You are sitting in your office, comparing your monthly marketing expense and SEO numbers, and are not satisfied with your overall conversion rate. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important element in your overall online marketing strategy, but you also should pay attention to lesser-known concepts, such as multivariate testing, A/B testing, website optimization and conversion rate tracking. All these concepts are integral to a successful Internet marketing blueprint, especially one that increases your conversion rate and expands your market share over time.
What Is Website Optimization?
Roughly speaking, website optimization touches on tactics, techniques, programming and testing you do to enhance the visibility, user-friendliness, polish and usefulness of your company’s website. The goal here is simple: make the portal stand out of the pack, esthetically speaking, but ensuring that your conversion rate goes up and that people don’t say you have a nice website but cannot generate sales. To augment your portal’s visibility—same thing as optimizing your website—you can perform either multivariate testing or A/B testing. We’ll cover multivariate testing soon, but for your information, just remember that A/B testing focuses on two variables and multivariate testing covers multiple variables.
What Is Multivariate Testing—and Why Do You Need It?
Multivariate testing, or multi-variable testing, takes into account several variables in a closely monitored experiment—doing so simultaneously. This is the key word: “simultaneously.” This is particularly helpful if you run complex operations or lead a company with businesses in far-flung locales or a wide array of products and services that all need to be displayed on your website. Variables can be as diverse as product category, service lineup, website user-friendliness, general layout, content, FAQ section, social-media optimization, and discount deal position.
How to Effectively Run Multivariate Tests?
Running a multivariate test is not complicated, but you should adopt a few specific measures, all of which I will explain shortly. If necessary, enlist additional help—be it from a colleague, your company’s marketing personnel, or through specialized Web-based tools. The goal is to be methodical, know what you want to test, and figure out how to assess the results and what conclusions to draw from them.
Here are the four key stages in multivariate testing:
1. Test design: Determine the variables to test, and then specify the different iterations—that is, variations—for your test. For example, say you have 5 variables, which we’ll call A, B, C, D and E. You can have several iterations with this setup. You can test A and B and keep C, D and E intact; or test C and D and keep A, B and E intact. You get the drill; it’s a matter of switching variables around.
2. Test implementation: After designing the multivariate test, implement it. Remember, you can always use online tools to help in the process.
3. Results and analysis: After implementing the test, collect the results and analyze them, drawing conclusions that can be operationally favorable. For example, if you see that Scenario 1 yields a conversion rate of 30%, while the rates for Scenario 2 (15%), Scenario 3 (22%) and Scenario 4 (5%) pale in comparison to Scenario 1, choose the latter.
4. Site deployment: This is where you implement the good results you’ve gleaned from your multivariate evaluation, so you hopefully can start generating the sales level and conversion rate calculated during the test.
Multivariate testing and website optimization are here to stay, and may even gain in operational prominence if online commerce continues to generate the substantial amounts of money we’ve seen in recent years. So, gear up and do your homework to get a piece of the pie. Multivariate testing and website optimization are things you can do if you follow specific measures, but don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.