If the website is a first-time launch benchmarking the site after 30 days is just as important. How the site statistics evolve will say a lot about the success of the website project.
A typical website benchmark might include the following:
- Visitor statistics
- The website’s Google Page Rank of the main page
- Back link summary
- Search term review
There are other meaningful numbers that can be captured with sophisticated tools; but we will leave that discussion for another time.
Visitors can be tracked at no cost by employing Google Analytics. Monitor the site for 30 days. Of course, this snapshot will not tell us everything we need to know but it will give us a good starting point on how people are viewing and using the website.
The following screenshot is the standard Google Analytic Dashboard.
At the top of the Dashboard screen capture we can see the traffic activity day-by-day for the month. Site Usage is followed by Visitors Overview and a Map Overlay that shows where visitors came from. There are good Traffic Source stats and a Content Overview section where a person can see what pages on the site are the most viewed.
Using Google Analytics requires that you own the website and that you paste a few lines of code at the bottom of the pages you want Google to track.
You’ll want to know the Page Rank of your site compared to the competition. One way to accomplish this is by downloading the Google toolbar. It shows the Page Rank of any site you browse to; great for keeping an eye on competitors.
By floating the mouse pointer over the Page Rank section on the toolbar, we can see the Paypal.com has a Page Rank of 8. Page Rank runs from 0 to 10; 0 being the lowest and 10 the highest. A Page Rank between 5 and 7 is most desired.
Another number to benchmark is the amount of back links to a website; in other words, the number of websites that have a link pointing back to your website. You can use a free tool offered by SearchBliss.com called Link Popularity Check. It tells you how many back links the site’s first level pages have.
SearchBliss.com is a good place to check your site’s back links as well as the number of back links of your competitors.
By clicking on the numbers under
incoming Links you can see what websites are linking back to your website.
Choosing the right search terms is normally the job of an SEO expert. For discussion purposes let us assume we have a financial planning company and our SEO expert chose the following 22 financial planner terms to use when optimizing the website:
|financial planner colorado springs||cfp denver|
|financial planners colorado springs||cfp denver co|
|financial planner colorado||financial advisor colorado springs|
|financial planners colorado||financial advisors colorado springs|
|financial planner denver||financial advisor colorado|
|certified financial planner denver||financial advisors colorado|
|financial planners denver||financial advisors denver|
|financial planner in denver||financial advisors in denver|
|financial planner denver co||financial advisor in denver|
|cfp colorado springs||financial advisor denver|
|cfp colorado||financial advisor denver co|
Once the search terms are decided upon page-position statistics can be gathered on where those terms are today. Then each week new stats can be compiled and placed in a spreadsheet to measure the progress being made as the terms move up to Page 1 on Google. The search listing above shows that Robert D. Thompson ranks first, after the local business listings, in Google’s search results for the term “cfp colorado springs”.
To wrap up this discussion, we have looked at how many visitors come to a site, where they come from, how they navigate the site pages and which ones are most visited. The site’s Page Rank and the number of back links were also collected. These statistics, along with Page Rank and search term placement, will give us a good benchmark going forward.
Another piece of information you will want to gather is how your website stacks up against the competition on the Web.
Keep in mind, the companies you compete against at trade shows and on the street may not be the same companies that have the edge on the Web. Gathering “intel” on the competition’s websites tells who you have to go up against for the key phrases you believe are vital to the success of your Web presence. That is what is talked about in the next section.
- Check out Find Out How Your Web Front Stacks Up Against Everyone Else’s on the Web in Part I.
- There are some statistics you can run on your competition; number of inbound links, Page Rank, search phrase positioning and Compete.com gives you an estimate of the visitor traffic. See the next section.