Your own website is your most trusted marketing investment because you can measure results YOURSELF using server metrics such as Visits and Pageviews. But in uncertain economic times, how are you to know if a drop in web traffic represents a website problem or is just a symptom of reduced overall economic activity? That’s where KEYWORD RANKINGS are useful, because the search engine is ranking your web pages relative to other websites, not to previous traffic benchmarks.
Both of these metrics, together, can help give an accurate picture of how your website is doing, just as your car has both a speedometer to tell you how fast you're going, and an odometer to say how far you went. If you benchmark your most important keyword phrases in the search engines, you will have another tool for an objective evaluation of your website going forward, regardless of how the economy is performing.
Benchmarking keyword phrases is simple enough (though it may be tedious), but selecting them can be tricky. Let’s start with the simple, tedious part. To benchmark the phrase “masonry construction” for your website, enter the phrase into the search engine and then find the position of your website in the results. To record the result, we use the convention of 1/1 to mean first page, first listing for the phrase. 2/6 would mean second page, sixth listing, etc. We generally stop looking after the third page of search engine results, because we assume that the web visitor does too, and record NF, “not found”. HELPFUL TIP: If you hit Ctrl/F on your keyboard and enter your domain name, your listing will be highlighted when present on each search engine results page.
Now for the tricky part! Your important keyword phrases should be both relevant and competitive, but not too competitive. For example, “masonry” or “construction” are probably both impossibly competitive and thus aren't useful. “Masonry construction” may also be too competitive to be useful, though you're of course welcome to track them anyway! Fortunately for you, your prospect is probably doing a regional location search such as “masonry construction chicago”, “masonry construction illinois”, “masonry construction midwest” and this may be where you will establish your benchmarks. Even if you don’t find your website on the first three pages (see above), you may want to dig further until you do, so that you can determine how much work you need in order to boost your ranking.
But don’t stop there. You may also need to know how your website ranks for such relevant variations as “unit masonry construction” or “masonry construction brick”, probably with the above mentioned geographic modifiers such as “unit masonry construction chicago”, “unit masonry construction midwest”, etc. I suggest that you compose your list based upon your hard-won knowledge of what your client/prospect is most likely putting in the search engines. My experience is that you won't regret having TOO MANY phrases, rather than too few for comparison a year from now, so be generous. You will then have an important tool for measuring the performance and productivity of your website under a variety of conditions.
(Do you want to rank better in the search engines for your important keyword phrases? Call us at 413-586-4748 and ask about our LOW COST web solutions for skilled professionals like you.)