In Chris Brogan's post "50 Ways Marketers Can use Social Media to Improve Their Marketing" (reblogged by Jeremiah Owyang), one of the recommendations was:
Make WebsiteGrader.com your first stop for understanding the technical quality of a website.
So, I thought I'd try it.
According to the blurb posted on the it's welcome page, Hubspot's Website Grader is a free seo tool that measures the marketing effectiveness of a website. It provides a score that incorporates things like website traffic, SEO, social popularity and other technical factors. It also provides some basic advice on how the website can be improved from a marketing perspective.
HubSpot's vision is to provide a (killer) marketing application and provide great advice to small businesses so they can "get found" by more people and turn them into customers.
Specifically, Website Grader currently reports on:
- On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Off-Page SEO
- Social Mediasphere
- Converting Qualified Visitors to Leads
- Competitive Intelligence
I plugged in the URL for World Resources Institute - www.wri.org. For this first go-around I did not include any competing sites. After a short pause while the Website Grader logo bug gyrated on the screen, I got my result.
92 out of 100.
Pretty good, huh?
But then I read the evaluation and discovered some discrepancies.
WEBSITE GRADER RESULTS
On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- PageTitle. Deemed too long. We were encouraged to cut it back to 70 characters.
- Metatags. We were chastised for not adding the meta description and meta keywords). I remembered debates several years back that indicated that since metatags weren't useful for SEO, they were virtually obsolete. SEO Logic has a good post about the importance of metatags, which they believe are still useful. [Unfortunately, the page isn't dated, so I don't know how old this post is.]
- Images. WRI got an okay rating on this, except for concern about our image use. WebsiteGrader felt we used too many images so the user might have to wait longer (to allow the images to download) to view our page. Oh, yes. And we need to make sure all our images have ALT tags.
- WRI came out okay there with some cool information about our Google Rank and the ability to find our site in Yahoo, DMOZ, and ZoomInfo.
- Not so good. But that was mainly because Website Grader couldn't find WRI's listing in Technorati. Yes, we are in Technorati and have been for some time. WRI has authority and a rank (which changes every so often).
- WRI came out okay in this arena as Website Grader was able to find us in del.icio.us and digg. Assuming these were the only social media spaces checked, it would be good if WebGrader could expand its social media sphere to include facebook, flickr, friendfeed, slideshare, twitter, youtube, etc.
Converting Qualified Visitors to Leads
- WebGrader searched for RSS feeds and forms to calculate ability to convert visitors to leads. They found at least one form, but had a hard time finding WRI's RSS feeds. In fact, while WRI has 8 feeds worth of information you can access in the address bar of our website on every page, Website Grader came back with a report that "RSS Feed: Not Found".
- Since I didn't select any competing websites for my initial test run of Website Grader, there wasn't a great deal of information available here. I did go back and plugin a couple of other URLs, but my overall ranking didn't change. Maybe it will change as they work out the kinks in during this BETA testing phase.
Okay, so Website Grader is in BETA. We all need to remember that. And because WebsiteGrader.com is still in BETA, they are interested in any feedback they can get.
But here are my initial thoughts.
- As with all apps in BETA, things are going to change. But Website Grader provides some good information and areas to improve upon. Some of the problem areas are clearly BETA programming difficulties while others are areas WRI can easily address.
- Given the number of freebie website ranking and comparison tools out there, adding another to our stockpile of analytics tools (Alexa, Compete, Google Trends, Technorati, BlogJuice) is useful. Especially when the tool can also offer suggestions for improvement.
- It will be interesting to see how Hubspot rolls this tool out once it is out of BETA. Will they charge for the services? Currently, it doesn't warrant this. One thing for sure, pulling in more data (and getting the current data right) from a broader range of resources is what will make this tool worthwhile in the long term.
So, WRI came out pretty good. A relatively solid site, based on the available data and, according to Website Grader,
A website grade of 92/100 for www.wri.org means that of the hundreds of thousands of websites that have previously been evaluated, our algorithm has calculated that this site scores higher than 92% of them in terms of its marketing effectiveness. The algorithm uses a proprietary blend of over 50 different variables, including search engine data, website structure, approximate traffic, site performance, and others.
The software is constantly being upgraded and the algorithm enhanced. The number of potential recommendations provided by the tool is also increasing frequently. Please check back often.
I think I will.