A Simple Guide to Setting SMART SEO Goals for 2022 and Beyond
“Don’t work hard. Work smart.”
How often have you heard this? And do you know that this is a mantra that can be applied to your SEO goals and objectives? What are SEO goals?
The first step in working smart is to set SMART SEO goals. This article shows you how.
How does SMART work for your SEO objectives?
It’s easy to set goals. We do it all the time. And most of the time, we fail to achieve them. Because they’re not SMART goals. They’re not specific enough, or we have no way to measure our progress. Or they’re simply not achievable, or unrealistic. Or we don’t put a timeframe on them, so we don’t treat them with any urgency.
Damn! Have I given away what SMART stands for?
S = Specific
A goal should tell you exactly what you are hoping to achieve. “I want to lose some weight,” isn’t specific. Lose a pound and you have achieved your goal. Haven’t you? Of course not!
“I want to lose 30 pounds.” Now that’s a specific goal.
M = Measurable
You’ve got to be able to track and measure your progress. So, you must have the means to do so. A set of scales, for example.
A = Achievable
Hey, the goals you set must be achievable. If it isn’t, you’ll soon become demotivated. So, you’ll need to assess your capability to achieve your goal. For example, if you’re bedbound and unable to exercise, will losing 30 pounds be attainable?
R = Realistic and Relevant
Whatever your goal, it must be realistic, and it must be relevant to you. Do you have a reason to lose 30 pounds? Do you want to run a marathon, perhaps?
T = Timebound
Finally, your goal must have a deadline. There must be adequate time to achieve your goal, but the deadline mustn’t be so far into the future that it undermines your motivation and urgency.
So now we have the five steps to create a smart goal. All you need do is put them together:
“I want to lose 30 pounds. I’ll measure my progress every week on my scales at home. I’m going to lose this weight so I can start training for a marathon. The marathon is in 12 months, so I want to lose the weight in six months.”
Setting the right goals for SEO
So, what does this look like when we’re setting SMART goals for SEO? Here are a few SEO SMART goals examples to help you develop smarter SEO strategies.
Let’s get specific
Known exactly what you wish to accomplish.
‘More organic traffic’, ‘more leads’, or ‘ranking on more search engine results pages’ are not specific. You must put a number on it, to set a clear expectation for your digital marketing and SEO campaign.
Ensure your progress is measurable
When you are goal setting, for search engine optimization (SEO), you must know how you will measure your progress.
You’ll need to determine which metrics to use, create milestones that keep you motivated and moving toward your marketing goals, and continually analyze and adjust if necessary.
Here are a few examples of metrics that you can use in SEO goal setting:
Visibility metrics, such as:
Traffic metrics, which include:
Engagement metrics, like:
Pages per session
Conversion and revenue metrics could include:
Visits to a key page
Technical metrics include:
Page load speed
Make your SMART goals achievable
Do you have the resources available to achieve your SEO goals?
You’ll need to consider resources that include:
Doublecheck that your SEO goals are realistic and relevant
Are your expectations to improve your domain authority and page speed, and deliver high-quality content reasonably?
Whatever your SEO objectives, will achieving them make a significant difference to your company as a whole? The context of your SEO goals is key, which is why you should:
Base your SEO goals on historical data (measure the advance from where you were to where you are now)
Benchmark against your competitors
Never set the bar too low, and have some stretch goals
Make your SMART SEO goals timebound
Set the start and finish dates of your SMART SEO goals to give yourself a target date to achieve your objectives. For long-term objectives, this period should be divided by your milestone events on the way.
SEO SMART goals: examples for key metrics
When starting out with SEO goal setting, one of the challenges is to know how to measure your progress. Here are five common SEO goals, and examples of how to measure them:
Increase your total traffic by 20% in 10 months. Measure this by the number of unique visits to your website pages.
Achieve first-page ranking for a specific keyword set within 12 months. Measured by reference to ranking on Google search results.
Increase average session duration on blog pages by 33% by the end of the year. Measured by website analysis tools.
Generate 100 high-quality leads in the next 12 months. Measured by click-through rates on blog post CTAs.
Increase online sales from organic traffic by $3 million over the next year. Measured by analysis of lead generation and internal sales records.
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