I want to welcome you to the Biquitous Breakdown.
This is a special real-life series that analyzes and audits one website's Internet presence and SEO strategy in order to provide powerful takeaways for your website.
In other words, you're going to get an exclusive over-the-shoulder look at critical mistakes other companies are making and my recommendations for fixing them in a live video format.
My goal is to be honest in my assessments and provide that particular company with a concrete action plan to fix what's wrong, for their benefit and -- by extension -- your company's website as well.
The breakdown will focus 4 major areas:
- First Impressions: Overall analysis of the website's look, feel, targeting, usability, and more
- Second Impressions: Overall analysis of the website's social media and Web 2.0 presence
- Top Level SEO: Analysis of the website's keywords, navigation, rankings, competition, backlink profile, content, and more
- Page Level SEO: Analysis of individual page structure, tags, usability, and other details
I'll then provide a 3-step action plan for the biggest/fastest improvement to address any issues that I find.
This edition is going to focus on Proliability.com, a professional liability insurance company.
Proliability has some problems with sparse content, lack of a social media presence and -- most disturbing to me -- the possibility that they are paying for links, as well as other issues that need to be addressed immediately.
Let's get right to it:
(Click the "play" button to watch the video)
Here is the full transcript of the video:
Hello, this is Chris Fernandez, the Founder and CEO of Biquitous. And I want to welcome you to the Biquitous website and SEO breakdown, a special series that analyzes and audits one website's internet presence and SEO strategy in order to provide powerful takeaways for your website.
In other words, you're going to get an exclusive over-the-shoulder look at critical mistakes other companies are making and my recommendations for fixing them in a live video format. My goal is to be honest in my assessments and provide that particular company with a concrete action plan to fix what's wrong, for their benefit and, by extension, your company's website as well.
This series is going to analyze each website for four major characteristics.
First, I'm going to look at first impressions, the overall analysis of the website's look, feel, their targeting, trust factor, social proof, ease of use, professionalism, conversion factors and call to action.
Then, I'm going to look at second impressions. I'm going to look at an overall analysis of a website's social media presence, their blog and any other web 2.0 interaction that they have on their website.
Then, I'm going to roll up my sleeves and look at SEO. We're going to start with top-level SEO, looking at the overall website's keywords, navigation, their rankings, competition, back-link profile, content and other factors.
Then, we're going to dig one step deeper and look at page-level SEO for the structure, tags, and usability of on-page ranking factors.
After all is said and done, I'm going to give you a three step action plan for the biggest and fastest improvement for this company's website and SEO strategy, that you can then also use for your website.
So, let's get right into it.
So, today we're analyzing proliability.com. This is a professional liability insurance company, a subsidiary of Marsh, and they have this website that caters to professional liability insurance, malpractice insurance for different audiences and targets audiences in terms of the professionals that they're looking to target. Anything from dentists to pharmacists, real estate agents, etc., etc.. And they also do errors and omissions insurance for real estate professionals and other agents as well.
So, they want to be the number one provider of liability insurance in their target market. So, they asked me to analyze their website and agreed to have it for this series. So I'm going to take a look first at my first impressions.
What do I think when I come to this website?
Let's look at trust factors, the navigation and what the website itself looks like, what it's doing right and what it's doing wrong. So, the first thing I notice when I get to the website is, that it looks a bit cheesy. Now, this is nothing personal against Pro Liability, but when I come here it has cheesy stock photography. It's got no personal warmth to it. I don't feel a connection to this website. It feels cold, stale and more than anything, it feels like a landing page. I know it's a main website domain, but it feels like a professional landing page.
So, to me, this feels like something that was just put here to rank highly in the search engines. Now, I am biased, right? I'm a search engine optimization expert and internet marketing expert. So, to me, this is what I see when I see it. Maybe other folks, when they land here, they don't think that but there's something not right about this site.
When people come here and they look at it, it doesn't give them that warm feeling of trust, of authority, of being a real site that has great content, that cares about them, that's going to help them find the right insurance for them. It just has overly optimized sections. Look at it. They even bolded professional liability insurance, and I will warn that Google is going to start penalizing for over-optimized pages and sites, and this is a prime example of an over-optimized website and page. So, that's the first thing, warmth and it needs to cater more to being personable.
So, now I want to take a look at the actual navigation and ease of use of the site.
So, the site doesn't give any warm fuzzy feeling, and I know that it's kind of cold. Great. So, now can I find what I need?
Well, when I go to the drop-down menus, boy, that is absolutely daunting. There's a lot of stuff here. Now, I understand that you guys want to rank for this. Sites usually want to rank for all kinds of categories and get that SEO value. So, if I click, for instance, on athletic trainers, there's also a page level that, if we look at this, is athletic trainers.
This should be catered towards personal trainers, not athletic trainers. Now, I understand that they have a deal with NATA, N-A-T-A, which is an association of the National Athletic Trainers Association.
So, I understand that that's the nomenclature that they use, athletic trainers, but most personal training certification bodies use personal trainer. So, if I was online, I would never search for athletic trainer's insurance. I would search for personal trainer's insurance.
So, that's that kind of thing. Pro Liability should look at their nomenclature for their categories. Are you using the right words that you're going to attract for these pages? So, you're doing your title tags and all the on-page stuff as well. Again, when I come to this page, it has some generic picture here, athletic trainers. It's overly optimized.
Where's the value of this page? Why should I link to you? If I'm another site, or let's say I'm an athletic trainer and I'm on Google or Google+ or Facebook, why should I recommend this page to my friends? Why? Give a compelling reason to do so. Make it so that when I come to this site I feel welcomed, I feel like this is a valuable site that's helping me find what I want.
In other words, what does Pro Liability stand for? If I go back to your homepage, what's your unique selling proposition? What makes you different than all the other insurance companies out there? I'm sure you have some. Let's hear them. Let's see that front and center. Let's make this more warm and inviting.
Next, is content. There is no content. Now, I spoke with the folks at Pro Liability and they say that something that they want to work on, is adding a blog, adding some content. So, I would say get on that immediately, because there's nothing here where I can subscribe. There's a little bit of social media stuff down here but that's just to share stuff.
Where's your newsletter? Where's your, you know, something to keep in touch with me? Give me some way to keep in touch with folks before I leave.
And finally, there's this "My Account" thing at the top here. Either make that bigger or get rid of it entirely, because when I click on that, it brings up this page here, where I can log into my account. This right here is very difficult to understand and read. I don't have a username. Do I register? Oh, there's the register.
Now, there's some issues with the IT department, the marketing department all need to be on the same page and there's buy-in that needs to take place. Pro Liability's a very big company and Marsh is a very large company, and so, there's a lot of buy-in that needs to happen from the top level down. But things as simple as the copyright being 2008, customer service number being all the way at the bottom, having this old "Powered by Velocity" logo. These are all trust factors that make me kind of doubt that this site is legitimate, and it's stuff that you need to work on in addition to being difficult to use and not user-friendly at all.
I wanted to do a one-to-one comparison between Pro Liability and eHealth.com, which helps people find health insurance. To show that you can do this on a large scale and be more warm and inviting and have a much more better site that also caters to what you're trying to do.
So, if you look at eHealth, they do all the things right that you're supposed to do. The navigation's much simpler and cleaner. Look at that. It's much more inviting. You have pictures of real folks. It's not as generic. You've got new stuff with the video, all kinds of goodies here, that should be used as an example to Pro Liability as what can be done, and eHealth is a public company and they also make great content.
So, I know that Pro Liability had a problem with their content and creating, they called it boring content. The rule of thumb is content is never boring for the target audience that you're trying to attract. So, if we're talking about website design SEO, look at what we're doing right now, that's not boring to you guys out there. So, boring content is in the eye of the beholder. There's no such thing as boring content.
If you're worried about that, pick topics like eHealth Insurance does where they add commentary on what's going on in the world today for health insurance, like the Obama Care stuff that's going through the Supreme Court right now. All those kind of things, eHealth makes comments on that, they release press releases and content based on current events and things like that to make their content viral, so people share it that care about those issues. I think Pro Liability can do a lot of that same kind of stuff to increase their content.
So, now let's look at Second Impressions.
A second impression is a website's social media, web 2.0 presence and blog. The good news is, that's not going to take very long because Pro Liability has no social media presence, no blog and no web 2.0 interaction. So, I don't even need to spend time on this because, you know as a company in today's world, you're dead in the water if you do not have social media or web 2.0 sharing in some way and fashion.
So, that's something that Pro Liability needs to get immediately, as part of their overall refresh and site design enhancements. That's what they need to do and they need to jump on that immediately.
So, now let's move on to the SEO side of things.
So, the good news about doing these kinds of analyses is that each site and every single company is different. Different in what they're trying to achieve, different in their web presence, different in their SEO profile, and different in my advice to what you need to do to fix things. So, for Pro Liability let's first take a look at their overall metrics in terms of their trust and page rank and those kinds of things, which I like to start with to do a top down view of everything.
So, using SEOmoz, I did a quick rank check of the three keywords that Pro Liability wanted to rank for. With "professional liability insurance" probably being the number one keyword that they want to rank for. So, if we take a quick look about where they're ranking there, they're doing very well so far in the number three position for "professional liability insurance."
So, that's very good because that's their number one keyword that they want to rank for. For "liability insurance," they're not showing up at all in the top ten. And then for "malpractice insurance," they're showing up just now on the first page at number ten. So, the recommendation I would give there is, "Hey, do you really want to go after 'malpractice insurance' or do you just want to go after your top two, which is 'professional liability insurance' and 'liability insurance' and some offshoot keywords of those as well. And get rid of this malpractice or make a different website for malpractice because it's kind of diverting some of the keyword juice.
So, I then wanted to look at Pro Liability's back-link discovery, and this is basically how many sites are linking back to proliability.com.
This is a big determining factor in where you rank in the search engines, in fact, that's the biggest determining factor in how you rank in the search engines. And this is a view over the last five years and you can see that Pro Liability has had a steady increase, or actually it's been pretty steady in terms of their back-link discovery. In other words, not much. This is a monthly view, so monthly this is what they've been getting.
You can see that in the last six to eight months they went absolutely nuts in terms of getting back-links and discovery and referring domains. So, let's take a look at that now on a ccumulative view and you'll see over the last five years how they've grown.
So you can see here the back-links were very steady took a big growth here in '08, continued through '09 and it then it really exploded last year. Then over here you're going to see a nice steady stream of referring domain names. Now, this is individual domain names that are referring traffic and having a back-link to Pro Liability. Now, this is interesting, I want to show something here. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to two-year view of this same index. And what I want to show here is if you look at the referring domain name discovery over the last two years, it's gone from about 600 to about 1,200 which is about double.
However, the back-link discovery has gone from 5,000 to 20,000 with a big bulk of that coming in the last, I'd say year or so. What does that tell me? It tells me Pro Liability's getting a lot of back-links, however, they're not getting them from a wide and diverse set of domain names.
So, this could be a problem for unnatural looking link profiles and that kind of thing which I'm going to talk about in just one second.
So, what I wanted to look at really quick now, was the anchor text that's being used to link to the Pro Liability website. And what I found was out of the top thousand referring anchor texts I found, that the majority of them said "liability insurance" and then "Marsh liability insurance," the bulk of them.
So, if Pro Liability wants to go after the term “liability insurance,” they're going to have to need to step up their game in terms of getting back-links and getting a more natural profile. Because what's happening is I believe the reason that they're not ranking as high and work they need to do is because their back-link profile does not look natural.
All their anchor text has keywords in it. If you look everything says 'liability insurance,' 'Marsh liability insurance' or some variation thereof. there's no click here there's no click for more information there's no just what their domain name they just have thirty back-links with just proliability.com, thirty out of a thousand. That does not look natural. So I want to warn Pro Liability with regards to over SEOing their offsite link-building and their on-page link building which we already talked about.
Now, I want to talk about maybe some paid links that Pro Liability has, and I don't want to get them in trouble but I want to address it because it's very important. Let's take a look at that right now.
One of the websites that I found a back-link to Pro Liability from, was from this website here, Middle Tennessee State University, in a section that they call "recreation and leisure services" and as you see here Pro Liability's at the bottom under “recreational therapy links” stuck with “American Therapeutic Recreation Association,” “National Recreation and Parks Association,” and here's “liability insurance”. I don't know, that's a little grey to me. Looks a little bit paid. Pro Liability should be very aware of what's going on there and making sure they're not paying for links.
Let me show you another example. This example, this is from a website called Money Cake, now Pro Liability is getting tons of links from Money Cake and I wondered why. Why are they getting so many links from Money Cake? Well, I found it. The reason is they're getting a link from Money Cake because they're on their blogroll for Marsh liability insurance, which is a direct link to proliability.com. Now, I don't know about you, but a blogroll means you link to other people's blogs that are about those topics and if you look, there's payday loans and all kinds of other things in here. This looks iffy to me guys, this looks like a paid link. I just want to warn you about this, I'm not trying to call you out or get you in trouble, but Google frowns upon this kind of stuff, so this is another example of what I think may be a paid link. I could be wrong, but I'm just pointing it out.
Let me show you one more quick example.
In this final example, this is from the Orange County BAR Association and this seems to be a sponsors section right over here that has 'Marsh Insurance' a link to Marsh which goes to proliability.com. So, this out of all the paid links or the potential paid links that I've just shown is probably the most legitimate one because you're on a sponsored section here. So, this is more, maybe more acceptable and more legit than some of the other ones because it's a known sponsored section. But this looks like a paid link and if this is part of the link-building strategy that you guys used in the last half of last year that showed that big explosion of links that I just showed in the other screenshot. Be very careful this could backfire on you and prevent you from ranking high, especially with Google Panda just being released.
So, I just wanted to go over some other quick little sort of housecleaning, housekeeping details for Pro Liability to cover.
Of course, this breakdown, this audit is not comprehensive I don't have the time in a short little video like this to show everything that's wrong with their website and what to do but I'm trying to hit some big points that they need to address. So, let's finish off with some quick housekeeping things that I think they should take care of.
And what I noticed is when I look, aside from the site being overly SEO optimized, which we've covered already, it needs to tone that down, it needs to be more real, and all that good stuff but aside from that, I looked at the code on the backend. Just did a quick view of it and I found a couple different things.
Have your team, your programming team, make sure that this can be crawled and indexed by Google. I think it is, I think its working fine but I want you guys to make sure of that. That's the first thing I noticed. Next thing I noticed was there's no canonicalization of your pages. So you need to have the tag that says rel equals canonical on all your pages so if there's ever duplicate content, Google knows which page is the right page it also serves you for your home page so if you have a home page for instance that has a trailing slash, or just says ".com," or ".com/," or without the "www," if it just says "proliability" without the "www," like that, it'll go to the right page and it won't be seen as duplicate content by Google and other search engines.
So, I also wanted to talk just briefly about your title tags I know that in a lot of your pages they're very bland. And you may want to think about including some professional branding in your title tags so professional liability insurance, malpractice insurance, and maybe you stick up here something, you know, where it says proliability.com, you know, like that, and have the little pipe or hyphen there at the top just to sort of brand your page.
Just to make it more search engine friendly and more people friendly so it looks like a company rather than just having cold keywords with nothing else, same thing for your descriptions the description tags look OK and then I noticed keywords, you guys actually use keywords?
I mean, come on now. I noticed that you don't just use a couple keywords but like a hundred different keywords, look at this. This is ridiculous. While keywords may not help your ranking anymore search engines don't use them anymore for ranking. They can hurt your ranking. In fact Bing just came out recently and said that they look at the keywords tag but to look for spam and spammy websites. So you're telling Bing “hey come look at my spammy website and penalize me because I've got all these keywords.” Get rid of your keywords on all your pages as well part of just this housekeeping, kind of cleansing process.
And last but not least is page rank leakage. If you have way too many categories coming from your home page to other pages, you will lose page rank. And each one of those pages will rank less and less in Google because you're passing it on, your initial site's page rank value to too many different pages. So you may want to think about consolidating some categories or doing something else to help the navigation so you don't lose that SEO value. OK? So that is some quick and dirty SEO top level stuff.
Let's look at page level SEO stuff.
(Page level SEO transcription missing)
So, now I want to give you a three step website and SEO action plan for proliability.com.
First, Pro Liability needs to redesign the site for user friendliness, warmth, their unique selling proposition, and not just a cold stale landing page for insurance. Proliability.com wants to be the number one provider of liability insurance. Well, there's two ways to do that. You can have the cheapest prices or the best, most user-friendly experience and customer service. They need to tweak their website for either value proposition, but pick one and run with it.
Second, they need to execute a complete content, social media and inbound marketing strategy immediately. They'll do that by taking a ground up approach and getting to know their end customer. Who they are, what do they want? And how can proliability.com help them? Pro Liability then needs to include a blog and make the content engaging, entertaining, timely, but most of all, shareable. Then, the company needs to direct a complete social media strategy immediately and start talking to their customers, and potential customers.
Third, the website, metatags, the content, the navigation, URL's are too optimized. That worries me a little bit. Pro Liability might get penalized with Google's upcoming changes to their search algorithm. They should be very careful. Also, if they are they should stop paying for links immediately. And if they aren't then construct a more natural back-link profile with links that don't contain any keywords at all mixed with partial and full matched anchored text links to different pages on their website, which they're not doing right now.
Then, with their content, start utilizing inbound marketing and legitimate link outreach, to improve their overall SEO profile.
The bottom line, proliability.com has the potential to be a much larger player in the professional liability insurance game. With more attention to creating something of value and engaging their end-user with a more friendly and easier to use website, they'll start to see not only their traffic and rankings improve but more importantly for the company, their leads and sales increase as well.
This is Chris Fernandez and I really hope you enjoyed this webinar and got a lot of value from it. To gain access to even more great content like this that will help you systematically fix what's wrong with your internet marketing strategy and gain a critical leg up on your competition, I invite you to read the latest blog post on the Biquitous blog and follow us through whatever social media channel you prefer or receive updates sent directly to your inbox. Thanks so much.