The world of SEO is evolving and changing constantly. What worked yesterday may not work as well tomorrow. Also, what might work for one industry vertical may not be so fruitful for another one.

Therefore, SEO strategies have to be both creative and effective and should be integrated with an understanding of a company’s business needs so that constantly updated SEO expertise can be translated into continuing success online.

It is essential that you set some realistic goals for your SEO campaigns. This will help you to get the most out of your budget, and it also gives you benchmarks to measure, review and improve performance of your website.

Setting goals for your search engine marketing (SEM) can be difficult as you need to involve various stakeholders, but at least you will have reasonable information to set quantitative objectives based on the potential market size, as well as existing results from your web analytics data. Download infographic here.

Regardless of the site, these are common types of high-level goals you can use for search engine marketing:

1. Position-based: This is the most commonly used for SEO and it is important that these targets reflect high volume, high intent keywords in the search engines (e.g.  To achieve 100 top ten positions and 500 top 50 positions for specific keywords in a market.)

2. Visitor volume-based: This is best for non-transactional sites without clear outcomes seeking to generate brand awareness and interactions (e.g. To achieve 50,000 clicks across agreed keywords per month).

3. Outcome-based: This is best for transactional sites (e.g. To achieve 5,000 completed orders/sales per month).

4. Market share-based: This can be used for product categories and with help of tools such as Google Traffic Estimator or Hitwise you can calculate a ‘share of search’ within a product category (e.g. To achieve 40% share of search within 12 months for particular keywords). 

And remember to keep up to date and reading patent applications from search engines, monitoring digital innovation and tools as well as analysing algorithmic trends.

Some suggested blogs and publications: SEOMoz and SearchEngineLand