One of the advantages of SEO is that it allows you to accurately verify if the efforts you are making in producing content and hosting your website are generating results.
Within the marketing toolbox, search engine optimization is one of the easiest when it comes to evaluating campaign performance.
With Google Search Console, Google Analytics and a couple of other softwares , you will be able to know the details you want:
- How much traffic are you attracting?
- How long do users stay on your website?
- What are the most visited pages.
- What is the path that your prospects usually take.
- And endless other things.
However, one of the elephants in the room in the SEO world is that it is impossible to say for sure what the result will be after completing a certain project.
In other words, when doing search engine rankings it is irresponsible to say things like:
- “We will increase traffic 70%”.
- “We will attract 7,000 visitors a month.”
- “We will sell 150 products every week.”
SEO is difficult to predict due to various factors:
Changes in the Google algorithm : Periodically, the search engine makes changes that can alter the position in which you are located for certain terms.
Competitive Efforts – Your performance will depend on what the other person does or doesn’t do. SEO is an infinite game.
Modification in the search volumes : the behavior of the users is not static. Depending on seasons and/or trends, the number of queries related to a topic varies.
That said, with a good use of tools and the right data, you will be able to project the expected SEO results for a specific project.
In this article we will share three methodologies so that you can implement the most convenient for you or your clients.
Even mixing the best of each option could benefit you.
What do you need to predict organic traffic?
Regardless of the method you use, the projection of SEO results depends on seven factors.
If you want your forecasts to be close to reality, you must have the following information:
With which keywords does the client want to position himself? Which ones does the SEO agency propose?
Of the chosen terms, how many monthly searches are carried out?
What is the average click-through rate for each position on the Google results page?
According to the SEO difficulty, what location do you aspire to reach with the optimization of sections and content?
Based on the above data, how many users would come to the website from Google?
According to the number of people who enter the portal, what is the percentage that buys?
Average order value:
How much money, on average, does a transaction generate?
SEO forecast: how to do it?
In a huge curatorial work, the well-known Aleyda Solis created a page that compiles the best guides to learn about web positioning.
Within the forecasting section , three methodologies stand out.
Two are more related to traffic per se and the other focuses on the keywords you want to target.
In general, the SEO results projection calculates one or more of these three things:
1.- How would the users who come to your website from Google increase if you raise positions in certain keywords.
2.- How would your website do if it increases a certain % in traffic.
3.- How many visitors will you have in the future if you don’t make more effort.
Method I: Focus on keywords (Search Engine Journal)
With the tool of your choice, search for the 150 terms with which you are already positioned or those that you want to conquer.
On Ubersuggest, for example, you can do this in the Keywords by traffic section .
Export that data in CSV.
To handle it more comfortably, when you are inside the file, click on the Data tab and do the following:
From Text > Select the file you just downloaded.
Then, in the pop-up window, choose the following options when they appear on the screen.
Delimited > Comma > General.
Once you do that, you will have something like this:
Select the first 150 words, their current position, and their search volume, and paste them into a copy of this Search Engine Journal template .
You must enter the data in the Main Worksheet tab , inside the cells painted blue.
Once you enter that information, the rest will be modified automatically.
After that step, make a copy of this Data Studio dashboard and use the data from the Google spreadsheet.
Now you will have two files with results.
Both show 7 possible scenarios:
- There is no increase in the average position of the selected words.
- Increase of a position.
- Increase of two positions.
- Increase of three positions.
- Increase of four positions.
- Increase of five positions.
- Increase of ten positions.
The Data Studio file will help you graph and, therefore, visually appreciate each of these possibilities.
With the spreadsheet you can filter the results according to the scenario you want and detail the behavior of each keyword.
This is the most valuable method to predict what can happen with an SEO campaign.
The two that we will show next are related to recognizing past trends and seeing what would happen if greater positioning efforts were not made.
They will also be useful in determining if a past adjustment affected current traffic.
Method II: Focus on traffic percentage increase (Morphio)
In Google Analytics (GA), find Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels .
In the upper right corner, adjust the dates so that GA displays data for the last two years.
Then, click on Organic Search and download that information.
In a copy of this spreadsheet, fill in what was collected in GA.
How should you do it?
In the Excel that contains the GA data, add the users per month, and place the result in the corresponding box in the Google spreadsheet.
Once you paste the information, the spreadsheet will determine what the average traffic is, the standard deviation according to the data thrown and the seasonal index (that is: what is the behavior of that month according to the average).
You will also be able to know, in the Data tab , what was the percentage increase of a year with respect to the past.
This methodology is ideal for measuring how old strategies have fared (by correlating with % growth) and for showing what a website’s growth would look like without adding further SEO efforts.
Pro tip: you need a minimum of two years of data to determine traffic trends according to times of the year (seasons).
Method III: Focus on trends (Brainlabs / Moz)
Distilled has an online tool where you can make your projections.
You only need to know what type of period to measure (month/year) and on what date to start.
Add the data in the box on the left and that’s it.
The light green covering the dotted line is where, with 95% probability, the traffic should be for that period.
For this method, it is not recommended to include data that represents a large spike (up or down) of traffic, as it will not yield an adequate prediction.
As with the second methodology, it is advisable to have at least two years of data.
Conclusion: How to project traffic and sales (ROI) with SEO?
Once you apply the methodology of your choice, you will have an approximate traffic for the coming months.
If in Google Analytics you look for the average conversion of your website and you know what the value of the average purchase is , you will be able to calculate an approximate of what the return on investment of your SEO efforts would be .
With the estimated visits in any of the models and the percentage of users who carry out a transaction on your website, you will know more or less how many sales you could close.
Multiply that number by an amount according to the price of your products/services and that’s it.
Even with the methodologies exposed in this article, the results of SEO campaigns are still difficult to predict.
However, with these tactics you will get closer to what you want to achieve and you will know if it is worth doing X or Y.