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18 Mar
2014

Organic Traffic Forecasting

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The importance of search organic traffic forecasting comes from understanding of its distinctive advantages for both you and your company. By forecasting organic traffic inflow and establishing trends and patterns, you get better insight into your business goals, team performance improvement and the realization of failures in your current projections. The fact that you can revise inaccuracies in SEO strategies and integral processes is a source of increased organic traffic, and, as a result, a key to higher ROI.

Collect the Data and Define Outer Factors

Getting the insight into relevant statistical data is a starting point for your organic traffic forecast. By ensuring accuracy and validity of the collected data, you stand a chance to identify behavior of the search traffic and make the most adequate projections for your traffic increase.

There are two basic factors to influence traffic inflow – positions in SERPs and popularity of the search query. The latter is exposed to seasonal differences, extra promotional activities and global scale events, which, given the higher ranking in SERPs, can cause enormous traffic spikes. The impact of seasonal changes stands for average traffic growth for certain periods of the day, month or year, as it affects tourism business during peak seasons. You cannot rely on that all the time as it is a recurring factor, but it’s good, when you expect a huge traffic spike during the forthcoming FIFA World Cup 2014 or the best sales period on Black Friday.

Analyze the Data and Determine the Trend

Once statistical data and external factors under traffic forecast are carefully studied, the process of integral analysis is required to have a complete notion of the issue. With the use of Excel, it is possible to compile a template for determining correlation between variables, i.e. the position in SERPs and the number of visits, and monitoring traffic distribution over a certain time period. With all the data at your disposal, you can set aside those data points with regular frequency, which are more than standard deviations.

Up to here, you have received a complete grasp on the data you are using. Although several data points might bring less practical value to you, the forecast base is enough to determine the trend and come up with projections for your organic traffic future.

It should be underlined that it takes time to collect traffic-related data and bring it to a meaningful forecast report. Depending on competiveness in the niche, the period of data collection can vary from a week to a couple of months of ongoing research and monitoring.

Consider the Associated Risks

While useful, website traffic forecasting is a troublesome issue for a number of internal and external reasons.

• Google algorithm updates, as a source of search results accuracy, cannot be underestimated, when projecting organic traffic numbers, since some of them have marked a significant change in Google’s indexing infrastructure. With already existing and incoming updates, SEO managers are powerless to foresee changes and conclude what impact they have on website ranking.

• There are too many traffic-sensitive variables and metrics. Google is wayward, when we deal with keyword rankings to build our traffic forecast on. Moreover, search results can vary greatly depending on the previous search history, geolocation, social media factors, etc.

• Technical issues related to website coding/design not covered by the webmaster can negatively influence traffic analysis, making it impossible to complete the right view of the web traffic accumulated and projected.

To round up, it appears that there’s much to study, when dealing with organic traffic. Even if you always stay relevant to the latest Google updates and technical sustainability of your website, making traffic projections should provide no 100% guarantee to you and are to be taken with a grain of salt.

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