Setting SEO goals can be somewhat confusing. On one hand, we are telling clients that results are not assured. On the other hand, we are reassuring them of our expertise. Aren’t we contradicting ourselves?

And even when we do promise results, we do so with less weight. For example, you’d hear digital marketers promise businesses more traffic. What is “more” and how much is “more”?

Bottom line: As digital marketing professionals, we all need to improve our SEO goals and set them rightly. When we do, we will achieve attainable and measurable results for our clients. And fortunately, this guide can help.

Here, we will enlighten you on the following:

  • What the right SEO goals entail
  • Why it is essential to have concrete SEO goals
  • How you can set the right SEO goals with examples

Let’s delve into the details of this guide!

What Defines The Right SEO Goals?

Ordinarily, goals are time-bound results that you attain through calculated steps. Now, the said steps are measurable, as that’s the only way you can ensure that they are effective. And much like the steps, the right goals should be both measurable and specific.

In regards to SEO, goals are measurable and specific results that have to do with visibility on search engine pages. And regardless of the goal you are setting, the ultimate picture is increased traffic and conversion.

In essence, what defines the right SEO goals is their elements and steps towards increased traffic and conversion for your customers – or even your business.

But are SEO goals that important? If you’ve been getting by without concrete goals all this while, why would they matter now? Let’s find out!

Also read: What is SEO in Marketing? Your Top Guide to All Things SEO!

Why Is It Crucial To Have Concrete SEO Goals?


The first, and the most crucial benefit, of having a concrete SEO goal is its clarity and focus. Without one, you’d go about beating around the bush. In other words, you’d hardly nail your action points.

Worse: You’d join bandwagons on whatever is trending in the SEO world. Today, you’d be all white hat label, and the next day, you’re already on another strategy without seeing the last one through. In essence, you’ll lack direction and won’t achieve the desired results your client wants.


With concrete SEO goals, you’ll have direction. When you do, you’ll only invest your client’s money in well-thought-out action plans. And it’s not just your clients; even you will save time and energy on unnecessary strategies.

In summary, you’d save money on resources and glean the maximum profit from your retainers. If you hadn’t set the right SEO goal, you’d have wasted all that without result.


In addition to saving money, the right SEO goals help you put your house in order. That way, you can stop the unprofessional “we can’t guarantee you results” and be more assertive.

Now, we understand that SEO strategies constantly evolve. However, having a direction with the right goals means that you’ll always find a way through. And trust us, that is way more professional than the previous cloud of uncertainty that you show your clients.

So, are you ready to be a true SEO expert? If yes, then start with setting the right SEO goals. The following tips can help you!

How To Set The Right SEO goals

Setting the right SEO goals isn’t as difficult as you might have thought. You only need to master the “SEO goal pyramid.” Here is how that works:

Start With An Outcome Goal

Earlier, we mentioned how “getting more traffic” doesn’t carry much weight as a goal. Instead, be direct and specific; this point is where an outcome goal comes into play.

When setting outcome goals, you should consider the vision and mission of your client. Now, align your efforts to match that. More importantly, clearly define your end game. How do you do that?

Instead of just saying “you’ll get your client more traffic,” tell your client how you’d do so. What keyword would you rank the client for? What position on the search engine result pages are you targeting? And what’s the timeline?

Suggested reading: Top 7 WordPress SEO Plugins To Boost Your Rankings

Simplify Your Outcome Goal To Performance Goals

Outcome goals can be too broad. So, streamline them into smaller bits; you can even call them short-term projects. Either way, ensure you clearly state your line of action.

For example, say you decided to help client “A” get into the top 3 for a keyword in a year. That’s an outcome goal. A performance goal would go deeper into what you’d do. Something like: you’d push 15 high-quality backlinks to the client’s page every month.

Think about that, can you see how you clearly stated an action you’d perform? The best part: you can measure it all. And, the performance goal is achievable – 15 backlinks aren’t too many mountains to climb in 30days. Most importantly, you already have a map of how it will all go down.

Pro tip: Your performance goals should max out at 3. Once it’s 4 or more, your goals might not be realistic. In that case, revisit your outcome goal.

Simplify Your Performance Goals Even Further Into Process Goals

The last step to make your SEO goals SMART is to have complete control over them. However, that is only possible when you break your performance goals into processes. How does that work?

Well, what would you need to achieve 15 high-quality backlinks monthly? Would you run a campaign or would you take the guest blogging or sponsored posting route?

Whichever method you decide, process goals help you devise actionable and straightforward steps that give you results instantly. However, ensure that your processes are specific for each of your performance goals. Otherwise, your efforts so far might be futile.

And that’s how to set the right SEO goal using the 3-step pyramid. Now, let’s show a practical example of the steps in play.

An Example Of A Concrete SEO Goal

  • Outcome goal: increase client “A” organic visibility by 10% in 6months
  • Performance goal: rank the client for high-value, niche-related keywords within that 6months
  • Process goal: win 25 featured snippets for the targeted high, niche-related keywords

Simple, eh?

Now, you will at least agree that your SEO goal looks more professional than “we can’t guarantee you results.” So, start applying the tips today and be a true SEO expert. And remember, your SEO goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely!