Welcome back to another Ask Me Anything, which is a series where we talk to our friends, our viewers, and our community about all of their pressing needs, questions, wants, and desires.

Let’s take a look at the mailbag. This week’s question is another three-parter so I’m only going to answer the one:

I just started using Cision reporting for a client and including SEO Impact/Domain Authority as well as Social Amplification and wanted to see if there are any industry benchmarks to contextualize our results.  I want to be able to communicate that these are average, above average or below average. 

AMA: The Necessity of Domain Authority

I’ve written about this quite a bit because I am a strong believer in the fact that if you are increasing your domain authority, you’re doing your job.

And that the score is reliant on really great, valuable content.

If somebody searches for a question that you have an answer for, Google rewards you for that and says, “Yeah, this domain authority is great.”

But there isn’t an industry benchmark or average. What we do, instead, is look at where the domain authority is right now and compare that to the competition.

You never want to compare it on a scale of 1-100 or to similar businesses.

Rather, the goal is to increase the score of your own site, as compared to your competition.

For instance, the domain authority of The New York Times is 100, but almost no one else will ever achieve that.

Most corporate websites are somewhere between 20 and 40 so saying you want to reach 100 is ludicrous.

But if you take a look at where your competition is and compare it to your own, you’ll have a really great benchmark.

The things that will affect your score are content, SEO (see below), and earned media (linkbacks).

These are all things every one of you does well. So get to it!

AMA: How Communicators Can Affect SEO

Now…search engine optimization, which has everything to do with how well your content ranks on Google.

Sure, you have to do the backend stuff, such as using the proper keywords and your meta descriptions and alt tags and the like, but the real genesis of great SEO is content.

Again, there aren’t industry benchmarks for this. It depends on who you compete with for your priority keywords.

For instance, one of our priority keywords is “PESO Model.” If I Google that, I see we own two of the listings on the first page of Google. This is great!

If I look at the other listings on the first page, these are considered my “competition” when it comes to that priority keyword.

Also, PR Week owns the first spot, which I don’t really love, so I’m going to work to displace them to second or third and bump us up.

Because the work and the results are so individualized, there aren’t benchmarks, but you can create your own with this process:

  • Write down your top 10 priority keywords/phrases
  • Google each of them
  • Jot down where you appear in search results (i.e. first page, third slot; third page, fourth slot; not at all)
  • Also jot down who appears on the first page of results—this is your competition

I like a spreadsheet for this work because it’s all in one spot and I have historical data to show how far we’ve come.

This is your benchmark and now you can start to build from here.

AMA: How Does Social Amplification Fit In?

I don’t really love social amplification because I think it’s a bunk metric; it’s a vanity metric.

It makes you feel good.

Certainly, it will tell you if the content was great and if it resonated or if it didn’t, but it’s not really a great metric.

But because some executives like vanity metrics, we break our reports into two: vanity metrics and the real deal.

If you’re going to report on social amplification, put it in the vanity metric section.

Have a Question For Us?

Unfortunately, there aren’t industry benchmarks for these things, but that makes your job easier!

You can compare your benchmarks against your competition—and against yourself—and measure the things that matter, not the things that matter to other organizations.

There also is a bit of color commentary in the video so don’t miss that! We talk the new studio effects from Zoom, including how to give yourself a mustache. It’s quite captivating!

iI you have a question for a future AMA, you can drop them below or join us in the (free) Spin Sucks Community.

Ask it there, drop ideas for multitasking I can do while answering your questions, engage with your fellow marketers, and have some fun.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich