What if there was a way to predict future traffic to your website — and even the value of that traffic? You would certainly be able to plan your SEO efforts more effectively, set appropriate goals, and allocate resources to meet expectations. Fortunately, there is such a method, and it’s called SEO forecasting.
Agencies and enterprises can both benefit. For example, on the agency side, forecasting can predict the future impact of SEO for a client. If you work on the enterprise side, forecasting is helpful for making projections of how much you’ll grow SEO and increase revenue as a result. Essentially, the predictions you make using forecasting help justify the work you plan to do, and the resources required to do it.
Let’s take a deeper dive into SEO forecasting to understand how it works and delivers value.
What is SEO Forecasting?
SEO forecasting leverages first-party and third-party data to make predictions about the amount and value of traffic you can expect to your website as a result of SEO initiatives. It relies on data about past performance to forecast what will happen in the future.
How Forecasting for SEO Works
In order to predict future traffic to a website, marketers generally access past performance data through platforms like Google Analytics or Google Search Console. Then, based on that data, they apply a formula to reflect what they anticipate traffic volume to be over the next year or another period of time.
Using platforms like Ahrefs or Moz, marketers can run scripts that deliver predictions on traffic growth for the website as well as its competitors. There are also scripts that can predict future traffic value, which you can think of as how much money a company would save by ranking for keywords organically rather than paid traffic.
The Value of SEO Forecasting
The overall goal with SEO forecasting is to show a client or your team or boss what you predict the returns of their SEO investment would be. Can they expect traffic to increase over the course of a year? Will the revenue increase during this time? By indicating the level of performance they can expect to see over time, based on the SEO work you’re going to do, you help them realize a path toward their goals. You offer up rationale for what they will be spending on SEO work, as well as a benchmark to measure against.
One Thing to Know About Forecasts
It’s important to recognize there is a degree of uncertainty with SEO forecasts. Of course, marketers do their very best to offer up an accurate picture of future performance. But changes happen all the time — with strategy, what competitors are doing, company goals, or simply how much a company is willing to spend on competing in search engines. That’s why forecasting is not a set-it-and-forget-it function of your SEO work. You should expect to update forecasts regularly, whether that’s every quarter or every year. That way, your prediction data represents and accounts for changes that have come up.
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