Setting SEO Goals in 2021

Setting goals for anything, whether it pertains to your personal life or business, is essential. How else would you track progress or if you hit your goal or not upon completion? Many people set health goals going into a new year, but we are here to help you determine what SEO goals you should set for your business in 2021. 

Start With the Important KPI’s to Track for SEO

I’ll start with the acronym KISS. Keep it simple stupid. Start with the basics and the metrics that are easily influenced and trackable. I am referring to website metrics that can be tracked through an analytics platform like Google Analytics, such as: 

  • Traffic 
  • New Users
  • Bounce Rate
  • Revenue
  • Goals (form fills or phone calls)
  • Conversions & Conversion Rate

All of these are great metrics to set goals around because if you get an increase in user metrics from year to year that most likely means your business grew. The main objective of any business.

Setting goals around traffic is great because the SEO work you do should have a direct correlation with sessions hitting the site. I like to start with a baseline of a 20% increase from year to year, but determine that based on how much traffic you currently have.

If you have over 1 million users per year then 20% is going to be a significant amount of traffic you have to roundup. 

All of the other metrics I bulleted out such as conversion rate for whatever you count as a conversion (a lead via a form or call, a sale, or ultimately closing a hot lead), bounce rate, or even the amount of pages users visit per session, tie into the traffic goal. 

You may want to set up secondary or tertiary goals based on some of these user metrics to ensure that the traffic you are driving is qualified. 

What Should You Base Your 2021 Goals On? 

You should base your 2021 goals on historical data from 2020. Analyze the data you collected. Whether the goals you set in 2020 hit the mark or now, you should always be hungrier for more. 

If you didn’t set the goal you hit in 2020, that’s fine too, but set an even bigger goal in 2021 to try and accomplish both. I like to call them stretch goals. Some others will call these unrealistic but don’t be scared by that. A stretch goal of this sort will make you work 10x harder in the year ahead. 

While you are analyzing the data, stop and ask yourself, “Am I comfortable with where my business is at right now?” Answering this question will help you determine how aggressive you need to get with your goal. 

As I mentioned previously I like to start with the 20% rule, but again it all depends on your current state. All of the basic metrics can be equated to a physical number or a percentage. Analyze the data, set the goal(s), write them down so you can see them every day, and get to work on hitting them. 

Some Outside the Box SEO Goals to Consider

Now that we discussed some of the easier metrics to set goals around, let’s talk about some of the not som common. I like to think of these goals as a way to reach your main goal. Similar to the OKR (objective and key results) method you use internally for our own goals at LSEO. 

You set one clear objective and then a set of key results underneath that will help you reach that main objective. Each key result should be quantifiable and have a target deadline. 

Improving Your Backlink Profile 

What I mean here is increasing the number of quality backlinks to your site. You can try and set goals around domain authority, but it’s not necessarily something you can directly affect. Rather take a look at your current backlink profile and set goals around increasing the amount of unique referring domains you have pointing at your site. 

This is a number you can control by taking matters into your own hands or through an SEO agency’s efforts of executing creative ways to get more quality sites linking back to your website. 

Maximizing Page Speed

This is a very technical aspect of SEO, but it’s one you should absolutely set goals around in 2021.

Google has already come out and said that core web vitals will be a ranking factor as early as May of 2021. If your website doesn’t pass the standards set by Google come May, then you will already be behind. Set this goal in Q1 of 2021 and get ahead of the game. 

If your page speed score is lacking via Google Page Speed Insights, set a goal of improving your page speed score from a 20 to an 80. Whether you need to contract web development work to reach the goal, get it done! 

Gain New Page 1 Keyword Rankings

I love this goal. It has a direct correlation to a traffic goal if you set one. If you make it a point to gain a certain amount of additional page 1 keyword rankings, then traffic will come. 

You will have to strategize on what it will take to hit this goal. It could take content creation, link building, or a combination of both. However, setting the goal is step one, determining what it will take to reach that goal is step two. 

This is a great goal or even a really good secondary goal if you want to increase your traffic. 

Gain More Featured Snippets

This is similar to the previous goal as featured snippets exist on the first page of Google results or as we like to call it in the SEO world, position 0. 

Sure, 1st-page equity is great, but it’s not nearly as good as gaining that featured snippet. If you want to shoot for the stars, target gaining a few of these throughout the year. 

A great step to take would be to Google something that you would absolutely love to rank in position 0 for, check out the page that owns that equity now, and then create a page that is better than that one. 

Also, check out Google’s new tool that is in beta right now, Google’s Question Hub. When you type in a subject, Google will give spit back a list of unanswered questions about the topic. You can be the first to answer by creating a page of your own that provides the correct information. 

Improve your User Experience Metrics

I mentioned some user experience metrics in the beginning, but I want to also list them here as most site owners will ignore these important metrics. 

Your website can generate all the traffic it wants, but if it’s not qualified traffic or it’s leaving because your site isn’t user-friendly, well then that’s on you. That’s why it’s important to set goals around metrics like bounce rate, pages per session, and average time on site. 

Creative ways to improve these metrics include crafting longer-form content, video content like podcasts, or even generating infographics. Embedding these within the content should do the trick. 

All of this is in an effort to engage the user and give them the option to digest the content by reading or watching the video. 

Why it’s Important to Set Goals? 

As our CEO Kris Jones likes to say, “If you don’t grow you die.” When you think about that statement, there is so much validity to it. If you’re in business and you aren’t setting these growth goals, then what’s your reason for being in business? 

Setting something to strive for in 2021 will allow you to grow and take your business to the next level. Plus, it’s super fun to have a target and try to hit it. In the end, you will get a feeling of accomplishment you can’t get from anything else. 

It’s also very important to track these goals and keep your eye on the prize. I highly recommend setting up a dashboard within something like Excel, Google Sheets, or even Google Data Studio to ensure you are paying attention to how you are trending toward your goal.

After the year we’ve had in 2020 where goals more than likely fell through the cracks, it’s more important now than ever to set the right goals in 2021. If your a website owner, consider some of these SEO goals to grow your business organically.

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