by Matthew Stibbe, CEO of Articulate Marketing
'How am I doing?' It's the most common question and, often, the hardest to answer, especially when it comes to marketing.
At Articulate, we do three or four in-depth marketing reviews a month for our clients and prospects. In this article, I want to reveal some of the tools we use to benchmark IT companies' digital marketing.
To illustrate this article, I'm using a recently-opened online wine store, as a test case.
SeoSiteCheckup is a great tool for checking the on-page SEO basics. Getting a perfect score takes time and effort but this tool will give you a working checklist. Of course, SEO also depends on other factors, such as great content that answers visitors' questions and incoming links from reputable sites. But it makes sense to understand and fix all the things that are in your control.
Moz Metrics is a free-to-use site that gives you information about your Domain Authority, a major factor for search engine rankings. The higher the number the stronger the online presence of your business. Use it to measure improvements in SEO and to compare your site against your competitors and peers. It is a 100-point, logarithmic scale so it's much easier to get from 20 to 30 than from 70 to 80. Microsoft.com has a domain authority of 100
Alexa Traffic Statistics
This free version of Alexa displays the traffic rank for a given website (the lower the better) The number 1 slot is the most-visited site on the planet. You can use this tool to compare your traffic against your main competitors.
Google PageSpeed Insights
If your website is slow, there's a risk that visitors will click away. This is especially true over mobile phone connections where bandwidth is limited. Worse still, search engines penalise slow-loading sites, so it pays to keep an eye on your loading speed. Google PageSpeed Insights can help you optimise page performance.
HubSpot Website Grader
HubSpot's Website Grader is the first site we check. It gives quick insights on SEO, page performance, security and mobile responsiveness. Helpfully, it gives links to advice about how to improve in each of these areas. (Full disclosure: we're HubSpot Gold Partners and HubSpot offers website hosting as part of its marketing automation suite.)
We love Social Mention. It's a way of getting a quick snapshot of how people feel about your brand on Twitter, as well as its reach and strength. For a relatively young account (@vincarta only has around 4,500 followers) this is a pretty good score. @Microsoft has a strength score of 85%. As with all these metrics, however, the value lies not in knowing your absolute score on a one-off basis but in measuring improvement over time and comparing your results with your competitors to identify opportunities for change.
Pop your website URL into Readable.io and it will give you a sense of how legible your copy is. Readability is a huge factor for search engine rankings and user engagement. A low score means that your site is hard to understand and off-putting. Not good. To improve, try Hemingway which is a simple word processor with real-time readability feedback. You might also find Articulate's guide to better marketing copy helpful.
Grade My Stack
Grade my Stack gives you a benchmark for the marketing tools you use and suggests tools you might like to try. It works across four main areas: creation, experience, distribution and insights.
Maya is a digital benchmarking tool for Microsoft Partners. It analyses your website, blog and social media and gives recommendations for improvement. It does a nice job of reviewing your page copy and blog for readability, social engagement and SEO.
Measure twice, cut once
These free tools give you a great snapshot of your website's performance, SEO, social reach and traffic performance. You can use these yardsticks to compare yourself against your peers and to measure improvements. The most important thing about digital marketing is to analyse and use data in every campaign. These apps are the perfect starting point on your journey to data-driven results.
For more information about modern marketing, download Microsoft's free Marketing Transformation Toolkit.
This is a guest post by Matthew Stibbe, CEO of Articulate Marketing, a specialist in B2B marketing for technology companies and one of Microsoft's Concierge Desk providers. If you want to see how you're doing compared to your competitors, Articulate is offering readers a free marketing benchmark report.