In this post, I will provide a comprehensive technical digital marketing audit for GAME GOLF. This detailed review covers a wide variety of digital marketing components and tactics.
Click here to receive an audit of your website for free – and in less than one minute. But before the marketing audit, let’s cover the basics…
WHAT IS GAME GOLF?
GAME GOLF is an automatic data tracking device for golfers looking to improve their game. The main device clips on your belt buckle while individual tags are screwed into the end of each golf club grip. During your round, simply tap the tag against the main device before each shot. Repeat on your next shot and the distance and location of your previous shot are measured automatically.
After your round, you’ll download all of this data and be able to observe your performance on the GAME GOLF web and mobile interfaces. You’ll see not only your shot statistics, but a map view of the golf course that shows your shot locations and distances.
GAME GOLF was launched in January 2014 after a lengthy period of research and development. The product is allowed under the Rules of Golf and is permitted in golf tournament play.
Active Mind Technology is a privately held company that is the developer of GAME GOLF. Leading investors in Active Mind Technology, Inc. include Seagate Technology, Crosslink Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, Venture51, and other elite Silicon Valley-based investors.
WHY AUDIT GAME GOLF?
The pre-launch marketing of GAME GOLF was quite effective in generating a buzz within the industry before the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show. Consequently, the reception of the product post-launch was impressive.
Like many, I was extremely excited about a product that could potentially solve the need for more in-depth, accurate performance data about my golf game. The PGA Tour has whetted our appetite for these types of statistics since the launch of ShotLink in 2003. Having worked in the sports information business for over ten years, the introduction of a product like GAME GOLF that could provide amateur golfers like myself with detailed performance data was extremely appealing to me.
I subsequently purchased GAME GOLF and have become a big fan. The product allows me to gauge my performance – my strengths and weaknesses – with honest, accurate data. The days of tracking my club distances by guessing are gone. With GAME GOLF, I know exactly how far and where I hit each club – often to my chagrin.
The goal of this audit is to help GAME GOLF identify opportunities within their digital marketing by giving a third-party perspective. Since I’m a proponent of the product, I truly want to see this product and company succeed.
It’s important to note that I have no affiliation with GAME GOLF and the company did not ask for this audit. Consequently, unlike a traditional audit, I don’t have access to any of the site’s analytics or internal data.
Therefore, all of my data will come from the third party tools and publicly available data (Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, Online-word-counter.com, Ahrefs, SEMrush and Moz.com). I’ve tried to limit the assumptions necessary, but without having internal site access and their actual analytics, there’s a chance discrepancies may occur.
The Website Audit
WEBSITE PAGE LOAD SPEED
According to GTMetrix, page speed load times for the GAME GOLF home page were typically acceptable, but definitely could be improved by the simple process of leveraging browser caching and specifying image dimensions. A number of images were missing width and/or height attributes.
The GAME GOLF home page received a YSlow grade of 76% and a letter grade of “C”. Suggestions to improve this score include adding expires headers, which let the browser know whether to serve a cached version of the page. This can help reduce server load and decrease page load time.
Having a descriptive title tag helps search engines quickly identify the focus of a web page. The title tag for this home page is simply GAME GOLF, which is certainly accurate, but may leave the search engines wondering about the true intent of the page. The title tag should be less than 55 characters, so adding a descriptor such as Golf Tracking System – GAME GOLF, in the title could help better define the page. The blog currently uses the title tag “GAME GOLF | Golf in it’s most advanced form ever.”
The home page description tag is “Introducing GAME GOLF – a comprehensive system designed to seamlessly capture and display your golf game in a dynamic interface with stats, trends and information you can actually use.” This is an excellent description of the product and is definitely helpful in identifying its purpose.
However, description tags are recommended to be 155 characters or less (currently 184 characters), so GAME GOLF might want to consider shrinking the description a bit. An overly long description will be cut off in the search engine rankings and lose click potential from critical keywords being dropped from view.
It’s an SEO best practice to make sure each image file is labeled clearly so it can be crawled and identified properly. The image file names on the GAME GOLF home page are identified well and included a number of relevant keywords that should provide some ancillary search traffic.
There are also a number of images on this page that are missing alt tags. Alt tags are important because the search engines currently can identify the visual content of an image. Hopefully, in the near future this won’t be the case, but for now, Google needs our help in the form of alt tags.
This page includes all three of the top level heading tags (H1, H2 and H3), which is excellent. They are all unique and they all include relevant keywords – well done.
One simple suggestion would be to add the descriptor directly into the H2 tag: Ballers & Players – The GAME GOLF Blog. This could help the reader quickly identify the blog link and it would definitely help the search engine spiders identify the blog on future crawls.
Research shows that web pages with 2,000+ words typically produce much higher search rankings than pages with less textual content. Although including 2000+ words of content is recommended, having less than that on the home page is understandable, especially considering the objective of the site.
The code on the home page is not W3C validated, so consideration should be given, because this is always a good practice. World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) validated code helps ensure the technical quality of web pages. It’s also is important for browser compatibility and site usability.
Code component additions for consideration include removing inline CSS and adding schema.org markup. HTML without inline CSS typically results in better readability by search engines and helps optimize the usage of critical resources (server, network).
Schema markup is code that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results. When a website has schema markup in place, users can see in the search results what a website is all about, where they are, what they do and any other relevant information that is provided. Schema markup has been called “your virtual business card.”
GAME GOLF is a tremendously unique and innovative product that has the potential to activate a typically rabid customer base of golfers like few products in recent memory. Having the ability to share the insights provided by this new tool is a natural extension of the product for golfers and fits perfectly into the right social media channels.
GAME GOLF has done an excellent job of incorporating social sharing into the core of the product. Each time I post a score, I’m given the ability share my results with my networks.
Some suggestions to improve the GAME GOLF home page with regard to social media would be to add an icon for their Google+ page along with the Twitter and Facebook buttons. Google+ can help get credit for your Web presence by connecting your brand page to your website. It’s also a best practice to link your site and G+ page to potentially increase the crawl frequency of your site – which is good for promoting new content such as blog posts.
Another social media channel that might be worth consideration would be Pinterest. Prompting GAME GOLF users to post images from their golf experiences, along with their actual GAME GOLF performance, might be a great way to increase brand involvement and recognition. I’ve seen consistent referral traffic increases on two of my golf websites from Pinterest over the past 2-3 years and big brands such as The Home Depot are seeing tremendous results from this audience.
One final note would be to update the Twitter button on the GAME GOLF blog, which currently points to the old handle (@gameyourgame).
The GAME GOLF website is mobile responsive and reads well on a mobile device. The mobile app is also excellent, providing quick and easy access to the product and ancillary information.
PAGE LINK AND DOMAIN ANALYSIS
Growing the top of the funnel audience to the GAME GOLF will be largely impacted by growing referral traffic or by links from other websites. The product lends itself for sharing, which can be exceptionally valuable for not only social media sharing, but also for obtaining back links.
According to Moz.com, GAME GOLF has attracted some solid quality links from reputable, high authority websites such as Huffington Post, Wired.com and TechCrunch. To help build the depth and breadth of backlinks to the website, which will in-turn help grow both organic and referral traffic, I would suggest focusing building the authority of the Ballers & Players blog.
Although the product has only been in existence for just one year, I see a major opportunity for the GAME GOLF brand to become an authority on golf analysis, golf statistics and golf improvement. Leveraging the unique data collected by the product along with the experiences of its user base, GAME GOLF has the raw elements to build an evergreen content library that could assist nearly every golf industry stakeholder.
Golfers and golf professionals can immediately benefit from the big data generated by GAME GOLF, analyzing the tendencies of amateur golfers – think Shotlink times a thousand. Golf courses could use the GAME GOLF data to improve their course playability, target improvements and identify opportunities for additional services. The same applies for other golf industry product and service providers who can use the collective wisdom of the GAME GOLF audience to crowd source answers to their biggest challenges.
Here’s a hard reality fact for consideration. Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy. What that means is websites need conversion-optimized landing pages to capture the contact information of the potential leads that visit the site.
Without the contact info of the people who have visited and bounced, you’ve got nothing. If such a large percentage need to learn more, research your competitors or trust you more, why not try to help?
In this scenario, I would recommend GAME GOLF create some valuable lead magnets to offer visitors in lieu of their contact info. Once collected, you can add these contacts to an email workflow to help educate, inform, understand and build trust with the lead. Yes, you can currently signup for deals, news and giveaways near the page footer, but that type of offer needs to be supplemented with a one that targets the percentage of visitors that are looking to learn more about the product and the company. This type of lead nurturing process can be managed efficiently with a marketing automation tool. I’ve used HubSpot to assist numerous clients attract, nurture, score and close leads by simply providing valuable education that builds trust.
As the contact learns more about the product, GAME GOLF can monitor and score the lead’s progress, offering more customized information and assistance based on their behavior. It’s a win-win for both the lead and the company. Lead nurturing is also a great way to learn about the concerns and interests of the customer base.
I would also consider adding a lead magnet offer and signup form to the 404 page. Visitors who end up on a 404 page typically have intent and are searching for a specific page on the website that is currently unavailable. It’s a good practice to take advantage of this missed opportunity by presenting them with an even better opportunity, and hopefully starting a new relationship with GAME GOLF.
According to bestselling author and marketing guru Seth Godin, “Marketing starts with having products and services that are better than the competition, making them remarkable and worthy of being discussed by your customers.” The GAME GOLF product fits this statement to a tee.
This product is remarkable and it’s this remark ability that should help GAME GOLF grow and expand into new audiences. I hope this audit integrates all the components of digital marketing into some tangible ideas for the company to help leverage this remark ability online.