The Best Metrics and Tools for SEO Benchmarking in 2024

The Best Metrics and Tools for SEO Benchmarking in 2024

SEO can seem like a complex maze of technical to-dos and search engine rules, especially if you aren’t an SEO pro. However, if your business has a website, you need an SEO strategy.

But not just any SEO strategy will work: You need to know whether all of the time and energy you put into search engine optimization is actually paying off. 

That’s where SEO benchmarking comes into play. It requires a little upfront work, but benchmarking is a smart tool for assessing SEO performance based on quantitative metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). 

With benchmarking, you compare your performance against other companies in your industry. Think of it as a helpful yardstick that tells you whether SEO efforts are paying off or if it’s time to rethink your plan. 

You don’t need to be an SEO expert to do benchmarking, either. All you need is the right process and SEO tools. In this guide, we’ll demystify the process of setting clear benchmarks and comparing your SEO metrics against industry competitors. 

Understanding SEO Benchmarking

SEO benchmarking is a tool for evaluating the effectiveness of your SEO performance. With SEO benchmarking, you conduct a detailed analysis of your site’s performance and compare it to industry standards and competitors. 

Since you aren’t viewing performance metrics in a vacuum, it’s easier to see if your efforts are smoking the competition—or lagging behind. Instead of simply tracking your SEO rankings, you can use benchmarked metrics to get a better understanding of where you really stand.

Benchmarking plays an important role in SEO performance analysis as a diagnostic tool that identifies your strengths and weaknesses. With benchmarks, you get a clear picture of the meaning behind your site’s organic traffic, search engine rankings, and overall health to make data-driven decisions. By understanding how your site measures up against the competition, you’ll make changes that actually move the needle.

Choosing Benchmarking Metrics

Whether you’re an established brand or a fledgling startup, now’s the time to benchmark SEO performance. The key is to track the most meaningful KPIs that reflect SEO progress. Track these key metrics to kick off the benchmarking process. 

Organic Search Traffic

This metric indicates the number of people who visit your site through organic search. In other words, this is free traffic that you didn’t pay for or run pay-per-click (PPC) ads to earn. Organic traffic is an important indicator of SEO success because it shows your target audience finds the site helpful or interesting.

Keyword Rankings

Keywords are such a critical part of any SEO campaign. With this metric, you track how effectively your target keywords rank for specific queries. Keyword research tools like Google Search Console or Ahrefs are helpful for tracking how web pages rank.

Backlink Profile

Search engines see backlinks as votes of confidence in your website or brand. The more high-quality backlinks you have compared to your competitors, the more reputable you’ll be to search engines—and the higher you’ll show up on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Conversion Rates

A visitor converts every time they take a desired action on your website, whether that’s subscribing to your blog or making a purchase. The higher your conversion rates, the more likely it is that your SEO efforts are paying off.

Page Load Speed

That’s right: Your website speed has a direct impact on SEO performance. After all, users don’t like slow websites, and anything that hurts the user experience will hurt SEO. 

Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights analyze your site’s load times and identify issues slowing it down. You might need to partner with a developer to fix more advanced issues, but speed is a must-have for website performance, conversions, and SEO success.

Mobile Responsiveness

Did you know that search engines reward websites that cater to mobile users? Track this metric with the HubSpot Website Grader to gauge your site’s mobile-friendliness. Most issues come back to website design or back-end settings. Ultimately, you want a site that’s easy to navigate, loads quickly, and displays properly on all screen sizes. 

Tools for SEO Benchmarking

You’ve done the hard work of selecting metrics. Congrats! Now it’s time to plug those metrics into SEO benchmarking tools. 

These tools will do the heavy lifting of tracking, analyzing, and benchmarking SEO performance and tell you which areas need improvement. You’re free to use whatever tools you like, but these are our personal favorites. 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a fundamental tool that provides in-depth insights into:

  • The user experience
  • Website traffic
  • Bounce rates
  • Conversion rates

If you want to know how users interact with your site, this tool is a must. Oh, and did we mention it’s free?

Google Analytics can be a little complex, though, so we recommend taking Google’s free courses to use the tool properly.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is another Google tool that every business should try. With this tool, you’re able to monitor factors affecting your presence in Google search results. With Search Console, you’ll get data on:

  • Keyword rankings
  • Click-through rates (CTR)
  • Organic search traffic 

It’s also a popular tool for identifying any technical SEO issues, like crawl errors or security problems. 

SEO Monitoring Tools

There are so many monitoring tools on the market for SEO benchmarking. SEO monitoring tools are ideal for tracking your backlink profile, conducting keyword research, or monitoring SEO analytics. Semrush and Ahrefs offer all of this plus competitor analyses, which are essential for accurate benchmarking. 

Social Media Insights

Chances are, you’re targeting users on Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn, or TikTok. Third-party tracking tools like Google Analytics track referral traffic from these platforms to your site, but you’ll still need to check your social media analytics for social-specific performance. These are essential to seeing how your content performs on social media, which indicates the effectiveness of content marketing and social media strategies for SEO.

Competitor Analysis Tools

Tools like Moz, Semrush, SpyFu, and Ahrefs offer a peek behind the curtain at your competitors’ SEO strategies. You’ll see their keywords, number of backlinks and sources, and overall SEO performance. This data is essential for benchmarking against your competitors, but it’s also helpful for fixing any gaps in your SEO strategy.

Challenges for SEO Benchmarking

As helpful as SEO benchmarking tools are, you still might encounter some challenges while benchmarking SEO performance. They aren’t dealbreakers, though. Come out on top by planning for these common challenges ahead of time.

Search Engine Algorithm Fluctuations

You don’t have any control over how search engines like Bing or Google operate. Search engines constantly update their algorithms to improve the user experience, which can have a big impact on SEO performance, keyword rankings, and pretty much everything else. In fact, a website that ranks highly one day could drop off the face of the planet the next. 

Because of this, it’s important to see benchmarking as a moving target, not a one-and-done task on your to-do list. Use tools like Google Search Console to spot any sudden changes in traffic or rankings because of algorithm updates. You can also stay ahead by keeping an eye on any news stories that mention search engine updates or algorithm changes.

Data Accuracy and Consistency

SEO data is helpful, but it isn’t perfect. Tools will report slightly different results because their data collection or processing methods aren’t the same. For example, Google Analytics and Semrush might show different organic traffic figures. It happens! 

Inconsistency makes it harder to get a clear picture of SEO performance, so take this data with a grain of salt. What matters is spotting trends or patterns across the board, not fixating on specific numbers.

Competitor Behavior

You can’t control search engines, and you certainly can’t control your competitors. Sometimes it’s hard to go up against other companies, especially if you’re new or have fewer resources. You can’t control whether a competitor copies your strategy or keywords, either. 

While it’s important to track your competitors’ behavior and benchmark against their performance, don’t despair over every little thing they do. SEO is just one avenue to differentiate yourself from the competition. 

Instead of turning SEO into a copying war, understand where you stand in the market and focus on implementing marketing strategies that make you stand out. That’s the key to overtaking the competition without starting a keyword war.

Crush Industry Benchmarks With Growth Machine

If you’re investing in digital marketing or content, SEO benchmarking is a must. This tool helps you understand your SEO performance, identify areas for improvement, and stay competitive. 

The key is to choose the right metrics and monitor them in SEO benchmarking tools. But even then, tools will only get you so far, and that’s where Growth Machine comes in. Our team of SEO experts strategizes, manages, and tracks content marketing initiatives to support organic SEO success. 

It’s time to meet and surpass your goals. Contact Growth Machine now to set and achieve your SEO benchmarks.

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