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Maximizing Your Website’s Potential: Top SEO Software Solutions

An SEO strategy is universally regarded as one of the fundamental aspects of online visibility. If you want the ideal target audience to interact with your website, you must put in SEO efforts to help it rank on the first page.

The problem with most struggling websites is that they focus too much on the present. SEO success actually depends on how future-proof your SEO strategies are rather than concurrent efforts.

To allow your website to show up in an organic search for the target keyword, you must introduce SEO forecasting into the mix.

SEO forecasting

In this post, I’ll take you through the trifles of SEO forecasting and why it’s beneficial for your SEO campaigns. I’ll also guide you on how to use different forecasting tools for traffic growth, keyword rankings, and improved conversion rates. If you’ve been struggling with your website’s online visibility, you may want to read this post from top to bottom.

What is SEO Forecasting?

In the traditional definition, forecasting is “making predictions about the future”. In search engine optimization, forecasting is predicting the potential of your website based on historical data sets. The data points may include organic website traffic, click-through rate (CTR), search volume, and other important insights.

If you already use a monitoring tool like Ahrefs, you’re familiar with the different graphs it offers. The graphs are a great way to monitor monthly organic traffic. You can decide how your SEO campaign is performing as well as the inefficiencies in the system.

Using the same SEO data, you can predict the future growth of organic traffic, keyword rankings, and the overall future performance of your website.

Why would you want to invest time and resources in SEO forecasting, you ask? Well, it’s perhaps the most accurate way of tracking traffic and revenue. I know you also agree that revenue is the most important aspect of any business.

Traditionally, businesses have been predicting return on investment (ROI) based on historical sales data from campaigns. Seasonal trends, consumer behavior, product preference, etc. have always been a part of ROI forecasting.

SEO forecasting is nothing but a digital extension of the same practice.

Why You Need to Forecast SEO Potential of Your Website

Digital marketing is a constantly changing paradigm. Search engine algorithms are always changing. SEO professionals are figuring out new ways to rank higher in search results.

If you want your website to compete with the changing landscape, you must update your SEO strategies at the right time. SEO forecasting helps you identify when that time is.

seo traffic growth

At the same time, SEO forecasting metrics provide valuable insights about SEO trends that you can utilize in strategy.

Here are some more benefits of forecasting SEO.

You Get a Competitive Edge

Use cases and historical data points are no secret. Every business and SEO agency has them. But you can make the difference by knowing how to use SEO data for accurate forecasting.

SEO forecasting is perhaps more important for ecommerce businesses than other business models. During the holiday season, the organic search volume of e-commerce sites increases by a fair margin. It makes sense because people buy more things for themselves and their loved ones during that time.

If you own an e-commerce business and you know this from historical data, you can increase the SEO efforts during that time to capture more of the audience pool looking for products you sell.

Businesses that don’t analyze data with forecasting tools don’t have access to this information. You’re essentially creating an edge over your competitors.

On the other hand, if you run an SEO agency, you can still get an edge over other agencies by offering SEO forecasting services. To drive the point home, you can showcase use cases about how your forecasting model helped traffic growth.

No matter how you want to approach it, including forecasting in your SEO strategy is one of the best things you can do for your business.

Better Resource Management

Resource allocation and management are some of the most overlooked things for online businesses. Most new business owners don’t have the slightest idea about how to manage their resources.

If you’re an SEO agency helping a new business to build website visitors, SEO forecasting might be your best friend.

For example, if the business is struggling to decide which team needs more staff to handle the workload, SEO forecasting metrics offer a clear picture. This allows the business to make data-backed decisions on where to allocate more resources.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what brings in more revenue. With separate forecasting models for different departments, businesses get to make more money.

The same is true if you’re a business owner. The simple act of getting a handle on your resource management can change how you make decisions.

Deeper Client Relationships

This may sound out of context. How does SEO forecasting help with client relationships, right? Well, it’s more of an indirect connection.

The purpose of an SEO strategy is to bump the average monthly search volume and drive more organic traffic. When a website gets more monthly organic traffic, it can score more leads. More leads mean a larger pool of potential customers to nurture.

Even with the same conversion rate, online businesses can drive more sales. If you haven’t got my drift yet, more sales mean more money for the business.

If you can bring in more money for your client, don’t you think you’ll have a more understanding relationship?

Now, if I look at the same scenario with you as the business owner, you can expect the same results. When you invest in future organic traffic growth, you’re getting more eyes (impressions) on your website.

As long as you have a killer sales funnel in place and a competent marketing team that creates the perfect customer journey, your target audience will appreciate it. The result is a better client-business relationship.

At the same time, historical traffic data can reveal inconsistencies and inefficiencies in your SEO performance. These inefficiencies can cause friction in the customer journey.

When you finally solve the issues, the audience enjoys a more seamless experience on your website, building a deeper relationship.

Mandatory for B2B/Enterprise Businesses

Enterprise-grade businesses deal with a lot more data than typical business-to-customer (B2C) businesses. SEO professionals in these businesses perform projections only once or twice a year. The massive datasets don’t allow them to micromanage the search data on a weekly or monthly basis.

During these projections, individual teams are assigned key performance indicators (KPIs), budgets, and yearly goals.

Now, how do you know if the KPIs are feasible considering the resources? This is where SEO forecasting comes into play again. By running the simulation in advance, you can generate objective reports.

If you need more budget or more staff to achieve the KPIs, you can justify it to upper management with SEO forecasting tools.

The same is true when you’re servicing an enterprise-grade company as an SEO agency. You can simply run predictive traffic modeling SEO forecasts to align goals in advance.

Data Points that Matter in SEO Efforts

Of course, SEO forecasting is a heavily data-oriented task. It doesn’t matter whether you gather it from Google Analytics or Google Search Console. What matters is that you understand what each data point means in an SEO forecast.

data for seo forecasting tool

Search Volume

This is pretty self-explanatory. Search volume data provides the average number of monthly searches for specific keywords. Some popular tools to gather keyword search volume include Keyword Overview, Keyword Magic Tool, etc.

Organic Traffic/CTR

The click-through rate or CTR in SEO forecasting indicates the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions for a particular asset. The asset may be a landing page, a sales page, a product page, or any other types of pages you might be targeting for a particular keyword.

CTR depends on how your website performs in search engine rankings, whether it meets the search intent or not, and the relevance of the content on the page.

Google Search Console is universally regarded as the best source to collect CTR data.

Keyword Difficulty

Keyword difficulty (KD) is one of the many metrics used in SEO forecasting that illustrates how hard it is to rank a particular keyword. It’s part of the keyword forecasting paradigm. A business is better off with less competitive keywords simply because it doesn’t require as many resources.

Typically, keyword difficulty is measured on a scale from 0 and 100. A keyword with a score of 80 is more difficult to rank on the first page compared to a keyword with a score of 60.

When you use SEO forecasting in your business, knowing the keyword difficulty comes in handy to determine ranking potential.

The good thing is that almost every keyword research tool comes with a difficulty score.

Conversion Rate

Now, there is debate among SEOs about the true definition of conversion. Some experts define conversion rate as the percentage of visitors that become leads. The other school of thought states conversion rate is the ratio of total visitors to sales.

For my post, I’m going with the former simply because I found this definition on a Semrush blog. In case you’re not aware, Semrush is one of the biggest names in SEO, especially keyword research.

When you have historical data on conversion, you can use it effectively for SEO forecasting.

Lead-to-Sale Conversion Rate

This dictates the percentage of leads that turned into paying customers.

Average Order Value

This is a look into all the orders your business has processed over a fixed time period. The goal is to identify the average transaction amount. This is important because at the end of the day, the more products you sell, the more money you make.

Backlinks

In SEO, backlinking can turn out to be an excellent strategy. Believe it or not, it’s also very important for SEO forecasting.

In layman’s terms, backlinks are links on third-party websites that point to your website. It builds authority in Google’s eyes. By factoring in how the current backlinks are performing and what the backlinking strategy entails, you can get a good idea about which sites are linking to you and which sites you should target next.

This is where the competitor data also comes into play. If you see a top-performing competitor in your niche getting backlinks from a handful of sites over and over, you can also target them to get an edge. There are plenty of free backlink checker tools on the internet so it should be a walk in the park.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of your website visitors that left after viewing only one page. In other words, they “bounced”.  A high bounce rate is often a telltale sign that something is wrong with the landing page. It may also be an indication that you should focus more on the user experience rather than SEO forecasting.

How to Forecast SEO Growth & Potential

Now that you understand the SEO forecasting potential and how it impacts business revenue, I should introduce you to the process. The core idea of SEO forecasting is analyzing historical data to predict the future performance of your website.

steps for seo forecasting

The SEO forecasting template you use will slightly vary for organic traffic and paid traffic. For this post, I’m sticking to the organic traffic growth model as most businesses rely on it.

Step 1: Gather Historical Data

As you already know analyzing data is the name of the game, let’s get right to it. Understanding historical trends sets the baseline for your forecasting model. You need to include both the high-traffic period and low-traffic periods.

If you’re wondering where to collect traffic data for forecasting, first-party sources like Google Analytics and Search Console are always the best choices. The reason is that they’re powered by Google and you’re optimizing your website for Google’s search engine.

However, gathering data for your website only is not going to cut it. To accurately project SEO results, you need to peek into your competitors’ historical data too. It’s the only way you can compare aspects like search volume, organic search, and how specific keywords boost SEO growth.

To gather your competitors’ data, you must invest in a third-party tool like Ahrefs or Semrush. These resources update the data graphs periodically to provide the most up-to-date insights for SEO forecasting.

By the time you’re done collecting all the data, you should have the average performance of all the subjects. While there is no concrete rule on how far back one should go, most experts believe the same size should include at least 2 years of data.

Finally, you can use a data visualization tool like Google Data Studio to get a better look at what the data is trying to tell you.

Step 2: Reviewing the Data

Once you have all the data ready, it’s time to put everything in SEO forecasting tools to predict future rankings. But keep in mind that only historical data is not enough for an accurate SEO forecast.

It simply comes down to the dynamic nature of the digital world. The landscape is always changing with new search engine updates, changes in consumer behavior, changes in the global economy, and plenty of other external factors.

So, if you only rely on past data for SEO forecasting, the results are going to be way off.

The prime example of this is the Coronavirus pandemic during 2020 and 2021. Most countries declared lockdowns, causing billions of people to remain indoors. The fact that they couldn’t go out to gather resources meant they had to order them online.

As a result, most e-commerce and online businesses soared during those 2 years. Now, if you were to forecast SEO based on those years, you’d end up with very biased data.

What I’m trying to establish here is that you need to consider all the external factors when analyzing the data on an SEO forecasting tool.

Step 3: Using SEO Forecasting Tools to Bind Everything Together

After you successfully gather data from the right sources and factor in all the discrepancies, it’s time to close the deal with forecasting tools. You can develop in-house SEO forecasting tools with a simple programming language like Python or use third-party automated solutions.

If you ask me, the latter option is better because it eliminates a lot of complexities from the system. Manual SEO forecasting means going through pages of Google Sheets and other documents, something I never look forward to doing.

You’ll still need the documents for an automated tool but you don’t have to calculate anything manually. All you have to do is upload the documents in the right format and the SEO forecasting tool will take care of the rest.

Some of the most popular SEO forecasting tools include Ahrefs Traffic Site Forecast and Moz’s SEO forecasting template.

Types of SEO Forecasting

The term SEO forecasting is pretty broad. While there are proven steps to do it successfully, all approaches are not the same. For starters, what type of historical data you use will impact your final SEO ROI.

types of seo forecasting

In this section, let me share the most common types of forecasting techniques for a search engine and how you can achieve the desired results.

Keyword Tracking

Keyword research is the backbone of any SEO strategy and you probably won’t find a single soul who disagrees. The task of keyword research entails finding the right keywords for your niche that satisfy the search intent.

After you implement them in your content, a keyword-tracking tool comes into play. Keyword tracking is simply monitoring keyword data like rankings, difficulty, search volume, etc.

This approach is perfect for when you need to make quick changes in your SEO efforts based on keyword rankings. Many online businesses use this keyword forecasting technique to project traffic and revenue.

If you see some keyword rankings are better than others, you can create more content around those terms to get more eyes on your website.

In terms of limitations, you may not get a full picture of your SEO performance. The SEO forecast tool may not be able to capture all relevant keywords simply because everything in this space is changing rapidly.

Analytics Analysis

This is certainly a more advanced SEO forecasting method than keyword forecasting. You’re involving critical data metrics like website visitors, organic traffic, and conversion. I usually gather all of this from Google Analytics.

The goal of this approach is to get a better idea of how customers are interacting with your online business, what they like or dislike, and what products they buy most often.

Analytics is undoubtedly the most powerful SEO tool in your arsenal if you know how to use it properly.

For example, let’s assume you own a small business that sells kids’ toys online. You’ve targeted all the right keywords for your local area and you’ve also started to show up in search results. But the sales are not satisfactory.

Analytics can offer valuable insights here. For the sake of this example, let’s say the majority of traffic comes from mobile devices. But at the same time, the bounce rate for mobile devices is very high.

What does it tell you?

To me, it’s the telltale sign that your site is not optimized for mobile. Visitors are coming in but are unwilling to go through the checkout process.

It can be broken page layouts. It can be lengthy load times. It can be improper placement of the buttons. Whatever it is, you need to fix it. You may have to invest in a mobile responsive website layout, optimize the load speed, restructure the buttons closer to action fingers, and so on.

When you use analytics like this in SEO forecasting, you can also identify issues that are otherwise hard to diagnose. This is one of my favorite methods of forecasting SEO traffic.

As for the downsides of this approach, time is perhaps the biggest one. Unlike analyzing performance on search engines based on a single factor, the Google analytics-based approach takes a lot longer. Also, external factors like algorithm changes can be hard to track.

Competitor Research

As the name suggests, you primarily focus on competitor data for your SEO forecasting. The goal is to figure out their SEO strategies and how your strategies stand up against them. This is a great window into your weaknesses. Remember, the goal is never to copy the best-performing businesses. Rather, it’s to inspire your strategy.

Of course, the approach is going to vary based on your business type. If you own a third-party e-commerce business where you facilitate other vendors to sell their products, you have to deal with a lot more data.

On the contrary, if you own a small business that sells specific products, the radius of the search engine factors becomes a lot smaller.

Whatever the case is, you first need to figure out what keywords your competitors are ranking for. It’s simply because no strategy to forecast SEO will work without a proper rundown of the keywords.

You can do a quick Google search to verify whether you picked the right keywords or not. Once you enter the search parameter, you competitors you analyzed should rank pretty high on the first page.

From there, your goal is to create high-quality content around those keywords. The more content you pump out relating to the search intent, the more likely it is that your website will rank on the first page of Google.

Using the right SEO forecasting tool on your competitors can also provide helpful insights on best business practices. For example, if you see a business in your niche generating lots of organic traffic with video content, it may be time you start rolling out videos.

Best Tools for SEO Forecasting

By now, you know that an SEO forecast is not a quick job you can get through in a few hours. It requires proper planning and research to execute it properly. The better you prepare, the more accurately you can forecast future traffic data.

You may have also guessed from my post so far that SEO forecasting requires the use of a lot of different tools. In this section, let me share some of my favorite tools that have helped me reach my SEO goals in the past.

Google Trends

This is one of the most powerful yet overlooked tools in forecasting. In case you’re not aware, Google Trends allows you to track keyword popularity in real time. As I’ve already mentioned, SEO performance depends on what time of the year it is and what the consumers are looking for at that time.

You can use Google Trends after you’ve identified the top keywords your website should rank for. When you input those keywords in Google Trends, you get a clear picture of how popular those keywords are at different types of the year.

This offers a unique opportunity for SEO professionals to prepare a content strategy in advance. For example, if you enter the keyword “whiskey to stay warm”, you should notice an increased interest in this keyword during the winter months.

From there, you can make changes to your content strategy and publish more whiskey-related content during the winter to utilize the increased search volume.

Ubersuggest

As far as free keyword tools are concerned, it doesn’t get any better than Ubersuggest. It’s Neil Patel’s favorite keyword tool that doubles as a keyword tracking tool. After you find and implement the keywords into the website’s SEO forecasting tool, you can use Ubersuggest to track the performance.

Based on the real-time data, you can make changes to the strategy when needed. It’s also a great tool to find supplementary keywords in a given niche. If I use the same whiskey example, you get to explore other whiskey-related keywords using Ubersuggest. And of course, you can track the performance of these keywords.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a household name among SEO professionals. It’s a little more hands-on compared to some of the other tools I’ve discussed in this post. For example, you can monitor backlinks and analyze competitor strategies with the same tool instead of jumping back and forth.

Keyword Magic Tool

This is a crowd favorite thanks to its simplicity. By definition, it’s a keyword research tool that helps SEO professionals find relevant keywords along with search volume.

Using the Keyword Magic Tool is sufficiently straightforward. You enter the core term in the search bar and allow the tool to list all the relevant keywords. This is an excellent way of keyword forecasting because you get data on search intent, volume, KD%, and SERP features. You can export the list of keywords along with other data columns as XLSX or CSV files.

Keyword Overview

Yet another keyword research tool. This time, it’s by Semrush. In case you’re not aware, Semrush is one of the most reputable keyword tools out there. You not only get keywords and their volume but also how the volume changes over time. Similar to the previous tool, it can give you valuable insights about the search intent, difficulty, and SERP features.

Google Search Console

The Search Console by Google is perhaps the best SEO forecasting tool out there to maximize your SEO efforts. It’s a transparent window for your website traffic analysis. You can monitor how search engine rankings influence your website traffic, total clicks, click-through rate, conversion, and lots of other important data.

 When is SEO Forecasting Not Good

As much as I love to do SEO forecast to boost business growth, there are times you can’t use it. Just like any other strategy or process, forecasting has its own limitations.

Perhaps the biggest limitation of the practice is the unpredictable nature of the SEO landscape. Things can change overnight in this space and your SEO forecasting model is susceptible to complete failure in such cases.

This only fortifies what I said about online business growth during the pandemic. No forecasting model would have accounted for the increased search volume and conversion. Fortunately, it turned out great for online business owners, especially ecommerce owners. But it may not always be the case.

Sometimes, a new technology may come along and disrupt trends across industries. For example, if you were to forecast SEO performance for a company that offers live chat services to businesses and ChatGPT came along, it would render your projections useless.

At the same time, changes in business processes can impact the forecast, especially if it’s already completed. Changing the site domain, adding new products, adding or deleting content, etc. can all have an impact on the overall SEO growth of the website. Projections done before these changes will not be reflected in the forecast.

What I’m trying to establish here is that you shouldn’t jump into a forecasting tool without factoring in all the aspects. Especially when you’re dealing with someone else’s business.  

Alternatives to SEO Forecasting

If improving organic traffic is the sole purpose for you to use an SEO forecasting tool, there might be some better alternatives than a SEO forecast out there. Of course, only if forecasting doesn’t seem to be a viable option.

Increased SEO Efforts

Keeping up to date with best SEO practices is arguably a better choice than SEO forecasting. When you’re always striving for better outputs by incorporating these practices, your future organic traffic should automatically increase.

  • The best SEO practices include but are not limited to:
  • Publishing high-quality and keyword-optimized content
  • Keeping the image size small for better site load speeds
  • Using proper headers in the content
  • Answering the user query directly

Better Branding

The ultimate goal of putting in branding efforts is to make your business more visible. When you invest time and resources into branding, you’re improving the SEO potential of your business. Running social media campaigns is one of the best things you can do to increase visibility online.

If your business model allows it, arrange different interactive activities for your target audience. Quizzes are really big these days. The bottom line here is that you should focus on creating a digital buzz for your business.

Keep Up

Do you know where a lot of business owners go wrong? They study hard before the exam day and pass with flying colors. But they fail to understand that, in SEO, it’s a new exam every single day.

To give your business a realistic chance to grow, you must keep yourself updated on the SEO best practices as well as marketing practices. You need to keep up with the latest developments and use the initial hype for any product or technology in your content.

Most importantly, you must keep an open mind to learn.

Pros and Cons of SEO Forecasting

As you already saw, forecasting SEO is not a foolproof method. It has its benefits as well as drawbacks. Before I put the wraps on this post, let me summarize the pros and cons of a SEO forecast for you to refer back to.

Pros

  • Identifying potential inefficiencies in SEO strategy
  • Tracking competitor performance to draw inspiration from
  • Insights about keyword performance
  • Better SEO practices in the long run
  • Supplementary to ROI projections for the accounting team

Cons

  • Manual SEO forecast takes a long time
  • Advanced knowledge of SEO best practices required
  • Prone to inaccuracy due to external factors

FAQ

What Metrics Should You Track In Your SEO Forecast?

Experts typically suggest tracking organic traffic, click-through rate (CTR), bounce rate, search volume, etc. data metrics for SEO forecasting. The goal is to analyze historical data and predict future outcomes based on templates.

Where Should You Not Use SEO Forecasting?

The biggest weakness of SEO forecasting is external factors. Most forecasting models fail to account for the changing SEO landscape. If the forecasting tools are not updated timely, they can generate severely skewed projections. A good rule of thumb is not to use SEO forecasting if you have a better option in hand.

Why is SEO forecasting important?

One of the primary use cases of SEO forecasting is resource management. Based on the forecast data, you can assign the necessary resources to the appropriate department. With objective data analysis, it’s often hard for business owners and managers to manage the available resources in hand.

Why is SEO forecasting difficult?

SEO forecasting, especially in the long term, is quite difficult simply because search engine algorithms are constantly changing. Also, businesses have no control over external factors like pandemics and wars. All of these interruptions may not make the forecasting method any harder but definitely impact the accuracy.

What causes poor SEO forecasting?

For any kind of forecasting, the biggest enemy is poor-quality data. If the historical data you gather is not reliable, you can’t expect a reliable projection. To avoid such issues, I always recommend first-party tools like Google Analytics and Search Console.

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