Want To Learn What It Really Takes To Be #1?
We collect a LOT of data for our small business clients every month, and we recently started to wonder if we could identify any general insights worth sharing. So we evaluated over one thousand top-ranking small business websites in Google and Bing across 76 US cities as of early 2021.
Check out some of the insights we’ve gleaned from that data in the sections below. This data is national in scope, but if you’re interested in a complimentary custom competitive report showing how you stack up in your market, let us know!
We used GTmetrix to compile performance data across some of the top-performing websites in the US. We specifically looked at PageSpeed, YSlow, the HTML load time (or TTFB), and the total page load time. The median values for the websites analyzed are included below.
Page Load Time
Page Load Time
Page Load Time
It appears that the majority of top-ranked sites are scoring well in terms of performance across all device sizes. That said, we were a little surprised that the median scores were only slightly above 70%. This suggests that site speed is an important ranking factor but it’s only one of many factors. Still, the lower-than-expected scores suggest an opportunity to beat top sites in part with faster sites.
We were curious about how many Google reviews the top-ranking sites tended to have. We used Bright Local to compile Google review data across some of the top-performing websites in the US to find out. Again, we used median values when considering the number of reviews, just to keep profiles with larger data sets from blowing the curve.
To no one’s surprise here, the top-performing websites all seem to be associated with domains that have solid Google reviews. The number and actual score rating you’ll need to outrank your competitors will obviously vary, but it stands to reason that an average score of 4+ with at least 10 reviewers may be enough to put most people in the game.
Finally, we leveraged the powerful tools at Moz to answer some questions about general SEO performance for top-ranking small business websites. We examined Domain Authority, a key industry metric, but we also decided to have a little fun with examining inbound links.
We examined the total number of links pointing to the websites in our data set. The “All Links” includes all links, while the “Equity” links just looks at equity-passing links (which tend to increase Domain Authority). We also looked at the number of root domains sending these links. We used median values for everything but the Domain Authority (which has a cap of 100) to prevent sites with insane link totals from confusing the data.
All Links to Subdomain
Equity Links to Subdomain
Linking Root Domains
Major sites can have incredibly high Domain Authority scores and numbers of links pointing to them. Fortunately, according to the data we analyzed, it seems that the threshold to becoming competitive is reasonably attainable. However, results will vary depending on where you live and what you’re selling.
Want to See Custom Benchmarks?
These small business insights don’t represent an exhaustive data set. We don’t cover all industries, cities, or websites. More importantly, we’re only looking at top-ranked sites to gain these general benchmarks. We would still argue that there is a lot of value in other high spots in search listings, particularly since it’s not always just being ranked #1 that wins you a customer.
Please keep in mind that your company’s benchmarks are going to depend entirely on what your specific competitors are doing in your local market. The general benchmarks presented here won’t be nearly as helpful as a custom competitive report. Good news though, if you ask nicely we’ll be happy to put together a complimentary custom report just for you!