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How to Conduct A Website Audit: The deltaDNA Story

by | Oct 22, 2014 | Edinburgh, healthcare marketing, Inbound marketing | 1 comment

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If you are a SAAS company or are looking to improve the performance of your website I am pretty confident that you will find something useful in this research.

Why deltaDNA?

The truth being told I have been a fan of deltaDNA for many years.

In the best spirit of inbound marketing I wanted to put this research together to analyse deltaDNA’s website and marketing to see how we could help to improve it.

Although I do think they have done a fantastic job on their website and marketing, sometimes you can get too close to a project and things can be missed.

The goal of this article is to offer some free helpful advice to deltaDNA on how to improve things. It is also my hope that everyone else who reads this will receive some value in the content in order to help with their own business.

There is a magnitude of SEO and website advice out there much of which is total and utter rubbish and I’m sure if you have read some of it you were probably wondering how this relates to your specific business.

By taking you through a real live website I hope that you will get some actionable advice on how to improve your own website, enabling you to acquire more leads and sales.

This is a detailed in-depth analysis and follows the inbound marketing methodology to help attract, convert, close and delight customers.

Disclaimer

When you are looking from the outside in, when it comes to carrying out a website and marketing analysis, it can be difficult to get the information that you need.

As I did not have access to any of deltaDNA’s systems the information I have presented here may not be 100% accurate.

I have no affiliation with deltaDNA at the time of writing this article and I was not approached by them to do this audit.  Nor did I have access to their website analytics or Google Adwords account which would have given me additional data that would have been very helpful.

For the purpose of comparison we have also shown examples from what I would consider are competitors of deltaDNA in order to compare strategies so that we can all learn from each other.

These competitors are:

All of the above offer similar services to deltaDNA.

Why not get your own personalised website audit from one of our inbound marketing specialists.

Attraction

Attracting the right kind of people to your website is where most businesses start when trying to improve the performance of their website.

More traffic equals more sales, right?

In my opinion this is the thing you should be doing last not first and is the case for almost all of the businesses I speak to.

Many businesses turn to Google Adwords to generate traffic, which they hope will turn into sales.

The problem is, paid traffic is the most expensive traffic there is and sending this traffic to your website which is not performing, unfortunately won’t turn this traffic into happy customers.

Google ads analysis

I can see that deltaDNA do indeed use Google advertising to send traffic to their website. Which in itself is great but I wanted to highlight a few improvements.

I see that they use the keyword “mobile app tracking” to trigger the ad below.

app_advertising___Google_Search

I did notice there were some formatting issues with the Ad. The first letter of each word should be capitalised which makes it easier to read and makes it stand out more. By making some small changes to the ad I am confident you could double the amount of clicks received.

See improved example below:

Screen_Shot_2014-10-16_at_16.53.34

The thing that puzzled me somewhat is when you clicked the ad it takes you to the page illustrated in the image below.  It was fantastic to see deltaDna have actually created landing pages, however nowhere on the page could I find any mention of app marketing.

ppc_1___deltaDNA

This may actually frustrate users. In fact when doing a site search on Google there is no mention of mobile app marketing on the website at all.

no_app_advertsing

This will mean that people are going to bounce from the website after the click as they can’t find the content they really need. Google will charge you more per click as your content is not relevant to the keywords.

Search Visibility

No matter how great your content is, if you do not show up in a Google search most people won’t find you.

So I examined  deltaDNA’s search visibility and compared it to the three competitors I have previously identified.

You can see below deltaDNA’s search visibility.

seo-visibility

As you can see from the graph above the amount of visibility they have in this search is very low.

Just one.

What I am trying to illustrate here is how many times their website shows up in a particular search. The more searches the more traffic is generated.

If a website has a high number here this would mean the website shows up many more times for different search queries, meaning their website is both relevant and receiving relevant traffic.

Let’s now compare this to the competitors.

search-visibility

You can see from the above data that Tableau is light years ahead of everyone else. This is not all bad news as this does present an opportunity for deltaDNA to surpass most of their competitors.

By creating relevant content more often this will mean more opportunities for people to find them in a search.

One of the reasons that this number could also be low is that apart from Tableau all the domain names are all under four years old.

Older sites do sometimes have more visibility as they have had more time to build up quality content. Tableau’s domain name has been registered for 10 years.

In order for Google to rank your website for relevant search terms it needs to have lots of information to determine whether your site is relevant.

The more relevant content available, the more information Google has and the more likely it will rank a website.

I also noticed that some pages would not be indexed by Google at all. Like the downloads page below. This would be seen to Google as thin content.

Screen_Shot_2014-10-22_at_11.35.01

Another thing that Google can potentially penalize your website for is duplicate pages. The reason being Google doesn’t want to show people the same pages.

These three pages on the deltaDNA website are all identical. They appear to be test pages. Although it is fantastic to see that they are testing pages, perhaps it is not a good idea to actually let Google see them.

duplicate pages:

http://www.deltadna.com/pricing/

http://www.deltadna.com/pricing-test/

http://www.deltadna.com/testhp/

Using A/B testing software like optimizely would be a good way to test your content but avoid duplicate content penalties.

deltaDNA has 218 pages indexed by Google however, only 89 of these pages are actually showing up in a search results.

This is a good indication that Google may not be valuing their pages as much as they would like and could also indicate that they have some duplicate pages.

Robot.txt

A robot file can tell search engines which pages to index and which ones to ignore. Adding the duplicate pages that I mentioned above to this file will stop Google indexing them.

As deltaDNA is using WordPress it would also be a good idea to include the /wp-content/plugins/ to this file.

Plugin designers sometimes leave an index page on the plugin which contains a link back to their website. Therefore you would not want Google to index these pages.

You can find more information on this and other tips from the Yoast blog.

Sitemap

A sitemap can be submitted to Google webmaster tools to help Google understand more about your website. It is not possible to see if deltaDNA has a webmaster tools account but I did take a look at the sitemap.

XML_Sitemap

You can see from the above image that they do have a few different sitemaps. I would recommend not allowing Google to index tag or category pages as this can cause duplicate content issues.

Removing a sitemap for these pages and adding them to your robots.txt file will help with this.

To learn more read this post from the search Engine Journal.

Accessibility

Accessibility is a big factor in whether people will stick around on your website. If your website is slow or the information they need is hard to find then they will just leave in search of a more pleasurable experience.

Take a look at the site speed report from deltaDNA.

site_speed

Looking at the the report we can see there is room for improvement. We would be looking to achieve a grade A. The report looks at all the elements on the website to see how optimized they are to load quickly.

If you would like to run your website through this system visit http://gtmetrix.com/

Also here is the site speed report.

pingdom_speed

At the time of running the report we can see that the load time for the homepage was 4.42 seconds. Which of all websites tested was only faster than 36% of them.

Check your website at pingdom tools.

Did you know 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load?

A fast loading site is essential because people will leave a website where they can’t find the information they are looking for quickly.

Take a look at this infographic from Kissmetrics to see how slow websites affect your bottom line.

As people will access your website from many different devices, some of which won’t have the bandwidth to handle large amounts of data, it is vital that your website loads as quickly as possible.

Let’s see how deltaDNA fairs against its competitors.

site-speed-secs

Site architecture

Great site architecture isn’t something you get with a redesign, in my opinion. You need to understand what is important to the user and make it easy for them to find the content they need.

This is particularly hard for me to analyse correctly because every site is different and you would really need to set up heatmaps to visualise what parts of the page people are engaging with.

Using heatmap software like crazy egg  provides you with an inside look at what parts of your pages are interesting to your customers. With their unique scroll maps you can also see which parts of your pages are being ignored.

By also analysing your Google analytics accounts to see which pages people are visiting, you can then understand how you need to arrange your navigation.

Only then can you change things on your website with confidence.

A website design should be born out of user behaviour.

You can see from the graph below that deltaDNA links-out to other websites more than it links to their own pages.

This could mean they are sending visitors to other websites more often than sending them to helpful information on their own website.

 

Inbound_Outbound_Domains___Analytics_SEO

Onsite factors

In my opinion this is where 95% of your SEO should be conducted.

On your own website.

Because it’s here that you have the most control over what Google sees and if Google can’t see and understand your content then it simply can’t rank it.

Some of the main SEO improvements I could find are listed below.

  • 33 duplicate Meta page titles

  • 11 pages have Meta descriptions that are too long

  • 99 pages have missing page descriptions

  • 31 pages have a low text count

  • High percentage of images don’t have alternative text

  • No https encryption

The good news is that with the exception of https encryption, these things are very easy to fix and should not take much time to implement.

Canonical

Having proper canonical tags on your webpages tells Google that your pages are the original and if anyone steals your content you will still get the credit for it.

It is great to see that deltaDNA has canonical in place, however I have identified some issues.

Syndicating your content on other websites with larger similar audiences to yours can really help to grow your own audience.

It is great to see deltaDNA syndicating their content on http://venturebeat.com/.

The problem I have with this however is, who gets the credit for the content?

Take a look at one of deltaDNA’s blog posts syndicated to VentureBeat.

ventuabeat-article

And now see the same content on the deltaDNA site.

deltas-blogpost

Both these pages have canonical tags saying they are the original. This is going to confuse Google.

See what happens below when you do a search for deltaDNA’s article.

ventuabeat

deltaDNA are not being credited with the content, which means Google doesn’t even know that they wrote it.

The best practice here is to get VentureBeat to change their canonical tag to point to the original article.

Open Graph

The open graph protocol is basically code that you put on your website which makes sharing your website’s content via social easier. FaceBook use this protocol.

I could not find the open graph on deltaDNA’s website.

See below when I tried to share their homepage on Facebook.

Screen_Shot_2014-10-06_at_07.22.37

You can see that it is not really pulling through helpful information.

You need to make it easy for people to share.

More times than not people will be more likely to share a blog post rather than your main website pages.

Here is what deltaDNA’s blog post looks like when you share it on FaceBook.

Screen_Shot_2014-10-06_at_07.24.26

 

Although this does look better, it is still a bit wordy.

Take a look at NinjaMetrics blog post when I share that.

Screen_Shot_2014-10-06_at_07.26.49

I’m sure you will agree that this is much more appealing and people are more likely to pay attention to it.

Backlinks

For me backlinks are a lot less important these days than content that your prospects and customers love to read.

That is why I would urge you to concentrate on creating remarkable content rather than seeking out backlinks.

Links need to be earned.

Let’s take a look at deltaDNA’s link profile.

backlinks

You can see that in September 2014 there is a large spike in backlinks.

Without being able to analyse the full backlink profile it is hard for me to say why this happened.

deltaDNA can examine their webmaster tools account to see exactly where those links are coming from.

The blue line represents the links but the yellow link represents the number of websites.

It looks like perhaps more links were coming from one domain which could be a cause for concern.

Google introduced an over optimisation penalty back in late 2012. This means that if your website and link profile show signs of it being over optimised then Google may penalise your website.

One such place that Google analyses is your link profile and in particular the text that is used to link to your website.

If you have a high number of unnatural anchor text links that use keywords this could be a sign of unnatural linking.

Take a look at deltaDNA’s anchor text linking profile below.

anchor_text_distribution

The good news is that this all looks very natural and shows no signs of artificial link building.

Converting Traffic into leads

By understanding your buyer personas and learning the questions they ask, you can turn those questions into content and attract them to your website.

You also need to be able to convert this traffic into leads and sales.

In deltaDNA’s case they want to get people to either sign up for a demo or the actual software.

Calls-to actions

Every webpage needs to have a call to action, the CTA’s job is to entice your audience to a landing page where they can download your expert knowledge in exchange for their email.

Let’s take a look at the deltaDNA’s homepage.

homepage_ctas

Although they have three strong CTA’s my worry is they don’t stand out enough and are getting lost in the design.

There would be a great opportunity here to have a heatmap on this page to see if people actually click on them.

If they don’t then they need to be changed.

I think the ‘log in’ CTA could be moved and made smaller as this CTA is for customers and is not as important as the others.

I am also concerned that all the CTA’s concentrate on the bottom of the sales funnel.

What about people who aren’t ready to buy?

A good place to put content created to answer your prospects questions is on your blog.

But what happens when someone finds your great content?  What do they do next?

Take a look at a typical deltaDNA blog post below.

blog_post_no_cta

What you may notice is that there is nothing else for the reader to do.

Include a CTA to a landing page for the reader to download something relevant.

I have created an example of what a CTA could look like below.

Screen_Shot_2014-10-16_at_13.17.10

Also take a look at NinjaMetrics blog post which use CTA’s very effectively.

good_example_of_blog_post

Landing pages

The job of a landing page is to turn that anonymous user on your website into a known lead. By offering your prospects content in exchange for their email you can then identify who is actually interested in your products and services.

A good landing page should convert around 40% of traffic.

A landing page should also detail the benefits of the offer. The offer could be to download a whitepaper or in the case below request a demo.

You need to demonstrate reasons why the prospect should give up their information and prove it is worth their while to do so.

Take a look at the deltaDNA’s request a demo page.

delta-form-demo

Apart from the form there is no information as to why you should ask for a demo.

This could include:

  • Strong page title

  • Sub heading that explains the benefits

  • Videos

  • Testimonials

  • Information on what to expect

  • list of clear benefits

Here is a good example of a landing page, again from NinjaMetrics who seem to be doing a lot right.

ninja_landing_page

Forms

Forms are not just a great way to capture information, they are also a great opportunity for you to segment your prospects.

Why?

By segmenting your prospects into relevant lists you can help them better.

You don’t want to send emails to them that are not relevant.

Most businesses will have more than one buyer persona and I’m sure deltaDNA is no different.

By asking for the right kind of information in your forms you can then segment your lists and send emails that are most relevant to them.

Looking at the two landing pages above you can see that NinjaMetrics is asking for company type in order to better serve them in the future.

After these forms have been filled in deltaDNA did not send you to a targeted thank you page. For more information on why creating thank you pages are important read Why Marketers Should Ditch Thank-You Messages for Thank-You Pages.

Close to a customer

This is the part that is very difficult for me to see as I am not actually in deltaDNA’s sales funnel nor did I engage with their sales team. It is therefore impossible for me to see how this is performing.

So in the absence of data I would just like to talk about some general best practices.

Once someone has given you their email address this is an opportunity to continue this good relationship and be helpful to them.

By understanding your buyer personas you can create emails that are personalised to their needs and help them make the right buying decision.

This will help a prospect move from being just aware of a problem to signing up for a free demo or service.

Delighting your customers

This final but very important step is often overlooked but every SAAS company is familiar with churn rate.

Reducing churn rate

By delighting your customers not only will you reduce churn rate you will also increase referrals.

Take a look at the table below which details how shareable deltaDNA’s content is.

most_shared_content

This data is taken from BuzzSumo which is a service that analyses how shareable your content is.

If you are delighting people with your content they will share it.

Looking at this data we can see which content has been shared the most and by which network.

We can see that LinkedIn is a popular avenue for deltaDNA and should be explored more.

By using social media to identify the questions your audience is asking, you can engage with them and answer their questions.

You can monitor people who are only in your database to help them further in becoming actual customers.

This method can also be used to turn customers into brand advocates.

Key takeaways

It is all fine and well me telling you all these things but what do you actually need to do to improve this?

Below I have provided a list of actionable steps that can be taken to improve the amount of traffic leads and sales deltaDNA can receive.

Attract

  • Capitalise each word of your Google Ads

  • Create specific landing pages for each Google AdGroup

  • Create relevant content for each Google AdGroup

  • Create content that prospects are searching for

  • Ensure each page has good amount of content

  • Install a heatmap

  • Add plugins directory to robots.txt

  • Add testing pages to robots.txt or use A/B testing software

  • Fix site speed issues

  • Fix canonical issues with syndicated content

  • Add open graph to pages

  • Investigate backlink spike

  • Fix all Meta tag issues

Convert and close

  • Analyse homepage CTAs

  • Add CTAs to blog posts

  • Create targeted landing pages

  • Create forms that help segment

  • Create thank you pages

And finally but importantly – don’t forget to delight your customers.

Why not get your own personalised website audit from one of our inbound marketing specialists.

My personal heartfelt thanks to Eli Overbey for the audit he carried out on Kissmetrics entitled What you can learn from Kissmetrics’ SEO strategy which provided much inspiration to me.

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