work-free to get a dingy little project page ranked very well on Google. All you have to do is list it on Freshmeat with the proper words in the project description and wait a couple of days. The huge number of sites that link to Freshmeat and archive the FM frontpage will automatically make a kajillion link to the project's page. I myself maintain a dozen small OSS projects that are almost invariably ranked very well in the Google first page when searching with fairly generic terms relevant to my applications.

        So no, coders and nerds in general (the admitted target audience of Slashdot) don't need Google's marketing tools and don't need to pay a cent for them, because they benefit from the huge F/OSS social network on the net. Those who do need Google's marketing tools are those who try to *sell* you something that, unless the product is exceptionally good, isn't going to be listed at the top of the Google search unless the pusher pays Google.

        That's why I say again that I (and I think most Slashdot readers) don't need/want to read about marketing tools.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jfengel (409917)
          I was referring not to the use of these tools for advertising yourself, but for the fact that adwords can help support a site that Slashdotters maintain themselves. This is an interesting model: you make a site that people find interesting, and you can pay for it not by soliciting money from them but by taking advantage of a tiny portion of their attention when they come. That's not just your site for open software, but whatever it is you put on the web: your movie recommendation engine, your online game,
          • by Yez70 (924200)
            You don't seem to realize the new 'Tool' is only for PAYING AdWords customers.

            It does nothing for the webmasters who rely on AdSense for their site revenue. This is a PR gimmick designed to make Google more money by optimizing their clients sites, not common webmasters who display the ads.
      • by VoltageX (845249)
        I agree that Slashdot has serious "when somebody farts at Google it's news" syndrome
        No no no! It isn't just a fart, it's stool.
      • by garcia (6573)
        It's very important to me. My wife told me that we need to cut some costs and one of the big ones was the cost of our DSL connection. We have no need for a residential phone line other than to feed the DSL connection. I am unable to host my server on Charter (they block server ports) so this is my only option.

        In order to help offset the costs incurred by having the DSL connection, I have added AdWords to my site. I have done it in a way that benefits me financially while attempting to keep my regular us
      • Someone farted at google??! I knew it!
      • by asninn (1071320)

        Advertising is not evil. Flashing/spinning/dancing/up-popping/distracting advertising is evil. Polite, relevant advertising can be a way to support something without an immense amount of additional work.

        Actually, all advertising *is* evil (for a relatively liberal definition of evil, of course), but to an extent, it's a necessary evil. I don't like advertising in magazines, for example, but I realise that it's necessary for them to be able to survive, and I don't like commercial breaks on TV, but I rea

    • by linguizic (806996) on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:34PM (#18668807)

      this "article" is nothing more than a PR release. I don't want to read that sort of thing,
      This is Slashdot, you're not supposed to RTFA.
    • I agree! In the spirit of both your comment and the summary:

      Google has released the third leg of the stool

      We have no choice but to tag this "stool", as that's certainly what it seems to be!
  • The goal is increased conversions, and of course AdWords market share.

    And, of course, they have the benefit of people optimizing their sites to work the best with Google, but not necessarily everyone else.

    Call me paranoid, but this is starting to smell a lot like the 'embrace and extend' strategy we've all come to know and love.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GiovanniZero (1006365)
      I wouldn't be too worried about people designing their sites to work better with google. If the other search engines are that worried they can tweak there algorithms to look more favorably on google optimized pages. As it is the other search engines have differences in the way they treat data. If anything they should find a way to exploit their niche. For instance wikipedia sources rank higher on yahoo and msn then on google because wikipedia uses no follow tags in all their links so google doesn't care abo
    • This product is about optimizing a web site for the user experience. This is not search engine optimization. This is a tool to test multiple home page layouts.
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      What exactly is the object of the embrace and extend here?
    • by eviljim (73860)
      The only way this connects to Google services is it's offered through AdWords. The pages you optimize don't have to be the ones you're advertising (nor, for that matter, do you even have to be actively advertising).

      Also it has nothing to do with optimizing to work better with/for Google, it's to optimize them to convert better (turn more visitors into buyers/subscribers/whatever). In other words, this is basically just a tool Google offers to help you make a better selling website.

      Of course, you CAN use i
  • of revenue does Google keep from adwords clicks, and what percentage gets passed along to the people making and sharing the valued content? The line between good, evil, and where google stands continues to blur.
  • That's an awful web site. Take a look at this page. [google.com] The Google logo appears with the wrong background color. Another company logo appears with the wrong background color and bad clipping. Stupid slogan: "It's all about results". There's terrible copy, like: "Dale and Thomas plans to use Google Website Optimizer for multivariate testing from now on, from logo results, to which headlines prompt higher conversion rates, to whether a Peanut Butter and White Chocolate DrizzleCorn(TM) picture sells more popc

  • by urlgrey (798089) * on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:56PM (#18669045) Homepage
    I'm so, so glad to see that there's proper attention being drawn to multivariate testing (finally), as it's something that few--very few--companies and individuals alike have ever really understood.

    Understanding that Option A may work better than Option B isn't *nearly* as powerful as understanding that if you'd just taken certain components from them both, you'd have something even better still. Instead most marketers end up doing this endless Option A vs Option B stuff and never end up with what's really the "right" answer.

    Then, there's the whole patience factor... most marketers don't have the simple willpower to put a test out there and let it run its course--especially when you've got so many options to test to do it right. Often, shortcuts get pulled because one particular version didn't work well, so it's assumed that derivative pages will also perform sub-par. (The reality is often surprising.)

    Lastly, while we're on the topic of multivariate testing to my knowledge the only firm that has done proper, fully automated multivariate testing [memetrics.com] is Memetrics. Having worked with the so-called MVT solutions of other companies (which were mostly a joke) and Memetrics, too, Memetrics is the hands-down winner.

    Google may have broader reach and even better marketing, but Memetrics is really a cut above IMHO.

    • Tell me about it. I'm currently running a little experiment which headline performs better and for shits and giggles threw in a "placebo"-headline (it is just a non-sense statement that has nothing to do with the product). The placebo outperformed the other headlines ...
  • Other optimizations? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:42PM (#18669367) Homepage
    The goal of this optimizer is increased sales/conversion/et cetera. I'm going to hijack this topic a bit and ask: Does anyone know of any other good website optimization tests? I know, of course, of the W3C Validator [w3.org] and I'm familiar with a cacheability tester [web-caching.com] or two, but... I'd like to know if there are any other good ones out there. Are there any which will check for fun things like metadata and navigation tags (remember and such?) and present you with a big list of all the things you can do to go the extra mile for your site?
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by robogun (466062)
      The optimizer is get posted on Salshdot, receive hits, collect ad revenue.
  • if it were free.

    Oh wait...
  • Landing pages (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spy Hunter (317220) on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:41PM (#18669759) Journal
    Perhaps this thing will convince people to point their ads at pages that match instead of generic home pages. I can't count the number of times I've clicked on a very specific Google ad, only to be dumped onto a generic home page from which it would require at least three clicks to get to the specific thing I wanted in the first place, if it even exists at the site. (And that's not even counting the asinine "Find cheap your search terms on EBay!" affiliate ads, since I know better than to click on those...)

    When that happens, not only do I leave the site immediately, resulting in wasted advertising money, I also lose faith in the overall relevancy of Google ads, making me less likely to click on any ads in the future. Generic landing pages aren't just a problem for individual advertisers; they hurt Google too.
  • Long stool (Score:3, Funny)

    by wilsonthecat (1043880) on Monday April 09, 2007 @08:41PM (#18669765)
    Google has released the third leg of the stool

    Sounds like that's one long, painful stool
    • Google has released the third leg of the stool

      Sounds like that's one long, painful stool


      Well, the word marketing was in close proximity, I was just suprised nobody picked up on it sooner.

      Gawd, I can see the new /. subtext "When marketing stool drops, we're there for the splash!".
  • The goal is increased conversions, and of course AdWords market share."

    Say what's a who now?

    Sometimes I miss the wild and wooly days of HTML 1.0 when marketers and advertisers thought a web was where a spider lived.

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