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Marketing Experiments free A/B Split Testing Tool: Why Google?

[Update 4/6/07]: The noted artifact has been removed from the web page mentioned. I have no idea why.

Search marketing is an interesting field for sure. Everyday we get to spend up to half of our time learning, and it’s almost always goal-oriented learning. I find it immensely satisfying. Of course the more you learn about SEO and Search Marketing, the more you understand where the money is made, where the real opportunities are, and where the tin foil hat is required technical gear, like a good waterproof jacket when outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

So when I was learning from the Marketing Experiments web site this morning, I started to wonder, why “Google”?

More specifically, I wonder why alt=”Google” on the burst icon for “Free A/B Split Testing Tool” in the upper left of this page?

Marketing Experiments offers an online course for optimizing landing pages, and the email promotion lands on this page here. On that page, the premier highlight is the upper left yellow burst, with the words “Free A/B Split Testing Tool“. Hover and you’ll see the ALT text for that image is “Google”. There is no anchor tag for the image, so no click thru.

So why “Google”?

A company that sells itself as an authority in optimizing landing pages, and even offers $595 online courses to teach you to build optimal landing pages, would surely have a purpose for the alt text assigned to the premier highlight on their own sign-up-for-our-course landing page, right?

Everyone who has been doing split testing over the past few years knows that Google has come out with an A/B split testing tool, Google Website Optimizer. It’s in beta but available, and “free” (that’s “free as in beer” when the hospitality suite requires an invitation and an RSVP with full disclosure of your personal details). Anyway Google’s A/B Split Testing Tool is free. Previously, real split testing tools cost money, and split testing is a service-oriented industry requiring experience and expertise. Google Optimizer has the potential to do to the commercial split testing tool market what Google Analytics did to the commercial analytics software market : scare it big time.

So why the “Google” alt text on the marketing Experiments landing page?

  • nearby text association; a chance to get some alt text spam in there using the word “Google” (this is so small-time I don’t buy it)
  • Marketing Experiments is actually giving you Google’s free optimizer as the “Free A/B Split Testing Tool” (seems equally oddball)
  • ?

Google’s Website Optimizer was initially a tool for working with Google AdWords, but is now promoted as a full multivariate testing tool that will work alongside non-Google analytics software:

Website Optimizer, Google’s free multivariate testing application, helps online marketers increase visitor conversion rates and overall visitor satisfaction by continually testing different combinations of site content (text and images). Rather than sitting in a room and arguing over what will work better, you can save time and eliminate the guesswork by simply letting your visitors tell you what works best.
Free multivariate testing

Website Optimizer is a self-service application designed to give marketers full control over testing. Not only does Website Optimizer – integrated into AdWords – test messages on all site traffic (not just AdWords traffic), but it also works alongside Google Analytics and all third party site analytics packages.

I have no doubt Marketing Experiments is not scared by Google Website Optimizer. They sell services and training, and Google’s entry is likely to be very good for the market as it raises the bar for basic performance standards, and raises the profile of testing like almost no other company could do single handedly. Which makes me wonder even more, why alt=”Google”?