We start our process by taking your keyword and seeing who currently ranks for that term. We then query all of the keywords that URL ranks for and pull it into the sheet. The “Overlap” (in the first column) then tells you how many of those URLs also rank for that term.
Use Overlap To Filter Out Brand Terms OR For good “Longtail Terms”
If you’re running keywords then you likely will get 1 off keywords in the top ranking that match just ONE of those urls. These terms could be then brand specific terms or they could hold “longtail” keywords that just 1 URL captured.
Filter the keywords to sort by highest overlap to find highly relevant keywords
Obviously them if several urls ranking for a current term also rank for additional terms, then Google likely finds them strongly related. So sorting by overlap can help sort the phrases by those that are most relevant (But obviously also have more competition.)
Projections and their uses
Projections per position: We mirror the Organic Click through rate study here: https://www.advancedwebranking.com/ctrstudy/ so you’re not just using “Monthly Volume” as your gauge of opportunity – but looking “into the future” to see how many visitors you could get from that volume.
But why stop there? Next you see the conversions you could grab by ranking for a term. We then multiply that by your actual close/sale rate and revenue per sale because at the END of the day your clients want to see the REVENUE!
SEO Action items To Handle Once You Have Your Keyword Research Report
Filter out the keywords you don’t want, and send the remaining keywords as a forecast to a client showing just how much return they’d get on their investment of time/energy/budget in SEO.
You could also use it to convince a CEO or manager in your in-house position to get more time or budget allocated to SEO.
Of course, if it’s for your own project you can then put it into practice and know just how much you can make from your efforts.
Review high value keywords and ensure they’re used on-page in headers, text, image file names, image alt text and internal links.
While working with your link building process aim to acquire links that have the highest value anchor text if genuinely possible in an organic manner.
The art and science of search engine optimization is a procedural drama, where you start with the Crime Scene, aka the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and try to determine just why. Why does it rank in that particular spot?
What’s the motive? What’s the cause? You can of course start with the body itself, the web-page being ranked having numerous details and clues. But this didn’t happen in isolation. You’ve got other suspects, and everyone’s “reputation” to consider. Of course, that reputation “signal” that’s used by search engines is actually hypertext links.
What can search engine divine from such signals? How do they use the specifically linked text, or the context of that link? How does it balance the number of links and the “quality” of those links?
What can these amateur sleuths known as SEOs learn by reviewing all the pieces of information that links can provide? Backlinks are a wealth of information, so let’s break it up piece by piece and determine the potential use cases for each little bit of backlink data.
Use the number/quality of links as a proxy for “authority” needed to rank for that keyword term.
“You have x links, competitors have Y links, you need z links to have a hope of ranking for this keyword”.
What made Google unique? It wasn’t the first search engine, but it was the first to use links as a signal of “authority” for pages/sites.
You can ROUGHLY use the number of referring domains sending links to the sites currently ranking on the homepage as a BROAD SKETCH of how much “authority” your content will need to rank.
Why all the qualifiers? Because it’s never simple, there’s going to be some content that has other signals that’s sent it to the front page. But, it’s an “okay” place to start.
Use A Review Of Your Links To Identify How Hard You Need To Work & Identify Strange Or Dangerous Patterns In Your Links
“These are your links, these ones suck, these are good.”
There’s a couple of useful ways to look at your links. You can look at your the anchor text, the blue clickable text like this, because Google and other search engines certainly do. Previous iterations of Google algorithm had to be updated because spammers found they could shift rankings by hitting large numbers of anchor text in their links.
Pay attention to what content pieces you’ve written that’ve gotten real links and how others have linked to them, they may not be what you expect!
I’ve unfortunately seen clients with WordPress instances celebrate because they just got a bunch more beautiful links out of the blue. However, that boost in links was because his site had been hacked, dozens of pages were created and received links from OTHER hacked sites. Not every link is golden.
Use Backlinks To Current Ranking Articles As Hit List For Outreach
Links are a cornucopia of competitor insights! Who links to your competitors, why they links and how they got those links are all clues to the most effective method for building links.
Use a competitor research tool that can give you a list of all of the links that domain has right now, and you can dissect that corpse and use it as a grocery list.
How To Use Links For Business Intelligence Purposes
Let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on in your competitors’ business. What are their partnerships? Are they hiring? Who are their vendors or customers? What causes do they support? Link mining as business intel.
You can identify if perhaps competitors are mostly using outreach to ask to post guest articles or generating infographics. There’s fantastic competitor information to be gathered by reviewing the link profile of your organic and direct competitors.
These are the most commonly utilized link building strategies in your space. We can do those too OR we can pursue other / harder / better links by building better content and not being lazy.
In Short: Forecast SEO REVENUE Potential & Not Just Traffic Volume
Don’t just blindly choose keywords based on the generic volume numbers you extract from any old SEO Tool, spend some time to estimate your potential conversions into leads, how many leads turn into sales, how much revenue gained per sale and if it’s a recurring revenue project then how long do people usually stick around.
Take your potential traffic number and multiply it by the conversion rate, lead to sale rate and revenue per sale. This will provide you with a realistic potential SEO Return on Investment and a solid number you can show your boss or client.
Organic Traffic Estimator: An SEO Forecasting Process
Process for attempting to evaluate traffic potential , I have taken the following, general approach:
I identify current device% breakout between mobile and desktop via analytics data
desktop/mobile search volume from your tool of choice (e.g. SEMrush, Ahrefs, etc.)
averaged CTR for top five positions (generally what we’re shooting for re: rankings), pulled from top X keywords in GSC
So, for example: I want to project what my outcomes may be if I rank in top 5 for any given set of terms, thereby projecting what my opportunity is if I try to invest. This can be used in conjunction with other metrics, such as average difficulty for a corpus of keywords, etc. to make decisions on re: do you invest your time in them or not. Here are the things I work through – Calculating target ranking position (target ranking position = top 5) average – I recommend doing this for desktop and mobile to use the relative CTR for each later on:
I pulled the top keywords from GSC into sheets for the last 6 months (capped out the pull at around 50k terms gathered)
I rounded the position data to nearest whole position and applied groupings to them (position 1, top 3, first page, etc.) for future analysis
I used averageif on CTR for all top 10 positions (averageif pos = 1, averageif pos =2, etc.)
Then, I average the top 5 position averages, giving me a relative average for if I ranked in the top 5 positions
this % gets used in final equation
Find device breakout for current audience:
from your analytics of record (Omniture, GA, etc.), find out the device breakout by mobile vs desktop
these % get used in final equation
Leverage click data from Rand/Jumpshot study:
While a recent study – and one which people may scoff at, or ignore – I find being mindful of loss-of-click to be an important element; if you trust the click potential data from Ahrefs or SEMrush, you could use that info on the keyword level instead of using this broad study
let’s say we don’t use Ahrefs or SEMrush click estimates though, I would use the 39% clicks on mobile (61% no clicks was the number referenced in the study), and 65% clicks on desktop (34.5% no clicks was number referenced in study) in my final equation
Get desktop AND mobile data for keywords, as available:
for each term I’m going to include in my corpus for this analysis, I will try to get both the desktop data as well as the mobile data; if mobile data is not available (or vice versa), then I will use whatever is available
the keyword data could be for existing rankings (current marketshare/footprint), and/or for new terms we want to go after (gap footprint) – these can be used to support different questions (e.g. should we invest in optimizing current content and what would outcomes potentially be if so)
data needed = search volume and current ranking position (if pulling for current footprint)
Based on all this data, we can now calculate traffic potential.
This equation is applied to every keyword we currently rank for, not in the top 5 (e.g. position 6-100).
This should give us insights into answering the question of “if we improve our ranking position for this corpus of keywords, what might the traffic estimate look like”. You can then use this in comparison/conjunction with other metrics, like average difficulty for a topical category (e.g. risk reward based on comp to traffic opp), etc.
Actionable Recommendation: Group Your Keywords By Conversion Potential
My recommendation for this is to not look at/forecast on a per-term basis, but instead to do it in groups or as a whole (e.g. all terms that make up a certain topical niche, or all terms that reflect the current footprint for a site).
By grouping things together, you get a better understanding of topical opportunity and risk/rewards (when looking at KW difficulty, revenue opps, etc).