It’s been 2 years since I did an extensive HubSpot Marketing Grader review, and a lot has been added to boost its ability to help users to improve traffic to their websites. It’s interesting that in the past two years, things like social media management and email lead nurturing campaigns have been heavily promoted, that many companies are still not seeing the importance of judging their own sites. Many companies are simply sending out Tweets and updating statuses, but not generating the kind of traffic that they should be.
What is the number one purpose of having a website? No, it’s not to provide useful information, nor is it to promote and sell a product of service. The reason why websites exist in this era is to do two things (that are really just the same thing): 1- To establish an ongoing relationship with a visitor; and 2- To capture that visitor’s email address via an online form.
The Marketing Grader now categorizes its results into 5 areas rather than the old version that only looked into 3. The three original sections were: top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and analytics. Deeper analysis of your site now provides information in these areas: Blogging, Social Media, SEO, Mobile Optimization and Lead Generation.
If you are simply promoting your pages on Google, you are only relying on the visitor’s haphazard desire to visit you at that moment in time. But are you looking six to twelve months down the road? What if that lead wants info on the product or service you provide, but in the future? They will most likely go and do a brand new search on a search engine and trust the organic links that appear on page one. If you don’t appear on page one every single time, then you won’t gain access to these searchers. But even if your site is not ranked at its highest, you should still be able to have access to these precious leads. If you had established a line of communication with them to begin with, they wouldn’t be doing a “new search,” because they would have already “found” you.
How A Marketing Grader Review Provides Insight
Instead of simply “grading” the traffic to your site, it looks at your site in a number of key ways that encourage this relationship between your company and your potential clients. It looks at:
- Your Tweet frequency
- The quality of your blogging and the freshness of your content
- Do you have social media share buttons on each page (especially blog posts)
- Do you have an easily located RSS feed?
- Whether you have an online email capture form
- Whether you have a professional Facebook / LinkedIn account
- How many trusted sites are linked back to yours
- Whether your site has mobile device optimization
- Whether you use analytics at all to monitor traffic to your site
The list of information goes on and on. But the key take-away here is that the Marketing Grader has been modified over the past few years to focus on your social media presence. Scoring low in these areas is a far greater problem than say, not having alternate text tags for your images.
Optimization comes in many forms. SEO analytics demonstrate the need for every page to have a unique title. Each page should be optimized for keywords that are directly in-line with your company’s product or service. The Marketing Grader makes recommendations on how to perform better keyword searches and to ‘power up’ your site’s engine.
As Google changes over time, many older digital advertising efforts are becoming obsolete. Things like: copy / pasting of content over various platforms, link exchanging and ghost blogging. Social media has become a major force in optimization and those companies that don’t have a strong foothold within it are going to be left behind. This is because more search results on Google are now based upon the “Likes” and “Shares” and “+1s” of your friends and online community. This is not something that many marketers planned to have happen ten years ago.
If you are following tactics that are outmoded, your page one result status is going to drop. There’s no doubt. Best practices for Google results are to follow the advice of the Marketing Grader and then continue in an authentic manner.
Blogging is Still King
In order to provide fresh content as well as relevant content, as well as to increase the number of recognized pages on your site, blogging is still the number one way to generate traffic. But is it doing its job? Your blog should encourage readers to connect with you to start a dialogue. Beyond that, your blog should also encourage readers to share your blog so the process can continue. Ghost blogging is popular these days. However, when you hire a writer from outside of your field of expertise, your content won’t have depth and breadth. Your writer is not you. Hire someone to re-phrase and form YOUR words into a blog. Blogging may still be king to SERP, but content is king of the blog.
Tweeting isn’t Done in the Dark
Some companies think that simply sending out Tweets is enough to count as creating a “buzz.” Not so. Your Tweets need to do two things: 1- Get readers to click through to your site / blog; and 2- Get re-tweeted. Useless tweets don’t get shared. Stale information doesn’t get followed up. Your social media manager’s job is to drive traffic to your site so you can capture emails. It’s not to share pointless updates about the conditions of the weather, or the latest dog sweater trend. While these may receive re-tweets, they don’t bring visitors to your site for real business.
Marketing Grader Suggests: Mobile is Everywhere
The Marketing Grader is placing more importance on sites that have mobile optimization. This is simply because smartphones and tablets are taken everywhere and are becoming the main way people connect to the Internet. Also, emails are sent directly to these customers at specific times of the day to ensure that they are read. Point is: mobile is important now and in the future and the HubSpot analysis looks at whether you have it for your site or not.
Does Your Site Use Analytics?
This component of your “grade” is pretty obvious. Are you analyzing the traffic data for your site? How many unique visitors do you have each month? Where are they coming from: social media sites, from a tweet, from another site with whom you’ve shared a link? What is the URL of these visitors? If they’re from outside your local area, how can you create unique emails to address their concerns? It’s unlikely that you’ll need to send someone in England a customized invitation to your grand opening in Detroit. Analytics shows that you are taking your traffic seriously and are interested in generating a custom approach to each and every visitor. The site can even recommend ways to measure the traffic to your site.
Trusted Backlinks Are Gaining in Importance
When another site links to your site, Google looks at both of you and determines if this is a genuine, trusted, authoritative connection. If it’s not, it will be ignored. Your “grade” depends upon whether you have this on your site. Link exchanging is when you agree with another company to link to each other. While this has been common practice for years, it may not be helpful in the future. Because if you have too many link exchanges going on, Google may punish you for not being authentic in your connection to others in the community. Don’t link exchange, rather guest blog on someone else’s trusted site and gain a “real” connection to their readers. Links back to your site will be far more trusted down the line.
Check Out the Competition
You can also gain insight into your competitors. This is a new feature that HubSpot has introduced in order to give users an idea of where they stand up against their main competition and what they can do to compete in the online arena.
Lead Generation is the Whole Point
Your grade will also depend on whether you have landing pages with forms to generate leads. As well, you will be graded on whether you have set up marketing automation or not. In each case, the point of a website (as I’ve stated earlier) is to capture emails so you can nurture and generate leads. So much depends upon your website to do this job, that it eclipses all other aspects of traditional print and TV advertising. ColdAd can suggest many ways to encourage traffic and to encourage visitors to sign up for updates and fill out forms. But you need to start thinking about this now, before you give any agency a call. What are you doing to generate leads? Because if this isn’t happening and increasing by the month, then you’re doing something wrong, and probably paying some digital specialist far too much for their time and effort.
Is Appearing On-Page One So Important?
In the end, you only really need to get “found” once. Being on page one of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is less vital to digital advertising than it used to be. This is because other elements such as lead nurturing and social media interaction are naturally culling people without the need for a prior web search. Yes, of course, you need to be found that first time, but once you’ve established an on-going communication, your presence will be known (and shared) without the need for a re-search.
A part of this Marketing Grader review is to bring to your attention the fact that you may encounter a few problems (they’re still working out the bugs). Users have noticed that sometimes the RSS is not recognized, the mobile optimization isn’t found and the social media sharing buttons are accounted for in your overview. But these can be fixed manually to show your accurate grading. Click on the gear icon next to the social icons at the top of your review page. Then you can manually enter in your info.
Your grade is your own private business and it doesn’t mean that your site isn’t working properly. It’s meant to guide you towards the key areas in which your site is judged, so you can do what you wish with the information it gives you. Regardless, it’s worth checking out to see if you’re missing something simple that you can implement for greater success.
Have you done a HubSpot Marketing Grader review of your site already? What changes have you made to your site’s optimization? Do you have further questions about Analytics and SEO? Leave a comment here, or contact us directly. It is mainly our job to promote and create awareness in the field of Inbound Marketing and our goal is that everyone understands the importance of using it as their main methodology. Questions about Inbound? Call or contact ColdAd today to learn more. You may disagree, but you can’t ignore the change that is happening on line. Get graded before the game changes so much that your five to ten years of digital efforts are lost. Simply by visiting HubSpot and using their free service, you’ll be one step closer to creating a fully functional, hard working, lead generating website.