Setting SEO Goals You Can Actually Hit
If you ask someone who doesn’t know a lot about search engine optimization what they expect to get out of it, they’ll mention things like more traffic, more impressions, and of course, more sales, all on a timeline of immediately.
But if you’ve been in the business for any time longer than a week, you know this isn’t realistic. SEO goals require patience and consistency – largely because there’s a whole lot of things that you can’t directly control.
But goals are important to any business, not just because they can help you determine an initiative’s success or failure, but because they provide a sort of roadmap to follow. They should be measurable to give you insights into what’s working – and what’s not, so you can make adjustments as needed. Unlike vague and generalized goals like “get more traffic,” specific goals hold you accountable and give you a real target to shoot for.
But if you’re not a veteran SEO professional, you may have trouble figuring out what exactly these goals should be and how long it should take you to achieve them. That’s where I can help.
In this piece, I’m going to cover what SEO good goals are, how to determine them and then give you some examples you can adopt for your own needs.
What Are Good Goals?
The best goals in life tend to have a few things in common, namely that they’re SMART. No, this doesn’t mean they’re good at chess or could win the spelling bee – it’s an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Specific means they clearly define what you are hoping to accomplish, what metrics you will use to calculate success and the actions you will take to achieve them. E.g., A focus on decreasing bounce-rate from your top-performing pages by 11%.
Measurable means your goals have a means of being tracked. You should have concrete data about success or failure beyond just feeling like it’s working. This could be anything from organic traffic to site loading time to inbound links to conversions.
Achievable, obviously means that they are realistic. You’re not trying to dethrone YouTube with your own video-hosting site, but instead are trying to do something doable. For example, you could aim to increase visits by 7%, rather than shooting for flashy but unrealistic expectations like raising organic traffic by 7000%.
Relevant means the goal(s) are in line with what your website is trying to accomplish. For example, if your website sells tennis rackets, optimizing your pages to capture traffic from people searching for a macaroni and cheese recipe is a waste of everyone’s time.
Time-bound goals have a clearly defined timeframe and end-date, as in this initiative will seek to achieve Goal A by October 1, rather than just saying “we want to reach this eventually.”
Setting Realistic SEO Goals
If you’re like many people, the biggest challenge to setting SMART SEO goals is that tricky “R.” Because the field, by its very nature, gives you a ton of data, it’s easy to get distracted or try to shoot for the moon.
To make sure you don’t fall victim to this, it’s important to set goals based around the metrics that are most important to your business and align with your greater organizational goals.
For example, if your goal is to increase signups for your newsletter, you’ll want to target KPIs that help make that a reality, for example conversions using a form on a landing page.
Once you have identified the goal you’ll be striving toward, as well as the ways in which you will measure progress, it’s time to build your framework.
First take your ultimate goal and break it down into smaller performance goals, each of which moves you closer to the outcome you’re seeking. Then break each of these down into smaller, process goals that you can control.
Let’s say your overall goal is to get your website to the first page of search engine results. That is your outcome goal. To do this, you need to build your domain authority and build backlinks. These are your performance goals. Finally, you need to optimize your site structure, create valuable content for your targets and improve social shares – these are your process goals.
Caveat: Don’t fall into the trap of assuming “creating valuable content” is enough on its own. Remember, your goals need to be specific, measurable and time-bound too. Instead, make your goal something like “create three infographics that will lead to 25 quality backlinks within three months.”
Use your favorite SEO platform (like Evisio, for example) to provide you with the data you need to determine whether you’re achieving your goal or not.
Examples of Good SEO Goals
Generally speaking, each of your SEO goals will correspond with one or more stages in the sales funnel. Depending on who you’re talking to, there are anywhere from four to eight of these, but for our purposes, let’s keep it to: awareness, interest, decision and conversion.
Goals you might set for the awareness stage include increasing your total impressions on a page by 15% or getting your page to the first page of results within six months.
For the interest stage, you could set goals related to clicks or click-through rates from search pages.
For the decision stage, you may be seeking to improve the length of time users spend on a page or reduce the bounce rate.
Finally, for the consideration, or action stage, you could measure things like sales, signups or downloads. As with all these stages, what you choose will depend on what you’re hoping to achieve. Just make sure you’re hitting every part of SMART goals.
Make the Entire SEO Process Easier
Now that you have your goals clearly outlined, along with an action plan of how you plan to achieve them, it’s time to get to work. That’s where Evisio comes in.
A platform designed for busy SEO professionals and entrepreneurs wearing many hats alike, it takes all of the guesswork out of search engine optimization, providing you with clear information and step-by-step instructions for improving the ranking of any site.
Once you try it, you’ll wonder how you ever did SEO any other way. See it for yourself. Start your evisio free trial today!