Achieve Success with SMART Goals. Examples For Marketing and SEO

Business, marketing, SEO. What do they have in common? Goals. Short-term goals and long-term business goals. Review smart objectives examples and how you can leverage setting business goals to achieve your objectives.

SMART Goals: For Business, Marketing, and SEO

As in, the goals of each need to line up with the goals of the others, or you'll have entire departments working at cross-odds. If you find yourself trying to set an objective for SEO for the coming quarter and running into a wall, we suggest you see what the business goals are for the same time frame. Are you in Growth Marketing mode? Are you looking to make improvements to drive website growth? Are you looking to increase profits, market share, or brand awareness? Then check in with the broader marketing department and see how they will assist in reaching those overall business goals. And finally, you can set your SEO goals to align with the above. Sound simple? No? OK, let's dig in.

Start with SMART goals

The key to smart goal setting is this: SMART goals are always more likely to be met. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Every goal, whether for the entire organization, a single department, or even a single team within that department, should always follow this rubric.

Examples of Smart Goal setting used here focus on Growth marketing and SEO. There will be a broader example that shows how to tie your goals to the bigger picture.


Put a number on it. If the boss comes to you saying, "we need more leads," that doesn't count as specific. Dig deeper. More than what? Last quarter? Last year? Last week? What was the total number of leads you sent to sales for each of these time frames? Now see what growth has been like, and respond to that boss with some ideas. Maybe they'll be on board with a monthly 10%  lead growth or 8% more than last quarter. Nail it down. Define specific goals.

Example: "Grow the business" becomes "Increase active leads from our email list by 10%."  
"We have to get better with the customer" becomes "improve customer retention using this product or service by X% before the end of the year."


How will you know when you have reached your goal? Is there an established KPI? If not, create one (or more) before getting into the weeds to have a solid metric against which to measure progress. This aspect of a SMART goal is easiest to see in action once you set up the SEO aspect of your goal, as you will be able to use tools like Moxpro or Google Adwords to get concrete numbers to measure against your KPI.

Example: "We saw a 6% gain in active conversions from the email list last quarter." Now you have something to measure this quarter's goal against.


Realistically, can you do it? Can you and your team get to this goal in the timeframe laid out? Sit your team down and give them the outline of your goal as it stands now and ask them simply, "can we do this?"

You'll know within moments, often from the looks on their faces, what the answer is and if you are dealing with an achievable smart goal.

Example: Considering 6% growth last quarter, a goal of 10% is reachable, given a strong focus. If you had said 25%, you might have caused some team members to pass out.


What's the point? Does this goal accomplish something for the company as a whole? If so, lay that out as part of your goal. If your 10% increase in conversions will help bring the company closer to its goal of increasing yearly sales by 15%, state that right in the goal.

Example: "This increase is expected to bring in 1,500 new customers this quarter, and given our average sales figures per customer, that means increasing overall sales revenue by 7%."


What's the hard stop? When does this goal need to be accomplished? Setting a hard stop gives everyone the impetus to get to work and realize the goal in the time allotted.

Example: The part about “this quarter” in every example thus far that's the time-bound aspect of this goal.

How to set your SEO SMART goals

The key is to NOT start with SEO goals at all. Start by learning all you can about the current business goals for the company. Then work your way into the Marketing department's goals, learning how these goals align with the broader business goals you already learned about. Only then do you want to start thinking about your SEO goals. You need these goals to support the marketing goals that support the business goals.

So learn about goals from broadest to narrowest. Then set about creating narrow goals that support their way back out to the broader level. This way, you have the entire picture in hand before you lay out a single SEO goal for your team. And once you do, you will know from the start what the relevance is, you'll have an idea of a timeframe, and you'll have an idea of the KPIs you need to meet. That leaves just the Specific and Achievable aspects to nail down, and you'll be up and running, secure in the realistic goal you've just set.

  1. Identify specific areas of your website you want to improve. These goals should be specific and clearly defined.

  2. Make sure that your goals are measurable so that you can track and quantify your progress. This could include metrics such as website traffic, search engine rankings, or conversions.

  3. Set achievable smart goals that are aligned with your resources and capabilities. It's important to be realistic about what you can achieve, given your current circumstances.

  4. Ensure that you have relevant goals aligned with your business and your marketing strategy. Your SEO goals should support and enhance your overall business objectives.

  5. Give yourself a timeline for achieving your goals to ensure that you stay on track and make progress promptly. This could include setting intermediate goals or milestones to help you stay focused and motivated.

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Examples of SMART goal setting vs. Non-SMART goals from a broader perspective

Let's look at each level of this process, business, marketing, and SEO, and determine what a SMART goal would look like for each.

  • Business goal:

    • Increase sales = Not SMART
    • Increase sales revenue by 12% over last quarter = SMART

  • Marketing goal:

    • Bring in more leads = Not SMART
    • Grow leads by 5% via email newsletter conversions in the next month = SMART
    • Achieve blog traffic goal = Not SMART
    • Grow the number of blog visitors from organic search to 20,000/month by June 1 = SMART

  • SEO goal:

    • Increase click-through rate = Not SMART

    • Redesign newsletter CTAs to generate more click-throughs. A/B test next quarter to determine which design is most effective. = SMART

You can see how the SEO goal now supports the marketing goal, which supports the business goal. And you can see how much easier that SEO goal was to develop once you knew about the broader, company-wide goal.

This was a general look at SMART goals, what they are, how to set them, and how they can help your team/department/company reach their goals faster and more efficiently. If this got you thinking about your current goals and how maybe you should think about adjusting them a bit to bring them more in line with the SMART rubric, good. Suppose this got you wanting more information, even better. And if you're already working on better aligning your team's goals with the rest of the company, then our job is done.

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Jesse hails from Seattle, Wa. When he’s not creating great content, or staring at his laptop screen waiting for inspiration, he’s probably walking in the trees somewhere in the foothills of the nearby Cascade Mountains.

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