Running a successful search engine optimization (SEO) campaign requires intricate planning. The goals you set at the beginning determine the direction the project takes and how effective it will be. If you make a mistake or don’t have a clear target, you end up wasting resources and time while working towards the wrong goal. To get your campaign moving in the right direction, you need to think about setting SEO goals and objectives, not just for a strong foundation, but for better results as well. To do this, you need to know what the strategic goals of SEO are.
Table Of Contents
1. Define Your Audience
The process of defining a target audience is not as easy as most people might think. You could be aware of target demographics and have an idea of the type of audience your brand wants to attract, but there are various elements to consider when it comes to online searches. For example, might a portion of your target audience be more inclined to carry out online searches than others? Or, is there a direct competitor focusing on one segment of your audience?
An important aspect of how to set SEO goals requires ditching strategies that focus only on age, education levels, and gender as demographic categories. The focus should be broader and must include users’ preferences and interests.
The various buying stages of your audience require your attention. You also need to determine what your target audience is thinking when carrying out online searches. It’s important that you set targets cautiously to ensure that your campaign steers in the right direction from the onset.
When it comes to defining your target audience, it’s important to follow a few steps. These include:
- Understanding the demographics of your existing customer base
- Making use of insights from your social media channels
- Analyzing search engine results pages (SERPs)
- Taking a close look at what your top competitors are doing
- Carrying out interviews or surveys with your existing customers
- Looking at questions your target audience is asking about topics related to your core expertise
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Advantages of Understanding Your Target Audience
Getting in-depth knowledge of your target audience comes with multiple benefits. For example, it will help you identify highly relevant keywords that you need to use to optimize your content for search engines. Besides, this information can also help you narrow down on the type of content your target audience wishes to consume. Going forward, you may expect an increase in the right type of organic traffic that will consequently lead to a good conversion rate and a boost in sales.
2. Think About the Niche
The next step in setting SEO goals and objectives is to choose the right niche. Search engine optimization is a competitive field and is bound to gain even more traction. This means choosing your niche should be among the crucial decisions you make before the campaign starts. What helps is that you may rank higher if you have access to time, money, and a few other important resources.
Bear in mind that big companies and corporations from different sectors have already created a foundation in this space. This is why you need to select a niche after carrying out thorough research, and it should ideally be one that has less competition but adequate visibility. In addition, you need to compare your venture with the existing competition. Look at aspects that make your business unique and focus on offerings that your target audience cannot get from your competitors.
This boils down to the uniqueness of your business, requiring that you target a specific audience and add special elements to the content you provide. No matter which niche you choose, it should give you an edge over your competitors and help you make a mark for yourself. Besides, what you have to offer should be something your target audience wants to see. Standing out of the crowd ensures that you get more traffic than your direct competitors.
Running highly customized SEO campaigns for competitive categories is crucial. This is because when a niche offers customers multiple options from which to choose, ensuring that your target audience is able to find your business in the online world becomes all the more important.
3. Focus on the Right Keywords
While commonly misunderstood, keywords play a crucial role in search engine optimization. Keywords have always been important, but a lot has changed over the last couple of decades. This is mainly because of search engines like Google tweaking their algorithms from time to time, although other evolving rules have played a role too. A good example is Google Hummingbird, an extensive algorithm change, after which Google’s search engine started placing more emphasis on natural language, giving meaning and context more importance than individual keywords
Remember that the keywords you choose to focus on at the beginning of the campaign will play a major role in the direction the entire process takes. As you do this, you will need to get a balance between low competition rating keywords and high search volume keywords.
It’s important that you select keywords that are relevant to your website and they should focus on the online searches your target audience conducts. This is why you need to carry out extensive research, after which you get a collection of keywords that check all the required boxes.
4. Get Adequate Web Traffic
With your niche, target audience, and keywords in place, executing your SEO strategies becomes simpler, or you at least get an indication of which path to follow. Then, the intensity to execute has a direct bearing on the momentum of the project. For instance, many people know of the content and the links they needs, but they fail to understand how much. You also need to know the amount of money and the time you should ideally invest. These aspects require your attention because they have a direct bearing on the traffic your website receives.
Determine how much traffic you want to drive and how fast you want to see the results of your efforts. When you understand these dimensions involving your traffic, you will know where to put your resources and how to measure the success rate of your campaign.
If your existing website does not receive enough traffic, you need to identify the problems and take remedial measures. Fortunately, it’s possible to fix drops in web traffic by following a few measures such as researching your target audience, implementing a good SEO strategy, monitoring your competition, and even opting for a website redesign.
5. Aim for a High Conversion Rate
While there is no direct link between your SEO campaign and your website’s conversion rate, you may optimize your website to improve the latter. Even though this might not affect your website’s ranking in any way, you may expect a positive effect on conversion rates. Indirectly, this will greatly determine the profitability of your SEO campaign.
Consider a situation where your website gets over 5,000 visitors in a month but none of them buys anything. This means the conversion rate is at its lowest and all your efforts to drive traffic are in vain.
This is why you should include conversion rate in your overall SEO strategy. Focus on all the elements that you may use to increase your website’s conversion rate, such as designing a specific landing page and using effective calls to action (CTAs).
SEO Goals and KPIs
No matter what SEO objectives and goals you or your digital marketing agency may set, you need to monitor and analyze various key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine if your campaign is moving in the right direction. Besides, doing this gives you the ability to detect shortcomings and implement remedial measures.
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The KPIs that need your attention to determine if your SEO efforts are bearing fruit include, but do not limit to, organic traffic, search rankings, conversions, and customer lifetime value (CLV).
1. Organic Traffic
This KPI gives you an indication of how many web users get to your website through SERPs, be it via Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or any other search engine. Consequently, it also highlights the effectiveness of your SEO campaign. Fortunately, monitoring and measuring this SEO-related KPI is relatively easy if you know your way around Google Analytics.
2. Keyword/Search Ranking
Tracking this metric is vital to look at where you stand when it comes to the keywords on your landing pages for which you want to rank well in SERPs. Keyword/search ranking refers to your website’s position when users carry out online searches with specific keywords.
For example, if your website ranks first for any given keyword, it will appear as the first result. A ranking of 31, on the other hand, will get your website to appear on the third page, because most SERPs display 10 results per page. In addition, you might also need to rank well for more than one or two keywords. For example, if you sell different types of coffee beans, but rank well only for Robusta, there’s scope to do much better.
Other than the position, you should ideally also look at search volumes and overall search visibility. When you address all these factors effectively, achieving your SEO objectives and goals surrounding web traffic and conversions becomes considerably easy.
Organic conversions, whether in the form of leads, sales, or subscriptions, give you a clear indication of the effectiveness of your SEO campaign. If you have an existing website, take a look at its existing conversion rate because you may then measure the results of your efforts based on this number. Bear in mind that while looking at the number of conversions is important, you also need to check it as a percentage of your overall organic traffic, as this helps better indicate the efficiency of your campaign.
4. Bounce Rate
This important KPI highlights the percentage of web users who visits your website and leave after viewing just one page, without performing any desired action. Calculating the bounce rate of a website requires dividing the number of one-page visits by its total number of visitors. For example, if your website has 200 one-page visits and 1,000 visits in all, its bounce rate stands at 20%.
If your website has a high bounce rate, it might be an indication that your content requires improvement. For instance, your content, in its current form, might not answer your target audience’s questions in an effective manner.
A high bounce rate might also indicate that the web users who make their way to your website are not a part of the audience you wish to target. For example, if you run a website that offers tutorials on how to make fashion accessories, attracting people who wish to purchase fashion accessories will not do you much good.
Another factor that tends to have an effect on the bounce rate of a website is its loading speed. This is because slow loading speeds typically result in high bounce rates.
5. Customer Lifetime Value
Customer lifetime value (CLV) refers to the total monetary profit you may expect to make through a single customer over the course of your entire business relationship. Looking at this metric is important because it highlights the long-term value that each customer brings to the table.
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In addition, since this metric gives you the ability to split your customer base into multiple tiers, you are in a better position to make decisions surrounding search engine optimization as well as the allocation of resources. This could be through more effective keyword targeting, content creation, or optimizing the conversion funnel.
Setting SEO goals and objectives is not an easy task and being accurate is not as simple as one might imagine. However, it is better if you set these goals with the support of research and reasoning. Make sure that any guesswork is limited to a minimum. The benefit of setting SEO goals and objectives is that you will know what you’re working toward. If, by any chance, there is a target that is not working as planned, you have the option of implementing suitable changes.
Remember that SEO is not about perfection. It’s about ensuring you’re on the right path and creating a framework that you may rely on for better results and growth. Since this is a time-consuming process that calls for high levels of expertise, it comes as no surprise that most businesses choose to partner with SEO agencies to boost their online presence.