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SEO forecasting guide: Use data to forecast SEO traffic & ROI

December 24, 2022


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Unsure how to use the potential of SEO for growing your business? Check out our guide on SEO forecasting & see the impact it can have on your bottom line.

For many business owners, search engine optimisation can often feel like gambling. 

It can be difficult to see the growth potential SEO has for your business without the right tools and data in place. Unlike paid ads, SEO may not seem as predictable at first. Regular algorithm changes influence it, and it can be difficult to know if it’s a channel you can rely on for your business.

But nothing could be further from the truth! When implemented correctly, SEO can be one of the most stable marketing channels for your business in the long run.

In this guide, we’ll put your mind at ease and show you how SEO is not only a very powerful channel to consider but how you can forecast the potential growth and traffic your business can receive directly from SEO. 

When implemented properly, SEO delivers a far better return on investment than paid ads do. It also delivers high-quality leads, and it compounds over time, so the brand authority you establish doesn’t disappear the moment you stop investing in it.

But if you’re still unsure of the exact impact of SEO efforts on your business and if it’s worth investing in this marketing channel, here’s how to forecast your potential SEO growth.

What is SEO Forecasting?

SEO forecasting is the process of gathering data about search traffic and assessing if and how you can use it to drive more traffic to your website. You can examine the potential impact that search engine optimisation can have on your:

  • Organic traffic growth
  • Visibility in search 
  • Customers & sales
  • Return on investment

The first step is to look for patterns or trends that happen over time and to see if you can use these to anticipate future gains. You can also use these insights to see what areas of your website or marketing could use a lift in results.

SEO forecasting is a tool that can be used by any business that has a website. Small businesses and enterprises alike benefit equally from this process. 

If you would like to know how best to allocate your resources and which strategy will lead to a bigger impact, SEO forecasting is not optional. It’s vital.

Find a high quality SEO agency that can assist with SEO forecasting

Naturally, we recommend the best of the best (and that's us, EngineRoom!). For each city, view EngineRoom's SEO services including predictive analytics near you:

Or view all SEO agency services.

How SEO forecasting can help your brand

Successful marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are many influencing factors that need to work together in order to successfully execute a campaign. When it comes to an SEO campaign, it’s far too often that an SEO strategy is not connected to the key business outcomes that will help achieve your company’s goals.

SEO forecasting is the process that helps tie the two together.

Your organic search strategy will typically give you a wealth of insights and information on the data available outside your organisation, such as what potential customers are looking for and how competitors are responding to the search demand.

By aligning these insights with your key business objectives, you can ensure the strategy your SEO team implements will deliver on the goals that are of the most importance.

In cases where you might have a limited budget to allocate, SEO forecasting can also help translate the ambiguous ‘potential’ of an SEO strategy into concrete metrics that can be compared to other marketing channels. Instead of just relying on the estimated monthly organic traffic, you can connect keyword data to sales data in your forecasts.

No matter how you look at it, integrating SEO forecasts with your strategies is smart business, and it’s the best way to use your budget efficiently in order to achieve your key objectives. 

How to forecast SEO growth, traffic & ROI

Using data to forecast SEO is easier than you might realise, and at EngineRoom, we’re known for making it even easier with our custom dashboard!

Either way, as long as you have the right tools and knowledge, you can get started with SEO forecasting today. Here’s how to get started.

1. Gather data

The first step is to gather the historical data of your website traffic. It’s best to gather data over a few years so you can easily spot seasonal trends.

If you have Google Analytics set up, you can access your website traffic data here, otherwise you’ll need to use any other analytics tools connected to your website. Make sure to set the traffic source to “organic” so you’re only looking at the data from SEO.

This part of the process aims to get a high-level view of past traffic. 

If you’re starting from scratch and don’t have any traffic data of your own, you can start at step two.

2. Consider external factors & historical data

Take a look at your biggest competitors that you know have invested in SEO and have been around for a long time. 

You can use specialist SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to get an estimate of the organic traffic these websites have received historically. 

Remember that who you consider your competitors to be offline can be very different from your online competitors. We suggest Googling the main phrases that apply to your business and building a list of the top websites that keep showing up. These are your biggest competitors online, and they’re the ones you want to be taking market share away from when it comes to SEO.

You’ll also benefit from considering other external data sources that can help you understand factors like supply and demand in your market, specifically through search engine channels.

For instance, you can gather keyword data to get a sense of what topics have the highest monthly search volume. 

You can also consider whether search engine algorithm updates have impacted traffic in your industry. For instance, Google treats websites that it considers to influence a person’s financial, health, or life status differently than it treats websites promoting viral cat videos. If you offer the kind of product or service that may have a big impact on someone’s life, there may be stricter rules you need to follow to succeed with SEO.

All in all, you need to gather as much external data as you deem relevant. At EngineRoom, we assess all of the following (and more) on behalf of our clients when we put together their SEO strategies and forecasts:

  • The website’s industry and level of competition
  • Competitor’s traffic from Google Search
  • Competitor’s market share vs our client’s market share on Google
  • Market demand (and specific keywords)
  • High-performing pages and topics
  • Highest-converting keywords and topics

You can gather as much or as little data as you like. It’s just about determining what’s important to your business.

3. Add data to forecasting tool

Now, this part of the process is where things get interesting. If you want to do it yourself, the easy path forward is to take all the data you’ve gathered and use a forecasting tool.

The best tool for you will come down to what metrics you want to forecast and your data science abilities. 


  • Forecasting SEO Traffic: SEMRush does this for you automatically for every keyword you think is relevant to your brand, or you can use data from Google Search Console.
  • Forecasting ROI from SEO: You’ll need a more customised solution like Google Data Studio or Prophet by Facebook.
  • Forecasting new keywords: Once you have a content plan, you can easily achieve this in a spreadsheet. Otherwise, you’ll need to extend your SEO strategy to include a content plan first.


If you would like a more robust solution that also incorporates your business objectives, reach out. At EngineRoom, we have data science and SEO teams in-house. We have also developed a custom dashboard that connects all of your internal data with external market data.

For instance, we can create an SEO forecast that takes into account:

  • Your sales data
  • Your profit margins
  • Your current business growth trajectory
  • Your CRM data
  • And more!

No other tool on the market has integrations that can merge all of your custom internal data with external SEO data. That’s what makes us different.

We offer this solution for small-to-medium businesses that do not have these skills in-house and are looking for a digital partner that goes beyond just marketing. We live and breathe data so that you can rest assured all our efforts will help you reach your business goals, year after year.


Free SEO forecasting session*

A 90-minute strategy session that will give you a clear plan for integrating all your business data into one dashboard

  • Get a better understanding of your business
  • We generate a detailed report from your strategy session
  • Understand your priorities and next steps


4. Analyse the data

Once you have gathered all your data into one tool, the rest is fairly straightforward as it’s just about analysing the data. 

The things you’ll want to look out for include:

  • Emerging trends among your competitors
  • The direction of the market across the board
  • Gaps between your performance and your competitors
  • Your growth trajectory vs competitors
  • Your historical performance vs your expectations

For instance, at EngineRoom, our platform allows all of our clients to see their position in the market easily.

A look at marketshare % compared to competitors for Trav's Tree Services

With the help of our senior digital advisors, our clients also create realistic conversion goals for their businesses. We track actual performance against the forecasted plans for new leads, sales and revenue.

Forecast vs actual via the EngineRoom Platform.

Harnessing the right data to accurately forecast SEO traffic, growth & ROI

In order to have accurate forecasts for your SEO initiatives, you need to make sure you’re using the right types of data.

There are two types of data sources that can be used for SEO forecasting:

  • First-party data: Private data collected within your organisation.
  • Third-party data: Data that’s publicly available and is from outside your organisation.

To uncover the best insights, you will need to use both types of data and integrate them. Here’s how we do exactly that within our platform.

Using first-party data

We use custom data sources depending on what tools and systems our clients already have set up. A typical setup for most small businesses might include gathering accounting data from Xero, customer data from a CRM and website data from Google Analytics.

Then, we connect these disparate data sources in meaningful ways. For instance, we can tell you exactly what advertising channel each lead came from. 

We can also tell you their entire journey and all the touchpoints they made in your marketing funnel. More on this in a moment.

No matter what tool you use, at minimum, we recommend connecting your traffic data to your verified website sales data so you can see what each visitor is worth to you. 

Using third-party data

Once your first-party data is connected, you can use third-party data to forecast potential organic traffic to your website and market share. 

You can multiply the value each visitor is worth by the estimated organic traffic you could receive from SEO. And that’s how you can forecast revenue and sales generated by SEO. 

You can also forecast your market share by looking at competitors and crafting an SEO content strategy that is designed to draw market share away from each competitor.

In any case, third-party data is what will help you assess just how big of an opportunity is out there.

How you can use SEO forecast data in your business today

SEO can provide a significant opportunity for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. It can also account for more than double the conversions paid ads can deliver.

However, many businesses don’t spend any time forecasting the potential SEO could have for the bottom line. Here are just a handful of very useful insights you could gather if you started forecasting your SEO potential today.

Predict future traffic

You could predict how many visitors would come to your website. For eCommerce stores, you could identify peak sales periods and update your website to match. Or, for other types of businesses, you could make hiring decisions based on when you predict you’ll need more staff to handle the volume of work your website will bring through.

You can also estimate profits based on the growth trajectory of the number of visitors that see your website each month.

A look at planned sessions/clicks vs actual for an EngineRoom customer.

Predict future competitor traffic

When you begin forecasting your SEO potential, you’ll also quickly start to identify which competitors are also investing in their online marketing. You can forecast their future traffic by analysing their historical trends and current growth rate.

By looking at this data, you can also reverse engineer the most effective strategies and save yourself time and resources by implementing winning strategies from the get-go.

A look at a customers organic sessions vs competitors.

Predict your market share growth online

Competitor websites are a decent benchmark to use to predict industry trends. If you notice a pattern affecting many of your competitors, it will likely affect you too.

You can also use competitor traffic as a benchmark to calculate online market share and search visibility. Unless you track it, you cannot forecast your growth in market share or see how you’re comparing to your online competitors.

Predict future leads & ROI from SEO

Lastly, you can often predict your future leads, profitability, and return on investment from SEO when you forecast ahead of time. You can also tie these SEO goals to your key business objectives and see just how powerful SEO can be for your business.

EngineRoom actual leads versus forecasted annual plan

Key takeaways: SEO forecasting

An effective SEO campaign focuses on more than just implementing technical SEO fixes and new content. It requires a solid strategy backed by data. 

When you integrate SEO forecasting into your process, you can connect your internal business intelligence with external data sources to craft a custom plan that will help you achieve your business outcomes.


Book your free strategy session*

A 90-minute strategy session giving you a clear plan for integrating all your business data and growing your website.

  • Get a better understanding of your business
  • We generate a detailed report from your strategy session
  • Understand your priorities and next steps


Find an SEO agency near you

Naturally, we recommend the best of the best (EngineRoom). For each city, view EngineRoom SEO services near you:

Or view all SEO agency services.

If you would like the help of an expert digital marketing agency to take care of SEO forecasting and business strategy for you, reach out today!

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