These days, pretty much everyone has a website for their business. We all know that if you’re not online, you’d be missing out on the increasingly large number of potential customers who have long ago forsaken the Yellow Pages and now simply turn to their favourite search engine for finding whatever it is that they’re looking for. No matter what type of business you have, you know that “business” is increasingly being done online.
But do you really know how well your business website is performing?
The first step in any online marketing campaign is a process called “benchmarking”. Before you do any keyword research, before you perform a competitor analysis or even start writing content, you need to know how well your website is performing “as is”. That way, once you start making changes, you can easily determine how much things have improved. If you don’t record where you started, you won’t know how far you’ve come!
So, what do you need to look for when benchmarking your website?
There are actually dozens of metrics that need to be recorded. But here are a few tests you can run yourself to start getting a bit of a picture of how well your website is performing.
Note – we talk a lot about “Google” whenever we talk about SEO. That’s because more than 90% of Australians go straight to Google whenever they need to search for something online. The fundamentals of SEO will improve your website’s position in all the major search engines, but it makes sense to concentrate on performing in the search engine where most of your market are looking.
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Test Your Mobile Speed
A few years back, Google announced that the speed of a website would be a ranking indicator. It is understood that Google looks at over 200 different metrics to determine how well a website performs in it’s index, but the speed of a website has become an increasingly important factor. This is partly because of the increasing use of mobile devices connecting people to the internet, but it’s also because Google could see that when a website is loading slowly, people are inclined to just hit the back button in their browser and go somewhere else.
Whilst this test is designed to see how well your website performs on mobile devices, it gives a good starting point in our website benchmark and makes recommendations as to how we can improve aspects of the site to make it load faster.
This tool not only determines how well your website is performing, but how well-rounded it is in terms of features and functionality. You get a Performance score based on page size, page requests and page speed, a Mobile score based on speed and mobile-responsiveness, an SEO score which checks that the elements are in place (but not how well your SEO has been conducted), and a Security score.
Some of these elements may seem a little arbitrary, but it gives you a good starting point on which to refer back later.
Google Analytics & Search Console
If you aren’t using Google Analytics, stop what you’re doing and install it right now! Go ahead – I’ll wait. Google Analytics tells you everything that happens on your website, but it can only start tracking from the time you install it. Analytics will then start giving you some baseline numbers: number of visitors, bounce rate, time spent on site, percentage of returning visitors. You can also find information about visitor “dimensions” such as location, device and demographics. It doesn’t matter too much what your numbers are initially, but it gives us a baseline to work from.
Google’s other tool for webmasters is called Search Console. Interestingly, the data in Search Console starts accumulating from the time Google first finds your website! So it is often a wealth of useful information, especially around the search terms for which your website is performing. It is one of the best places to determine how well you are performing for a certain keyword because it tells you the average position. If you just search Google for a certain keyword or phrase, the position you find your website won’t necessarily be the position I find your website. That’s because Google takes into account your current location, your search history, whether you’ve visited the website before, and even your demographic information. The only way to work out if your website is performing for a certain keyword is to check it’s average position.
There are a range of tools for testing how well your website is performing. Again, it doesn’t much matter what score you get initially, only that you start seeing the metrics improving over time.
Here are some other free benchmarking tools you might like to apply to your website:
Small Business Internet Marketing and SEO
The team at SBIM specialise in providing customised SEO solutions to our customers. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to search engine optimisation. We spend significant time determining where your business sits in it’s niche market and what would be needed in order to dominate that market. And, let’s be honest, some businesses are going to have a harder time than others. If you’re a mortgage broker, it’s going to be next to impossible to get you in front of the big four banks. But if you’re a mechanic in Brendale, the first page of Google is beckoning.
If any of the benchmarking tools above are ringing alarm bells, give us a call for an honest assessment of where your website currently sites and what we can do to assist.