SEO OKRs: Driving Performance & Measuring Impact

Patrick Stox
Patrick Stox is a Product Advisor, Technical SEO, & Brand Ambassador at Ahrefs. He was the lead author for the SEO chapter of the 2021 Web Almanac and a reviewer for the 2022 SEO chapter. He also co-wrote the SEO Book For Beginners by Ahrefs and was the Technical Review Editor for The Art of SEO 4th Edition. He’s an organizer for several groups including the Raleigh SEO Meetup (the most successful SEO Meetup in the US), the Beer and SEO Meetup, the Raleigh SEO Conference, runs a Technical SEO Slack group, and is a moderator for /r/TechSEO on Reddit.
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Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a popular goal-setting framework that helps SEOs define and measure the success of their projects, teams, and individual SEOs.

The objectives should be clearly defined. Some people prefer the SMART framework to make sure their goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Key results are how you track your progress against your objective.

Goals are usually set at a few levels. You usually have company, team, and individual goals. You generally want to align any OKRs with company goals, and I also like to align with SEO tactics that I know have value and will have an impact.

Let’s look at some examples of SEO OKRs.

Many general SEO OKRs are around awareness, reporting, and proving the value of SEO.

Objective: Increase organizational awareness and buy-in of SEO

  • Key result 1: Conduct SEO training sessions for eight of the core product, content, and web dev teams in the next quarter.
  • Key result 2: Establish a repository that has documentation for SEO best practices in the next six months.
  • Key result 3: Promote SEO successes from each team to get other teams to adopt (ongoing).
  • Key result 4: Connect SEO results to revenue in the next six months in order to prove the value in reporting.

Check out our post on enterprise SEO for some ideas on how to get more buy-in.

Objective: Unify brand experience

  • Key result 1: Define SEO best practices for a unified design system in the next two months.
  • Key result 2: Consolidate content into one main content management system in the next year.
  • Key result 3: Migrate three acquisitions per quarter onto the main website while maintaining traffic levels.

Our posts on website migrations and SEO for mergers and acquisitions will be helpful here.

Objective: Improve SEO reporting to help with data-driven decisions

  • Key result 1: Create competitor scorecards to measure yourself against competitors.
  • Key result 2: Create Business Unit (BU) scorecards to measure and monitor the progress of different BUs.
  • Key result 3: Connect SEO results to revenue to prove the value in reporting.

You can find more ideas in our post on enterprise SEO metrics and reporting.

OKRs for content typically involve creating or updating content.

Objective: Increase revenue from organic for the top 20 products by 10% this quarter

  • Key result 1: Put together a content plan with topics around each of the top 20 products.
  • Key result 2: Use SEO forecasting to estimate the traffic and revenue opportunity.
  • Key result 3: Work with content writers to create 50 pieces of content on those topics.
  • Key result 4: Update 30 pieces of existing content to improve rankings and visibility.

Our post on SEO forecasting can help you create the forecast.

Objective: Look for other opportunities to drive brand awareness beyond the blog

  • Key result 1: Create 15 videos around core topics and publish them to our YouTube channel.
  • Key result 2: Create product comparison pages that compare our offerings vs. major competitors. These could also include alternative pages where we list our offering.
  • Key result 3: Use our data to create 2,000 programmatic pages in the next six months to show the value of our data and platform.
  • Key result 4: Create free versions of 10 of our tools in the next 3 months so users can try them, and rank those pages for key features.

See our guides on video SEO and programmatic SEO to help guide you with those tasks.

Objective: Update 30 pieces of content to get additional market presence for core terms

  • Key result 1: Identify content with declining traffic and opportunities to improve these pages.
  • Key result 2: Look for low-hanging fruit keywords where you can add a bit of additional information to a page to make it rank better.
  • Key result 3: Optimize for featured snippets to capture five more featured snippets.

Check out our guide on enterprise content marketing for more on how to do these tasks and additional opportunities.

Objective: Boost international market presence

  • Key result 1: Translate successful content into other languages
  • Key result 2: Implement hreflang

Check out our guides on international SEO and hreflang for more info on how to be successful at SEO in international markets.

Link building can be difficult for enterprise SEOs. Check out our guide on enterprise link building for some tips and more project ideas.

Objective: Reclaim lost link value

  • Key result 1: Recover the lost value of 3,872 referring domains through redirects using a link reclamation process.
  • Key result 2: Turn 35 unlinked brand mentions into links through outreach.

See our guides on link reclamation, unlinked mentions, and link outreach for the steps.

Objective: Increase average order/customer value

  • Key result 1: Add and link related products in a widget to upsell and cross-sell existing products.
  • Key result 2: Add internal links from relevant informational content to product pages.

Check out our guide to internal linking for more ideas.

Technical SEO can really have an impact in an enterprise environment. One fix can be worth millions of dollars, or one mistake could cost millions.

Objective: Improve user experience on pages related to the top 30 offerings

  • Key result 1: Have 80% of main pages pass Core Web Vitals within six months.
  • Key result 2: Ensure 95% of pages are mobile-friendly within six months.

See our posts on Core Web Vitals and mobile SEO for the processes.

Objective: Be proactive identifying issues instead of reactive

  • Key result 1: Work with developers to set up unit testing and/or crawling of the staging site to catch issues before they go live.
  • Key result 2: Create a sampled list of pages from different CMSs and templates and crawl them daily to identify new issues as fast as possible.
  • Key result 3: Establish a process for crawling after any release.
  • Key result 4: Switch from weekly/monthly crawls to always-on crawling with alerts to identify issues faster. (We’ll have this in Site Audit soon)
  • Key result 5: Set up a dashboard with daily visibility updates for top pages and keywords to catch ranking issues sooner.

We cover many of these in our guide to enterprise technical SEO, and it has more ideas that might inspire some additional OKRs.

Objective: Increase visual real estate in the SERP

  • Key result 1: Implement product schema and set up a merchant center feed to gain visibility in Shopping results on the SERP.
  • Key result 2: Optimize images to capture more visibility in image packs.
  • Key result 3: Add event markup to event pages to promote our events.
  • Key result 4: Add schema for job postings and submit new jobs via the Google indexing API.

See our guides on schema markup and image SEO for more details.

Final thoughts

OKRs are a good way to make sure the goals of SEOs are aligned with the overall goals of your company.

If you have questions, let me know on X or LinkedIn.

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