SEO Benchmarking: How to Assess your Website's Rankings
Ensuring your website ranks ahead of your competitors and attracts new customers is paramount. SEO benchmarking, the method of evaluating your website's rankings, serves as a potent tool to help you reach these objectives. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of SEO Benchmarking.
SEO benchmarking is a strategic approach to assessing your website's performance, identifying areas for improvement, and tracking progress over time. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth the effort.
Jump to Relevant Topics:
Benefits of SEO Benchmarking
Here are some reasons why you need to add SEO Benchmarking to your digital marketing plan.
1. Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses
SEO benchmarking allows you to compare your website's performance against competitors and industry standards, helping you identify areas where you excel and areas that need improvement. By analyzing your website's performance in relation to your competitors, you can gain valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses. This information allows you to make informed decisions about where to focus your efforts and resources for optimal results.
When you benchmark your SEO performance, you can identify specific areas where you excel compared to your competitors. For example, you might discover that your website ranks higher for certain keywords or that your organic traffic is significantly higher. Understanding your strengths enables you to capitalize on them and leverage them for even greater success.
On the flip side, benchmarking also highlights areas where your website falls behind your competitors. This could be in terms of keyword rankings, organic traffic, or the quality of backlinks. By identifying these weaknesses, you can develop targeted strategies to improve your performance in these areas.
2. Setting Realistic Goals
By benchmarking your current SEO performance, you can set realistic and achievable goals for improvement, guiding your SEO strategy effectively. Setting goals is a crucial step in any successful SEO campaign. Without clear targets, it's difficult to measure progress or know what actions to take to improve your website's rankings.
When setting goals, it's important to consider your current SEO performance and where you want to be in the future. By benchmarking your performance against competitors and industry standards, you can gain a better understanding of what is achievable and realistic for your website.
For example, if your website currently ranks on the second page of search results for your target keywords, setting a goal to rank in the top three positions on the first page within a specific timeframe can be a realistic and achievable target. On the other hand, setting a goal to rank in the number one position within a month may be unrealistic and lead to disappointment..
3. Tracking Progress
SEO Benchmarking also enables you to track your progress over time, allowing you to measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and make data-driven decisions. This data-driven approach ensures that you are not only relying on assumptions or guesswork but are making decisions based on concrete data.
For example, if you notice that your website's organic traffic has significantly increased after implementing certain SEO tactics, you can attribute this success to those specific strategies and continue to focus on them. On the other hand, if you see a decline in your website's rankings or traffic, you can analyze the data to identify potential issues and make necessary adjustments to your SEO strategy.
Additionally, by regularly monitoring your progress, you can identify any fluctuations or anomalies in your website's performance. For example, if you notice a sudden drop in organic traffic or a decrease in keyword rankings, you can quickly investigate the cause and take corrective actions. This proactive approach ensures that you can address any issues promptly and prevent them from negatively impacting your website's overall performance.
What are Important SEO KPIs to Benchmark?
There are many Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure and track when it comes to digital marketing. The KPIs important to SEO Benchmarking, specifically, include the following:
Tracking your website's rankings for target keywords is essential for assessing SEO performance and identifying opportunities for optimization. When it comes to keyword rankings, it's important to not only focus on the keywords that are currently driving traffic to your site, but also to identify new keywords that have the potential to attract more visitors.
Monitoring organic traffic metrics, such as total organic sessions, new users, and returning users, provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your SEO efforts in driving website traffic. By regularly analyzing these metrics, you can gain a deeper understanding of how well your website is performing in terms of attracting and retaining organic visitors.
Total organic sessions is a key metric to monitor as it gives you an overview of the overall traffic generated organically. This metric helps you track the volume of visitors that are coming to your website through search engine results pages (SERPs) without any paid advertising.
New users indicate the number of first-time visitors to your website. This metric is particularly important as it shows how successful your efforts are in attracting new audiences and expanding your reach.
Returning users, as the name suggests, represent the number of visitors who have previously visited your website and are returning for another session. This metric is a strong indicator of user satisfaction and loyalty. A high number of returning users implies that your website provides valuable content and a positive user experience, encouraging visitors to come back for more. By focusing on improving your website's user experience, you can increase the likelihood of visitors becoming loyal customers or subscribers.
Assessing your website's backlink profile is a crucial aspect of SEO benchmarking. Backlinks play a significant role in determining your website's authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines. By analyzing the number of backlinks, referring domains, and the quality of those backlinks, you can gain insights into the overall strength of your website's link profile.
The number of backlinks refers to the total number of external websites that link back to your site. A higher number of backlinks indicates that other websites find your content valuable and worth referencing. However, it's important to note that the quality of backlinks is equally important as the quantity. Search engines consider backlinks from authoritative and trustworthy websites as more valuable, which can positively impact your website's rankings.
Referring domains, on the other hand, refer to the number of unique websites that have linked to your site. Having a diverse range of referring domains signals to search engines that your website is popular and attracts attention from various sources. It's beneficial to have backlinks from different domains rather than a large number of backlinks from a single domain.
Learn more about backlinks here.
Tracking conversion metrics is a crucial aspect of SEO benchmarking as it helps you measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts in driving valuable actions on your website. By monitoring metrics such as lead generation, form submissions, and e-commerce transactions, you can gain insights into the impact of your SEO strategy on achieving your desired goals.
Form submissions are a valuable conversion metric to monitor. This metric measures the number of users who have completed and submitted a form on your website, such as a contact form or a subscription form. By tracking form submissions, you can assess the success of your SEO efforts in driving user engagement and gathering important customer information.
E-commerce transactions are particularly relevant for online businesses. By tracking the number and value of e-commerce transactions that result from organic traffic, you can measure the direct impact of your SEO strategy on your business's revenue. This metric allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of your SEO tactics in converting website visitors into paying customers.
Learn more about Conversion rate Optimization here.
Other Metrics Used to Assess Your Website's Rankings and SEO Performance
Additionally, here are some other metrics to track within your SEO Benchmarking process:
Monitoring your website's rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) for target keywords is a crucial aspect of SEO benchmarking. It not only provides insights into your website's visibility in search results but also helps you understand the competitiveness of your keywords.
By regularly tracking your keyword rankings, you can assess how well your website is performing in terms of search engine visibility. Analyzing your keyword rankings can also help you identify opportunities for optimization. Additionally, if you see that your competitors are ranking higher than you for certain keywords, you can analyze their strategies and make adjustments to your own strategy to gain a competitive edge.
Assessing your website's domain authority is an important aspect of SEO benchmarking. Domain authority is a metric that evaluates the overall authority and credibility of your website in the eyes of search engines. It is often measured on a scale from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating a stronger and more authoritative website.
Having a high domain authority is beneficial for your website's SEO performance. Search engines consider websites with higher domain authority as more trustworthy and reliable sources of information. This can lead to higher rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) and increased visibility for your target keywords.
Page Load Speed
Monitoring page load speed metrics, such as time to first byte (TTFB) and page load time, is crucial for ensuring a positive user experience and improving search engine rankings. If your website takes too long to load, users are likely to become frustrated and navigate away, resulting in high bounce rates and a negative impact on your SEO performance.
Time to first byte (TTFB) refers to the time it takes for a user's browser to receive the first byte of data from your website's server. A slow TTFB can indicate server performance issues and can significantly impact the overall page load time. By monitoring and optimizing your TTFB, you can ensure that your website delivers content to users quickly and efficiently.
To learn more on this topic, check out our blog article about improving your websites performance for SEO.
Having a mobile-friendly and responsive website is no longer just an option, but a necessity. With Google's mobile-first indexing approach and the widespread use of mobile devices for browsing, evaluating and optimizing your website's mobile-friendliness is crucial for maintaining a strong online presence.
Mobile-first indexing means that Google primarily uses the mobile version of a website's content to rank and index pages. This means that if your website is not optimized for mobile devices, it may suffer in terms of search engine rankings and visibility.
When evaluating your website's mobile-friendliness, consider factors such as responsive design, page load speed, and user experience. Responsive design ensures that your website adapts and displays properly on different screen sizes, making it easy for users to navigate and consume your content on any device.
User experience should be at the forefront of your mobile optimization strategy. Consider mobile-specific elements such as easy-to-use navigation menus, large and legible fonts, and touch-friendly buttons. By providing a seamless and intuitive user experience on mobile devices, you can increase engagement, reduce bounce rates, and improve overall satisfaction.
How to Get Started with SEO Benchmarking
It’s often beneficial to have a digital marketing expert with SEO experience help you with SEO Benchmarking. Here’s a big-picture overview of the steps involved:
1. Define Your Goals.
Clearly defining your SEO goals and objectives is crucial in order to create an effective benchmarking strategy. Whether your main focus is on improving keyword rankings, increasing organic traffic, or boosting conversion rates, having a clear understanding of your goals will help you measure your progress and make informed decisions.
When setting your SEO goals, it's important to make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This means that your goals should be well-defined, quantifiable, realistic, aligned with your overall business objectives, and have a specific timeframe for achievement.
For example, if your goal is to improve keyword rankings, you can set a specific target such as increasing your website's position in the top 5 search results for a set number of keywords within the next 3 months. This allows you to track your progress and make adjustments to your SEO strategy if needed.
Similarly, if your goal is to increase organic traffic, you can set a measurable target such as a 20% increase in organic sessions within the next 6 months. This gives you a clear benchmark to work towards and allows you to assess the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
Boosting conversion rates can also be a valuable goal to focus on. You can set specific targets such as increasing form submissions by 30% or generating a 15% increase in e-commerce transactions within a certain timeframe. By tracking these metrics, you can measure the impact of your SEO strategy on driving valuable actions on your website.
2. Do Proper Keyword Research.
In order to effectively optimize your website for search engines, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of strategic keywords and how your competitors are using them to achieve high rankings. Conducting thorough keyword research allows you to identify positioning opportunities and uncover the most relevant and valuable keywords for your website.
Firstly, it is important to identify the strategic keywords that are relevant to your industry and target audience. These are the keywords that potential customers are likely to use when searching for products or services similar to what you offer. By understanding the search intent behind these keywords, you can tailor your content to match the needs and preferences of your target audience.
Once you have identified the strategic keywords, it is essential to analyze the competition and identify which keywords your competitors are ranking for. This helps you gain insights into their SEO strategies and identify potential gaps or opportunities that you can capitalize on. By understanding which keywords your competitors are targeting, you can determine the best approach to outrank them in search engine results.
In addition to analyzing your competitors, it is also valuable to research high-ranking pages within your industry. These pages may not necessarily be direct competitors, but they have successfully achieved top rankings for relevant keywords. By studying their content and keyword usage, you can gain valuable insights into the strategies that have proven effective in your industry.
By combining your research on strategic keywords, competitor analysis, and high-ranking pages, you can develop a comprehensive keyword strategy that maximizes your chances of achieving top rankings. This strategy should include a mix of high-volume keywords that drive a large amount of organic traffic, as well as long-tail keywords that target specific niche audiences.
3. Analyze Your Website.
Performing an SEO audit is a critical step in assessing your website's current status and identifying areas for improvement. By conducting a comprehensive analysis, you can uncover valuable insights into your website's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
As mentioned above, it's important to know your website's technical performance, backlink profiles, and conversion rates.
Another important thing to analyze is your website's on-page optimization. This involves reviewing your meta tags, headings, keyword usage, and content quality. Ensure that your meta tags accurately describe your page's content and include relevant keywords. Optimize your headings to provide a clear structure and hierarchy for search engines and users.
Lastly, evaluate your website's user experience. This includes assessing factors such as navigation, site structure, and overall design. A well-organized and user-friendly website enhances user satisfaction and encourages them to stay longer, reducing bounce rates. Consider conducting usability tests or gathering feedback from users to identify areas for improvement.
4. Identify Competitors.
Identifying your main competitors in the industry and benchmarking your website's performance against theirs can provide valuable insights into areas of strength and weakness. By analyzing the strategies and tactics used by your competitors, you can gain a better understanding of what is working well in your industry and where there may be opportunities for improvement.
Benchmarking your website's performance against your competitors allows you to compare key metrics such as search engine rankings, organic traffic, conversion rates, and user engagement. This analysis can help you identify areas where your competitors are outperforming you and where you may need to focus your efforts to catch up or surpass them. Tools such as Spyfu and Similarweb to see how your site stacks up against theirs.
In addition to gaining insights into areas of strength and weakness, benchmarking your website's performance against your competitors can also provide motivation and inspiration. Seeing your competitors achieve success can push you to strive for excellence and continually improve your own website and online presence.
5. Choose Relevant KPIs.
When choosing key performance indicators (KPIs) for your website, it's important to align them with your specific goals and objectives. There are several KPIs that can provide valuable insights into the performance of your website and help you measure your progress.
Some important KPIs to consider tracking (already mentioned above) include keyword rankings, organic traffic, backlink profile, and conversion rates. In addition to these KPIs, there may be other metrics that are specific to your industry or business objectives that you should consider tracking. Regularly monitoring and analyzing these KPIs can help you make data-driven decisions and optimize your website for success.
6. Utilize SEO Tools.
Google Analytics offers a comprehensive range of features to track and analyze website traffic. With Google Analytics, you can monitor key metrics such as the number of visitors, session duration, bounce rate, and conversion rates. This data allows you to understand how users are interacting with your website and identify areas for improvement.
Google Search Console provides insights into how your website is performing in search engine results. It allows you to track your website's visibility, monitor keyword rankings, analyze click-through rates, and identify any issues that may be affecting your website's search performance. By utilizing Google Search Console, you can optimize your website's presence in search engine results and improve your organic traffic.
SEMrush is a popular SEO tool that offers a wide range of features for keyword research, competitor analysis, and website auditing. With SEMrush, you can identify strategic keywords, analyze your competitors' SEO strategies, and uncover opportunities to improve your website's performance. It also provides valuable insights into backlink profiles, social media engagement, and content optimization.
Ahrefs is a powerful tool that specializes in backlink analysis and competitor research. It allows you to track your website's backlink profile, identify high-quality backlinks, and analyze your competitors' link building strategies. By utilizing Ahrefs, you can enhance your website's authority and visibility in search engine results.
7. Regularly Monitor and Evaluate.
Continuously monitor and evaluate your website's performance against benchmarks, making adjustments to your SEO strategy as needed to drive improvement. This step is crucial in ensuring that your website stays on track towards achieving your goals and objectives.
By regularly monitoring your website's performance, you can identify any areas that may need improvement or optimization. This could include analyzing your keyword rankings, organic traffic, backlink profile, and conversion rates. By tracking these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into how your website is performing and identify any areas where you may be falling short.
You don’t have to handle SEO Benchmarking on your own.
The team of digital marketing experts at WorldLight Media is here to help you utilize this powerful tool for assessing your website's rankings and performance … and then help you make the necessary improvements to get the results you want and deserve.
We invite you to contact us for a personalized consultation. Let's discuss SEO Benchmarking, how to assess your website's rankings, and strategies for greater success.
More Relevant SEO Topics: