The Importance of Benchmarking with SEO

So you want to start an SEO campaign for your website? Before you rush in and make changes there is a very important step that is sometimes over looked by those who are novice to SEO or business owners who are looking to implement SEO changes on their own.  That step is called benchmarking. You want to make sure the changes you are making result in positive results.

For local businesses, the first thing we recommend doing is to determine what towns you want to rank in. Consider your competition, where your current base of business comes from, and additional towns you don’t get a lot of business from, but would like to going forward. Start with a good 5-7 then once you get results there, you can expand to a broader reach.

Next determine what key words you would like to target. One way to determine the competition for a keyword is to use Google Keyword Planner. For a keyword with a high suggested bid, you can assume there is large amounts of competition for it. Depending on your SEO knowledge you may want to start with keywords that align with your products or services and have less competition for quicker results. Just like the geographic areas you are targeting, we recommend starting with a few and expanding from there.

Lastly, you want to do the actual benchmarking. There are many paid services you can use to automate this process, but for the budget-conscious business owner, you can go the free route.  Open a new window in your web browser, but make sure to open it in incognito mode. There’s something called the Google Bubble, that will impact your search results if you do your benchmarking in your regular browser. You want to keep these benchmark photos are true as possible as if you were a regular person searching for your keywords.

Create a new folder on your desktop and save the screen shots once your find your website or webpages in the search results. If you aren’t showing up in the top ten pages on Google, you may want to consider yourself not ranking at all, as the average consumer is probably not going that far into the search results to find a local product or service.  Be sure to have multiple copies of these benchmark photos going forward as you will be checking in on them periodically as you continue your SEO campaign. And remember to take more screen shots as your target more keywords and areas.

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