Your website probably won’t generate the same amount of search traffic month after month. Assuming it’s properly optimized, its search traffic will likely increase. Rather than blindly guessing how much search traffic your website will generate in the coming months, though, you should consider using search engine optimization (SEO) forecasting. SEO forecasting can help you predict your website’s future search traffic.
What Is SEO Forecasting?
SEO forecasting is a form of predictive analytics that’s designed to predict how much search traffic a website will generate in the future based. It takes into account the website’s historical search traffic, and in some cases, third-party data.
If you invest your time and resources into organic SEO, you may want to know how it will affect your website’s search traffic. SEO forecasting offers a solution. You can use SEO forecasting to predict your website’s future search traffic.
Collect Data on Historical Search Traffic
To use SEO forecasting, you’ll need to collect data on your website’s historical search traffic. Historical search traffic consists of organic visitors who discovered and accessed your website by clicking an unpaid listing in the search results. SEO forecasting requires this data.
You’ll need to find out how much search traffic your website generated in the past so that you can predict its future search traffic.
Google Analytics and Search Console offer data on historical search traffic. You can use either of these platforms for SEO forecasting, but Google Analytics is more robust. It can provide search traffic data involving multiple search engines, whereas Search Console is limited to Google.
Whether you use Google Analytics, Search Console, or any other platform, go back at least one full year. The farther back you go, the more data you’ll have.
And with more data on your website’s historical search traffic, you can better predict your site’s future search traffic. If you only have one or two months’ worth of search traffic data, SEO forecasting won’t be of much use.
Calculate Search Traffic Velocity
After collecting data on your website’s historical search traffic, you should try to calculate its velocity.
Velocity is a measurement of how quickly your website is gaining or losing search traffic. If your website attracted 1,000 organic visitors during a given month, followed by 1,100 the next month and then 1,210 organic visitors the month after that, the velocity of its search traffic would be 10 percent per month.
Search traffic velocity can be positive or negative. A positive velocity indicates your website’s search traffic is increasing. A negative velocity indicates your website’s search traffic is decreasing.
Look for Trends
You should look for trends in your website’s historical search data. Your website may or may not have a clear search traffic velocity. Search traffic can fluctuate during different times of the year. If you have a lot of seasonal content on your website, for instance, you may notice a higher volume of search traffic during certain months.
Seasonal content is characterized by a cyclical period of relevance.
It’s not relevant all 365 days of the year. Rather, seasonal content is only relevant during a particular time or season of the year. A blog post about shopping for a bathing suit is relevant during the summer, whereas a blog post about furnace maintenance is relevant during the winter.
While analyzing your website’s historical search data, look for traffic fluctuations. Seasonal content may result in traffic fluctuations. Your website’s search traffic will increase during the periods for which the seasonal content is relevant, and its search traffic will decrease during the rest of the year.
Leverage an SEO Forecasting Tool
There are forecasting tools that you can use to predict your website’s future search traffic, such as Google Data Studio. Available at datastudio.google.com/data, Google Data Studio allows you to visualize data from one or more sources. You can connect it to Google Analytics, Search Console, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and more.
There are other forecasting tools besides Google Data Studio. Facebook offers an open-source tool. Known as Prophet by Facebook, you can use it for SEO forecasting. It has a steeper learning curve than Google Data Studio, but Prophet by Facebook is an incredibly powerful, as well as free, forecasting tool.
Take Action After Using SEO Forecasting
You should take action after using SEO forecasting. SEO forecasting only provides insight into how much search traffic your website should generate in the future. You can use that information to your advantage, but you’ll have to take action.
If you discover traffic fluctuations, you may want to refine your website’s content.
You can publish new pieces of seasonal content, for example, to fill gaps when your website generates less search traffic. You can also perform on-page SEO to rank those pieces of seasonal content higher.
If your website is expected to generate a substantial amount of search traffic in the near future, you may want to upgrade your hosting server. All web hosting servers have a capacity.
They can only handle a limited amount of traffic before they can begin to experience technical problems. Your hosting server may perform flawlessly now, but as your website’s search traffic increases, it may buckle under the pressure.
In addition to upgrading your hosting server, you should audit your website’s usability.
If its search traffic is expected to increase, you’ll want to ensure that visitors are able to easily use it. Usability problems can be disastrous during periods of heavy search traffic. Your website may attract 50,000 or 100,000 organic visitors during a given month, but if it suffers from usability problems, they won’t have a positive experience.
Usability problems will cause visitors to leave your website. Search engines will notice that visitors are leaving your website after clicking it in the search results — a phenomenon known as pogo-sticking — so they may demote your site’s rankings.
There’s no crystal ball that will reveal exactly how much search traffic your website will generate in the future.
SEO forecasting, however, can give you a general idea of your website’s future search traffic. SEO forecasting involves collecting historical search traffic data, calculating search traffic velocity, looking for trends, and taking action. You can also leverage a forecasting tool to compile search traffic predictions based on data sources.