Report Card Time: How to get a 90+ on your Website Grade

That anticipatory time in late spring, just before summer, is a reminder of the crazy phase at end of the school year when students are anxiously checking grades. In between completing projects and homework and cramming for final exams, there’’s a big focus on seeking that elusive “A” grade. If you’’re competitive like me, a grade of 89.5 would make you cringe, running to ask your teacher, “What do I have to do to get a 90?”

Get an A on your Website Grade with Hubspot's Website GraderAs Internet marketers, we have access to a tool that can elicit a similarly obsessive diligence about earning a good website grade. HubSpot’’s Website Grader assesses key components that support getting found on search engines, such as:

Content: blogs, indexed pages, readability

Optimization: metadata, headings, images, linking domains

Promotion: social media usage, Twitter grader, retweet stats

Conversion: RSS feed subscriptions, conversion forms

Analysis: traffic rank, score summary

Website Grader assigns an aggregate numeric score from 1-100. When HubSpot says “our algorithm has calculated that this site scores higher than 90% of other websites in terms of its marketing effectiveness,” I think it’s easy to equate the website grade with the long-held standard of 80+ = B, 90+ = A, etc.

We have found that skillfully placed inbound links can increase a website grade and influence a website’’s ranking toward that coveted 90+ grade.

What’s so great about inbound links?

Inbound links are links from pages on external sites that connect back to your site, and are key factors in off-page SEO. Search engines place emphasis on the authority of a web page to determine search rankings. Inbound links have real influence on a website’s authority and its ability to drive traffic.

Tactics for more links

Because inbound links deliver better rankings and more direct traffic, the practice of building and increasing inbound links requires regular attention and monitoring. Here are some tactics to help create exposure and interest in your site, and attract like-minded sites to bounce you an inbound link:

  • Create useful, interesting content The best way to build inbound links is to create remarkable and relevant content. Good ways to do this include blog posts, white papers, eBooks and profiles.
  • Use social bookmarking Using social networking sites such as Reddit, Delicious and StumbleUpon, you can submit links to your website or specific products. Not only do you have the potential to receive viral traffic from a popular post, your SEO efforts benefit as major search engines mine these sites for links on a regular basis.
  • Write guest posts Do you frequently read blogs relevant to your website? If so, offer to write a series of blog posts for the owner, and ask for some links in the published post in return. Very few blog owners will refuse free and unique SEO content.
  • Build social relationships As you build more quality relationships in online social channels like Twitter and LinkedIn, those contacts will be more likely to view and share the content you provide. Focus on relationships with the knowledge leaders and strong online influences in your industry for even more of a boost.
  • Put words with your images Add a descriptive, keyword-rich sentence, not just a short blurb, but as alt tags to the images on your website. This gives your photos and other artwork a better opportunity to show up in Google Images, leading visitors directly to your site.
  • Article submission There are a number of websites that permit people to submit articles on pretty much any topic. Write an article that is relevant to your product or service and submit it for inclusion. Each article allows you to create a brief bio about yourself and include a link back to your website.

Keep working at creating inbound links on your website and aiming for that top website grade. Your efforts will bring increased interest and visits to your site. For some extra study, I recommend adding Inbound Marketing to your reference library.

Be cool, stay in school, have a great summer!