You can never really know what the future holds, but you can certainly prepare for it. SEO forecasting gives you a glimpse into your website’s future performance on search engines, helping you improve the visibility of your brand among search users. That can optimize decision-making and let you allocate marketing resources more effectively. Learn more about SEO forecasting, its benefits, how to do it, and the best forecasting tools in this guide from Symphonic Digital.
What Is SEO Forecasting?
Search engine optimization (SEO) forecasting is the process of predicting changes to your website’s performance on search engines like Google. By analyzing data from various sources, you can anticipate future search positions, website traffic, click-through rates, and other benchmarks. That allows you to plan your digital marketing campaigns more productively.
Say your website ranks on page 2 on Google for a popular search term. SEO forecasting helps you learn how long it will take to increase this ranking by analyzing current and historical data. You can discover which marketing methods will improve your position on Google and plan for the future.
It’s impossible to carry out SEO forecasting without the right digital tools. That’s because you need to analyze a great deal of data to predict patterns and trends in your search campaigns. SEO forecasting tools display insights about possible search engine outcomes via charts, graphs, and other data visualizations, making it easier to predict the visibility of your website on search engines in the future.
Why Is SEO Forecasting Important?
SEO forecasting is important because it lets you plan your future search campaigns and make smarter decisions. You can identify any problems that might impact your search rankings in the months and years ahead and take quick action to resolve these issues. You’ll also learn which marketing methods might improve your position on search engines.
Knowing how your website ranks on search engines now is essential. However, understanding the factors that will influence your rankings in the future is just as important. That’s why SEO forecasting is so valuable. It lets you anticipate changes in your search campaigns over time, helping you capitalize on the best SEO strategies for your brand.
Another benefit of SEO forecasting is that it lets you allocate your marketing resources to the right places. For example, SEO forecasting tools might reveal that content creation will continue to drive traffic to your website, encouraging you to invest more money in content marketing.
While SEO forecasting won’t tell you exactly where your website will rank six months or a year from now, it can guide your SEO efforts by providing the data you need to make changes to your campaigns. This marketing method can give you a competitive advantage and generate intelligence about your search campaigns that you can share with team members and stakeholders in your business.
How to Forecast SEO Growth
Forecasting SEO growth involves collecting data about previous and current search campaigns, analyzing that data, and making predictions. SEO forecasting tools will do all of that work for you, making it easier to predict growth on search engines. You can then make smarter decisions about your search campaigns in the coming months and years.
The first step to forecasting SEO growth is collecting current and historical data about your search campaigns. This data might include keyword rankings, search engine rankings, organic traffic, and click-through rates. SEO forecasting tools require this data to make predictions about future growth.
After collecting data, forecasting software will analyze that information via various algorithms and statistical techniques. For example, a tool might carry out predictive analytics, which predicts future SEO trends based on current and historical data. Much of this process is automated, meaning you don’t need to make any manual calculations from SEO data.
After analyzing data, forecasting tools will display insights about future SEO growth on dashboards and other visualizations, helping you make accurate predictions. For example, a bar chart might reveal that your search rankings will continue to improve if you use a particular keyword.
SEO Forecasting Metrics
SEO forecasting metrics are the benchmarks you use to predict SEO growth. These include keyword rankings, search engine rankings, bounce rates, click-through rates, and organic traffic. Metrics tell you business-critical information about different elements of your search campaigns so you can forecast the future of your website’s performance with greater accuracy.
Keyword rankings reveal how the keywords you use in your website content rank on search engines. For example, a particular keyword might help you rank for a popular search query and increase the position of your website on Google for that term.
Keyword forecasting is one of the most effective SEO techniques because you can learn whether your keywords will generate traffic in the future. For example, SEO forecasting tools might reveal that a keyword is no longer effective in driving people to your site and will continue to negatively impact your search rankings over time. In this scenario, you can change the keyword for a more lucrative one.
Search engine rankings
This metric tracks your website’s current and historical positions on search engines. You can learn whether your search rankings increase or decrease over time and predict the future of your positions on platforms like Google. If SEO forecasting tools reveal your search positions are declining, you can take quick action and resolve this problem.
Bounce rate is the number of people who click away from your website after landing on it from a search engine. For example, someone who clicks the “back” button on their browser because they are not interested in your products and services. A high bounce rate can impact your position on search engines, so tracking this metric is crucial. You’ll learn why people are not interested in your offerings and can make changes to your website to preserve or improve search rankings in the future.
Click-through rate is the number of people who click on a search engine result and land on your website. Monitoring this metric is essential because you’ll learn whether your search engine listings are effective. If a search engine listing isn’t generating enough click-throughs, it might be because it’s not properly optimized for search. For example, a listing might lack an adequate meta description or an enticing call-to-action (CTA) that encourages people to click on it.
Conversion rate tells you how many people convert into customers after clicking on a link to your website in a search engine. For example, search users who purchase something on your online store or sign up for a free trial of your product. SEO forecasting tools can predict whether users will continue to convert into customers in the future.
The organic traffic metric reveals how much traffic your website generates from organic search results — unpaid listings that appear on search results pages. By tracking this metric, you can discover which organic search engine listings drive the most traffic to your pages and predict organic traffic over time. SEO forecasting tools monitor current and historical organic traffic, helping you make more accurate predictions about website performance on search engines.
Tracking your current paid ad campaigns can reveal insights about the future. For example, you can learn which types of ad campaigns are most effective for driving traffic to your website in the coming months and years. The paid-for traffic metric reveals which ad campaigns generate the most value and whether you should continue to invest in them.
Monitoring the links you include in your website content is valuable for determining whether those links will positively or negatively impact your search engine results in the future. Say you include a link to an authoritative source in a blog post. SEO forecasting tools can tell you whether that link is helping you rank on search engines and whether it will continue to do so over time. A forecasting tool can also reveal whether links are jeopardizing your search rankings, perhaps because they direct to dubious or factually incorrect websites.
The 5 Best SEO Forecasting Tools
The best SEO forecasting tools include Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Prophet by Facebook. All of these tools generate intelligence about your search campaigns so you predict the future of your website’s performance. You can learn more about keyword rankings, bounce rates, click-through rates, and other benchmarks with forecasting tools.
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most-used tool for forecasting SEO. This free platform generates intelligence about your search campaigns and displays information on reports, dashboards, and other visualizations. With Google Analytics, you can predict the future of your SEO campaigns from an easy-to-use interface that works on both desktop and mobile devices.
2. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another free service from Google. Unlike Google Analytics, it doesn’t reveal insights about individual search users and focuses more on website performance. However, it can be an effective tool for forecasting SEO growth and is a worthy addition to any marketing tech stack.
Ahrefs is a paid-for SEO forecasting tool that monitors the performance of your website on Google and other search engines. You can use it to predict the future of your campaigns and make adjustments to your SEO efforts where necessary. Ahrefs also offers features for search engine optimization, including a keyword research tool, competitor analysis, SEO alerts, and SEO audits.
Like Ahrefs, SEMrush is a paid-for service but lets you track your current search campaigns and improve future growth. It generates SEO insights via various data visualizations, making it easier to plan ahead and identify challenges that might impact your marketing efforts. Other features include competitor research, keyword research, backlink analysis, and website crawling.
5. Prophet by Facebook
Facebook’s Prophet is an open-source library that forecasts SEO growth by analyzing current and historical datasets. You can use it to predict website traffic and make more timely decisions about your SEO campaigns. However, Prophet requires knowledge of Python or R API, making it difficult for users without programming skills.
You can also use spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel to forecast SEO growth. However, the forecasting tools above are more effective when dealing with huge amounts of data and making complex calculations.
SEO Forecasting Strategy
An SEO forecasting strategy is an action plan that lets you get more value from your forecasting efforts. It involves choosing the right metrics to track, selecting the best forecasting tool for your needs, and aligning your SEO forecast goals with your long-term business objectives. You can adjust your strategy as you continue to track your SEO campaigns.
How to best use findings from SEO forecasting
Once you have generated insights from SEO forecasting, it’s important to discuss this intelligence with your marketing team so you can make smarter organizational decisions. For example, if an SEO forecasting tool reveals that a particular keyword no longer provides value, you should research new keywords to incorporate into your website content.
Don’t rely on any particular SEO forecast for too long because different factors can impact your search rankings and website traffic over time. Continuing to predict SEO outcomes with the right tools will mean you are always one step ahead.
Long-term business objectives
SEO forecasting should align with your long-term business objectives. For example, if those objectives are to increase revenue, you can use forecasting to figure out different ways to drive traffic from search engines to your online store. An SEO forecasting tool will reveal how people engage with your website through search engines, allowing you to think up new ways to generate traffic from results pages.
SEO forecasting provides insights into your website’s performance on search engines, helping you improve rankings and drive traffic to your pages. Using the latest SEO forecasting tools and tracking the right metrics will make this process easier for your team, allowing you to increase the visibility of your website on platforms like Google.
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