Create a better website with Google’s Content Experiments

June 8, 2012Uncategorized

After the Penguin update in late April, Google has again shown its encouragement for great online content by integrating Content Experiments into its Analytics package.

Usability has long been a vital part of any website, and this new Analytics feature gives site owners another way to test for the best way to display their information. One of the most famous stories of usability testing success earned Amazon an extra $300m a year by fixing a problem they didn’t even know existed – simply by replacing a ‘register’ button with one that said ‘continue’.

And while layout is important, let’s not forget about the information you’re offering to customers. Whether it’s just text or additional forms of content, it serves a very important purpose (or at least it should). No matter if you’re looking to make sales, get newsletter signups or simply direct readers to a certain page, it’s vital that your content convinces users to go one step further. Shoe store Zappos, for example, increased conversions by 6%-30% by adding videos of staff members wearing items of stock.

Usability testing has traditionally taken the route of A/B or multivariate testing, but Content Experiments is positioning itself as A/B/N. Rather than comparing two contrasting pages – or different combinations of the same page – you can compare up to six different versions of the same page against the original for side-by-side comparison. You choose the percentage of visitors who sees each version of the page, then track how many conversions come from each group. Stats will appear almost immediately, but Google won’t announce a ‘winner’ until two weeks after a trial starts in order to encourage statistical significance.

 

Because of its integration with Analytics, you can use the goals that you’ve already created and then test different headings, body text, images, videos, calls to action or layouts. Google suggests testing small changes at a time, and then adding to those changes once you’ve seen a difference in results.

To set up a test, select Experiments from the Content tab on the Standard Reporting page. A wizard will run you through the steps and give you a code to place on your site. (It seems that not all accounts have been set up with this option yet, but it’s hinted that everyone will have access by August 1st.)

This newly integrated feature shows again how much emphasis Google is putting on what’s on your site, and how important content marketing is for any website.

Oliver Gaywood, online editor at King Content