Baseline analysis for your SEO strategy

Every campaign must begin with comprehensive research.

From making sure that your initial benchmarks are correct to performing an in-depth competitor analysis, you must make sure that your data is accurate and complete from the start. 

  • How is your site currently doing? 
  • What keywords are you ranking for? 
  • What keywords are your competitors ranking for?
  • How many links does your site currently have?  
  • What backlinks do your competitors have?
  • What errors does your site have from a technical standpoint? 

Launching an SEO campaign without gathering this data is like scuba diving at night without a headlamp. You will have no direction and can end up anywhere, possibly inside a shark’s mouth, instead of at the top of Google results.

This next section will go over various data points and where to get this information. For all of these data points, we use Semrush or Google products.


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Benchmarking using Google Analytics and Google Search Console

If you already have Google Analytics installed and acquire data, you can get various data points by clicking on Audience Overview, Acquisition Overview and Audience Benchmarking.

There are numerous tutorials on understanding Google Analytics, and most of the data is simple to understand.

If you are a Google Data Studio user, you can create a report to track and benchmark your data using one of the available templates.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

All-in-one Search Console template

Google Analytics Acquisition overview

Once you have explored Google Analytics and Google Search Console and have created your benchmarking reports, we can start analyzing data from Semrush.

Bird’s-eye view of your site’s benchmark report

We’ll start by getting an overview of how the website is currently performing. The following screenshot shows the Domain overview report in Semrush:

This report provides a variety of data points about the site’s current health, including: 

  • Organic search traffic
  • Paid search traffic
  • Backlinks
  • Top organic keywords
  • Top paid keywords
  • Total number of keywords that are ranking
  • Indexed pages
  • Keywords by Intent

You can click through this report to get more detailed information or export this report to get an overview of all of your initial baseline data.

Next, we’ll create an actual report to download with custom data. 

Create a baseline report

For this report, we’ll use the Semrush reporting feature.  

In Semrush, create a project for your site. Start by running a site audit. Once the audit data is complete, create a new report. Here’s an example of a baseline report template: 

Example report

You can use this template to create your own and use the Quick Modify to switch out the URL.

Organic research

Go to Organic Research and type in your website domain. The following organic research report will be generated:

Pay close attention to the numbers under Keywords, Traffic, Traffic Cost and Branded/Non-Branded Traffic. These are great metrics to track as your campaign progresses.  

Here’s what they mean:

  • Keywords: The number of keywords your site is ranking for in
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