The thing about your business’ digital presence is that you have one. Whether you think the Internet is the cat’s meow or you can’t stand it, your business is online.
But you’ve never ‘Facebooked’ or ‘Twittered’? You’ve never shared a blog post, written web copy or sent an email newsletter?
Sorry to break it to you, but you’re still online.
Why? Because your customers are online. Their opinion is forming about your brand based on social media mentions, reviews, and your website (or lack thereof).
This is why a digital presence evaluation isn’t just some hooky fad. It’s an essential tool that helps your business is put its best foot forward.
What is a Digital Presence Evaluation?
A digital presence evaluation takes a close look at how your business is represented on the web. This means performing a comprehensive assessment of your website’s structure, its usability, its copywriting, and its Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
A good digital presence evaluation will look at your social media profiles, follower engagement, and current conversations in which your business is being mentioned. Your evaluation should also consider how your competitors are presenting themselves, how you are responding to inquiries, and how you are managing reviews.
Processing Your Evaluation Into Actionable Steps
The actual evaluation is only a portion of the process. The key to a successful digital presence evaluation is using the information gathered to make educated improvements to your online presence.
High-Level Insights + Actionable Steps = A Digital Presence Evaluation that Delivers Real Results.Click to Tweet
For example, search engines (such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo) display website titles, domains, and the accompanying meta descriptions within search results. See example below.
Meta descriptions are 150 - 160 characters. These snippets are displayed to help users evaluate search results and decide which site to visit. Search engines find these snippets in one of two ways:
From the Text of Your Site – The search engine’s bots crawl your site and determine the most relevant snippet to display.
From a Meta Tag Provided by You – The search engine bots pull your pre-written meta description direction from the attributed HTML code.
While search engines have done nothing but get more intelligent, they are far from perfect. It’s not uncommon for their bots to pull a meta description that looks like gobbledygook.
Evaluating your digital presence identifies meta descriptions which need to be updated and allows you to optimize your search result performance.
Additional areas to watch for are duplicate page titles and/or meta descriptions, abnormally high 404 not found errors, and where Web Schema can be used to augment search results.
A thorough evaluation looks beyond your search results and at your own site as well. Are there broken images, 500 errors (errors that break the page), or non-functioning opt-in forms? Can you navigate the site easily across devices? Does your site address usability and accessibility concerns?
It is prudent to also consider off-site citations like Google local listings and Yelp. Is your contact information up to date? Are you aware of customer feedback, positive and negative? What is your level of engagement on Twitter or Facebook? Do you have goals to improve engagement?
Launching your website, advertising campaign, or Social Media profile is just the prologue, not the final chapter. Evaluating what is working and what you are doing in comparison to your competitors will give you the data to make your organization brilliant.
Not sure where to start? At RWL Design we consider more than 150 factors during each digital presence evaluation. Then, we develop actionable steps that can be immediately implemented to improve your digital presence.
Ready for more? Next week we will look at 11 ways to evaluate your website right now.