Mark Dirks

You can do it!

Est. Reading Time: 6 minutes

Math Quiz Time! A red car leaves the Beacon offices exactly 5 minutes ahead of a blue car. Both cars are the same make and model. They each travel exactly 750 miles at exactly the same speed and take the exact same route and only stop to fill up with gas, which takes exactly 15 minutes each time. First one to arrive wins $100K. Which one arrives first?

Answer: The blue car wins by 10 minutes. Why? Because I’m driving it.

The real reason is because the blue car performs better. It gets better gas mileage and only needs to fill up once during the trip.  The winner is the driver that gets the best return on his investment in gas (fewer fill-ups).

Similarly, there are now many good websites, promoting the same products/services and investing in web marketing.  So how do you win?  Perform better.  Make your website & web marketing dollars work effectively for you.  Have an expert mechanic look under the hood – a web marketing specialist.  Some people choose to avoid getting such help. Maybe it’s similar to my wife telling me to go to the doctor when I’m sick and me responding, “Nah, I’ll just fight through it!” For your website, one thing’s certain – avoiding expert input perpetuates lost opportunity and lost revenue. I have never heard anyone say, “Well, I’ve gotten all I can get out of my website!” You can always get more. I’m sure many of you have been to conferences and seen real-time assessments of websites by web marketing experts, usually SEO gurus. It takes some real courage to put your site issues out there for everyone in the audience to see and hear. Yet everyone in attendance learns how to get more visits, conversions, revenue and activity. Keep in mind…They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t have problems of their own!

So what if you could get a reliable assessment of your business’s web marketing situation? How do you stack up against your competitors in terms of rankings, visitors, key phrases? Are you ahead or behind your competition in the social media channels (Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, etc.)? What would an expert see under the hood of your Google Adwords or other PPC accounts? And most importantly, is Google Analytics doing everything it can to support your web marketing decisions? It’s really all about improving performance.

Beacon does this every day and we love it. Yeah, I know, it sounds a little geeky. Quite bluntly, our job is to help our customers win (“make more money”). It either happens or it doesn’t. There’s no hiding. Recently, a prospective client asked me, “What happens if Beacon doesn’t deliver?” My response was, “We get fired, which damages our credibility and our future.” Every successful entity knows its strengths and weaknesses – then builds a strategy accordingly. If you are an NFL fan, you know that every team works all week preparing for Sunday. What are they doing? Improving on their strengths. Shoring up their weaknesses. Evaluating their opponent’s strengths & weaknesses. Strategizing to win!

Sometimes I go on and on about the staff here at Beacon, but I was sitting in a conference call yesterday with a very large, international corporation, listening to a readout of the Google Analytics & Web Marketing Assessment that we had just completed for them. I was absolutely blown away. Our client was too, particularly with how thorough the report and recommendations were. A week of analysis & research produced a 13-page roadmap for this client that WILL change their business. It was filled with detailed, client-specific recommendations – NOT canned SEO or PPC best practices.

  1. Among the many, many factors required for a good SEO strategy, we
  2. Examined all their domains - recommending optimal utilzation
  3. Identified duplicate content issues & provided instructions to address them
  4. Provided guidance & detailed instructions for improving meta data
  5. Provided recommendations to improve navigational structure and coding
  6. Reworked the HTML and XML sitemaps
  7. Provided specific guidance for using their CMS-generated Robots.txt file
  8. Conducted key phrase research and subsequent density checks which produced specific instructions on how to improve content pages
  9. Evaluated the Site Search tool to identify strengths & weaknesses
  10. Evaluated internal & external linking structure

The majority of the assessment focused on Google Analytics. The roadmap documented our findings, recommendations and even snippets of code to apply. In several cases, we went ahead and updated Google Analytics to improve tracking and reporting while we were doing the evaluation. Remember, this is a group of inter-related domains, not a single domain, with thousands of web pages. This comprehensive Assessment evaluated

  1. Profiles (Raw, Mobile, Subdomains)
  2. Tracking Code Utilization
  3. Goals & Funnels (across domains, Downloads, Registrations, Forms, etc)
  4. Site Search Tracking/Configuration
  5. URL Builder (provided detailed instructions for better campaign tracking)
  6. Reporting
  7. Advanced Statistics (Event Tracking, Heatmaps/Site Overlay)
  8. Advanced Segments (setup Adwords Visitor Navigation)
  9. Microsite Tracking
  10. Annotations (applied appropriately to document changes that can be referenced to understand differences in statistics going forward)

And last, a full Competitive Analysis was performed against our client’s top 6 competitors across 33 different areas (including the social media networks, which I highly recommend).

At the end of the call, I was thinking “Wow” because we (Beacon) had just provided a wealth of valuable information to this new client – a wealth of information that would make an immediate, long-lasting impact on how they were going to invest their time and money going forward. There was a short silence on the other end of the phone – you know, that brief, but seemingly eternal dead air time that makes you worry somewhat. But they soon jumped in and said what I was thinking, “Wow, that was extremely thorough and great information – exactly what we were looking for.” However, the best part was hearing them say, “OK, how can Beacon help us make it happen?” Now the fun starts!

One Comment

  1. Posted May 7, 2010 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Interesting post– I’m most interested in the addition of a competitive intelligence analysis along with your SEO assessment. A full competitive analysis absolutely adds a whole new dimension to SEO strategy planning (and definitely helps add to the “wow” factor of the presentation.) You mentioned researching competitor exposure on social networks as an important facet of competitive analysis. Not sure if you’ve tried, but I’ve used it many times and find it to be a really helpful resource for social media research.