Google is endlessly ambitious. Right from the start, they sought to revolutionize the way searchers found results. From there, they went on to revolutionize the way advertising works, reversing the trend from “push” advertising (when sellers promote their products/services obtrusively) to “pull” (when buyers seek out sellers on their own terms).
Now, they’ve taken it a step further. Just a couple of weeks ago, Google announced the open beta form of their new Website Optimizer tool. In the same vein as analytics, this tool is offered free to Adwords users with the intention of assisting in the process of overall campaign optimization.
So what does it do? In short, it eliminates the guesswork in page design by allowing users to test multiple variations of a page to see which one performs the best. When a searcher lands on your site, the website optimizer tool will track their activity. Versions of your page that perform well (resulting in sales or leads) will begin to stand out in contrast with those that don’t, allowing you to optimize your site more completely and effectively. Essentially, this tool allows for a more reasonable, systematic approach — you get to optimize your site by selecting pages that objectively outperform other versions, rather than settling on what your gut tells you is most effective.
Why is this revolutionary? In a sense, it’s not. Google is not the first to think of providing a website optimization tool. In fact, several companies have been providing multivariable testing services since as early as 2001. However, Google is the first to offer this type of service for free and on such a large scale. Their hope is that millions of Adwords users will begin fine-tuning the look, feel and content of their sites, building them around “what works best” rather than “what feels best.” Google believes that if their tool is used correctly – and on a large enough scale – then over time the overall user experience of the Internet will improve. Sounds like a win-win scenario.