Setting goals is vital to achieving success, and when it comes to SEO, this is no exception. Using the SMART goals formula, here’s what you need to make sure your SEO practices are a success.
The easiest way to set out specific goals is to answer the five “Ws”: who, what, where, why, and which. By focusing on each of these, you will be able to identify the specific goals you want to achieve with SEO.
The “what” refers to what you want to achieve from SEO. It also relates to what your site’s SEO situation is at the moment.
The “who” relates to the people – your site’s stakeholders, target audience and decision makers. It also refers to who will be involved in managing the SEO process.
The “where” focuses on where you want your business to be online.
The “which” refers to the technical content of your site’s SEO, or your campaign’s SEO requirements.
Finally, the “why” is about analysing and identifying expectations in order to manage them.
When creating goals, make sure you have a process in place to measure the success (or failure) of your SEO plan.
Decide what your key performance indicators (KPIs) will be. These may relate to incoming links, rankings, conversion rates etc.
Once you have identified your goals and chosen the tools by which you’re going to measure them, it’s time to decide how attainable those goals are. How achievable are these goals according to your site’s characteristics? This is the stage at which you need to identify the SEO strategies to achieve these goals.
When you have identified how attainable your goals are, either prioritise them for your current SEO initiative or, if they are too ambitious, set them aside for later.
How relevant are your goals for your site’s bigger picture? Are they appropriate for the business of your site and the type of conversions you’re looking to achieve?
Analyse each goal in relation to the benefit(s) it will bring to your site. Make sure the expected benefits are higher than the related costs of implementing the strategies to achieve them. In other words, will your goals get you a high return on your investment (ROI)? If not, perhaps leave them for a later SEO update.
When do you plan to achieve each of your goals? Take into consideration the time required to implement the strategies and related activities for each goal. Are these timeframes realistic?
How long will it take to start getting results for each stage of the SEO process? Take into account the seasonality of your business and develop a schedule you can use for subsequent SEO activities.
A website is a continually evolving business tool, which means your SEO needs to be regularly updated. By following these SMART goals each time, you’ll be able to identify the specific goals for each stage of your site’s development.