In this Jellyfish Insights video, Matt Owen, Head of UK Agency, talks about the challenges of SEO forecasting.
Hi. My name is Matt Owen, and I'm Head of UK Agency here at Jellyfish.Î¾Today, I'm going to talk just for a few moments around SEO forecasting andÎ¾why it's maybe a bit more challenging than you might imagine.
So, obviously, as a business we would love to provide you guys with an SEOÎ¾forecast. It helps you to plan. It provides clarity and insight into what'sÎ¾going to go on. But unfortunately, there are some challenges aroundÎ¾assembling SEO forecasts, and that's what I'm going to run through in thisÎ¾video today.
And I'm going to focus on just three main data points. So the first one isÎ¾trying to get a handle on what the search opportunity is. The second one isÎ¾trying to understand what kind of visibility we can drive for a particularÎ¾keyword or a set of keywords. And the third one is how much traffic willÎ¾that actually drive to your website, in other words, what kind of clickÎ¾through rate could you possibly estimate?
So the first question is around search opportunity. So as you know, ifÎ¾we're thinking about an SEO campaign, we're generally trying to look at aÎ¾bundle of keywords, and we're trying to find out how much potential searchÎ¾volume those keywords can drive for you. So how do we do that? Well, likeÎ¾most people, we use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. So the obvious firstÎ¾question is: Well, how accurate is that tool? How well does it estimateÎ¾the search volume that's available to you? So we've done some maths.
So if you use Google AdWords Keyword Tool, and we're looking at a specificÎ¾keyword here, which is PPC agency, a very important keyword to us,Î¾and youÎ¾look at the local monthly search volume for that keyword on exact match forÎ¾Google UK, you will see that it gives you an estimated traffic volume ofÎ¾1,000 searches per month. So that sounds quite good.
So what we've done is we've had a lock in our PPC campaign, and using theÎ¾impressions that we see against that keyword and the impressions shareÎ¾analysis, we can actually derive a much more accurate figure for the realÎ¾search volume for that keyword. And guess what? There's actually quite aÎ¾big discrepancy. So if we analyse AdWords and impressions share, we canÎ¾actually see that the monthly search volume is about 667 searches a month.Î¾In other words, the AdWords Keyword Tool is out by about 49% or so. So justÎ¾hold that thought, because imagine that kind of discrepancy magnifiedÎ¾across a whole bunch of keywords. That's quite a big data error rightÎ¾there.
The second thing to bear in mind is when we're looking at the SEO forecast,Î¾we need to try and estimate what kind of visibility gains we can deliverÎ¾across your keyword set. Now there are some data points we can use forÎ¾that. So what we can see here is an analysis from the SEOmoz tool, theÎ¾SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty Tool, around the keyword "PPC agency." So theÎ¾good news for Jellyfish is that we're the number one slot here in theÎ¾natural search ranking, and looking at these metrics, you can see that theÎ¾green blocks, which are around page authority, and the red blocks aroundÎ¾domain authority indicate that we should be in that number one position.Î¾They're basically looking at our backlink profile.
But what's slightly more perplexing around this is you could look at thatÎ¾number two slot, the agency at that number two position have completelyÎ¾different metrics to we have, much, much weaker, but rather paradoxicallyÎ¾better than the metrics for the agency who are in the third slot.
So that's very interesting. It means that when we try to look at that SERPsÎ¾page and guess how much activity is required to actually drive us into aÎ¾certain position, those metrics are not very accurate. And it means thatÎ¾guessing where we can get you to is, well, it's a guess basically. SoÎ¾that's another challenge.
So add that together. So far, the search volume estimation is quiteÎ¾difficult, and actually estimating where we can get you to in terms of theÎ¾SERPs page is also quite challenging.
The third point that we're trying to look at here is essentially: At aÎ¾certain position, how much traffic will we drive? In other words, what isÎ¾the estimated click-through rates at a certain point on that natural SERPsÎ¾page?
So we can see here a graph, and this is an amalgamation of various click-Î¾through rate estimates that have been put together byChitika. This tells usÎ¾that if we're at position 1, our click-through rate should be around aboutÎ¾30%, maybe a little bit more. So again, we've done some real data analysisÎ¾on this, and if we look here, this is some data from Google WebmasterÎ¾tools, and this is showing us a click through rate for the keyword "PPCÎ¾agency," which we're at position one. And just look at this again. That'sÎ¾actually says 2%, not 30%. So that's a really big variation in terms ofÎ¾that click-through rate estimation.
Now that's for a non-brand term. So let's look at a brand term, and this isÎ¾for the keyword "Jellyfish." We're at number two on Google UK for thisÎ¾keyword. And again, this click-through rate is much, much lower thanÎ¾anything that's anticipated by the graph that we saw a few slides earlierÎ¾on.
So let's just put that together. So in other words, we have a big varianceÎ¾in terms of search volume demand, a very difficult job in terms ofÎ¾estimating where we can get you to on the SERPs landscape, and then, toÎ¾compound that, a really massive unknown in terms of the click-through rateÎ¾around that. So trying to estimate the traffic that's going to come throughÎ¾to your website is really, really difficult, and this is just for oneÎ¾keyword. So imagine the potential data variation across a basket of 50 orÎ¾100 or maybe 200 keywords. It's extremely difficult.
There's one more factor that I'd like to draw your attention to, because weÎ¾could, of course, look at the data of keywords coming to our current site,Î¾or traffic from those keywords, using Google Analytics. But again we have aÎ¾challenge here, because as you know, much of the specifics around theÎ¾keywords that drive traffic is now hidden from us, due to the "notÎ¾provided" label in Google Analytics. Here's an example of this. AndÎ¾actually for our site, we actually don't know which keywords are actuallyÎ¾driving the most traffic.
So it is a conundrum. So SEO forecasting is extremely challenging. SoÎ¾basically, this is a walk-through of why. I hope that's been interesting.
Thank you very much.