What are SMART SEO Goals?
SEO is no different. It works best when you have clearly defined goals. If you set only vague SEO goals, such as “get more leads”, “get traffic”, or “get better rankings,” you’ll lack focus and direction. Vague goals do not provide a roadmap and can lead to wasted time, generalist SEO efforts and a lack of focus. This article will give you an overview on why it is important to set specific goals and how they can help push you forward. Why goals are important
A target gives you a direction to aim for. A goal is a way to keep your actions in check and make sure that you are using your SEO time to achieve the desired result.
Goals help you track your progress in SEO, which is important. If you are not making any progress, then it is time to change your strategies or goals.
Likewise, progress towards a goal gives you a feeling of accomplishment and motivation that can help you keep pushing when SEO can sometimes feel overwhelming.
What are SEO goals?
SEO goals aim to progress your SEO and support your broader marketing and business objectives. You will typically target search engine awareness and engagement. When you are looking to improve SEO, look at the rankings, impressions click-through rate, clicks, and engagement with that traffic. Consider aspects like the size of a potential opportunity (keyword volumes and impressions).
Creating practical goals is the first step in crafting an SEO strategy, and should consider the following five steps:
pecificity: The goal must be clearly defined so it can be measured.
easurable: Goals must be quantifiable so you can track progress.
chievable: Goals should be realistic within your resources.
- elevant: Goals should map to higher-order business and marketing goals.T
- ime-bound: Goals must consider time to aid the measurement.Fortunately, this being marketing, there is a handy mnemonic to help us remember these critical factors in practical SEO goal setting: SMART goals.
- SMART SEO goalsThe framework of SMART goals is not a new concept. It is used widely in psychology, project management and personal development.
- I use time-proven concepts in our SEO work. We have seen in our agency that using SMART goals for SEO is a smart move. We have found that using SMART objectives for SEO can be a smart decision. Let’s take a look at the stages and how to create your own SMART goal. S: Specific
- Specificity is the first step toward creating actionable SEO goals.As an example, better rankings are not a specific goal. A specific goal is to rank in the top three results nationally for keyword X.
Another goal that is more general but still specific would be to improve organic traffic by 25 percent. As you become less precise, you need to apply critical thinking and explain how you plan to achieve it.
Questions to ask yourself or your team include:
What are we trying to achieve?
How does this help us achieve our marketing goals?
What do we need to do to achieve this?
Then you make this goal more specific:
“Improve organic traffic by 25% by improving the rankings for all our commercial keywords on our category pages. It is important to build the specific goal over clearly defined marketing and business goals. It provides a hierarchy of goals that allows you to determine whether or not this SEO goal will help you reach your marketing goals. Your goals must be measurable to understand whether you are progressing towards your goal, and if it is helping you reach the goals you have set. We can track our success with SEO because we have many touchpoints.
There are many SEO KPIs, and the right measurement metrics depend upon your goals, but the following should help get you started.
Rank for main converting keywords (local/organic).
Rank for secondary benchmark keywords (local/organic).
- Organic clicks (Search Console).
- Organic impressions (Search Console).
- Organic CTR (Search Console).
Organic average position (Search Console).
- Trust and citation balance.
Link building metrics
Total links built.
Number of links from authority sites.
Number of links from relevant sites.
SEO Tool Domain and Page Metrics.
Increase in organic traffic.
- Increase in the number of pages on the site that generate traffic.
- Increase in non-branded search traffic.
- Percentage increase in organic conversions.
- Organic Impressions (Search Console).
- Just remember to identify metrics that will help you track progress and not just the end goal so you can identify if your tactics are working!
- A: Achievable
- When it comes to SEO, how realistic and attainable your goal is requires some soul-searching and hard truths.
We do not want to set goals that are too low. They should be aggressive. We must make sure that your goals are realistic, given the resources you have (money, manpower, etc.) and sometimes harsh realities of search.
- Searching for keywords is a good idea. Pay attention to the results. What do you notice? What are the results? What are the results? What are the opportunities? What could you improve?
- Determining what’s achievable isn’t always simple. It is possible to use third-party SEO tools and look at the typical metrics. This has its place. However, I suggest taking a qualitative and nuanced approach. Focus on your own SEO metrics and not those of competitors. If you look at what is possible through the lens “what could be done better”, then your SEO strategy will be quality-driven rather than metrics-driven. This allows you to create more interesting goals, and it also works better with what Google wants (to provide the best results).
- Key areas to consider here are:
: What can you do better?
- SEO feasibility
- : Are you in the same league as the page 1 results?
- : Are you in the same league as the big players on the first page?
: Do you have the resources to hit these goals?
Sometimes you won’t progress as you had hoped. It is inevitable that you will not make the progress you had hoped for. Understanding why this is so is important.
The best SEO goals never come fully formed. They develop and grow over time, as you work towards them and refine your approach. It is easy to chase the wrong goals.
There are two ways to ensure an SEO goal is truly relevant:
Explain how this SEO goal helps you achieve your overall marketing goals.
Cross-reference this with conversion data from paid search.
You are looking to come at this from a common sense perspective to explain the theory and then back that up with data where possible. By proving the goal from two different directions, you can ensure that it is relevant and will drive your marketing. You want to finish with something like:
“We want to rank in
for our visibility and to increase traffic from customers who are searching for
- . This will increase our local visibility and generate more sales and enquiries. This keyword is highly valuable, and we know it will generate leads and sales. T: Time-bound
- All goals need to have a target date to achieve. You won’t be able to know when you should give up, or evaluate your progress if you don’t have a deadline. SEO can be more difficult than other marketing tactics. We may not see hard results like sales or leads. It is important to set time-bound SEO goals and include milestones that show progress. This will help you know that you aren’t chasing rainbows, but are on the right track. It is difficult to determine how long SEO takes, so instead of striving for perfection do your best, and review as you progress. SMARTeR goals for SEO
- To ensure that SMART goals are as effective as possible, I suggest a regular review. By reviewing your progress you can adjust your goal in accordance with the results. If you’re far from the top and only moving a few spots forward every month, this may be too slow for you to achieve results in three months. To leverage SMART SEO goals, you should include a monthly or weekly review. This will ensure that any new learnings are incorporated into your goal setting. Using smart goals for SEO
- In my SEO agency, I receive many inquiries from clients who simply want to be ranked #1 for a certain keyword (or a set of keywords). This is not an SMART goal. SMART goals need to state why that goal will help achieve the business and marketing objectives.
Having this conversation within your business or with an agency is incredibly powerful and helps really dig into what your goals should be. By talking through goals thoroughly, you can apply critical thinking and maximize your efforts. You should come up with one simple statement to represent your overall SMART goals approach. You will often have separate statements for each of the goals the meta goal represents. We will achieve this by moving our target keywords from positions 6-10 to positions 1-5.” We will do this by moving our target keywords from positions 6-10 to positions 1-5.”
Here’s a breakdown:
: We want to increase leads from organic search by 50%.
- : Easily measurable through rankings, organic traffic and results.
: We can create better content than what is currently number one.
: This will help us drive more sales from proven keywords.
- Timeline[x]: 12 months gives us a deadline.[x]This approach also allows you to conduct a simple situation analysis and identify if elements of your digital marketing toolbox are not up to the job.
You may not have enough content for your SEO campaign or the SEO of your website isn’t optimized. In the rush to move to digital, it’s easy to overlook the importance of a solid marketing foundation.
Tools like the 4 Ps, SWOT analysis and SMART goals can ensure your SEO is strategic to maximize results.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Here is a list of staff authors.