Search Engine Optimisation – Step 2. Benchmarking

The second step in a Search Engine Optimisation project is to get some metrics on the state of the site before the Optimisation project proper commences. If you missed the first step in this Search Engine Optimisation project, you can see it here.

To achieve this we will first need to carry out a benchmarking of the site’s current web traffic statistics to enable tracking of your ROI. There are several web stats analysis applications available for this task. The main free ones are Webalizer, AwStats and Analog and I find that using a combination of these tools is better than relying on any one. Mostly at this point we are looking for the amount of traffic to the site – we will be comparing this against the amount of traffic coming to the site as the project progresses.

Secondly, we will want to examine search engine rankings for various likely keywords or keyphrases target clients might use to find the site. Googlerankings, a website which allows you to look up the Google Search Engine Rank Position (SERP) of any site, for any keyword or phrase, is the main tool to use for this stage of the process. In the image below we can see that, not unsurprisingly, Microsoft.com have the no.1 Google SERP for the keyphrase Bill Gates:
Google Rankings results window

To perform this step, however, we will need a list of keywords/phrases to use as our baseline. Some of these will be gleaned from the web traffic statistics in the previous step (what words and expressions have historically been used to find the site) and some will be ones which you want the site to be found by.

And finally, a technical audit of the existing site needs to be carried out. This audit needs to flag any issues that may currently be harming search engine ranking (i.e. Frames, Dynamic uri’s, Flash, image maps for navigation, and/or javascript for navigation). Any of these which are found need to be documented and plans put in place for their replacement with search engine friendly alternatives.

I will be writing up the next step in this project in the next couple of days.

13 thoughts on “Search Engine Optimisation – Step 2. Benchmarking”

  1. How much does webserver availability matter in SEO? I have my homepage on a server that has a DSL modem that sometimes fails for a few hours, and I feel I have difficulties being found on Google. Could this be the issue?

  2. Almost certainly Jonathan,

    it isn’t possible to say for definite as the Google algorithm is a closely guarded secret but it would stand to reason that a site’s availability would be one of the factors they would use to rank a site.

  3. Good tutorial,

    FYI, google is now working on a new ranking algorythm/program called the IndyRank, it uses a combination of borg technologies and spacscoring to rank the websites.

    Good luck, Ruslan

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