Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

What are Reasonable Goals for SEO?

What can you expect from SEO?

Clients (and prospective clients) often ask us what they can expect from an SEO campaign. That’s an excellent question, because you need to set some sort of expectations so you can evaluate the success or failure of the process.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to set forth precise numeric goals in terms of the number of visitors, the precise rankings of given keyword phrases, the return on investment, or the dollar impact on your bottom line. But that doesn’t mean you can’t set reasonable and measurable expectations for a search engine optimization project. Here are some you might consider:

  • Traffic improvement  — your daily/weekly/monthly visitor counts should be noticeably higher after optimization than before. Set up traffic analysis (we like Google Analytics) ahead of time so you have a reasonable “before” level to compare your SEO results against.
  • Increasing number of your keywords in the top three pages of Google, Yahoo and Bing. Those three search engines get more than 95% of all searches in the US, so you needn’t worry about any others. By the time SEO has been going on for a year, your goal should be to have most of your keyword phrases showing up in the top three pages of these search engines.
  • Most of your ranking keywords on the first page in Google. This is a challenging goal, and it may take awhile before you achieve it.
  • Some keywords at the #1 position. This, too, is challenging unless you have some relatively less-competitive keywords. Clearly this is the ultimate goal for top visibility.
  • Link Popularity measures about average among your main competitors. These measures might include your inbound link count, Google PageRank, mozRank and Domain Authority. Those, in fact, are the very ones we report to our clients as part of our normal SEO Monitoring.
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