Thanks for your question. The concise report you asked for (Executive
Summary), by its nature covers your request for a general overall
perception. The in-depth analysis was done first, and the Executive
Summary extracted from it. I organized the analysis following the four
criteria you detailed, and considered convenient to add a fifth:
navigability. In the analysis for each criterion I assumed the three
viewpoints you are interested in: home owner, small business owner,
and large organization buyer.
Please notice that pricing and competitive analysis is not ready yet,
but I will post it within the next day. I decided to post the part
that is already complete --the largest part-- because of two reasons:
I'm about to travel overnight, for longer than the maximum time I have
to get back to the question, and because you stated you need it as
soon as possible. Thus, you can begin to take profit of the work
already done, and I can overcome my timing obstacle. If you consider
the quality for this first posting good enough, you can expect no less
for the rest. Thank you for your understanding.
I'll be in touch.
Executive Summary (Concise report)
~ Well organized;
~ Understandable, clear content;
~ Transmits an image of professionalism, the feeling that "these
people know their job".
~ Very good navigation;
~ The information / organization of the site is fine for targeted
customers such as dealers, retailers / wholesalers for your products,
technicians, security experts, in sum, people with some previous
knowledge about the subject.
~ A few glitches, two quite important: a shopping cart failure, and a
text in weird Spanish on the page for spy cameras;
~ It's not really helpful for customers searching for a solution for
their home or small business;
~ Visibility is seriously low, presumably due to scarcity of keyword
combination in the body texts.
~ The general conception of the website needs no major modification
unless you are determined to address to potential customers other than
business buyers, technicians and security experts;
~ Now, if you want to address home and small business owners, I
suggest to include in the home page links explicitly addressing those
segments, which would lead to pages helping them to figure out what
equipment they would need;
~ Build product combos for those needs, and expose them in the home
page, explicitly announcing the needs they match;
~ Regarding visibility, work out its optimization, with a strong
emphasis in relevant content. Your content *is* relevant in terms of
human visitors; the next step would be making it so to increase
keyword combination with search engines in mind, but without altering
the quality of texts. I know it's challenging, but not impossible.
~ Fix the glitches, specially the shopping cart and the inadequate Spanish text.
In Depth Report
First impression: elegant, neat, no abuse of animation or pop-ups,
just the spinning logo in the upper left corner, which is nice,
although the double spinning is bit confusing, and may distract the
visitor. Also the brand name that grows from the nebula might be a bit
distracting, and I don't like it that much, but that's just a
subjective minor detail. The image of a young representative standing
by the introductory text --as if he was speaking it-- transmits a
sense of reliability, good disposition, proactivity and efficiency.
And the text is appropriate too -- as a customer, regardless which of
the three categories I belong to, I may think "ok, these guys claim
they provide reliable, non expensive satisfaction of my needs". I'll
definitely look further.
The three scenarios you required are reflected in the introductory
text, but not in the organization of the home page. I don't mean that
the organization is not good, but seems thought out with a business
buyer in mind, rather than an end user. The home page appears as a
well organized showroom for products, cleverly not overcharged. I
guess you're posting just those you either consider more interesting
for your customers, or you are more interested in marketing, or are
novelties, what is well thought out if you're addressing to retailers,
dealers or specialized technicians. But if an end user is trying to
find the match for their needs, will feel that needs previous
knowledge to know how to surf the site. That would probably not be a
problem for a security expert at a large organization who is expected
to know about security technology, but it certainly will for most home
or small business owners.
The way the information itself is presented is excellent. Texts are as
clear as can be, from simple product descriptions through technical
articles, including the explanations for potential dealers. Again, if
there's any problem it's more related to the previous criteria
--organization-- than to the quality of information itself. I mean, if
the targeted customers are technicians, dealers, security experts, in
sum, people whose training and or experience give them a previous
understanding for the surveillance devices usage, the way the
information is outlined is just fine. But, if you are a home or small
business owner, the website doesn't help me to understand what I need.
I'm writing this while navigating the site, and still haven't found a
hint to figure what my needs are. What type of equipment do I need
according to the size of my home or my store? Do I need a camera for
each room? Do I need a DVR? Why? Of course, there will be well
informed customers who already have an idea of what they need, but I
wouldn't expect that to be the majority.
In every sense, the website shows professionalism behind it. Beginning
with the design, the esthetic, the image quality, the clarity of the
texts. I'm particularly impressed about the texts: if something
remains difficult to understand, is because its intrinsic difficulty,
you can't blame the texts, they are written with a visible effort to
be understandable. That transmits professionalism too. Also, of
course, the variety of products and the technical articles. Only the
few glitches contrast to that general image, being that the main
reason to fix them.
In general terms, navigation is just fine. Fast, no dead links, no
One glitch: Everything was going ok until I tried the shopping cart.
It seemed to be working fine, but after I emptied it, I would no
longer see its link, even though I refreshed the page, an even closed
and opened it again. It may very well have been just an occasional
accident, but it's a very sensitive feature (particularly for you) and
deserves to be checked.
An oddity: In the page for spy cameras
(http://www.securitycameraworld.com/spy-cameras.htm) I noticed what
seems an attempt for an automated translation into Spanish. (I noticed
it in this one maybe I didn't in others.) I suggest not to keep that
text in the page, for two reasons. I happen to be a Spanish native
speaker, and can tell you that the resulting text is just funny, and
contrasts with the professional and elegant image of the site in
general. Also, since some parts of the text rest just incoherent,
there's a risk that search engines interpret it as a collection of
keywords, what is an outdated search engine optimization (SEO)
practice, currently supposed to be penalized by search engines with
low rankings or banning the site out. For the same reason, I more
strongly discourage to hide it by likening the text and background
Something a bit confusing: when you click the "contact us" link you
don't see the contact information right away, but an about-us type
text; then you scroll down and see the payment methods, and only below
that the contact information.
Sorry, bad news for this one. As you probably know, visibility for a
web-based company means position in search results pages ?specially at
Google, still the hugest generator of visitor traffic- for the most
competitive keywords, which typically are the most intuitive any
layperson would take off the top of their head.
I tried the three currently most popular search engines. Consider that
the default setting for search results display is 10 per page, so in
your best instance your site appears in the 4th page. Search results
are counted apart from sponsored links and ads. Please notice that
positions may vary every time you perform the search, but changes
would be minimal unless a major change in the search engine was
produced in the middle, what is not that frequent.
I checked five keyword intuitive combinations:
Google # 31 (your best)
Yahoo! # 77
MSN # 122
Google # 197
Yahoo! # 77
MSN # 117
Google # 294
Yahoo!: not in the first 500 search results
MSN: not in the first 250 search results (their maximum)
"security system" CCTV OR cameras
Google # 488
Yahoo! # 186
MSN: not in the first 250 search results (their maximum)
Google: not in the first 500 search results
Yahoo! # 278
MSN # 111
I also did a search for your brand name keyword, for both security
camera and "security camera". However, I don't consider that likely
that most potential customers thought their searches with a "single"
security camera in mind, but for a provider of security cameras, in
plural. Notice, as an example, that I only thought of it when I
proofread this part of the analysis. These were the results:
Google # 2 for sponsor links; # 30 for search results (3rd page for
Yahoo! # 10 (first-page occurrence)
MSN # 132
Google # 1 for sponsored links; # 17 for search results (2nd page for
Yahoo! # 9 (first-page occurrence)
MSN # 140
As a conclusion, you definitely want to optimize your website for
search engine visibility. For what it seems, your critical point is
keyword combination rather than link popularity -- don't let the
latter unattended, but start with the former.
Clarification of Answer by
01 Aug 2005 23:24 PDT
Sorry I couldn't get back to you earlier --traveled all night just to
attend a prolonged business meeting. I'll handle the remaining part of
the question tomorrow, but before going for some sleep I wanted to
clarify the points you've highlighted on what's been already answered:
"There are links on the home page which refer to combos and packages
(...) Did you miss these links or think they were something else, or
did these links not provide you with what you were looking for?"
~ OK. I'll try to be clearer so you can get the best from my help. I
think you have a great site, everything is there, and clearly
explained. But I assume that you're willing an external view
experienced in web navigation to point out aspects to better. In that
sense, I don't mean that the small buyer won't get any help by
visiting your site. Instead, what I mean is that it's far more helpful
for technicians and big buyers, because the website is more friendly
for those who are already familiar with these technologies. I did see
the packages, of course, and also that if one keeps digging may get to
figure out what will suit one's need and, ultimately, ask for advice.
Still, supposing that I'm a small buyer, lacking of any previous
knowledge about this type of equipment, it takes me some time and
effort to figure what could match my needs, thus get tired and go see
whether a competitor's site is easier. The link for "business security
systems" is a bit on the lines I'm suggesting, but not enough because:
* shown among a group of single products, it's not visible enough as a
complete series of solutions --a category of a higher level than
single products, a call for a whole target;
* it's not clearly stated that it addresses to small and medium-size businesses;
* the content in the link is limited to describe the combos, the
products, but doesn't address the needs they satisfy.
I would like to see, in the home page, something like three links
clearly highlighted such as: "Small Business Security Systems"; "Home
Surveillance Solutions"; "Corporate Security Solutions". The content
for those links would be centered in frequent types customer needs:
"System 1 with this characteristics is ideal for a store with this
layout, etc..."; "If you have a two story house with n rooms and a
backyard we suggest..."; "A major chain with n branches needs this
type of solution because..."
Now that I'm thinking it over, I realize that this could also improve
the corporate customer experience. I still consider that the site is
friendly enough for a large organization buyer, because they are
supposed to be security experts who already know the matter. However,
also these experts can get more satisfaction from this approach.
All in all, what I just mean is that I see your website as a very good
one that would be more appealing for the segments you want to target
by switching it from product-centered as I see it now, to
customer-centered. This is the core of my remark: being
product-centered is what makes it more friendly for big buyers -who
presumably already know about the products- than it is for small
buyers -who presumably wouldn't know that much. But, do it
client-centered, and it'll be better for all of them. However, I think
that you can do well with the site as it is now, but you asked for a
customer experience assessment and this is mine, and well founded ?I
believe- in onsite work.
I wanted to address the visibility point as well, but I do need that
sleep now. I'll be back to you tomorrow.
Clarification of Answer by
02 Aug 2005 23:19 PDT
I'm glad that you found my clarification helpful. Thank you.
The competitive analysis is in progress, thanks for your patience. In
the meantime, I'll clarify the visibility issue.
Given your request for analyzing other keywords besides security
camera, I wasn't quite sure of whether you had noticed that I did six
different keyword combination analysis, for three search engines and
up to 500 results each (except MSN that shows up to 250 results). In
total, I reviewed 90 search results pages, for the following
~ security cameras,
~ ?security cameras?,
~ CCTV security,
~ "security system",
~ CCTV OR cameras,
~ surveillance cameras,
~ security camera,
~ "security camera".
Please notice that "security camera", security camera, "security
cameras" and security cameras, are four very different searches. The
quotation marks indicates a request for an exact phrase match, while
the absence of them looks for any presence of the words in the
webpage, either together or not. Also, a search for the word cameras
in plural will not bring back a webpage with the word camera in
singular (and vice versa).
You welcomed that I considered security camera the most relevant
keyword in the industry. While difficult to say which would be the
most relevant, I do consider them among the most spontaneous
possibilities. However, let me point out that I consider more probable
the search for security cameras, in plural, than in singular.
You referred also to your presence in sponsored links, which I did
took note of when they showed up in the searches (they did for
"security camera"). Sponsored links are good indeed, but they're not
enough, since they would not show for every search and they do not
cover all the possible searches. A sponsored link is a great strategy
to build visibility, but at the same time you need to improve
significant keyword placement in your site's body text. Rather to go
hurry a ranking boost ?what could be risky- I recommend to keep your
sponsored link strategy, while working to improve the site's content
in order to include more keyword combinations ?always maintaining the
good text quality.
Now, I took into consideration your very accurate request for a
visibility analysis for the keyword combination "digital video
recorder", and similar, which I'll include. I'll keep in touch,
Clarification of Answer by
19 Aug 2005 11:22 PDT
Done at last!! To perform the competitive analysis it was necessary to
overcome the obstacle of the diversity of products, feature
descriptions and the way in which each website presented them. I had
to find a solution that was at once feasible and significant. It
proved not feasible to perform a comparison for each product or
category ?given the quantity of them and also that the various
companies categorized their products differently. Cameras,
particularly, have such an immense variety of types and features that
your company and the other five practically did not coincide in
categorizing them, since you can do so considering so different valid
criteria such as wired or wireless, outdoor or indoor, waterproof,
infrared, mini, etc. The solution I found was to compare two basic
categories: DVRs and dome cameras, considering them as two mainstream
products of your industry and, regarding the cameras, the only
category present as such in all of the websites for a clearly standard
DVR diversification and pricing comparison
SecurityCameraWorld offers 43 DVR models:
14 models of PC based DVR, for 4 to 32 cameras.
Price range: $1,295.95 (Model Protech 4-30: 4 Channel DVR 30 fps),
through $8,995.95 (Model ProGold 32-4801.6R: 32 Channel DVR 480 fps)
24 models of stand alone DVRs, for 1 to 16 cameras.
Price range: $199.95 (model SCW-7101, 1 channel Event DVR Video
Capture box), through $3,595.95 (model M4-1600D1 16 Channel Full D1
5 models of Linux based DVRs, for 4 to 16 cameras.
Price range: $ $995.95 (Four channel 120 fps), through $1,495.95
(Sixteen channel 240 fps)
Surveillance-video offers 86 DVR models:
11 models of 1 channel DVRs.
Price range: $285.25 (KALATEL VDR VIDEO DIGITAL RECORDER), through
$1554.00 (KALATEL SINGLE CHANNEL 2000e DVR WITH AUDIO)
24 models of 4 to 6 channels DVRs.
Price range: $563.00 (EVERFOCUS EDSR400H 4 CHANNEL DIGITAL VIDEO
RECORDER WITH 60FPS) through $3508.00 (GENERAL SOLUTIONS 4 CHANNEL
DIGITAL VIDEO RECORDER WITH 120FPS RECORDING)
22 models of 8 to 10 channels DVRs.
Price range: $1050.00 (EVERFOCUS DIGITAL RECORDER EDSR900F 60FPS 9
CHANNEL MULTIPLEXER) through $4050.00 (DX7008 DIGITAL RECORDER 8
CHANNEL 30- 60 GB)
29 models of 16 channels DVRs.
Price range: $1200.00 (SPECO DVR-16IP 16 CHANNEL DIGITAL VIDEO
RECORDER WITH CDRW) through $4375.00 (EVERFOCUS 16 CHANNEL TRIPLEX
DVR, EDR 1680)
Discount Security Cameras offers 17 DVRs models:
6 models of 4 camera DVRs (including the 4 Camera Mobile DVR; Model:
DVR4M-120; price $1,099.00).
Price range: $799.00 (4 Camera Embedded DVR with Remote Viewing and
CDRW; Model: 4DVR-120), through $1,599.00 (4 Camera Real Time PC-Based
DVR with Remote Surveillance; Model: DVR1001-120)
5 models of 8 camera DVRs.
Price range: $999.00 (8 Camera Embedded DVR with Remote Viewing and
CDRW; Model: 8DVR-120), through $2,399.00 (8 Camera Real Time PC-Based
DVR with Remote Surveillance; Model: DVR1502-120)
4 models of 16 camera DVRs.
Price range: $1,099.00 (16 channel MPEG 60 fps Triplex Embedded DVR
120 Gig; Model: 16M60-120), through $4,699.00 (16 Camera 480 fps Real
Time Terabyte DVR with Remote Surveillance Model: DVR2004-T)
2 models of 32 camera DVRs.
Price range: $4,199.00 (32 Camera 240 fps Digital Video Recorder with
Remote Surveillance; Model: DVR4002-250), through $5,999.00 (32 Camera
240 fps Terabyte DVR with Remote Surveillance Model: DVR4002-T)
SecurityandMore offers 9 DVR models:
Price range: $319.00 (Entry Level Single Channel Digital Video
Recorder MODEL# HAVR1N80) through $3,779.00 (Advanced 16 CH Digital
Video Recorder with Network and CD/RW MODEL# DVR-1600RW)
PolarisUSA offers 26 DVR models:
Price range: $311.25 (Sanyo DSR-300 Single Channel Digital Video
Recorder, Caddy without HD) through $4,524.95 (Panasonic WJ-HD316-320
16 Channel Digital Recorder, TCP/IP, PTZ Control, 320 GB Hard Drive)
Spy Gadgets offers 4 DVR models:
Price range: $289.95 (Micro Digital Portable Video Recorder with
audio), through $749.95 (Digital Video Recorder - 4 Channel DVR with
Among the five most visible competitors, the most serious one for the
segment of DVRs is Surveillance-video, given the wide variety of
products and features. However, Security Camera World holds the lowest
priced option for the most simple product: $199.95 (model SCW-7101, 1
channel Event DVR Video Capture box) vs. $285.25 (KALATEL VDR VIDEO
DIGITAL RECORDER). (By the way, SCW's aforementioned one is the lowest
price option in this segment for all of the companies analyzed). Also,
Surveillance-video do not offer DVRs for more than 16 cameras.
Therefore, for this subcategory the strongest competitor among the
five analyzed comes to be Discount Security Cameras, with 2 models vs.
the 4 you have. Now, you beat them largely here: not only you have the
most convenient prices, but also you offer the most powerful solution
?at a higher price than any of theirs, but more cost-effective
considering the features- and, in the closest comparative options you
beat them in price for a bit more than $1,000 ($5,999 vs. $4,995.95),
as well as in features, since your device's fps capacity doubles
theirs. In sum, provided equal visibility, you'd lead this category.
Dome Cameras diversification and pricing comparison
SecurityCameraWorld offers 10 dome camera models:
Price range: $59.95 (SCW-CD-30 Mini B&W Dome Camera 1/3" CCD 3.6mm
Sony LENS 3.6 mm .1 Lux) through $200.95:
~ SCW-CD45VA Vari-Focal SONY 1/3" Very High Resolution
520 Lines COLOR Dome Camera
~ SCW-CD360HVA-VPW - Outdoor Vandal proof High Resolution Auto iris
1/3" Color ceiling/Wall Mount 480 Line .1 Lux , 4~9 mm Auto Iris Lens
~ CKD-5000PY Automatic Panning COLOR Dome Camera
Surveillance-video offers 25 dome camera models:
Price range: $65.00 (CTI CTD-3090SH COLOR DOME CAMERA) through $663.00
(Extreme EX46 Low Light LXR Sensor Based Camera Weatherproof Design)
Discount Security Cameras offers 7 dome camera models:
Price range: $109.00 (Color Infrared Dome Model: IRDOME) through
$899.00 (22X Day / Night Speed Dome PTZ Camera Model: PROEX480)
SecurityandMore offers 10 dome camera models:
Price range: $69 (Mini-Dome B/W Camera MODEL# ECD340MN) through
$399.00 (Color Multi-Camera Vandal-Resistant Dome System MODEL#
PolarisUSA offers 18 dome camera models:
Price range: $49.95 (PolarisUSA Video, Inc. HVS-D1 1/3" B/W Dome
Camera w/ 3.6mm Lens, 420 TVL) through $1,849.95 (WV-CS954 Panasonic
1/4" SDIII Color Dome, 300x Optical Lens, Auto-Tracking, and 540 TVL)
Spy Gadgets offers 4 come camera models:
Price range: $59.95 (CMOS Black & White Dome Camera) through $395.00
(PTZ Camera - Dome w/ 3 X Zoom)
Other than this specific segment for dome cameras, SCW has an
impressive diversification of models, but also have all of the
competitors, where the least diversified seems to be Spy Gadgets.
While clearly predominant in the segment of DVRs, in the area of
cameras SCW seems level with its competitors. It would require an
incredibly longer study to determine the relative competitive position
for every model or category of cameras, but as a general conclusion,
from the customer experience viewpoint, there's a clear prevalence of
SCW in the field of DVRs and, if there was also in the segment of
cameras, it is not at all evident, but this is due to the variety of
models and options that makes it really difficult to determine,
specially from a customer viewpoint.
Final general suggestions:
~ Optimize your site to gain visibility for all the most significant
~ Organize it to address directly to the customer segments you are
interested in. As I've seen, your competitors don't do it either, so
?if my hypothesis is correct- it would not only help you to increase
your sales, but it would also differentiate you from your competitors.
As I've told you in previous posts, please feel free to ask for any
clarification you may need. Thank you for your patience. Hopefully
this information will be useful enough to pay off.