The Power of the SWOT Analysis

by Jonathan Goodman on June 19, 2014

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Hi everyone. This is Jonathan Goodman. Welcome to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. Today we are going to talk about the power of SWOT analysis. This is something that we do here at Halyard Consulting. I’ve got a PowerPoint presentation, so we’ll step through that.

Slide 1: The Power of SWOT Analysis

I’m going to talk to you about the difference between SWOT analysis. This is really a term that as someone who has gone through an MBA program, we kind of had it drilled into our head. But at Halyard, we do it a little differently maybe than you would if you were looking at financials or something like that. So we’ll walk through that presentation and give you an idea of what Halyard does for our clients in terms of the SWOT analysis.

Slide 2: What is a SWOT Analysis?

First of all, what is a SWOT analysis? Very simply, it identifies the internal and the external factors influencers. You can have internal factors to your company, which are strengths and weaknesses.Strengths are helpful and weaknesses are harmful. And they you look at external factors, which are opportunities and threats. So these are your competitors. What’s going on outside of your company or within your country or maybe legislation or maybe some type of economic crisis? Is there a new competitor online that is competing against you? What are the opportunities there to actually do well against an upcoming competitor or a current competitor? Or what are the threats? What are the internal and external forces that are going to either make you successful or fail?

Slide 3: Halyard SWOT Analysis

Halyard does it slightly differently. First of all, since we’re an Internet marketing company, we are purely online focused. We start off by providing a vocabulary list. I know it’s kind of silly for a company that’s run by an executive or maybe a small business that’s run by somebody in their 40s or 50s to be handed a vocabulary list, but there are some terms in Internet marketing that are just really difficult for people who aren’t in the business to understand. Every industry has its own unique words or acronyms, so it’s important that everybody is on the same page when we’re having this dialogue with these companies.

Slide 4: Vocabulary

I’ll give you just a for instance. Here are four just very simple vocabulary words that we’re going to be utilizing in this topic today. Canonicalization. Canonicalization sounds like something that happens at the Vatican, but it actually is when there is web content that resides on multiple URLs. So if you have an article on your website, but that article also actually resides on either a bigger or smaller or a competitor’s website, that’s a problem. And you need to tell Google which one is the authoritative link. Maybe it’s not yours. Maybe you need to tell them that it’s actually somewhere else and point them in that direction. But that’s for stuff that you write that is unique for your website, you do need to tell them, so there’s a way that you do that. Domain authority is a prediction model for how the website will perform in the search engines. We’ll get into this in the next slide.  Root domain is the whole of the domain, including all pages and subdomains. What are subdomains? They’re actually sections of websites indicated in the URL before the root domain. This doesn’t happen all the time. You can go to CNN and be at cnn.com and just walk your way through CNN. But you could also go to huffingtonpost.com and want to specifically look at, let’s say, true crimes or something like that. That will bring you to a subdomain that is truecrimes.huffingtonpost.com. The example that I used down here is video.domainname.com. So it’s very broad, very generalized. But essentially what happens is unique content is put into that subdomain specifically for indexation and a little bit of help in terms of information architecture where you understand what goes where on a website.

Slide 5: Root Domain Competitor Data

This gets us into what is a domain authority. I didn’t really want to go into domain authority previously because this really explains it very well. Here we have five websites that are in the same industry. Obviously, one of them is my client, so we’ve blanked out all the names. When we look at this, the top number, domain authority, will be an indicator to us as to who is going to do better in the search engines. So that far one on the right has a 73. What that says to me is if all five websites are competing for the same exact keyword, Google will have preferential treatment for the one on the right and will most likely rank it higher than any of the other ones. Obviously, as you go down the list. If we rank it in order so it’s right to left, 56, 52, 48, 33. Not done on purpose, but just definitely helps to explain what all of this is. We could kind of see that if they were going to try to rank for the word ‘coffee mug,’ that the one on the far right would be in the first ranking, the next one would be second ranking and then the third ranking, then the fourth ranking and finally the fifth ranking. So depending on where you are against your competitors and what they’re trying to rank for, you may be blocked out of the top three spots and you might need to work on your domain authority. There is a lot of other detailed information in this chart, and we get into it during the reporting, but at the end of the day, root domain competitor data will show us how strong your competitor websites are compared to you.

Slide 6: Alexa Ranking

We look at Alexa ranking. You know it’s funny, we use a lot of different tools and one of the things that I do in the report is to provide the Alexa ranking if they’re available. Some websites don’t have enough traffic, don’t have enough ranking, aren’t strong enough or haven’t been around long enough to actually have an Alexa ranking yet. But some of them do and some of them give you good data. So what is this vs. other data that can be gotten? So the difficulty here is that analytics is really accessible only to the company and the company who they want to allow to see that data, so we have to extrapolate against what they’re seeing in their analytics and a lot of this is extrapolated data. There’s no way around it. We don’t have access to their analytics. We don’t have to see what they’re ranking for? We kind of have to use these outside to say, okay, here’s information and we’ve kind of aggregated it over several months and we believe that this data is somewhat correct. It’s the best guess. It’s better than nothing. We put Alexa ranking in there if it is available. I believe they’re recently just been purchased by Amazon, which is interesting. But it’s a good analytics tool from the outside. And you can see down at the bottom (I’ll switch this over), they’ve got a compare area where you take this website and you can put in four more and do a comparison. You can also do this on other tools. Obviously, we have internal tools that we’re using that give us a lot more data. But we like to use Alexa ranking for just the external competitor tool. We use other stuff as well. But in terms of charts and all of that, this works well.

Slide 7: Top Pages Based on Page Authority

Here we go back to the main authority. Well, what’s page authority? Domain authority is the entire domain, but page authority is specific pages and how their strength is. What you’re trying to look for here is both internally and externally what are very popular pages with good domain page authority that have a lot of links to them. Is this an article that has been written that’s done well in the industry and a lot of people reference it and a lot of people talk and comment about it? That’s where the links come in. So again, the authority and the strength of the website is going to be a combination of all of these page authorities.

Slide 8: Top Pages Based on Social Media

Then we look at top pages based on social media. We look at Facebook, Twitter. If there’s LinkedIn available. If there’s Google Plus available. But generally Facebook and Twitter are the two social media areas that we’re able to get a lot of good data for. So we’ve able to figure out what ULR did very well and what was the title. This helps us to understand maybe where our competitors are in terms of their social media. Or we’re lacking or what has worked previously so that we can see that and understand what might work in the future.

Slide 9: Linking Domains

These are backlinks into us and the strength that they actually hold. So Blogspot. In this case, PR Newswire. There’s are a couple of law firms in there. These are all websites that have linked back to either a client or a competitor website. And we’re able to use internal tools to see this. Obviously, the more top domain authority you see, the more challenging it becomes for us to find that number level authority. Because the way that backlinks work, and this is kind of important, there’s really two sides to backlinks. There’s a backlink that has a strong domain authority and then there’s multiple backlinks that have a mild to moderate domain authority. So there’s two ways to go here. You can aim high and try to get one or two really great powerful domains. And a lot of that comes to down to press releases. A lot of that comes down to: are you well-known in the industry? Have you done any interviews? Maybe you were on CNN. Maybe the CEO of the company was on CNN. What ever it might be. If you get one of those, they’re kind of worth more than a lot of small, little ones. But it’s very difficult to get a very high-ranking website to pay attention to you, so the opposite of that is to go with a backlink campaign where we’re trying to get a lot of little, small or moderate to medium sized. Not small, but under a score of, like, 30. We don’t want anything too low.

But you’ve got a range of 100 in there, so with 1-30, they’re not really playing in the field. They don’t have many backlinks. They don’t have good domain authority themselves. So if you wind up. Let’s say for instance, you have a 35 domain authority. Well, there’s no point in you going trying to get a link from a 25-domain authority. You want to get a link from a 40 or 50 or 60. In that range. So the more of these top domains, the more powerful or the bigger domain strength you actually have. The opposite of that is to have just thousands of backlinks from medium to moderate-sized websites. Those could be directories. They could be bloggers. They could be all those different options. Then that’s the linking domain. So what we can do is we can actually look at the competitor backlinks. First, it gives us an idea as to whether or not. Maybe there’s a list that we didn’t know about. Maybe there’s a list of websites that we can approach high-ranking websites and say, ‘oh, we noticed that you mentioned this company in this article. Did you also know that we do something similar to that?’ And then get them to backlink to us as well. That might be a website that you never knew that there was a relationship between that website and your industry, so we get that from competitor data. Then from the competitor side, we’re also able to see. That determines the strength, right? So if you’re on the low end of the scale and you need to get to the middle ground, we know how far we need to push you, how many backlinks we need to get, how quickly we can ramp you up like that.

Slide 10: Rinse and Repeat

Then we rinse and we repeat. This is kind of a funny, little piece here. We analyze the top three competitors, which I’ve already mentioned. We do a summary detail, which is this is what we know about your website. First all of, you’ve completed the client survey, so we know this about your website. We know who your competitors are. We know where you’re going and where you are right now. Then we provide you with some overall observations. This is what we saw when we looked at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Providing you overall observations and suggestions for some project objectives.

That is the session today. I’m not going to waste a lot of time talking the SWOT analysis. It’s a good report. It’s important to, I would say, to the larger companies. To companies that are doing over $2 million a year. They’re the ones that generally ask for this report, $2 million and up. The small businesses don’t really have a need for this. And we do a very quick analysis from the survey anyway. We know basically where you are in the backlinks and where you are in social media. So that helps us out on the smaller side. So I wish everyone a happy weekend. It’s going to be nice and bright and sunny here in New Jersey. And I look forward to speaking with you all again soon. Take care.

Outro

Again, this is Jonathan Goodman and this is the World of Internet Marketing. You can follow me @HalyardConsult on Twitter. New episodes of the World of Internet Marketing can be heard every Friday. You can access the archives of my previous shows on Spreaker.com – user name Jonathan Goodman. The podcast is also available with transcription at halyardconsulting.com and geekcast.fm one week after the episode airs. Thank you all for listening to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. Don’t forget to pick up my book The World of Internet Marketing on Amazon, and if you like this podcast please share it with your network of friends and family. Have a great week.

 

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