As an SEO professional, you have the technical expertise and know what specific metrics you want to improve. But what metrics do business owners care about?
When you do a forecast in Google Ads Keyword Planner, you can easily:
⦁ Check how much value can be created for a website and at what cost,
⦁ Show and prove to a client the potential future business results that are likely to happen if a budget is invested,
⦁ Or close or sell a deal.
So, in this case, it’s clear what your proposal is and what the result should be.
But, with SEO, it’s not always that clear-cut.
Because in SEO, you usually lack a simple tool like the Google Ads Keyword Planner.
So everyone builds SEO proposals this one way or another, whether it’s going directly for the deliverables and budget, betting on keyword improvements, visibility improvements, or covering overall organic traffic growth plus deliverables within a budget.
This way, SEO professionals struggle to balance between how sound their data model is and how much effort they put into it.
Yet, in this article, we’ll show you how SEO can also work like PPC in terms of calculating future value: with keywords, search volumes, and CTRs of targeted ranks. Through SEOmonitor’s SEO forecasting solution and framework that works similarly to Google’s Keyword planner.
It helps you switch from SEO as a cost to SEO as an investment. This way, you’ll reliably validate the SEO opportunity, assess the client’s potential, and evaluate the SEO campaign’s ROI.
Translate desired SEO goals into non-brand organic traffic
Our SEO forecasting framework starts from a desired future performance (the SEO goal) and calculates potential business results if the targeted ranks are achieved. Just like in PPC.
So you can start building scenarios based on the following:
Desired SEO goal
Select your desired keyword groups and their targeted ranks, and our SEO forecasting tool will do the calculations based on all the inputs above. Depending on the difficulty of achieving the proposed visibility goal for your client, the tool will estimate if it’s realistic or not.
Performance in time
Model your SEO goal achievement in a specific timeframe with the most accurate speed: grow exponentially, linearly, or custom.
Choose all the keyword variables for a reliable SEO forecast
To forecast SEO with better precision and transparency, you need to take into account all the keyword variables and inputs influencing your potential performance:
⦁ the current non-brand organic traffic — the only one you can directly influence with your SEO efforts.
⦁ Accurate search volumes, their Year-over-Year trends, and seasonality, so you gauge the real potential of your targeted keywords.
⦁ Device segmentation
⦁ Device- and SERP-based Top 10 CTRs to calculate the full picture of your targeted keywords’ performance.
⦁ Past conversion rate
⦁ The long-tail effect — defined as the long-tail impact of the keywords in the same semantic group as the ones you included in the forecast at first. This way, you’re able to see enhanced search volume projections for each keyword based on the sessions brought by the entire topic.
Make a case for the SEO ROI with a realistic proposal
With this level of granularity and a transparent model at your disposal, you can:
⦁ Estimate impact in terms of additional traffic and conversions instead of just ranking data, presenting how all of these will contribute to a client’s business performance.
⦁ Highlight how their traffic would look with and without the SEO campaign. It also helps you be transparent about the assumptions you’ve made and ensures that the client can easily research the model to verify the results.
⦁ Set realistic expectations that align the SEO campaign with the customer’s business growth projections – and make sure they understand what and how SEO delivers results.
⦁ Compare the SEO budget and forecasted results to the PPC strategy costs equivalent. With this external comparison, you’ll better explain the SEO ROI, and it will also give clients a chance to research and assess the projected outcome.
How a digital growth agency uses SEO forecasting to win clients
“We start by looking at the objective framework and understand what we need to achieve. Even as early as the first touch point, we want to assemble an initial forecast.”, says Petar Jovetic, Director of Customer Experience at Impression. (You can find out more about him through the Online Geniuses Q&A session).
Because the team wants to show value with everything they propose, using SEO forecasting enables them to tell a more validated story. From strategy and objectives setting to explaining why their proposal is attainable: “Since SEOmonitor’s forecast tool is inherently based on rankings, search volumes, and clickthrough rate, it’s a good way to bridge the gap between the strategy, the objectives, and then how the forecast gets us there. In terms of the process that we adopt, using the tool is quite straightforward, and that’s its beauty.
We go on to identify the topics for the keywords related to a strategy, which we further segment by their current ranking position. Perhaps we’ll keep an eye as well on their difficulty. We can forecast based on whether we expect them to achieve page one or top of page one or within the top ranking positions one to three.”
As Petar continues, actually doing the forecast is quite simple with the right SEO forecasting tool at your disposal. It’s the strategy that is the main challenge:
“I think that’s based on a few factors. The resource available, your experience within a particular sector or industry, the competitor landscape, the strategy — all of that dictates how to configure your strategy, whether it’s coming in quite hot or it’s a slow burn. That’s where the important part of forecasting lies.”
Another important component that can get overlooked is the reforecasting aspect, which Petar advises doing periodically:
“We might do an initial forecast when the campaign starts. We might even reforecast as early as that point if variables change and it’s appropriate. It’s important to be quite agile, I’d say. We look to review the forecast every quarter. Obviously, we’re going to be analyzing performance consistently and regularly, whether we are kind of missing the mark or hitting the mark.
I think that continues to build trust and demonstrate how you’re on a journey together. It’s just ensuring what you are setting up within your objective framework, ensuring that it’s attainable. Everyone’s aligned, and expectations marry up.”
In the end, a realistic SEO forecast is both an internal compass and external proof that your SEO proposal is attainable and brings good ROI.