Basic SEO Guides Setting Goals & Monitoring

Basic SEO Goal Setting & Monitoring – An Introduction

Once you have read and understood this page, you will have got a handle on the first steps of Basic SEO and the importance to success of basic goal setting and monitoring their outcomes.

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Basic SEO Goal Setting


  • Basic goal setting shapes what you want to achieve from an SEO task / project.
  • It helps you to crystallise a thought / dream / aspiration into a desired outcome.
  • Goal setting also helps to you start the planning process to achieve the desired outcome, triggering thoughts of time / effort / resources needed.


  1. Use SMART goals to define what you want to do. They are simple, well-known and relatively easy to follow.
  2. S = Specific.
    • Have a specific element to a goal like “an improvement in daily traffic”, or “increased email conversions” rather than “do better”.
  3. M = Measurable.
    • You need to measure so you can quantify any change and tick off steps towards the goal. Think “10% increase in…”
    • Generally, it is better to focus on whole numbers than rates. Having a rate change as a goal can be useful, but can also lead to missing a key point that overall numbers drop.
  4. A = Actionable / Achievable.
    • To be achievable, a goal has to be actionable. “Ranking No.1 for xyz keyword” is always achievable. However “Ranking 1-30 for xyz keyword” isn’t – unless it’s a hyper long-tail brand term.
  5. R = Realistic.
    • Realism is super important in setting goals. There is no point in setting a goal which is so far out of reach, it can never be achieved. Stretch goals are fine to push boundaries of what’s achievable, just keep it real, man.
    • Realism also helps to understand what resources are likely to be needed to achieve a goal.
  6. T = Timely.
    • SEO is always a challenge when it comes to time, since it can be difficult to put a time estimate on when a change will have an impact.
    • Having said that, all goals need to have a time element to them. Keep SEO goals short enough to enable regular check-ins and progress updates, but long enough to allow the effects of change to show.
    • If needs be, break bigger, long-term goals down into smaller stepping-stone objectives
  7. Write your goals down somewhere. Sharing or publicising goals is a personal decision.
  8. Every action you take should be towards achieving that goal.
  9. Remember that 20% of effort will usually realise 80% of desired outcome.
  10. Monitor progress, regularly and frequently.
  11. Remember that sometimes, the end-destination is not always where you first envisaged it to be, so don’t be afraid to update or modify a goal along the way.


  • “Rank No1 for “xyz” and Top 5 for related keywords in 6 months.
  • Increase average daily organic traffic by 10% in 3 months.
  • Improve overall email conversion numbers by 20% in 2 months.
  • Reduce  shopping cart abandonment by 10%

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Basic SEO Goal Monitoring


  • Monitoring progress towards your goal helps to achieve it.
  • If you monitor, it helps you to adjust goals, if external factors warrant.
  • Monitoring goals means you get an early start on learning the lessons you will pick up through any process.


  1. Always monitor progress regularly. Try to pick the same regular point in time, so you can measure any difference in outcomes easily.
  2. Always monitor progress frequently. How frequently is a matter of judgement. Weekly may be enough, or Daily in other instances. Usually 2-weekly, or monthly should be about the maximum spacing between  updates.
  3. Keep monitoring simple and focused on the desired goal. EG, if looking for an increase in traffic, measure between starting point and update points. Don’t unbalance the “doing” side of goals with too much “reporting”
  4. If needed, keep a list of tasks and activities undertaken, or progressed since the last monitoring update.
  5. Make sure monitoring picks up any learnings from activities and records them for future use.
  6. Use consistent reporting & formatting where possible.
  7. Use dashboards / automated data exports where possible. Avoid lengthy reporting requirements.
  8. In SEO, use Google Analytics (dashboards & scheduled emails) and Google Search Console to provide basic, easy-to-understand reports and goal monitoring.

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Last modified: October 19, 2018

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