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Google Website Optimizer

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the google-google-google dept.

Google 59

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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Again? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18668613)

Re:Again? (0, Offtopic)

ez76 (322080) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669939)

Subtle difference:

October's release was polydimensional, but this one is multivariate.

The forthcoming release, tentatively entitled "Google Website Optimizer", is expected to be panfactorial.

Re:Again? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18681079)

I guess I'll have to remodulate the shields.

I know what they should do --- (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18668621)

Fix their broken search engine. Geting rid of the freaking usenet aggregator sites would be a GREAT start.

THIS IS JUST A SAMPLE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18668627)

STOOL SAMPLE
A PIECE OF SHIT
GET IT?

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Jeff Horsager is queer for Google (-1, Flamebait)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668663)

And this whole 'article' is just a school project:

FTA (at the bottom): "This has been an entry for Marketing Pilgrim's SEM Scholarship contest."

Re:Jeff Horsager is queer for Google (1)

geekboybt (866398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668793)

(I know I'm feeding the troll, but whatever...)

And the problem with that is...? Just because it's written for a scholarship essay contest doesn't mean that it's not worth reading.

Re:Jeff Horsager is queer for Google (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668967)

The problem is the entire article is just more "teh-Google-is-for-awesome" tripe. Google's great and all, but praise-for-pay (or in this case, praise-for-A's)journalism should never be considered news; just marketing. I will give the article props however; they at least identified the author as a student.

Eh (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668671)

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 (3, Insightful)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669155)

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.

Re:Eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18671861)

This is old. Maybe even a year old... not sure if it was on /dot or some other site. Maybe they didnt get the response they wanted last time?

Come on /. you can do better (5, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#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...

Re:Come on /. you can do better (5, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668795)

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.

Re:Come on /. you can do better (3, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Come on /. you can do better (2, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669403)

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, your Battlebots fan page, etc.

So it's interesting not because Slashdotters will use this tool but because it's a useful development in the the way the web sites are supported. If the tool is useful, it's more advertising dollars shifted towards Google AdWords and presumably away from TV advertising (supporting useless network crud) or spinning/flashing/up-popping banners (supporting the kinds of web sites that tolerate that crud), but potentially supporting actual Slashdot users.

The fact that it's an interesting way to advertise web sites is also potentially of interest to Slashdotters, not for their own sites but for the sites they're paid to maintain, for those who do such things. Recommending marketing strategies may end up being part of their job. It's not really a technical thing, but we often wear many hats, especially in small companies, and as a web thing it often falls to us. There, too, advertising is useful; people only go searching for you if they already know you're out there somewhere.

Re:Come on /. you can do better (1)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18671443)

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.

Re:Come on /. you can do better (1)

VoltageX (845249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18670089)

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.

Re:Come on /. you can do better (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18670483)

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 users from getting pissed off about the ads.

I am addicted to utilizing Analytics, Sitemaps, and my own tools to ensure that ads are only displayed on high traffic pages and are making me the most money without pissing people off. I'm no where near perfect and it's a constant learning process for me. Any tool that can help me do what I'm looking to do while not harming my regular readership is what I'm interested in.

I fucking hate ads but I really would fucking hate to lose my connection because the wife is trying to cut corners.

In Soviet Russia... (0, Offtopic)

celkin (1077635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18670701)

Google farts at you!!!

Is that better?

Re:Come on /. you can do better (1)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18671945)

Someone farted at google??! I knew it!

Re:Come on /. you can do better (1)

asninn (1071320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18672641)

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 realise that they are necessary for them to be able to provide my favourite shows to me for free, so I don't mind it - but I'll never *like* it. All advertising exists to create an emotional, irrational appeal to buy a product that I don't need or that can't stand on its own merits (at least not for its actual price), and to me, that is evil.

Spinning flash ads with sound are more *obnoxious* than text-based advertising, but they're not any more or less evil than any other form of advertising is.

Re:Come on /. you can do better (5, Funny)

linguizic (806996) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Tag stool! (1)

justinbach (1002761) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669955)

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!

been there? (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668721)

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:been there? (2, Interesting)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668761)

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 about any links there.

Re:been there? (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668797)

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.

Re:been there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18668859)

This product is about optimizing a web site for the user experience.

No, this product is about optimising a web site to maximise ad click-through rates.

Re:been there? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668985)

RTFA or even the summary for god's sake.

This is about an ADVERTISER optimizing their own website to maximize their OWN profits. Specifically by maximizing how many people actually perform a desired action (conversion) such as buying something.

Re:been there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18669387)

This has nothing to do with click-through rates. This is about conversion rates.

Re:been there? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669067)

What exactly is the object of the embrace and extend here?

Re:been there? (1)

eviljim (73860) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669383)

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 it to test traffic from AdWords ads, increase conversions from AdWords visitors, and spend more money on AdWords ads.
You can just as easily use it to test traffic from Overture ads, increase conversion from Overture visitors, and spend more money on Overture ads.

HA HA HA HA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18668765)

"Leg of the stool "
He said stool.

What percentage (1)

RedElf (249078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668831)

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.

Re:What percentage (1)

samrichards (663088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18671643)

uhm, the people making and sharing the valued content are the people who are paying google ...

Really cheezy site (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668885)

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 popcorn than a Toffee Crunch DrizzleCorn(TM) image." That's not even a sentence.

This looks like an amateur eBay "seller"'s first web site. It's embarassing for Google. They're losing their touch.

Worse, Google used to disfavor "landing pages" and "doorway pages" in search ranking. Now, this part of Google is telling people to use them. This raises some questions.

Re:Really cheezy site (1)

the-amazing-blob (917722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18668979)

Well, many things the Googe releases are pet projects. This could be an early release, not fully checked for Google Compliance (tm).

so you are saying... (1)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669429)

they should apply the optimizer on their own pages.

Re:Really cheezy site (1)

hpc4u (978056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18672999)

Disclaimer: I don't know what browser you are using.
I took a look at the page and not one part of your description was accurate.

Can anyone verify whether the page is static?

Multivariate testing finally getting it's due... (5, Interesting)

urlgrey (798089) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669045)

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.

Re:Multivariate testing finally getting it's due.. (2, Interesting)

bitkid (21572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669151)

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 ...

Re:Multivariate testing finally getting it's due.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18669345)

Try Atlas Solutions Site Optimization [atlassolutions.com] for a more service-oriented product. Posted anonymously for obvious reasons.

Not about ad-sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18669211)

I wonder where the submitter pulled this stupid idea of "increased AdWords market share", because after RTFA'ing and watching the demos, it becomes quite clear that it is not the point of Google Website Optimizer.

Are we entering a new era of /. where even the submitters don't RTFA?!

Other optimizations? (2, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669367)

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:Other optimizations? (0, Offtopic)

robogun (466062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669799)

The optimizer is get posted on Salshdot, receive hits, collect ad revenue.

google adwords optimization: c+++ riding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18669479)

anything google is relative to all media outlets. consumers, searchers and enterprises employ their technology and networks to save and earn money. there are a number of users who derive value from flash notices that reveal new services otherwise unsurfaced months after posting.

google's toll free directory aided my location of parsons school of design offices today. something that otherwise would have required interacting with numerous sheltered, zombie, disaffected New Yorkers.

finally slashdot surely realizes that several thousand hits may be gained from a teaser notice proclaiming the 32nd google service launch this year (a completely random number but perhaps within reach of their rabid engineers creativity).

to google and search and newspaper ads and radio and mobile and toll free and video game ads and open api and productivity monetizations.

Heh-heh-heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18669569)

the third leg of the stool

Isn't there some sort of limit to the amount of unintentional innuendo a single Slashdot article is allowed to have?

I tested this with my company.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18669609)

My company has a large adwords account with Google so they let us beta test the product.

I have to say, while it may not be as extensive as Memetrics [memetrics.com] , it's *very* easy to setup in comparison. Working with a graphics designer for the alternative graphics, I was able to code up a test in one day and deploy without any problems.

We let the experiment run for a couple weeks, got about 100,000 results, and used the reports to generate a new landing page based on the most successful experiment. The only catch for us was we couldn't use CSS to layout the images. The tool was having problems allocating a layer, so we had to layout out page using table tags which will annoy some designers.

For a cost of $0 and a quick implementation time, it was well worth it.

Wouldn't use it (0, Troll)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669687)

if it were free.

Oh wait...

Re:Wouldn't use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18670139)

Well seeing as you probably couldn't even write a web document worthy of myspace standards. No one cares. Moving along...

Landing pages (4, Interesting)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669759)

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 (3, Funny)

wilsonthecat (1043880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18669765)

Google has released the third leg of the stool

Sounds like that's one long, painful stool

Re:Long stool (1)

A_Non_Moose (413034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18677439)

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!".

this IS news for nerds, so stop bitching... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18670013)

Invariably when anything is posted about Google there are countless people whining that it's irrelevant and non-newsworthy. I entirely disagree. As others pointed out, Google's text ads / AdWords are pretty unobstrive. Many people here are in the Webapp / website business. Search engine optimization, both for commercial and non-commercial sites, is an important topic. If you can't accept that, find another job.

At this point I have to point out that there are people that sometimes are only interested in commercial links. These people know they want to buy something and they know that the "Sponsored Links" are ads. These people do want to arrive at a place where there's a good or a service to sell, not on a website whose forums are full of people spitting out conspiracy theories about product X or Y.

50 % of people searching online are using Google and are hence concerned by AdWords.

I'm not using AdWords and, heck, I don't even have a website... But I find the underlying technology simply amazing. I use Google as a search engine and I like to know "how things work under the hood". This is "news for nerds", get over it.

Microsoft version would be 180 meg download (2, Funny)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18673007)

If microsoft did this, not only would it be 180meg to download, and require WGA, but also require Vista.

Crash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18670361)

Surely if you release the third leg of a stool, it will collapse?

very limited scope (1)

mycall (802802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18670713)

I've been using GWO for a while now. It is ok. But for many, the variations are normally more than a page change (like under-the-hood shared objects), so it basically throws out many uses for this. If you do like GWO, I suggest you check out CrazyEgg: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/crazyegg_meas uring_website_usability.php [readwriteweb.com]

WWot 7p (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18671459)

charnel house. The BSD has always national gay nigger unpLeasant centralized FreeBSD showed

sigh (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18671675)

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.

Did we just slashdot google? (1)

jordan314 (1052648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18676441)

Did their marketing demo page just get slashdotted, or is the problem unrelated? It's down for me: https://trainingcenter.google.com/websiteoptimizer overview [google.com] Also, I think it's funny that this story is tagged with 'stool', the only one tagged as such.
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