In the fast-paced world, businesses must have a solid online presence to stay ahead of the competition.
The best way to do this is by investing in search engine optimization (SEO) strategies that help improve website visibility, drive organic traffic, and increase conversions.
But to make the most of SEO efforts, it's important to set specific goals that align with business objectives and track progress towards those goals.
In this blog, we'll discuss the seven SEO goals your business should target in 2023 to stay ahead of the curve and maximize ROI.
What are SEO goals?
SEO goals refer to specific, measurable objectives that businesses set for their SEO strategies.
These goals may include increasing organic traffic, improving keyword rankings, generating more backlinks, or increasing social media engagement. The goal should be specific, measurable, and aligned with broader business objectives.
For example, a business may set a goal to increase organic traffic to its website by 20% within the next six months.
This goal is specific, measurable, and aligned with the business objective of increasing website visibility and driving more qualified leads.
Why are SEO goals important?
SEO goals are important for several reasons. First, they help businesses focus their SEO efforts on specific outcomes that are aligned with business objectives. By setting specific goals, businesses can develop targeted strategies that are more likely to yield results.
Second, SEO goals provide a framework for tracking progress and measuring success. Without specific goals, it's difficult to know whether SEO efforts are making a meaningful impact on the business.
By tracking progress towards specific goals, businesses can make data-driven decisions about their SEO strategies and make adjustments as needed.
SEO goals help businesses prioritize their SEO efforts and allocate resources effectively. By setting goals that are aligned with business objectives, businesses can ensure that their SEO efforts are supporting broader business goals and driving maximum ROI.
How to set SEO goals
Setting practical SEO goals requires combining data analysis, an understanding of industry best practices, and alignment with overall business objectives.
Here is an effective strategy that businesses can follow to set and achieve their SEO goals in 2023:
Set Process, Performance, & Outcome Goals
Setting clear goals by dividing them into Process, Performance, and Outcome goals helps businesses to set and achieve their SEO goals effectively. It consists of three types of goals hierarchy: Outcome, Performance, and Process.
- Outcome Goals: Outcome goals are the top-level goals that businesses want to achieve through their SEO efforts. They are often broader and more strategic in nature, such as increasing overall website traffic or generating more revenue. Outcome goals can be challenging to achieve but are essential for the long-term success of a business.
Example: An e-commerce store might set an outcome goal to increase online sales by 20% in the coming year.
- Performance Goals: Performance goals are the specific metrics that businesses need to track to achieve their outcome goals. They are more tactical and measurable than outcome goals and often relate to specific areas of SEO, such as keyword rankings, organic traffic, or conversion rate.
Example: Continuing from the previous example, to achieve the outcome goal of increasing online sales by 20%, the e-commerce store might set a performance goal to improve the conversion rate of its product pages by 10%.
- Process Goals: Process goals are the specific actions businesses must take to achieve their performance goals. They are the most tactical and actionable goals and often relate to specific SEO strategies such as keyword research, content optimization, or link building.
Example: To achieve the performance goal of improving the conversion rate of product pages by 10%, the e-commerce store might set a process goal to optimize its product descriptions and images to make them more engaging and informative for potential customers.
Also known as the SEO Goal Pyramid framework, this level of detailing helps businesses to ensure that their SEO efforts are focused and aligned towards achieving their ultimate business objectives.
Setting outcome, performance, and process goals helps businesses break down their goals into more manageable, measurable, and actionable steps, making it easier to track progress and achieve success.
SEO Goal #1: Optimizing Your Internal Linking Structure
Setting a specific goal for optimizing your internal linking structure can greatly improve your website's SEO performance. By properly interlinking your pages, you can enhance the user experience and help search engines crawl and understand the content of your website more effectively.
Here are some reasons why optimizing your internal linking structure should be one of your top SEO goals:
Increases User Engagement and Retention
- By linking to related content within your website, you can encourage visitors to stay on your website longer, reducing your website's bounce rate.
- Users are more likely to continue browsing your website when they can easily find relevant and interesting content.
Improves Site Navigation and Usability
- Properly structured internal links make it easier for users to navigate your website, leading to a better user experience.
- A well-organized internal linking structure will help a search engine understand your website’s structure and the relationships between pages.
Helps Spread Link Equity and Authority
- Link equity is the value that a page passes on to other pages through links. By using internal links to connect to pages with high authority, you can help boost the ranking potential of other pages on your website.
- Proper internal linking also distributes the authority and link equity across your website, ensuring every page has a chance to rank.
To optimize your internal linking structure, here are some actionable steps you can take:
Conduct a Sitewide SEO Audit
- Use a tool like Google Analytics or Ahrefs to audit your website's internal linking structure and identify areas for improvement.
- Look for pages that have a high number of inbound links but don't pass on any link equity to other pages.
- Alternatively, you can also use our in-depth SEO audit checklist available in our Ebook: SEO Audit: A Guide to Increase Website Traffic
Use Relevant Anchor Text
- Use descriptive and relevant anchor text when linking to other pages on your website.
- Avoid using generic terms like "click here" or "read more."
Create a Hierarchy of Pages
- Organize your pages into a hierarchy to help search engines and users understand the relationships between pages.
- Link from higher-level pages to more specific pages, creating a clear path for users to follow.
Link to Related Content
- Use internal links to guide users to related content on your website.
- Include links to relevant blog posts or products to encourage users to continue browsing your website.
Setting a specific goal to optimize your internal linking structure enhances your website's usability and search engine visibility. These actionable steps can help you create a well-organized and user-friendly website that delivers value to your visitors.
SEO Goal #2: Increasing Conversions
In today's highly competitive digital marketplace, only half the battle lies in drawing traffic to your website. The real challenge is converting that traffic into paying customers. Here's why increasing conversions should be a key SEO goal for your business and how you can improve your website's conversion rate:
Importance of increasing conversions:
- Conversions are the ultimate goal of any online business. Whether it is about making a purchase, filling out a form, or subscribing to a newsletter, a conversion means a visitor has taken a desired action on your website.
- Increased conversions lead to higher revenue, improved ROI, and a better bottom line.
- By focusing on improving your website's conversion rate, you can make the most of the traffic you're already receiving and get a better return on your investment in SEO.
What is a conversion rate?
- Conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors to your website who take a desired action.
- For example, if 200 people visit your website and 20 of them make a purchase, your conversion rate is 10%.
How to increase conversions:
- Use persuasive and compelling calls to action (CTAs) that encourage visitors to take action.
- Optimize your website's design and user experience by making it swifter for visitors to navigate and find what they're looking for.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and loads quickly, as slow load times can lead to visitors leaving before taking any action.
- Test and optimize your website's landing pages, forms, and checkout process to identify and address any roadblocks or obstacles to conversion.
- Use data from tools like Google Analytics to track user behavior and identify areas where you can improve your website's conversion rate.
A specific conversion rate goal can turn more visitors into paying customers, helping them improve your website's conversion rate.
SEO Goal #3: Decreasing Bounce Rate
A high bounce rate is an alarming signal for any website owner. It indicates that visitors are not finding what they are looking for on your site or are dissatisfied with the content, resulting in them leaving the site after only viewing one page.
It is essential to reduce the bounce rate because a high bounce rate can negatively impact your search engine rankings. When visitors leave your site quickly, search engines consider this a signal that your website isn't providing relevant content. As a result, your website's ranking may drop in search engine results pages (SERP).
Here are some ways to decrease the bounce rate of your website:
Improve User Experience
Your website must be easy to navigate, and visitors can easily find the information they seek. Consider using a clear, concise layout, user-friendly design, and faster loading time.
Write Engaging and Relevant Content
Content is king. Ensure that your website's content is informative, relevant, and engaging. You should also ensure that the content is optimized for the target keywords and provides value to the visitors.
Target the Right Audience
Your website needs to target the right audience with the right intent. Use tools like Google Analytics to understand the demographic and geographic data of your visitors, their interests, and search queries.
Optimize for Mobile
Your website must be mobile-friendly. This is due to the increase in the use of mobile services. A website optimized for mobile devices will provide a seamless user experience for visitors.
Improve Page Speed
Slow-loading pages can increase the bounce rate of your website. Ensure your website's pages load quickly by optimizing images, minimizing HTTP requests, and using caching techniques.
These strategies will help you decrease the bounce rate of your website, providing a better user experience for visitors and improving your website's search engine rankings.
SEO Goal #4: Increasing Visitor Time on Pages
Increasing the amount of time visitors spend on your website is crucial for improving your website's engagement and reducing bounce rates. Here's why:
- Longer visitor time on pages indicates higher engagement and interest in your content, which can improve your rankings on search engines.
- When visitors stay on your website for extended periods, they are more likely to convert into customers or take other desirable actions, such as subscribing to your email list or sharing your content on social media.
- Higher visitor time on pages can indicate that your website has high-quality content, leading to higher domain authority and more backlinks.
Here are some tips for increasing visitor time on pages:
- Optimize your website's layout and design to be user-friendly and visually appealing.
- Ensure that your website's loading speed is fast.
- Use high-quality, relevant images and videos to keep visitors engaged.
- Include internal links to other relevant content on your website.
- Use clear and concise headings and subheadings for organizing your content and making it easy to read.
- Make sure your content is relevant and provides value to your target audience.
- Encourage user engagement with calls to action and interactive elements, such as polls or quizzes.
These tips will help you increase visitor time on pages and improve engagement on your website, leading to better search engine rankings, more conversions, and higher domain authority.
SEO Goal #5: Strengthening Domain Authority
Search engines, like Google, use domain authority as an important metric to rank websites. A high domain authority indicates that your website is considered an authoritative and trustworthy source of information.
A strong domain authority can boost your organic traffic, increase your visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), and improve your chances of ranking higher for your target keywords.
Here are some ways to strengthen your domain authority:
Focus on link building
Backlinks from reputable websites can significantly improve your domain authority. Aim to get quality backlinks from other relevant websites in your industry. You can use tools like SEMrush to analyze your competitor's backlinks and reach out to those websites for potential link-building opportunities.
Improve your website's user experience
An easy-to-navigate website loads quickly and has engaging content. It is likely to keep visitors on the site for longer. This can help signal to search engines that your website is a valuable resource, improving your domain authority.
Create great content
Engaging, informative, and relevant content for your target audience can attract backlinks and social media shares, both of which can improve your domain authority.
Optimize for on-page SEO
Ensure your website's on-page elements, such as title tags, meta descriptions, and headers, are optimized for your target keywords. This can help search engines to understand what your website is about and improve your chances of ranking higher in search results.
These tactics will help you improve your website's domain authority, which can lead to increased organic traffic, improved search rankings, and more visibility in SERPs.
If you want to know more about all the SEO factors that can help you build a strong domain authority, check out this Scalenut blog on “14 SEO Metrics To Track & How To Improve Them.”
SEO Goal #6: Maximizing Page Speed
Page speed is another crucial factor that plays a significant role in determining your website's ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs). A slow-loading website can lead to high bounce rates, negatively affecting user experience and, ultimately, your website's visibility on search engines. Therefore, page speed optimization should be one of your top SEO goals for 2023.
- A faster website will result in a better user experience, leading to higher engagement and improved conversion rates.
- Google indicates that page speed is a ranking factor, and websites that load quickly may receive a ranking boost.
- With the increasing use of mobile devices, optimizing your website's speed for mobile users is crucial for attracting and retaining traffic.
How to Improve:
- Use a reliable web hosting service with adequate resources to ensure speedy loading times.
- Optimize images and videos to reduce file sizes and improve loading times.
- Minimize HTTP requests and reduce the number of redirects to improve load times.
- Use browser caching to store website data in users' browsers to reduce load times for repeat visits.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) to serve website content from servers closest to the user's location.
- Monitor website speed regularly using tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix, and make necessary improvements.
Maximizing page speed is not only a crucial SEO goal but also a key factor in providing a positive user experience and increasing conversions.
SEO Goal #7: Increasing Organic Traffic
Organic traffic is the holy grail of search engine optimization. It refers to visitors who visit your website through unpaid search results on search engines like Google. The more organic traffic you have, the more visible your website is, and the greater the chance of achieving your business goals.
There are many ways to increase organic traffic, and each one requires a tailored approach to suit your business needs. Here are some steps for you to take to increase your organic traffic:
Conduct Keyword Research
The foundation of any successful SEO campaign lies in keyword research. You should begin by identifying the keywords that your target audience is using to find out more about businesses like yours and optimize your content around those keywords.
Optimize Your Website
A well-optimized website is crucial for ranking higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, has a fast loading speed, and contains high-quality, relevant content.
Create High-Quality Content
The content on your website is what will keep visitors engaged and coming back for more. Create informative and high-quality content optimized for your target keywords and provides value to your audience.
A popular content creation strategy is pillar pages. Check out this in-depth Scalenut blog on Types of Pillar Pages You Can Create To Boost Traffic.
Use Social Media Marketing
Social media has emerged as a powerful tool for increasing organic traffic to your website. Share your content on your social media channels and engage with your followers to drive more traffic to your website.
Build Quality Backlinks
Links from other websites that direct to your website are called backlinks. They are important because they signal to search engines that your website is credible and authoritative. Your goal should be to build high-quality backlinks from reputable websites.
Monitor Your Analytics
Monitoring your website's analytics is crucial for understanding your website's performance and identifying areas for improvement. A tool like Google Analytics can help track your website's traffic and engagement metrics.
Increasing your organic traffic is a long-term process that requires consistent effort and dedication. By following the above steps, you can gradually increase your website's visibility on search engines and drive more organic traffic to your website.
SEO Goal #8: Improving Backlink Strategy
Backlinks are one of the most critical ranking factors for search engines, making a robust backlink strategy vital for achieving your SEO goals. Here's how to improve your backlink strategy:
Conduct a Backlink Audit
A backlink audit helps identify toxic backlinks that may harm your search engine ranking. You can use Ahrefs, Moz, SEMrush or other tools to conduct a comprehensive backlink analysis.
Build Quality Links
High-quality links from reputable sites are essential for building a strong backlink profile. Aim to create valuable and shareable content that can earn natural links from other websites.
Focus on Relevant and Niche-Specific Sites
Backlinks from relevant and niche-specific sites provide more value than links from unrelated sites. Aim to build relationships with sites with a niche or audience similar to yours.
Monitor Competitor Backlinks
Monitor your competitors' backlinks to understand what works well in your niche. Identify high-quality backlinks and replicate them where possible.
Leverage Social Media
Social media has become an effective tool for building backlinks. You can share your content on social media platforms to increase the chances of getting noticed by other sites and earning backlinks.
Guest blogging can help you build quality backlinks and establish yourself, in the process, as an authority in your niche. Find relevant sites that accept guest posts and create valuable content that provides value to their audience.
Improving your backlink strategy is a continuous process that requires patience and persistence. Follow the steps above to build a strong backlink profile that improves your search engine ranking and drives organic traffic to your website.
To Wrap Up
In conclusion, setting SEO goals is essential for any business looking to attract more organic traffic and increase online visibility. By setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals, businesses can measure their success and optimize their SEO strategy accordingly.
Remember, the key is to focus on the right goals that align with your business objectives and track the right metrics to evaluate progress. For more information on measuring the success of your content marketing efforts, check out our blog on Content Marketing Metrics and KPIs You Should Measure.
Don't hesitate to experiment with your SEO goals and adjust them as needed to ensure continued growth and success in the ever-changing digital landscape.
What are SMART goals in SEO?
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Smart goals in SEO refer to setting measurable and specific objectives that are achievable within a given time frame. This helps keep your SEO efforts focused and ensures your goals are realistic and attainable.
Smart goals help you to measure your progress and adjust your strategy as need be. By setting smart goals, you can help improve the search engine ranking of your website and drive more traffic toward it.
What is the most common goal of SEO?
The most common goal of SEO is to increase the organic traffic to a website, which is the traffic coming to your website from search engines. By improving your website's search engine ranking, you can increase your visibility to potential customers, resulting in more traffic to your site. Ultimately, the goal of SEO is to increase the number of visitors to your site and convert those visitors into customers.
What are the 3 main objectives of SEO?
The three main objectives of SEO are:
- Increase visibility: The first objective of SEO is to increase the visibility of your website. This is achieved by improving your website's search engine ranking so that it appears on the first page of search results for relevant keywords.
- Drive traffic: The second objective of SEO is to drive more traffic to your website. By increasing your website's visibility, you can attract more visitors to your site and increase your chances of converting those visitors into customers.
- Improve user experience: The third objective of SEO is to improve the user experience on your website. This includes ensuring that your website loads fast, is easy to navigate, and is mobile-friendly. By providing a positive user experience, you can increase the likelihood that visitors will stay on your site and return in the future.
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