Because there is so much outside of our control as SEOs, we tend to generalize our aims.
“We can’t guarantee outcomes.”
The difficulty is that we are unlikely to accomplish any outcomes until we have a clear understanding of what a win is.
The same holds true if we establish ill-defined and arbitrary goals.
In this post, you’ll discover how to use the SEO objective to establish the proper SEO goals.
SEO objectives are defined and quantifiable objectives that you want to attain over time.
Each aim should contribute to the overall goal of SEO, which is to reach out to more prospective consumers through organic search and convert them into customers.
SEO objectives are vital because they provide a defined target for your campaign, bringing focus and clarity to it.
You’re shooting in the dark if you don’t have SEO objectives.
That is never a smart idea since you are unlikely to achieve anything until you set your sights on it.
Marketers sometimes make the mistake of setting arbitrary SEO goals such as “increase traffic.”
The biggest problem with this sort of aim is that it ignores the what and how.
What will you do to make it happen?
How are you planning on getting there?
To assist in resolving this issue, we developed the SEO objective pyramid:
Make a goal for the outcome.
This is what you want to do and when you want to accomplish it.
Consider it a competition that you’re attempting to win.
Divide the result goal into performance goals.
These are minor goals that individually contribute to the overall result.
Consider these to be the tournament’s matchups.
Divide your performance goals into process goals.
These are even more specific objectives over which you have complete control.
Continuing with the soccer example, here is who you’ll be playing and where you’ll be playing them.
The objective is to divide things down into stepping stones so that your overall goal becomes more attainable.
As you fulfill process goals, you will be in a good position to meet your performance goals.
You’re more likely to meet your end objective if you accomplish your performance goals.
Let’s take a deeper look at each stage and build our first framework.
Your end objective should be to closely link your SEO efforts with the goals of your organization, so ask yourself:
This may be answered by looking at mission statements, commonly asked questions at meetings, and so on.
If you get stuck, consult with your manager or customer.
Whatever you do, avoid using the phrase “attract more traffic.”
While increasing traffic may help the organization reach its objectives, it is simply too broad.
Your result objective should be SMART: precise, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
So, rather than “get more visitors,” a better aim might be “rank in the top 3 for [high-value term] in 6 months.”
Because ranking for [high-value term] will improve income, this aim is clear and relevant.
It’s quantifiable since keyword ranks can be tracked using any competent rank tracking tool, such as Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker.
doable because you’ve previously determined the keyword complexity.
It’s also time-based because you chose a timeframe.
Performance objectives are the targets you create for yourself, therefore begin by answering the following question:
What short-term successes are most likely to bring us to our end goal?
You can set one or more performance objectives.
What they are will be determined by your outcome objective and available bandwidth.
Just be wary of falling into the same trap of establishing arbitrary goals such as “grow backlinks.”
This may assist you in achieving your goal, but it is not SMART.
There’s no way to tell whether or if you’ve accomplished your aim.
Using our previous example outcome goal of “rank in the top 3 for [high-value keyword] in 6 months,” a SMART performance goal could be “generate 40 high-quality backlinks to the page within six months.”
It’s specific since we want a specified quantity of backlinks.
It is quantifiable using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer’s referring domains.
It is attainable because it is practical.
There are tasks under our control that will get us one step closer to our objective.
It’s significant because we know that backlinks are a ranking component, and there’s evidence that our target page is underperforming in terms of backlinks.
It is time-bound since it has a six-month expiration date.
Most significantly, meeting this performance target will put us in a good position to meet our outcome goal.
Process objectives are quantifiable activities that you have complete control over.
It’s where you respond to the following question:
What will I need to accomplish to meet our performance goals?
Continuing our example, we have a six-month aim of ranking in the top three for keyword “x.”
In addition, we have set a performance target of obtaining 40 high-quality backlinks to the page.
What will we need to do in six months to gain 40 high-quality backlinks to the page?
Assume we intend to conduct a skyscraper campaign.
If our outreach emails have a 5% conversion rate on average, we can work backward to establish a process objective that will put us in a great position to meet our performance target.
Let’s run the numbers:
400 emails = 40 backlinks / 5% average conversion rate
800 emails divided by 6 months equals 133 emails each month
So, over the next six months, our process target is to send 133’skyscraper’ outreach emails every month.>
I can’t tell you exactly what SEO goals to create because they should be aligned with corporate goals.
Your industry, the strength of your brand, and the competition of your niche all play a role, among other factors.
But I can guide you through a few more examples to get you acquainted with the SEO goal architecture.
Search engine optimization is a highly competitive marketing strategy.
Essentially, we’re all jostling for a seat (and attention) in a confined location.
“Just smash the competition,” your employer or clients may advise.
How will this be accomplished?
What factors influence our success or failure?
The phrase “crush the competition” is far too broad.
You can transform “destroy the competition” into a particular, quantifiable objective by using the SEO goal structure.
The first step is to match SEO efforts to corporate objectives.
What result relates to the company’s overarching objective of “destroying the competition?”
In this situation, a SMART result target might be “grow organic share of voice by 20% in 12 months.”
It’s particular since we’re establishing a percentage inside a timeframe, rather than an open-ended target.
It’s measured using Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker’s Competitors Overview report.
It is doable since a 20% increase in 12 months is not a “fantasy” proposition.
It is pertinent to corporate objectives because it effectively compares our site’s organic search visibility against rivals.
And it’s time-based since we gave it a deadline.
The second stage is to set performance targets.
Remember, this should be a SMART objective as well.
To keep things simple, we’ll only have one goal: “earn 50 highlighted snippets for high-volume monitored keywords in 12 months.”
Featured snippets are informational bits that appear at the top of search results for a search query.
Increasing the number of highlighted snippets is a straightforward technique to increase SERP exposure and clicks.
Navigate to Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker.
Choose your project.
Select the Overview report.
Filter for keywords with highlighted snippets for which you do not rank. Filter for keywords for which you rank in positions 2–5.
Sort the keywords in order of visitor volume, highest to lowest.
You’ve arrived at the finish line.
The third and last phase is to deconstruct performance objectives into process goals by laying out the how.
Because featured snippets are frequently won with a simple on-page adjustment, a process objective might be to “make on-page improvements to 50 pages to boost our chances of winning the snippet.”
The number of owned highlighted snippets in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker may be used to track progress:
You could believe that user engagement is a CRO metric.
However, as Google’s SEO Starter Guide states, “all optimization should be oriented at improving the user experience.”
Historically, SEOs used bounce rate and duration on pages to determine engagement.
These are bad metrics to employ since they frequently do not correspond to user behavior.
Assume you’re sitting down to read a 2,000-word blog post.
According to this website, even a slow reader might finish it in 20 minutes.
If you close the browser as soon as you’re finished, that session counts as a bounce.
Because engagement rate more precisely determines whether a person connected with your website or departed, an appropriate outcome objective might be “raise organic engagement rate by 10% in 6 months.”
It is particular since it includes a percentage and a timeframe.
quantifiable in GA4 using the User Acquisition report:
It is feasible since there are elements under our control that we can adjust to influence this statistic.
It’s important because we want to improve the user experience, and engagement rate gauges this more effectively than bounce rate or time on page.
Because we provided a timeframe, it is time-based (6 months).
Now for the performance objectives.
Let’s keep it easy this time and only set one goal: “raise the number of unique user scrolls by 30% on low scroll sites with high value to our firm.”
We may look at the Engagement Areas and Screens report in GA4, filter to organic users, and inspect the table by unique user scrolling to locate the pages where we need to enhance UX.
Given our performance target, our process goal may be to rewrite opening paragraphs on low scroll pages such that more people are interested in the content and stay to read it.
Again, this is something that may be measured manually.
Setting SEO objectives may appear to be a difficult undertaking, but all you need to get started is a solid structure.
You have a decent chance of hitting your performance targets if you stay on track and finish your process activities.
When you fulfill your performance objectives, you are in a great position to meet your outcome objectives.