Marketing efforts are primarily driven to address business imperatives and business issues. It is in the context of those imperatives that companies chalk out marketing objective, including digital marketing objectives and search engine optimization objectives.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are set to achieve these objectives. Performance is evaluated against the KPIs, and improvement plans are chalked out to raise performance to the next level. Which leads to the revision of KPIs.

It is an ongoing performance monitoring and review cycle:

  1. Business Imperatives and Business Issues.
  2. Marketing Objectives. Digital Marketing Objectives. SEO Objectives.
  3. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Targets.
  4. Performance Evaluation.
  5. Improvement Plan.
  6. Revised KPI targets.

Performance Metrics

Exhibit 18.23   Google Analytics support a wide range of performance metrics to assess site’s performance.

Google Analytics (Exhibit 18.23) supports a wide range of performance metrics to assess digital marketing objectives and SEO objectives. These include:

  • Unique Visitors: The number of users who visit the site over the reporting period.
  • New Visitors: The number of first-ever unique visitors (Assumes cookies have not been deleted).
  • Repeat Visitors: The number of unique visitors who visit the site more than once during reporting period.
  • Conversions: Number of visitors who complete a target action such as purchasing something, subscribing to newsletter etc.
  • Conversion Rate: Proportion of visitors who perform a target action.
  • Bounce Rate: Usually defined as the proportion of visitors who leave the site without interacting with the page. They do not visit any page other than their landing page, and they do not interact with any of the elements on that page.
  • Abandonment Rate: Proportion of visitors who start a target action, but do not complete it.
  • Cost per Conversion (CPCon): Cost of an advertising campaign divided by the total number of conversions resulting from the campaign. (This requires that the inbound URL from the ad has been tagged so that analytic tools can distinguish the traffic resulting from the campaign).

Website Grading Tools

Exhibit 18.24   HubSpot’s Website Grader.

There are a large number of tools, including some of the more popular ones listed below, that you may use for evaluating your website.

  • HubSpot’s Website Grader rates sites on mobile responsiveness, analytics, email marketing campaigns, blog activity, social media presence, and the inner workings. As can be seen from Exhibit 18.24, the grader’s summary report covers 4 category groups — performance, mobile, SEO and security.
  • Nibbler uses several tests to evaluate websites and rates them on factors such as technology, accessibility, experience and marketing.
  • Woorank, like Nibbler, offers users several tests to grade websites on categories like the site’s traffic, SEO, mobile, social, usability and technologies.
  • Quicksprout focuses on SEO ranking.
  • Google’s Page Speed Insights provides a gauge on the pace at which pages load and offers advice on how to speed them up.
  • Reaction Engine analyses and ranks websites on specified words and phrases.
  • Clarity Grader checks for language, spelling, and the clarity of a website.
  • Alexa tracks the incoming links to a website.

As can be seen from the above list, many of the tools differ in their focal areas. Alexa specializes in tracking incoming links, Clarity Grader checks for language, Quicksprout focuses on SEO ranking, and facilities like Nibbler, Woorank and Website Grader offer a broad suite of analysis, across a number of performance categories.

For a comprehensive evaluation, it is advisable to use a combination of these grading tools, in conjunction with Google Analytics.

Remember too that though they provide a lot of useful information, software tools have limitations. They are strictly rational and cannot relate to emotions or feelings. They are also incapable of understanding, and lack originality.

For instance, Google uses a few hundred metrics to rank websites, and still the top rank may go to a site with totally spurious, worthless and potentially harmful content.

So, when a grading tool tells you “you’re amazing”, that is not good enough. You still need competent human brains to assess your online properties, particularly in the context of the site’s objectives, its contents and its real worth.

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