Seo business

5 Ways to Use Data Forecasting for SEO

As marketers, we are often asked to quantify the results of our efforts and justify the investments. In the case of marketing efforts such as paid media campaigns, the attribution is simple: dollars in and dollars out.

But the value you might get from a particular search engine optimization (SEO) effort is influenced by countless variables such as domain authority, current traffic and rankings, backlinks, algorithm ever-changing Google – the list goes on. If that wasn’t difficult enough, there’s another layer: it can take up to 6-12 months to see SEO results.

This is where SEO predictions come in.

What is SEO forecasting?

One of the reasons SEO ROI is so difficult to determine is the number of variables that affect the success of a particular effort. While this may sound like bad news, it’s actually what makes predictions possible. When there is data, there are patterns.

SEO forecasting is the practice of using data to predict and model possible future outcomes as a result of the endeavors you choose (or don’t choose) to invest in.

Why is SEO forecasting important?

The value of SEO predictions helps you make strategic decisions about what content and tactics you are going to invest in. Whether you’re an in-house or agency marketer, there’s a cost to every minute you spend working on a particular initiative—and understanding if and when you can recoup that investment. is essential.

SEO forecasts help you make these strategic decisions. Using data, you can predict the potential outcomes of pursuing one strategy over another, and roughly determine when that strategy might start producing results.

While SEO forecasts have tremendous value in helping you plan your SEO strategy, forecast return on investment, and determine potential traffic growth, it’s important to dive in with realistic expectations. As the saying goes, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

Forecasts will help you understand what’s possible and make decisions based on data rather than instinct, but it’s still important to realize that a pattern is far from a definitive result.

5 Ways to Use Data Forecasting for SEO

There are many options for using forecasts, and they are often only limited by your imagination and your ability to manipulate and interpret the data. To get started, here are five common ways to use data forecasting for SEO.

1. Return on investment forecast

It’s the one your boss asked for and one of the most common reasons SEO forecasts are used. As elusive as determining ROI for SEO efforts may seem, modeling allows you to predict not only ROI, but also when you might see that return.

This method requires you to determine all expenses related to SEO efforts, as well as knowing what conversions are attributable to your efforts. For example, payload data may include:

  • The cost of creating a new item
  • The potential traffic of this article
  • The average conversion rate on your website
  • Average order value (or another target indicating ROI, such as calls or demos)

Using this information, you can predict how long it will take for your new blog post to see a breakeven point, or return on the initial investment of the cost of the new post.

Of course, there are other, harder-to-attribute benefits that might not be reflected, such as brand awareness or the possibility that your article could be a first touch that nurtures your lead towards conversion down the line.

2. Predict the performance of existing keywords

ROI forecasting is all about determining the performance potential of a particular blog, website, or even page. If you are already ranking for keywords, you can use predictions to determine the potential future performance of that existing keyword.

For example, if you rank fourth for a keyword, you can take the current average monthly traffic for that keyword and use that to predict potential performance if you rank second instead. By predicting the performance of existing keywords, you can potentially find quick wins and determine the cost of neglecting existing keywords in favor of new keyword opportunities.

3. Projected Opportunity Cost

It can be exciting to model the possibilities for new keywords, but it’s also important to note that no matter where you invest your resources for SEO activities, you can’t do it all. Predicting what performance would look like if you chose not to pursue a particular strategy can be just as informative in your strategic decision-making as knowing what potential performance looks like.

4. Predict traffic from future competitors

SEO tools give us a plethora of information about our competitors’ traffic and keyword rankings. In the same way that you can predict the potential traffic growth of your own site, you can also determine the potential future traffic of your competitors’ sites.

This is a useful tactic for understanding the true value of trying to outrank your competitors for specific keywords. By predicting competitor traffic, you can not only understand how a strategy is benefiting your business, but also how it can position you against your competitors’ growth.

5. Benchmarking

Although models are never foolproof, they give us an idea of ​​what is possible. Whether you’re looking for a new keyword opportunity or want to understand the potential of an existing keyword, you can use forecasts as a benchmark to understand where your actual performance stands compared to forecasts.

Over time, this will give you more accurate forecasts and help you set customer and stakeholder expectations ahead of reporting.

Taking SEO to the Next Level

Although SEO forecasting is often seen as a daunting task used only by large companies or agencies, it can be useful for anyone who wants to use data to make strategic decisions regarding SEO strategy.