SEO is all about the long haul.
It can take weeks or months before you see the fruits of your labour.
I know it can get a bit unnerving in-between. You want to see a clear return and results, right?
Once you do SEO enough, you gain confidence knowing that your strategies will make an impact later.
It also has 20x more traffic opportunities than PPC, making it well worth the wait.
However, you can also get a clear picture of what to expect when those results do happen by forecasting SEO traffic.
You don’t need a crystal ball to do this, either.
You just need the template and steps I’m offering you in this article.
Step 1: Collect historical data from Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free analytics tool for webmasters.
It collects data on your website including organic traffic, top pages, and important metrics.
Presuming you already have GA set up and you’ve collected data, navigate to the “Acquisition” and “Channels” tabs.
If you haven’t already, register for an account, connect a website, and give Google approximately one week to refresh the dashboard.
Continuing, click “Organic Search” and export it from the top right as a CSV. You will need this data later to plug into the free template.
You don’t require GA specifically, though. Use an analytics platform you’re comfortable with or read these related articles to get ideas if needed:
- Google Analytics vs Mixpanel – A Detailed Comparison
- Google Analytics vs Hotjar: In-Depth Comparison
- A Comprehensive Hotjar Review – Is It Worth the Money?
Step 2: Enter data into SEO forecast template
Here’s my gift for you: a free SEO forecasting template.
Because, after all, not everyone is a wizard with Google Sheets or Excel. So, I’ve saved you hours of tinkering.
This is what the template looks like:
It has a few different important columns, including growth and a seasonal index.
Click “File” and make a copy of it onto your Google Drive account.
Begin plugging in the data you pulled from the Google Analytics report in the first step. It will take a couple of minutes and adjust the graph you see on the right.
In particular, you want to add the “Organic Traffic” numbers to each appropriate month’s column on the “Data” sheet.
All of the formulas are already set up for you including a seasonal index and standard deviation.
Go back to the “SEO Forecast” sheet and you will see the chart has adjusted with the data you’ve inputted.
The light orange line is the data for 2018, dark orange for 2019, and purple is the forecasted data for 2020. Feel free to change these date ranges to forecast different time periods.
However, this will give you an idea of where traffic will continue moving if you were to continue at the pace your business is going.
That brings me to the next step.
Step 3: Adjust strategies and prepare for seasonal trends
Depending on how long you’ve been practicing SEO, you may or may not be able to forecast seasonal trends.
You will be able to forecast in general, though.
This is because you need at least two years of data to see if there are any trends during specific months or other time periods.
For seasonal trends, audit if there are any months or seasons that experience less or more traffic than others over the past two years and how that forecasts into the next.
If it’s higher, consider producing more content and scaling campaigns to capitalize on the opportunity.
On the flip side, if it’s drier than the Sahara desert, it may best reallocate efforts into another channel to stop paddling upstream.
Outside of seasonal trends, you also need to audit your brand’s content strategy. This plays a large role in SEO success and how the forecasted data will turn out.
In fact, content and keywords are the two most important factors for SEO according to a Databox study.
With that being said, ask these questions: have you been testing different keywords, topics, or publishing frequency? Has this changed SEO growth and how the forecasts change for the future?
Lastly, consider your backlink building strategy. Did you ramp up link building during a certain period and see a big impact? Use the forecast as a way to determine if particular strategies give a better projection.
Overall, If you see positive changes, continue pursuing those campaigns while refining and scaling them larger.
SEO takes a long time to create a return.
That’s why many search marketers end up biting their nails in anticipation waiting for the traffic to roll in.
Relax. It will happen.
But, it’s always to be safe than sorry; SEO forecasting is an excellent way to ensure that you’re growing at a steady rate over time.
After all, think about all of the things you do for your SEO in general: publishing content, optimizing UX, building backlinks, and so forth.
What’re the one mutual gaols for all of these things? More traffic!
Hence why it’s such a great indicator of all of your SEO efforts combined.
You can forecast search performance by first exporting all of your Google Analytics organic search data.
Then, plug the traffic numbers for each month into the template I provided you.
This will automatically forecast based on the functions I created. Feel free to add additional columns, information, etc.
And, there’s one last thing you need to know…
If you try Morphio today for free, our software will automatically track and forecast your SEO performance so you can focus on executing campaigns. It also helps you keep tabs on competitors metadata, rankings, and content changes.