My job here at IMN can get sort of strange at times. As a member of our client analyst team I do a lot of the typical SEO reports that are seen at many different agencies. However from time to time I get the pleasure of doing analysis that goes outside the scope of what most SEOs would call “normal”. These types of analysis usually try to answer very complex questions that are part of a much larger strategy for the client. Because of the challenge that they present, I have grown to enjoy doing them.
If you want to take your SEO analyst skills to the next level you might consider writing some of the following analysis for your clients. Or you might consider writing them just for fun! I mean if you are a weirdo like me that is….
In this type of analysis you are tasked at assessing the risk of a specific action. So for example a client might come to you one day and say, “I have an old blog I haven’t touched in a year, would it be OK to 301 it to my mom’s site about cat clothing?” To fully understand the answer to this question you need to assess risk. The first step is to identify all of the variables at play before the action is taken. Then analyze all of the new variables that will come into play after the action is taken, and how the search engines, general public, or any other vested party might respond. One variable is great for this type of analysis is: money. If you can say, that an intended action will result in the loss or production of wealth, it is much easier to get your client to take notice.
Assessing Opportunity Cost
Opportunity Cost is the cost of pursuing a given alternative with in a system of limited resources. So for example lets say that a client says to you. “I think I want to start investing more into links, but my budget can’t get any bigger.” In this case the opportunity cost might be that the client has to invest less in new content. And if that is the case what will occur as a result of having less content. The total loss is the amount of less content and the subsequent loss in value that the new content would have brought. Loss can be calculated in not only money, but also time and resources. This is a great analysis to provide a client that is looking to make a strategic decision, and works well with the above risk assessment.
Organic Traffic Forecasting
So you start off with a brand new client. You provide them a giant list of short and long tail keywords that you think they should rank for, and you start planning a strategy to move forward with. Then they ask you a question that stops you dead in your tracks, “So, if we are successful at this strategy, what type of traffic can I expect?” This is where traffic forecasting comes into play. It used to be that predicting traffic for a small group of terms was easy. The basic formula looks something like this:
[local monthly search volume of term]*[average CTR of intended position]/100 = forecasted traffic
Which means that if you rank #1 for the term “tennis shoes” the local monthly search volume is 301,000. And the average CTR for #1 position is around 80%. Therefore 301,000*80/100 = 240,800 average monthly visitors. Unfortunately there are a lot of caveats to this type of analysis. One of which is that now that Google is sporadically changing the elements on each SERP, with things like universal search and rich snippets, average CTR is getting harder to predict. Also, this type of analysis makes it hard to compensate for seasonal trends. But it will provide your client a base of understanding of what to expect.
Until next time, happy analyzing!