Check Your Online Performance to Protect Your Brand
How Are You or Your Company Performing On the Web & Social Media?
When I do a preliminary check of a potential ally or client I have a quick procedure that includes evaluating their web performance, online content, and social media engagement.
Press: What press coverage have you received?
How many press releases have you issued over the last year?
How did you promote your news?
Was this news truly newsworthy?
Who are your spokespersons and if your CEO is one is the CEO active on social networks (even if they use a ghostwriter)?
Content: do you regularly create and post new content, such as blog posts, bylined articles, whitepapers, and web pages?
Awards: are you actively winning awards for you or your clients?
Speaking: do you have a current list of speaking engagements, podcasts, or videos? Even better are speaking slots at conferences and trade shows.
Industry Analysts: do you have a relationship with an analyst, are you getting good advice and accurate reviews, and are you leveraging that relationship with webinars or requesting an occasional quote that you might use in a press release?
For any business, website speed (load time or response time) is a critical metric. From my experience using and selling computers for engineering design, you cannot overstate the value of rapid response time. Users tune-out and turn-off when forced to wait. There are so many statistics to support this, so here are three from Google:
- Pinterest increased search engine traffic and sign-ups by 15% when they reduced perceived wait times by 40%.
- The BBC found they lost an additional 10% of users for every additional second their site took to load.
- DoubleClick by Google found 53% of mobile site visits were abandoned if a page took longer than 3 seconds to load.
My favorite way to test this is a free test from the knowledgeable team at GT Metrix.
The GT Metrix tool combines the capabilities of other great web performance analysis tools including Yahoo! Why Slow, now open source at YSlow.org and Google PageSpeed Insights. For mobile evaluation, TestMySite.ThinkWithGoogle.com removes your local connection as an input, giving you a better answer. Pantheon used these two in a recent presentation a.) a worldwide Ping test from KeyCDN.com and WebPageTest.org which offer a nice waterfall assessment.
THE UTILITY OF CONTENT
The second test is for website content from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective. There are many vendors offering analyses. SEM stands for search engine marketing.
There are many SEO tools available. What is important is whether they help you rank higher. If the tool offers actionable insights into what could be better, then the tool has value.
SEO Tools measure components of your content, such as:
- Page rank
- Keyword rank
- Keyword rank versus competitors
- Other sites that rank highly for your keywords
- Website speed
- Headline length
- Duplicated title or heading (H1) tags
- Not secure, http rather than https
- The length of content on the page (too short)
- Broken links
- Non-https (secure) links
- And ... many other criteria, important and not important
Qualitative assessment: at some point, I need to read the website, social media posts, social media engagements, and get an idea of total market reach.
- Organic search traffic from excellent content (pages, blogs, and press releases)
- User-friendliness of the website, starting with speed, but including usefulness (utility for the “job to be done”) or if you prefer, serving the users (functionality and content for personas).
SOCIAL REACH & SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT
There are hundreds of social networks in just English that are active at any time. So, which are important? For B2B companies, LinkedIn is probably the most important. We have gotten leads for clients over many years from good content posted on the LinkedIn profiles of key spokespersons or within LinkedIn Groups with the right industry.
There are analysis tools for each of these, but for a point in time, the best evaluation is to look for their pages, posts, and interactions on each of the social networks. Do the company and spokesperson have a following? What content are they posting? Do they create events? Are spokespersons and staff represented? Is there interaction and active response? Is the tone of questions or discussions positive?
What content do they post? Is content only about them or do they feature customers, partners, industry analysts, and non-competitive issue and industry commentary from the top magazines and bloggers? In other words, are they following the industry and providing a useful commentary to their followers?
LinkedIn counts, but LinkedIn Groups are also important. Look around at all the presence the company may have. A company has a page. Employees have pages that are complete or not. Brands may create additional subject-related pages. Spokespersons and staff may create, join and be active in LinkedIn Groups. How does this company participate?
Facebook is the monster of consumer online social networks and increasingly business. Again, how does this company spark and participate in conversations on Facebook?
Twitter: maybe only 15-20% of your audience cares about Twitter, but those really care. What value does this company provide to its audience?
Google+ not visible, but may still add value for Google searches. Post here for good luck on Google.
YouTube – yes, video. Everyone knows TouTube is huge and video has a value to certain users for certain types of information. Whether video or audio, I recommend providing a text transcript for both usability and SEO.
Foursquare/Swarm. Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snap, Quora, Reddit, Untappd, etc. all have audiences and may provide engagement for image and video content (product images, demos, etc.) You need to understand the audience to know if these social networks matter to them and for you.