How to Project SEO Traffic Levels and Avoid Saying: “It Depends”

How to Project SEO Traffic Levels and Avoid Saying: “It Depends” Mars664

How to Project SEO Traffic Levels and Avoid Saying: “It Depends”

Establishing a baseline and understanding historical trends helps forecast traffic trends and alerts you when traffic changes. This article lists the steps you can follow to predict incoming traffic and changes to your site.


Have you ever had this conversation with someone in upper management?

Boss: “If we implement your recommendations, how will this affect traffic?”

You: “It depends.”

Boss: “If we create a new content project, will it generate a lot of traffic?

You: “It depends.”

“It depends” is the typical response from a specialist in search engine optimization (SEO) to questions about traffic projections and is one of the main answers that infuriates the administration.

As any SEO knows, you can't accurately predict what changes will affect your traffic, as there are numerous external factors over which you have no control.

But, you can give your boss an idea of ​​incoming traffic while addressing and taking into account those external factors.

Let's look at what we can and can't control, the impact certain issues can have on traffic, and how to predict incoming traffic to your site.



The first step is to establish your baseline by establishing where your traffic is coming from and how much you are getting. Make sure everyone is using the same data and you're looking at it the same way. Ideally, have a shared dashboard for everyone, so everyone who needs it can see the numbers whenever they want.



Next, you need to look at the impact seasonality has on your traffic numbers. See how your traffic has trended from month to month in the last three to five years; There should be some consistency in seasonal trends from year to year.

For example, for a product based on warm weather, perhaps your sales peaked from June to August and then declined from November to March. A retail product can peak during the holiday season and dip during the rest of the year. Average these trends across data periods and remove outliers, such as your atypically lower numbers during a month in 2016, when a large portion of the site was unindexed during the site's relaunch.


Annual trend

Next, see how your site traffic has been growing year-over-year for the past few years. If your typical growth is 5 percent year over year, that's what you should probably expect as a baseline growth. Look at your history to see what projects were done over the years to get an idea of ​​the impact they may have had, beyond baseline trends.

Now expect numbers based on annual and seasonal trends. These are the numbers you should work to achieve unless you have a major project.


Next projects

Obviously, no one can predict the future, but if you have projects and some that you want to implement, you should take them into account when forecasting traffic.

Based on past project performance, you should have an idea of ​​how long it would take to generate traffic once a project was implemented and what the growth pattern should look like. When adding future projects to the reference traffic model, think about the best-case and expected scenario. These two scenarios give you a range that you can use to project traffic numbers.

Of course, those traffic figures could still have the suffix “it depends,” as there are a number of factors over which you have no control that can have an adverse impact on the actual numbers, such as changes in internal staff and impacts economical.

Another key point about forecasting project traffic: If you have an idea of ​​which projects generated the most traffic, you'll have a good idea of ​​which projects you want to implement in the future or drop from the planning schedule. There is no point in repeating bad performance.


Search Engine Algorithm Updates

Search engines change their algorithms constantly in its continued effort to improve search results. These changes can negatively affect your traffic. If you are doing something against your webmaster's guidelines, then you can expect this to happen, but that is not always the case. Search engines sometimes change the way they present data to improve user experience, which can affect how your pages are displayed, ranked, and clicked on.

If your web pages are negatively affected by a search engine update, all you can do is examine what has changed and see if there is a way to regain the traffic you have lost.


Competitive changes

Your competitors can change their sites at any time and try Copy your SEO efforts by optimizing for the same keywords or creating similar content. This can have a negative effect on your traffic flow.

This is a main reason why an SEO can never stop. You should keep an eye on your competitors, as well as your site and traffic, to identify opportunities or changes early on. It is best to be proactive rather than reactive.



Mistakes happen to all of us, that's a fact. When something is lost in the QA process, changed in an update, or a third-party tool fails to function, traffic has the potential to drop. This is another reason why proactively monitor all the elements of a site is very important.


Wait for the change

There will always be an element of “it depends” when projecting SEO traffic levels, that's a fact. But establishing a baseline and understanding historical traffic trends will give you an idea of ​​what to expect and alert you when traffic levels drop.