Having clear SMART goals in place for your SEO strategy will help guide your efforts and make it easier for you to track your progress and determine whether you’ve been successful.
In this blog post, we take a look at:
The importance of SMART goals for SEO
How to set your SEO goals
How to monitor your KPIs and track your progress
According to a recent study by BrightEdge, 68 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine.
Searchers are looking for answers to questions and solutions to problems that they may have, and they trust that search engines will provide them with a list of the most relevant and valuable websites. Quite often, these searchers are ready to make a purchase that will ultimately solve their problem, or else are conducting research to inform that decision.
So how do you get your organization’s content on the highly-coveted first page of search results and in front of potential customers? That’s where SEO comes into play.
It’s nearly impossible to overstate the importance of a comprehensive SEO strategy for organizations today. By optimizing your website with SEO best practices in mind, you can boost website traffic and ultimately increase sales. You might be eager to implement an SEO strategy for your organization, but it’s important that you set yourself up for success with proper planning and goal-setting strategies.
As with any effective marketing campaign or strategy, you need to set clearly defined goals that you can later gauge your success against. All marketing goals, including your SEO goals, need to be SMART goals, meaning they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
If you have little experience with SMART goals or goal-setting in general this can all sound a bit confusing, but it’s much easier than it seems.
Let’s take a look at how to set (and achieve) your SMART SEO goals.
Why should you set SMART SEO goals?
Before you set any goals, it’s important that you understand why they need to be SMART goals.
Let’s say that you’re overseeing your organization’s SEO strategy and you tell your team that they need to obtain backlinks to the company blog. On the surface, this goal might sound like enough, but it’s lacking. This goal is extremely vague and is missing some important information like how many backlinks are needed, the deadline for this goal, and other details that would clarify any questions that your team might have.
Download the S.M.A.R.T. Marketing Goals Template
An easy-to-use, free spreadsheet template with step-by-step instructions.
A better goal might sound something like this: “Obtain 100 new backlinks to the company blog during Q3 by sending 35 link building outreach emails per week.”
This SMART goal tells your team exactly how many backlinks they need to obtain, when they need to be obtained by, and how they should go about obtaining them. This leaves little room for confusion, and everyone will be on the same page about what needs to happen on a daily basis in support of this goal.
SMART goals also make it extremely simple to monitor your progress and determine whether you’ve been successful in meeting your goals. Since a benchmark has been clearly defined, your team does not have to wonder whether they’ve met their goal; either they generated 100 backlinks to the company blog or they didn’t.
With SMART goals in place, you’re also able to identify any tactics that might not be working and implement the necessary changes to your strategy before it’s too late.
You can see some more examples of SMART marketing goals here.
Next, we’ll break down the SMART goal-setting process for your SEO strategy and put everything into action.
How to Set SMART SEO Goals for Your Strategy
1. Consider the business goals that SEO should serve.
While working on daily tasks, it can be easy to lose sight of how your efforts tie back to the organization as a whole. Before setting SMART goals for your SEO strategy, you need to understand the purpose of SEO in the context of larger business objectives.
Consider questions like:
- What is it that you want to achieve for your organization with SEO?
- What are the overall goals of SEO for your company?
- How do my SEO efforts align with my organization’s high-level business objectives?
When it comes down to it, all marketing efforts including SEO are tactics meant to boost revenue for your organization. SEO might also serve purposes like increasing website traffic, growing brand awareness, or generating leads.
Before setting your SEO goals, you need to consider why you’re working on an SEO strategy for your organization. What value are you providing the business by implementing SEO best practices and fixing issues on the website?
With your answers to these questions in mind, it’s easy to determine where the focus of your SEO goals should lie and which metrics you’ll want to zero in on.
2. Choose your performance metrics.
After identifying the purpose of your SEO strategy in relation to business objectives, you need to choose the specific performance metrics that you would like to improve.
These metrics, also known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), are measurable values that will help you to gauge your performance against your goals.
Some common SEO KPIs include:
- Organic Traffic: The number of visitors who navigated to your website after clicking on an unpaid search result.
- Backlinks: How many times other domains have linked to a specific page on your website
- Crawl Errors: Errors that occur when a search engine fails to crawl a page on your website.
- Page Load Time: How long it takes for a page on your website to load and become interactive for the user
You can find a more comprehensive list of SEO KPIs here.
The metrics that you choose to improve depend on your organization’s larger business goals, past performance, and your website’s health. If there are any errors within Google Search Console, you might want to start there.
Once you’ve considered the purpose of your SEO efforts and you’ve identified the KPIs that you’ll focus on, you’re ready to set some SMART goals.
3. Set your SMART SEO goals with our free SMART goal-setting template.
Now that you’ve determined the purpose of SEO for your organization and the performance metrics that you would like to use in your goals, it’s time to put this into action and set your SMART goals.
Download our free SMART Marketing Goal Template and add the necessary information to the spreadsheet. The template will automatically calculate your recommended SMART goals based on the information provided. Using the template, you’ll also be able to plan for any potential issues that might arise as you work to reach your goals.
After filling out the template, you will have successfully set SMART SEO goals! Great job!
4. Monitor changes in your KPIs and track your progress.
When it comes to SMART goals, setting them is only half the battle. Tracking your progress toward your goals is just as important.
To guarantee that you achieve your goals, you need to continually measure your progress against your benchmarks that you outlined within your SMART goals. That way, you can quickly identify whether your current strategy is effective and make changes to get back on track when necessary.
This saves your organization time and money that would otherwise be wasted on an ineffective strategy, and it also saves you the disappointment of not having met your goals at the end of the period.
To track your progress, you’ll want to keep tabs on the Index Coverage, Core Web Vitals, and Mobile Usability reports in Google Search Console to monitor any new errors that might pop up and determine whether your fixes have been successful in removing these errors from your website.
In addition, you’ll want to integrate your organization’s Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts with a tool like Databox to create a dashboard for your SEO KPIs.
Driving Results With SMART Goals
It’s no secret that SEO can be tremendously valuable for your organization, boosting website traffic, growing brand awareness, and increasing your overall domain authority. Of course, this only holds true if the proper planning takes place before you implement your SEO strategy.
SMART goals provide structure for your daily SEO efforts and ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding what needs to be done.
So long as you regularly monitor your progress toward your SMART goals and make adjustments to your strategy as needed, you’ll see results in no time at all.
Download our free SMART Marketing Goal Template to get started today.