Our precise algorithm estimates the monthly Visibility, additional sessions, conversions, and revenue, based on the estimated target ranks of the keywords for each month of the forecasted timeframe. You can define the ascent of the keywords towards these target ranks by setting up the Progression Speed, and then visualize how achieving these target ranks will impact your Visibility and organic traffic.
SEO forecasts are not magical predictions but are rather based on a meticulous, research-driven algorithm that generates reliable estimates. Here, we describe its inputs, parameters, and how it works, so you can understand it, trust it, and communicate it to your stakeholders.
Creating a forecast starts with setting up an SEO goal. The following parameters that you set up as part of the SEO goal are the inputs for the algorithm:
a start date
the keyword groups from your keyword strategy that you want to include in the forecast
the target rank you want to achieve for each keyword group (between 2 and 10)
an estimated progression speed from the current rankings to the targeted ones
By turning on the Extended forecast switch, we calculate the forecast for the next equal timeframe after the rank goals are reached. For instance, if your forecast timeframe is 6 months, the algorithm estimates the monthly traffic and overall additional traffic for that timeframe, and by assuming that the rank targets are reached, it calculates how the traffic would look over the following equal period of 6 months by keeping those rankings.
The Progression Speed
The predefined progression speed options are Conservative, Moderate, and Optimistic. Each speed has a predefined number of months within which keywords would reach each rank segment:
from outside the top 100 to position 99
from 99 to 20
from 20 to the set target
You can choose one of the predefined speeds or set your own Custom speed by specifying the number of months the keywords will take to reach each rank segment. The progression speed determines the monthly targeted ranks for the keywords. Assuming that they are achieved, we calculate the Visibility and additional non-brand organic traffic generated for the forecast timeframe.
Note: You can also add a Key Competitor, so you can see their average ranks on the groups of keywords selected for the forecast. The algorithm doesn't take this into account, but this will give you a reference to make decisions on your own rank goals.
The Forecast Algorithm
Once you set up the SEO goal, the algorithm uses these inputs to process the latest keyword data from the Rank Tracker, while taking into account factors such as the effect of SERP Features on CTR, search volume and its Year-over-Year trend, and long-tail effect, to generate the forecast estimates.
Due to the presence of SERP Features in the overall search landscape, the search volume doesn't tell the full story, as depending on which SERP features are present and their positions, only a fraction of the searches could end up clicking on organic results.
For this reason, we consider that percentage of clicks and several other key variables that influence non-brand organic traffic so that you get the most reliable estimates.
The default Organic-Only CTR curve is the generic curve we obtained, for keywords with no SERP features present, for the top 20 ranks on our research with 4 million keywords. In this research, we also determined how many clicks each unique mix of SERP Features will take away from the organic results and discounted them, to arrive at the % Clicks on organic results. This metric measures the impact of SERP Features on CTR, and we take this into account to calculate the effective number of clicks that would end up on organic results in the presence of SERP Features.
You can input your own Organic-Only CTR values for each rank by selecting 'Custom'.
We recommend keeping the SERP Features Impact option enabled. Without it, the estimates will get significantly distorted, as they greatly impact the CTR curves on organic results.
Search Volume Precision
The algorithm takes in the average search volume calibrated by the Year-over-Year trend for each month of the timeframe and segments it by device. This improves the search volume precision, which in turn improves the CTR accuracy, with a search volume that is actually left to be captured through SEO.
Furthermore, the estimated monthly traffic is plotted on the search seasonality of the keywords, and you can view its impact in the Monthly Forecast chart.
The performance improvement on the keywords included in the forecast will also have a “butterfly effect” on other related keywords with similar search intent that are not included in the SEO goal. We identify these related keywords through our Topic Explorer technology.
The algorithm calculates the additional sessions these keywords would generate and adds it to the overall additional sessions for each keyword.
Using our curated keyword database and the topic aggregation system, we can identify these long-tail keywords and include their impact in the calculation.
With all the parameters considered, here's how we calculate the estimates:
We start from the initial ranks and using the progression speed you set, we estimate the ranks the keywords will reach each month within the timeframe. This forms the target rank of the month, denoted as Rank(Mo).
We reliably process search volumes by aggregating close variants and avoid duplicating the volumes. We take SERP features' impact into account and discount the volumes with the %clicks metric. We split the volumes by device and use the corresponding organic-only CTR curves to arrive at the sessions generated for each month, denoted as Sessions(Mo).
We sum up the monthly sessions for the entire timeframe of the forecast to arrive at the estimated total number of sessions generated throughout the timeframe.
We then multiply the Conversion rate with the total sessions obtained, to calculate the total conversions.
We use conversion rates to calculate the additional conversions you'd get from these additional sessions. We multiply each keyword's estimated additional sessions by its conversion rate.
The "Best Match" option will fetch the first available conversion rate for each keyword, in this order:
The keyword's conversion rate
The conversion rate of the raking page of the keyword
The overall non-brand organic traffic conversion rate.
If the keywords are newly added and don't have historical data in the Rank Tracker, we might not be able to get conversion rates for them. In such cases, either the conversion rate of the landing page or the overall non-brand organic traffic conversion rate applies. You can also enter a "Custom" value instead.
We further use the average conversion value from Analytics to convert these additional conversions into estimated revenue.
We believe the best precision is achieved when all the variables are taken into account, but we give you the option to select only the variables relevant to you.
Our Forecast algorithm considers variables beyond search volumes and ranking data to calculate the monthly Visibility and estimated additional sessions. The algorithm shows the process and the detailed results in business metrics, so you can trust it to generate reliable and pitch-worthy estimates.