No joke, we'll predict your SEO traffic to the dot.
There are many tools in the market right now that can tell your website's traffic for the existing month. But, none of the tools tell you the most important thing that fuels your inbound strategy - future traffic. This is important, as it helps you calculate your SEO strategies' effort, time and cost. Apart from this, it provides you with predictability, which is the reason we love organic traffic.
Now, what if I tell you your exact traffic for the next month, without the use of any software? Apologies, if I came off as a telesales marketer. But the above-mentioned traffic number can be calculated using a variable known as CTR.
What is CTR, you ask?
CTR stands for "click through rate". It is quite simple.
It is a ratio of the number of people who clicked vs the number of people who viewed your website link in a search engine result page.
To put it as an equation,
CTR = (clicks / impressions) * 100
CTR goes down drastically as SERP rank falls.
The Moz study of 2014
In 2014 Moz did an organic CTR study to calculate the CTR of search results till the third page (Google SERP Page 3). This study was extensive and sample space of data used was very large which included all of the Moz clientele. Read more about the study here. The CTRs for the top 3 ranks were as under:
- Rank 1 - 31.24%
- Rank 2 - 14.04%
- Rank 3 - 9.85%
Needless to say, it was comprehensive and became industry standard for CTR reference. But, the times have changed and Google search engine results page continues to change - removal of side ads, addition of AD number 4 and rich snippets. We investigated if the Moz CTR study still stands. We did our own CTR study.
Our CTR Study
We followed the same method followed by the Moz CTR study to analyse the inbound marketing strategy executed for our clients. This included,
1) Downloading the search query data from Google Webmaster tools or Google Search Console.
2) Extracting relevant keywords along with their clicks and impressions from the query data.
3) Removing branded keywords from the list.
4) Calculating CTR for first, second and third rank.
For our data sources, we took data for two of our clients namely - Inside Sales Box and Sales Inside Inc.
Below are the results of our study
Our calculated CTR was almost the same as Moz, only showing a slight decrease in the 2nd and 3rd ranks. Thus, validating the relevance of Moz's CTR study.
Since the MOZ studies, a number of CTR studies have also been published to be updated with many Google SERP changes. Google algorithm changes have been many.
- 2017 Ignite Visibility study.
- Backlinko's Brian Dean titled "Here is what we learned about Organic Click Through Rate."
- Sistrix Study - As on 19th April 2021, Inbound Mantra recommends this study for estimating SEO organic search traffic.
Now to deliver on what was promised.
Let's calculate your traffic. The one more ingredient you need to complete the recipe is search volume. It is the number of people searching for your chosen keyword and can be extracted from Google keyword planner. You can calculate traffic using search volume and CTR as follows:
Traffic = Search volume * CTR
For example, if search volume for your keyword is 1,000 and you are at the first rank, your traffic for the month would be,
Traffic = 1000 * 24 /100 = 240 visitors.
The same formula works for all the other positions. Now that you know the traffic for next month you could increase or decrease your efforts in other areas to reach your target. So take a scientific approach to your SEO strategy with CTR. What process do you take to predict your website traffic every month?
If you are looking for more interesting reads, I highly recommed this blog on subdomain seo that is scorching the internet.