Evaluating the effectiveness of your search engine optimization and online marketing can be a tedious task ending with no real answer. After working with hundreds of plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, law firms and so on – there are a few simple ways to diagnose your overall online marketing effectiveness. This simple method cannot give you a full evaluation but spending 5 minutes evaluating these 5 things will give you the peace of mind that you are well represented by your online marketing efforts or you are falling short. If you are falling short, the first step is to get a truly unbiased review of your entire digital marketing strategy to develop a plan of action that is best for your business.
Here are the 5 simple and quick methods of checking your digital marketing health. This sounds elementary but I truly recommend getting a pen and a piece of paper and writing out 1 through 5. You can then easily document if you passed or failed the test along with taking a few notes if you find any serious issues. That piece of paper might also serve as a reminder to follow through on your 5 minutes of evaluation if you find problems – so that those problems can be fixed as soon as possible. As a reminder, this does not replace a full online marketing audit but is meant to give you a quick way to diagnose if there is potentially a serious issue with your online marketing.
1. Duplicated Content Will Devastate Your Online Rankings. **Take 1 minute to check**
Go to Site Liner’s Duplicate Content Checker and input your domain. It will then spend about a minute checking your website for issues, including duplicated content. You can then view the percentage of duplicated content your website has along with other SEO metrics like broken links, etc. The goal percentage of duplicated content should be zero, however realistically anything below 15% would be considered to be acceptable. Why is Duplicated Content Bad? Duplicated content has zero value for the website and search engines can easily spot it - your search engine rankings will be negatively affected because of it. Duplicated content not only indicates a lack of effort on the part of the content creator but also on your business because you allowed it on your website. Google, Bing and other search engines rank sites based on their authority and relevance - duplicated content will make them trust your website less and will cause significant damage to your long-term search engine optimization growth and rankings. If you have duplicated content it is important to create an immediate content creation plan to replace your current content with original content. If you have less than 15% duplicated content then give yourself a passing grade – if not then mark it down as an F. The task of replacing your duplicated content with original content can seem overwhelming – it is important to do it though as quickly as you can. We have developed an informational page about content creation and marketing you can review to get helpful advice, tips and things to avoid.
2. Is your website’s speed hurting your SEO and Conversion? **Take 30 seconds to check**
Google has a page speed tool to tell you exactly how fast your website is and what needs to be done in order to speed it up. Go to Google’s Page Speed Test and simply input your domain. Google will then give your websites a grade from 0 to 100 – much like a standard school grade the higher the number the better your website performs. There are two tabs so be sure to check your mobile grade and your desktop grade. Ideally you will want to be in the 90’s however anything below a 70 should require some additional research by you and your digital marketing firm. A poor loading website will hurt your search engine rankings and your conversion rate with all of your online marketing efforts including paid advertising. Why is this important? The search engines primarily care about providing their end user the best possible experience so they will continue to trust the results they provide. If your website does not provide the best experience such as a slow loading website or pages that do not work on the user’s device - then the search engines will not send you traffic. This is one of the many reasons that with pay per click marketing a bad user experience can increase the amount you are paying per click. If you received below 70 you should mark this as an F – if you received above a 70 then I would mark it as a pass. Keep in mind that if you are below a 90, it would be important to notify your website company so they can make the needed changes recommended by Google.
3. Does your website have a Google Penalty or Security Issues? **Take 1 minute to check**
Go to the Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) and login with your Google account. If you do not have access you will need to contact whoever is in charge of your website so that they can add you. It is vital, not just for this, that you have full access because Search Console is the key to understanding all of your online marketing health. I will cover that more below. Once you login with your Google account, simply scroll down and look on the left of your screen for “Security and Manual Actions.” Once you click on that, click on manual actions. If it says “No Issues Detected” then smile. Now click on security issues, if it says “No Issues Detected” then give yourself an A. But DO NOT move on quite yet. The search console provides a wealth of information about your overall web health and I highly recommend spending 20 minutes a week reviewing it. You can review everything from incoming links to your exact rankings for your largest keywords and the trends of those keywords. You can also view which websites link to you, you can disavow links coming to you from spam websites and review in detail your page experience and dozens of other metrics. This Search Console Guide really lays out everything you need to know to review all the information. I cannot stress the importance of truly being able to understand and evaluate your website through this tool if you own a business. It is the best tool to check the authenticity of what you are being told by your digital marketing firm and provides you with accurate data that cannot be manipulated. It is the most powerful online health marketing tool available for your website and it is free and simple to use. Why is a Google Penalty Bad? If your website has a Google penalty it can be against your entire website or just specific pages within it. A penalty from Google will result in a major reduction in your traffic and online rankings. Typically, a Google penalty means you have a long road ahead of you but a reputable firm with “penalty removal” experience can yield you results. If you have a Google Penalty reach out to us, we can help or point you in the right direction. The process will be arduous but the sooner you focus on it the quicker you will see results.
4. Check Your Current Website Traffic Compared to 12 months ago and 24 months ago and 36 Months ago! **Take 2 minutes to check**
Google Analytics allows you to login through your Google account and monitor tons of website traffic statistics including where your traffic is coming from, how long they stay on your website, what city they are coming from and literally thousands of other metrics. However, to evaluate your website traffic health just login to Analytics. In the upper right hand side you can click on the dates and I would recommend setting them for a two month period, like August 1, 2022 through September 30th, 2022. After you choose your dates, you can then simply (in the same date box, bottom left) click on compare. I would recommend comparing your traffic to 12 months, 24 months and 36 months ago. It will tell you the percentage increase of organic (SEO) traffic, social media traffic, time spent on website and so on. If all metrics are up, then give yourself an “A”. If some are up and some are down then I would recommend looking into your traffic with a bit more detail including the traffic sources, the time on site and if you had major changes in your marketing. Examples of this would be if two years ago you were spending a lot of money on social media marketing but have since stopped that – it would explain the traffic drop. If all or most of your important metrics are down, then give yourself an F and start thinking about the best way to further evaluate your traffic and website metrics. One additional tip – on the bottom left of the page there is a section called “demographics” – if you click on that it will give you locations of where your traffic came from. If you are in the United States but a significant portion of your traffic came from outside of the USA, then it is important to really evaluate if your traffic is real or fake. I also suggest spending a large portion of your time learning analytics because if you own a business, this is one of the best ways to truly evaluate how well your marketing company is doing for you with numbers and data they cannot manipulate. Learning Google Analytics is simple if you have the time to click around and play with it for a while – it might be easiest though to read through this course on analytics from Google.
5. Perform a Quick Domain Analysis with MOZ. **Take 30 seconds to check**
By no means will this tool give you a deep level of actionable advice, but it will help you realistically gauge in about 30 seconds how well you are doing with your online battle for dominance. The Moz Domain Analysis tool gives you information like what keywords you are ranking for, what websites link to you, what pages on your website have the most links pointing to it and so on. It also gives you some information on your competition and the overall strength of your website. Much of this information can be found on Google Analytics and Search Console mentioned above but this provides a real simple and quick view. The domain authority is an important number to look at because it ranks the level of authority your website has – basically combining a bunch of relevant factors from incoming links, to rankings and so on. It is not something from Google but provides an idea of the authority of your website from a search engine viewpoint. This needs to be considered within the context of the entire picture. This tool also reviews your spam score as well which is important to know. I would not make many decisions based on using this tool other than it can be a good measure of everything else we covered in this article – a good visual. To me, the most beneficial part of this search is summarizing your keywords and your competition. With evaluating your online marketing it is important to evaluate all factors and this is a simple tool to get a quick idea on how well your website might be doing.
There is no way to get a full grasp of all your online marketing efforts without performing a comprehensive online marketing audit but those can get pretty expensive. These 5 steps can give you a general idea (actually if you devote a few hours a very detailed idea) of how well you are doing with your online marketing. If you have found issues and have an “F” or two – I really recommend talking to a third party expert that can give you a real opinion you can trust. There are a few digital marketing consulting companies that are not seeking your website design or SEO business – that make our money by leading our clients in the right direction with good and actionable advice. Because we are not seeking your monthly SEO fee or your website design fee – we are capable of providing you an unbiased and direct opinion on where you are going wrong and how to rectify the issues in the most cost effective manner.
Depending on the results of your quick review you may be feeling pretty good about your online marketing or you might have a few additional questions – or want a full online marketing audit. We are currently offering no charge, no obligation full online marketing audits for potential clients. We are digital marketing consultants with 20 plus years of experience – proven and trackable results. We can also connect you with a digital marketing firm that can better meet your goals when it comes to search engine optimization, pay per click marketing or website design. We can help you get back on the correct path and take every measure needed to correct past mistakes done by your previous digital marketing firms.
If you are a #plasticsurgeon and attending the ASPS Meeting in Boston this month, feel free to contact David directly to schedule a one-on-one meeting.
Written by David Phillips, CEO and Founder of SayWhat Consulting. With over 20 years of experience, Mr. Phillips has consulted with small, medium and large businesses in marketing, business management, staff training and day-to-day operations. SayWhat assists clients in numerous industries including cosmetic surgeons, plastic surgeons, med spas and attorneys in family law and criminal law.
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