Set a realistic business development direction
If you do not have the bigger picture behind your SEO proposal, you do not know where you will end up.
“The prognosis is a good sense check on why you are doing this in the first place,” Gibbons says.
This is the step where creating a forecast scenario gives you the right overview of the size of the opportunity. You not only get an assessment of whether it is the right lead for your agency, but also whether SEO is the right choice for the lead’s current business potential.
“You have to give them confidence that the results are realistic. If you are a new retail brand with a bit of organic visibility and poor brand awareness / reputation, it is unlikely that you will be able to start ranking competitively for ‘sportswear’ or ‘skirts’ overnight, ”Gibbons explains.
“Your forecasting model should take into account your current opportunity in terms of market size and divide it into achievable bite sizes so you can eventually eat that elephant – but you start one achievable bite at a time,” he adds.
SEOmonitor’s forecasting method allows you to model the data, taking into account all the right inputs that affect your targeted keywords, to create a realistic scenario:
CTR Value – The average CTR curve for the top 10 placements on each combination of SERP features and units. The inertia of the non-branded organic traffic, based only on search season conditions (as if the site’s rankings would stand still). The year-over-year search trend for the keywords included in the forecast. Improving the ranking of long-tail keywords (which are not part of the forecast) and their impact on traffic.
Clarify the customer’s growth opportunities
The “why” that burns your forecast and SEO proposal is also based on the way you curate your initial market and seek landscape analysis.
Narrowing down your keyword list and understanding where the SEO opportunities lie will be the solid foundation for your scenarios: if your forecast entry lacks the quality it needs, your estimates will be misleading.
You need to know where you are going, the strategic way:
From keyword research to keyword strategy
You can think of the whole framework as follows:
Keyword research is the input you need to cure, organize and prioritize. The keyword strategy is the output-narrowed, categorized keyword groups that inform your action plan and your forecast foundation.
This framework helps you maximize the impact of your SEO efforts and prevent you from wasting resources for both your agency and your client.
But to do that, you need a correct diagnosis of the client’s status quo and the problem you are trying to solve with SEO.
Map the customer’s business
The client’s site categories and buyer personas are crucial to your understanding of the business. You can address their product or service categories as a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and identify those that are most productive relative to their competitors in the search landscape.
It may be that the client wants you to focus on specific categories, but you can be proactive in showing them where their strengths lie.
This view combined with the buyer journey gives you the basis for evaluating demand and search intent – important for making the right diagnosis. To better understand the demand, you can think about what search queries the target audience used, and reverse engineering the SERPs and the features that Google highlights.
Let’s take an example.
Say your client is a little fashion designer with a fairly new website. It makes no sense to fight big retailers (such as GAP and friends) for broad keywords like “dresses” or “jeans” from the start. But the designer’s strength lies in customization, so you see an option for things like “custom cocktail dresses” or “custom black dresses”.
Answering the search intent at every step of the journey of content marketing will prove to be an important part of your diagnosis and action plan: awareness (“little black dress for body shape”), interest (“best black dress”) and consideration (“custom black dress”) price “).
Map out the customer’s SEO opportunities
Aside from matching site categories with demand, there are many ways to look at the SEO opportunity.
You can start with the high opportunities for keywords that are uncovered in your research phase keywords with the lowest difficulty in reaching the top positions and the highest potential traffic when you are there.
You can evaluate the desired keywords that are missing landing pages or cannibalization issues and start correcting them right away.
Then there is the problem of timing: to spot seasonal keywords and use them when their highest approaches are another low-hanging fruit, provided you get their timing right. Some, like holiday and actual seasonal products and services, are straightforward. It is the industry specifics that will give you the benefit.
Again, for the sake of clarity, let’s take an example.
Your client is an online bookstore preparing for the summer season. Inquiries such as “best summer vacation readings” or “books to take to the beach” will be addressed. Still, there may be keywords with great potential associated with an exclusive event or book with the author’s autograph or new editorial launches for the summer months that will be seasonal and industry specific.
A robust ranking tracker can help you work effectively prioritizing and segmenting your keywords accordingly with advanced filtering features to highlight keywords with problems, low difficulty keywords, great options, etc. It saves you many hours of manual targeting through your first keyword list.
Specify a shared definition of success
Once you have uncovered the most relevant keywords out of your research and you have found your answers to the diagnostic question, it is time to test the viability of your SEO proposal.
This is again where forecasts are useful to qualify both the lead and the size of the opportunity. You can create multiple scenarios with your team and calibrate your keyword strategy until you have a realistic, solid suggestion – sharing the final version with your client will boost trust and pave the way for setting expectations.
As we said at the beginning, you should always have a common definition of what success means for the SEO campaign: extra traffic, extra conversion, revenue, etc. That way, you make sure to track what matters to your client and you both evaluate the SEO performance with the right objective.
The keyword strategy and forecasting exercise are also good opportunities to uncover new business potential. This in turn positions your agency as a business partner, not just the people performing the SEO tasks.
To prove ROI for your SEO proposal, you need a good understanding of the client’s business and market. Having the right keyword strategy in place becomes the basis of a realistic forecast scenario.
All of these processes ensure that both you and the client speak the same language and know where you want to go to achieve business goals and growth goals.
After hundreds of hours of research with our agency clients and many years of refining know-how within the product, the SEOmonitors team decided it was time to distill all that knowledge into a series of master classes.
We have launched SEOmonitor Masterclass for bureaucrats to advance their knowledge with business frameworks applied to their environment and processes. The first two about SEO forecasts and keyword strategy are freely available at masterclass.seomonitor.com.
Both masterclasses include assignments, core takeaways, case studies, and demos that agencies can study and use in their own processes. After implementing them, you will be able to leverage strategic framework for your agency, maximize the impact of your SEO efforts and make better decisions for your future SEO campaigns.
Join our learning community today and help us bring more transparency to the SEO industry!