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3rd Party Website Assessments: Are They Accurate?

Have you recently received an email from a marketing company with an assessment of your medical or dental website? If so, the email likely assigned letter grades or pass/fail to a number of critical areas concerning your search marketing strategies. Were you happy with this assessment? Or did it leave you feeling frustrated and confused about the current state of your site?

If you are familiar with the situation above, you’re not alone.

A number of my clients receive emails of this nature, which creates similar feelings as they try to make sense of the report and begin to doubt the effectiveness of their current SEO and marketing strategies. If you’re in the same boat, you first need to consider the motivation of the company emailing you:

Selling you on the value of their products and services relies solely on the results of this report.

If they don’t find something is wrong or missing, their sales pitch is dead in the water.

3rd Party Website Assessments: A Case Study

A client of mine recently received an email containing a website review, which provided Pass/Fail scores for 14 areas important to our overall search engine optimization strategy. While areas such as page titles and descriptions, keywords, and content passed, the report showed failures in the following four areas: Organic Website Visibility, Google Place Visibility, Domain Name, and Social Media.

Not exactly minor areas of concern in a comprehensive search engine marketing campaign. But let’s take a closer look.

For the moment, let’s pretend this is a dental practice in Springfield, OH.

Here’s my point: these reports are often intentionally misleading or simply incorrect in their assessment of your site. They are often computer-generated and do not compare apples to apples. Without site information such as calls and emails coming from your site, an accurate assessment is virtually impossible.

In this particular case, the client has seen nearly 30% growth in total website visits from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012, 13% increase in phone calls, and nearly 20% in emails.

What to do Next Time You Receive a 3rd Party Website Assessment

The next time you receive a report like this, ask yourself the following questions before you consider the validity of the company’s claims.

Bottom line? Don’t get caught up in the jargon. Measure real results. Can you identify an increase in website traffic for important keywords? Are website visitors converting into patients? If so, don’t let 3rd party website assessments affect your confidence in the overall effectiveness of your practice’s site.

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