Last updated on 13th June 2023 at 21:22 by Alex Nicholas

If you're about to start on a new SEO campaign, it's important to know how and what has changed over time, as your campaign matures.

The importance of search engine optimisation is something that businesses cannot ignore today. We are living in a world that is increasingly based online. As a consequence, this means that you need to do everything in your power to ensure your business climbs the search engine result pages and gets increased visibility.

And whether this means that you hire an SEO consultant or intend to carry out the work yourself, there are basic aspects that must not be overlooked.

When it comes to your SEO efforts, measuring your approach is a must. After all, you are never going to master the digital world if you don’t have an understanding of how you are performing at present. This is the only way you can make intelligent changes and push your online brand forward. With that being said, below we are going to take a look at six critical SEO benchmarks for businesses in 2021.

#1: Referral and organic visits

To start off, we recommend that you carefully consider the number of referral visits and organic visits your website receives. These are two critical elements for any business to consider, irrespective of the industry you operate in. There are a number of different tools and types of software on the market that can help you to track your visitors.

And of course, there's Google Search Console and Google Analytics which will allow you to filter the performance of your site in a number of ways.

By doing this you will not only be able to discover the number of visitors your website has, but you will also be able to assess the source of these visitors. How have they ended up getting on your website? Where are these visitors viewing your website from? This data is critical.

The aim for all businesses is to grow their organic traffic as time goes on. This is something that you should be looking to gradually increase.

When it comes to referral traffic, it is not uncommon for this to be rather sporadic, with bursts during different periods of time. For example, if the referral is part of a time-sensitive piece of online content, then you can expect a sporadic burst in traffic.

Of course, you may want to consider putting a referral program in place so that you can continue to have referrals to your website over a continual and sustained period of time.

#2: Backlink profile

A further beneficial and important SEO benchmark is your backlink profile. Link authority is known as a critical SEO benchmark, and this basically refers to the number of reputable sites that link back to your own website.

Despite the fact that Google's algorithm has evolved many times over the years, link authority has long been one of the most powerful SEO indicators and this has never changed.

You may be panicking at the thought of this, assuming that you need to check all of the websites that are relevant to your own that have links pointing to you, but thankfully, there are some great tools out there that do the hard work for us such as ahrefs that will be able to show you where your links are coming from.

Focusing on building up the authoritative links that point back to your own website is a great way to build up your search engine ranking. You need to track this information closely so that you can see whether or not this part of your SEO strategy is effective.

#3: Number of keywords indexed on each page

Another benchmark that is critical when it comes to SEO is the number of keywords that are indexed by Google on each page.

This means that the better the content (as in how well it answers the questions, how long the article is and how many topics it covers), the more chance it has of showing up for a wide range of search terms, thus attracting more potential visitors and most importantly, leads.

However, keywords can be difficult to manage when it comes to an SEO content strategy or campaign. In the past, you could simply chuck in as many keywords as possible, with little thought for their context or how they read. Quality really didn’t matter. Thankfully, those days are long gone. Therefore, it is all about getting the balance right.

You need to make sure that you integrate carefully selected keywords/topics into your content so that you are indexed effectively by the search engine crawlers. At the same time, the keywords need to be integrated so naturally that no one is able to tell that there is any sort of keywords in the content. This is the battle that content creators are continually battling with.

So, why do you need to track the number of keywords in your website content? Well, you need to make sure that the number of keywords that drive traffic to your website is increasing as time goes on. If they are remaining stagnant, or even worse, getting lower, this is a clear and evident sign that your search engine optimisation strategy is not working, and changes need to be made.

It is vital to understand which of your keywords are performing most effectively, as this can help you to learn about what your customers care about and what they are looking for. This can give you a good understanding of what sort of content to produce in the future for the best possible results.

#4: Landing pages

Aside from the SEO benchmarks, we have discussed so far, another element that you should factor in is your landing pages. Landing pages are traditionally viewed as the most important pages on your site because it's these pages via which website visitors would ideally enter your site as they're seen as the pages that make the company, money. However, it's my opinion that all pages optimised for search are landing pages, whether or not they're sales pages or purely there for customer information, and as such should be purposely designed for the aim of driving more traffic to your website.

So, let’s explain why landing pages are critical for search engine optimisation. When it comes to your SEO strategy, the more information that you have, the better. Landing pages give you the ability to see the level at which traffic is increasing based on the specific topics that you have assigned for each of your landing pages, be that local SEO pages, eCommerce category pages or funnel pages. You will also get a better understanding of how much each landing page is leading into conversions, for example, which landing pages are resulting in sales or inquiries?

The benefits do not end there. When a fresh landing page is indexed on Google, this provides you with another excellent metric to track. You are then able to make further changes to your SEO strategy so that you can continue to push forward and achieve greater results on Google and other search engines.

#5: Social media

At first, I wasn't going to include this benchmark. However, I think it's important that we do because, to begin with, social media has increased in significance over the past few years in almost everyone's lives, but most importantly, the positive signals it sends to Google in terms of engagement from people clicking through and reading your content are very important.

This does not however mean that social media is critical for your SEO efforts because it simply isn't (content that covers the topic in detail and backlinks will always be the top 2 ranking factors). Google wants to see that people are interested in your content, that they are sharing it with others, and that they are spending time on your site. This is why social media shouldn't be overlooked. If people like your content, they are going to share it on social media, right?

Again, there are a number of different tools and solutions that enable you to get a handle on how your social media presence is doing! You can track the number of shares you have had across Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. This is critical for your business in terms of understanding whether or not you are making an impact across social media.

If you are not, this means it is time for you to reconsider your content efforts and start looking into creating more shareable content types. From videos to infographics, there are many content types that are popular and great for social sharing. 

#6: The number of pages on Google

Finally, you need to track the total number of pages that Google has indexed from your site. This also happens to be one of the easiest metrics to track, which is great news. Whenever you create fresh content for your site, one of the most basic things you need to do in terms of SEO is to make sure that Google and other search engines index the pages.

If you have any duplicate web pages or pages that are not written very well, it can take Google longer to index these pages. In fact, in a lot of cases, they will not be indexed at all. Furthermore, sometimes your website’s coding can be the issue. These are just some of the problems that can result in your web pages not being indexed by Google.

As a consequence, it is imperative that you check the Google index of your site. This is an effective and easy way of discovering if there are any issues in this area. Simply use the Google search bar and enter the site: command plus your URL, for example, and Google are going to provide every page with your domain name that it has indexed. This is an easy way for you to find out if all of the web pages on your site or indexed or not.

This is an important metric because it gives you a great understanding of how your site appears overall in comparison to how many pages there actually are on your site. You can understand if Google is indexing your website in the way you intend it to, and you can make any changes that are required to help Google index your website.

That's basically it

So there you have it: six of the vital SEO benchmarks metrics for businesses this year. We hope that this helps you to have a good idea of what you should be measuring your company against when it comes to understanding your SEO efforts and what works and what doesn’t. You can then continue to make the changes that are required to keep pushing your company forward and achieving great success online.