June 1, 2012, 3:42 PM

Google adds web site testing to Google Analytics

E-retailers can test up to five versions of a web page simultaneously.

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Google Inc. has added new, free web site testing tools to Google Analytics, the search giant announced today. Google Analytics Content Experiments lets e-retailers set test parameters, such as which percentage of visitors will see a tweaked page and which will view the original, and e-retailers can test up to five versions of any one web page simultaneously, Google says.

The service tracks the conversion rate for tested pages over time and the test ends when results show there is a winner, or when a clear winner can’t be determined. Google says it’ll add more testing metrics and experiment suggestions in the future.

“Content Experiments is a somewhat different approach from either standard A/B or multivariate testing,” Google says, in describing the service. “Content Experiments is more A/B/N. You're not testing just two versions of a page as in A/B testing, and you're not testing various combinations of components on a single page as in multivariate testing. Instead, you are testing up to five full versions of a single page, each delivered to visitors from a separate URL.”

The service includes a setup wizard to walk users through the process of loading test pages, adding the necessary code and setting test rules.

“Content Experiments helps you optimize for goals you have already defined in your Google Analytics account, and can help you decide which page designs, layouts and content are most effective,” writes Nir Tzemah, a Google Analytics product manager, in a blog post today.

With the introduction of Content Experiments, Google says its stand-alone web site testing service, Google Website Optimizer, will no longer be available as of Aug. 1. This means if a web site wants to use Google tools to test a web page, they must have a Google Analytics account. 

Google Analytics is the second most popular web analytics program used by Internet Retailer Top 500-ranked e-retailers, with 163 e-retailers using it. It is the most popular program used by Internet Retailer Second 500-ranked e-retailers, employed by 280 of those e-retailers.

April Anderson, industry director, retail at Google, will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in June, in a session entitled, “Paid search strategies for the smaller merchant.

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