Imagine if there was a way you could predict future traffic to your website and tailor your marketing strategies accordingly.
Well, the good news is, there is a method you can use to do this and it’s called SEO forecasting.
Though you cannot say with 100 percent certainty that your forecasting will always be right, this can be the ideal way to set targets, allocate resources and shape your SEO efforts moving forward.
But this is a complex task and the more you know about it, the more successful your forecasting can be.
In the guide below, we’re going to take a look at what SEO forecasting is, how it’s done and some of the key benefits for both businesses and individuals. This will help you to get the right tools and methodology in place for the best results.
What is SEO forecasting and how does it work?
In a nutshell, search engine optimization forecasting is a way of predicting future rankings, traffic and the value of your SEO strategy. It is particularly important for predicting revenue from your SEO efforts.
These forecasts are based on first and third-party data, using information from the past to predict future behavior. For example, you may look at web traffic, click-through rates (CTR), organic conversions and more to forecast what will happen in the future, but we’ll look at these in more detail next.
There are also certain tools which make this possible, platforms like Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Ahrefs that can help to collect valuable data. Using this data, formulas can be applied to anticipate volumes of traffic and other key metrics.
Alternatively, if you’re new to search engine optimization and have no idea where to begin, you may wish to employ the services of a specialist SEO agency. They will be able to use your data to make an SEO forecast. They will also be able to share their top tips and set out a strategy for the future of your SEO efforts.
How to forecast SEO for the best results
There are lots of metrics you can use to forecast SEO and increase the accuracy of your predictions. To do this you can gather data from multiple sources, but some of the most popular include:
Search engine rankings
One of the most important metrics to keep an eye on is where your website and other content ranks on SERPs. If your rankings have changed, either increasing or decreasing, this can help you to predict future trends. If your pages are declining, you need to take action right away.
Keywords are vital for driving traffic to your webpages and these will be a key focus of your SEO strategy. The right tools will be able to show you which keywords are most important and if there are any that are no longer effective. This way, you can tailor your content and target the most influential words and phrases.
The links you include in your web content can impact how your pages rank on SERPs. By monitoring these links you can determine whether they are positively or negatively impacting your business.
Backlinks still play a major role in the success of a website on search engines. By reviewing the number and quality of websites that are linking to you and comparing that to your competitors you will get an idea of how far behind or ahead of them you are in terms of your backlink profile.
The internal links you include in your web content can also impact how your pages rank on SERPs. By monitoring these links you can determine whether they are positively or negatively impacting your business.
As the name suggests, the click-through rate is the number of people who find your webpage through a search engine and click through to visit your website. A high click-through rate suggests that your targeting the right audience and that your page titles are relevant and helpful.
The overall aim of your online content is to encourage people to take the desired action, whether that’s signing up for a newsletter, buying something or enrolling with your services.
Looking at how many people convert into customers or interested parties can help you to predict future conversions and which content is most effective for converting.
Organic and paid-for traffic
Organic traffic is the number of people who visit your website based on organic search results, whereas paid-for traffic comes from paid ad campaigns or content.
Tracking organic traffic is important to reveal which search engine listings are driving the most traffic to your website. Understanding this metric can help to make your forecasting more accurate.
On the other hand, tracking paid traffic can show you which types of ad campaigns are converting the best. This can help you to plan ad campaigns in the future as well as gauge which keywords you should be focusing your SEO efforts on.
Why is SEO forecasting so valuable?
In 2023, as many as 71 percent of businesses have a website. Sure, they won’t all be in your sector but either way, that’s a lot of competition. If you want to make sure you’re driving traffic that converts, then you need to understand SEO. Some of the key benefits of getting your strategy just right include:
- Identifying opportunities to improve your website’s visibility within search engine results pages (SERPs)
- Tracking competitor activity and adapting your own strategy accordingly. This can give you a competitive edge
- Getting insights into keywords and how they’re performing
- Improving client relations by sharing your SEO strategy and how this could benefit them as well
- Giving you a case to ask for more resources in this area if need be
- Identifying possible problems and addressing them before they get worse
- Creating truly helpful and engaging content and securing the best links
The downsides to SEO forecasting
Finally, it’s worth looking at some of the downsides to SEO forecasting for balance. While this can be hugely valuable for your business, some of the reasons you might find forecasting a daunting prospect include:
- You need to invest in the right tools or services, which can mean finding room in the budget
- It can be very time-consuming, especially when done manually
- You need to truly understand SERPs and SEO to get the most accurate results
- Even then, there is still no guarantee how accurate your predictions will be as lots of factors can impact your SEO efforts
But all in all, SEO forecasting can be extremely beneficial for your business and it is certainly worth investing time and resources to get this right. If you’re not very knowledgeable on the subject or you don’t have the time to dedicate to this task, then a professional SEO agency could be the ideal solution.