Knowing your goal and your audience is the basis of successful search engine marketing. Your goal should dictate everything – from content creation to link building you should always strive towards achieving that goal. It is real important to have a specific goal from the start. Although your goal for a site may change or evolve as time passes, having a goal will allow you to measure your success.

Write Your Goals Down

I tend to lose track of things when they aren’t written down, so the first thing I do is write my goals down on paper. Usually I write my goals down on a post-it. This way I refine and reorder them as I see fit. Later on I’ll be able refer back to them.

I try to describe my goal within a timeline and context. This way I can look back at these goals and have a way of measuring how close I am to accomplishing a specific goal.

For example instead of:

Increase Link Popularity

Place the goal within a timeline and context:

Attain 50 links from on topic sites by the end of December.

This gives you a clear measurement to define your success. With open ended goals, it’s hard to feel like you are making any progress. Goals like “rank well” or “increase traffic” are horrible because they are not tied into any context. Since there are so many ways to approach ranking well, it’s best to place your goals within a context. More likely, you’ll have multiple goals for a site, which is perfectly fine. However, the more specific and clearly defined your goals are, the easier it is for you to act on and succeed doing.

Define Actions for Your Goals

Take an extra 5 minutes to define specific actions you can take towards achieving your goal. The extra time spent doing this will result in a clear path that you can use to guide your efforts. Start off with one specific action and then move to another.

For the example goal of “Attain 50 links from on topic sites by the end of December“, you would define specific actions that will move you toward the goal.

1. Find the top 10 related sites in Google
2. Write these 10 related sites down on paper
3. Email site #1′s webmaster and ask for a link

As you move down your list, continue to add specific actions that will help you attain your goal. Attaining 50 links may seem like a decent amount of work, by breaking down your goal into smaller actions – you give yourself less to worry about and make yourself more productive.

Have Your Goal in Mind at All Times

Always strive towards your goal. It’s hard at times, but keeping your goal in mind will focus your actions. I know first hand how easy it is to get side tracked. Plenty of times I’ve lost track of my initial goal and ended up brainstorming in my mind how I’m going to rank for digital cameras even though I started off with initial keywords targeting real estate.

Solid goals allow you to have a clear measurement of your success and progress. Especially in search engine marketing, knowing and focusing on your goal will lead to success.

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