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Forecasting SEO: Find Your Web Traffic Estimate Based On Rank

By Snap Agency September 25, 2013

The method described in this post has been updated and a few other methods have been introduced in newer post titled 4 Ways to Forecast Your ROI from SEO. Check it out!

Your position in search engine results pages (SERPs) is a critical determinant of the number of click-throughs to your website for a given keyword. Obviously the higher up you appear in search results, the more clicks you’re likely to attract. The ultimate goal is to be the first result in organic search, but how much more traffic does this position attract versus the rest? Understanding the percentage of traffic that funnels to each position in organic search will help you estimate the potential results of an SEO strategy.

The Data

Click curves are used to forecast web traffic from improving a website’s visibility through SEO. Due to screen size and different SERP displays, the click-through rate (CTR) for each position varies for mobile, tablet and desktop devices. Last month, BrightEdge released the most useful click curve that I’ve run across. The click curves are segmented based on the device being used.

Click Curves for forecasting SEO

This visualization certainly doesn’t understate the importance of being ranking in the first 10 positions. If you rank on the second page of search results, more than 98% of the web traffic has already clicked through to another site.

As you can see, mobile searchers click on the top three results more often than those using a tablet or desktop device. Ranking highly on mobile is more important than any other device.

Estimating Web Traffic

Create a table for each of your keywords with columns for target rank, monthly search volume by device, estimated CTR by device, monthly traffic forecast by device and total monthly traffic forecast. Follow along with our example of the keyword “Minneapolis SEO” to see how we arrive at a monthly traffic estimate for each corresponding position.

Minneapolis SEO Forecast

Monthly search volume is multiplied by the position’s estimated CTR to calculate the monthly traffic forecasts.

Developing forecasts for SEO are useful in understanding the expected outcomes of increasing your website’s visibility.