SEO fixes tend to get pushed further down the development queue as their benefit is harder to put a number on. While you can usually put a definitive number on CRO or UX fixes, SEOs tend to fall into the trap of parroting back Google guidelines, or best practice recommendations, which quite frankly do not stand up to the scrutiny of hard and fast projections.
What if I told you I could give you a process which can put a definitive number on the returns you would get from SEO fixes? At Zazzle Media, we lead all our recommendations with data. We ground this with keywords, but then pull all the information we can about our competitors to make informed decisions. We then use past, current and predicted keyword rankings for the affected pages and project traffic levels based upon estimated click through rates.
Why do we use keywords to estimate traffic levels when we already have traffic in Google Analytics? GA is not as clean a data set. You’re not going to get an improvement to your branded traffic levels so it will need to be excluded from your data set, and this is pretty much going to be guesswork. Seasonal traffic also need to be removed; while search volumes are subject to seasonal volume alike, we’re looking to measure the impact excluding these factors. A yearly average of search volume is sufficient for this. Stripping out seasonality from GA traffic is trickier.
Keyword rankings exclude the white noise which affects Google Analytics, and allows us to sidestep the above tricky questions. Once completed you will be able to say:
“The current average ranking position of the four affected pages is 5.4. Should we fix the issue it will affect 78 keywords in ranking positions, moving our average position across the pages to 4.2, which will equate to an additional 6428 clicks per year. For a full breakdown of the affected pages and keywords please see my report.” Now that is how to win an argument!
To complete this task, you will need a complete list of keywords, search volumes and rankings. From there we’ve got a great little template which puts it all together and which you can download here.
So to begin with you’ll need all the keywords you rank for. When I say all I mean all. You only get out what you put in and I cannot stress how critical it is to this task that you get every possible keyword you rank for. Here’s how I would do it. First I’d go into every rank tracking tool; SEMRush, AHrefs, Sistrix and others and export a full list of my domain’s keywords, ranking and search volumes.
Don’t neglect the free tools! Google Search Console and the Adwords Keyword Planner are both invaluable additions which some of you will have to lean on more should you have a limited toolset.
While the export feature in the GSCs Search Analytics report only allows up to 1000 rows at a time, you can get around this restriction with filters. Only select a single URL and pull an export. Make sure you’re keeping tracking of the URL in the export as you will need this later.
Another way of getting a ton of free keywords is with the keyword planner report. Take full advantage of every report available here; product/service (your keywords), top landing pages and the multiply keyword combination report.
By this point you should have a monster set of keywords. Get them all into a single sheet and remove duplicates. Here you want to