How to create a Forecast

Learn how the Advanced Web Ranking's Forecasting feature works and how it can be used to achieve the SEO objectives set

Larisa Rosu avatar
Written by Larisa Rosu
Updated this week

Advanced Web Ranking's Forecasting feature helps, among others, foretell the organic visits, conversions, and revenue that can be achieved if the ranking target selected is reached.

The Forecasting algorithm works as an estimation and it is based on the ranking position, search volume, and CTR recorded by the non-brand keywords you added for monitoring in AWR.

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💡 The Forecast is calculated for all keywords selected as input except those that are assigned to the Branded group. The CTR for branded keywords is considerably higher than the CTR of non-brand keywords, this is why they are excluded from the Forecast.

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Simply put, this feature helps one understand how achieving higher-ranking positions impacts the business in terms of conversions and revenue.

But it can be also used to:

  • Set realistic objectives for running SEO campaigns.

  • Track the monthly progress of the set objectives vs. real achievements and immediately adjust the campaigns, so the SEO objectives are met.

  • Visualize the Year-over-Year search trend of keywords.

  • See the actual organic traffic received from non-branded searches.

  • Monitor the inertial traffic and see how the website will perform based on search seasonality or if no SEO efforts are invested.

Setting up the Forecast

The Forecasting section allows one to create new forecasts and also monitor the evolution of the existing ones.

Configuring a new Forecast is a simple and intuitive process, all one has to do is choose a relevant name and a series of parameters as follows:

Timeframe

The length of time during which the Forecast will be calculated. One can choose between 6, 9, 12 or 24 months.

Schedule Forecast

By enabling this option, one can delay the start of the Forecast to a specific future month instead of starting it immediately.

Search Engine

The selected search engine dictates how the search volume for each keyword is retrieved from Google Ads. Only the search volume for the country respectively for the specific location selected at the search engine level is taken into account for the Forecast.

The Forecast calculation is also affected by the search engine’s device. One can choose to forecast visits either on Desktop or Mobile.

Traffic Metric

This parameter allows the selection of the estimated visits type that should be used when computing the forecasted values:

Estimated Visits: calculated using the keyword’s search volumes sourced from Google Ads as an average for the last 30 days, based on the selected search engine country.

Local Estimated Visits: calculated using the keyword’s search volumes sourced from Google Ads as an average for the last 30 days, considering the specific location of the selected search engine.

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💡The option to use Local Estimated Visits is available for selection only if one of the custom location search engines added in the project is chosen.

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Performance over time

This parameter allows selecting the speed for the progress toward the forecasted goal. One can choose between Linear or Exponential progress.

The Linear curve adds the same amount of progress every month, while the Exponential curve starts slow and then picks up the pace towards the end of the forecast.

Average order value

This represents the average amount spent by a customer when placing an order on a website. It can be calculated by simply dividing the total revenue by the number of orders recorded.

CTR Values

This parameter allows choosing the type of CTR curve that will be used in the Forecast. The data for the CTR curves comes from our CTR Study.

There are 4 types of CTRs one can choose from:

SERP and device-based

This is the recommended option and when selected, the forecasting algorithm looks at the SERP features showing up for each keyword and uses the CTR curve that matches all the keywords that we have in our database with the same SERP features. The device (Desktop or Mobile) is also taken into consideration. This choice gives you the most accurate CTR curve.

Global

When this option is selected, the forecast is calculated using a global average CTR curve regardless of any SERP features that may appear in the results.

Custom

This option allows one to enter a custom CTR that will be used for forecasting.

Google Search Console

This option allows the use of CTRs sourced from the Google Search Console property synced with the project. The CTRs are extracted as an average over the last 30 days.

Conversion rate (%)

This represents the website’s conversion rate, which can be sourced as an average over the last 30 days directly from the Google Analytics property synced with the project or computed manually by dividing the number of conversions by the total interactions. For instance, if there are 50 conversions from 1,000 interactions, the conversion rate would be 5%.

Exclude Keyword Variations

When checked, this option excludes keyword close variations from the Forecast calculation, resulting in higher accuracy for traffic estimations. Variations refer to keywords with the exact same search volumes over the last 12 months, such as plural forms, acronyms, or misspellings.

Setting a target for the Forecast

A Forecast is an estimation of achieving a ranking target within a selected timeframe.

This refers to the set of keywords (keyword groups or custom keywords) selected and for which the estimation that they will reach the targeted rank is made.

When selecting the All keyword groups option, the forecasted metrics will be derived from all ranking keywords in the project that are assigned to at least one static group. The predictive estimations are calculated based on the selected target rank, showing how your website will perform during the chosen timeframe if the keywords included in the Forecast reach or maintain their ranking positions in the selected range.

When having multiple groups selected (static and/or dynamic), the forecasted metrics will be derived from all ranking keywords in the project that are assigned to at least one of the selected groups. The predictive estimations are calculated based on the selected target rank, showing how your website will perform during the chosen time frame if the keywords included in the Forecast reach or maintain their ranking positions in the selected ranges.

When selecting specific keyword groups, one can set up different ranking thresholds for each group, either by selecting from predefined options (1-3, 1-5, or 1-10 positions) or by introducing custom position or page ranges.

When selecting the All keywords option, the forecasted metrics will be derived from all keywords in the project regardless if they are assigned or not to a group. The predictive estimations are calculated based on the selected target rank, showing how your website will perform during the chosen timeframe if the keywords included in the Forecast reach or maintain their ranking positions in the selected range.

When multiple keywords are selected, the forecasted metrics will only be derived from the chosen keywords. The predictive estimations are calculated based on the selected target rank, showing how your website will perform during the chosen time frame if these keywords reach or maintain their ranking positions in the selected ranges.

When selecting specific keywords, one can set up a different ranking threshold for each keyword, either by selecting one of the predefined options (1-3, 1-5, or 1-10 positions) or by introducing custom position or page ranges.

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💡 If the same keyword is included in more than one group, it will only be taken into consideration once, with its highest targeted rank.

Also, only keywords that have search volume amounts are taken into account, when calculating the monthly forecasted traffic.

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Alerts

Alerts can be configured to stay informed about the latest updates and changes in the forecast's performance.

Alerts can be configured to stay informed about the latest updates and changes in the forecast's performance.

Forecast alert template

Enabling the template alert results in a summary email being sent to the selected recipients, monthly, following each forecast update.

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💡Refreshing the forecast manually won't trigger a new email alert.

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Create alert

The 'Create an alert' functionality comes with two options:

Default alert

This monthly summary alert is delivered following each forecast update. Like the Template alert, manual refreshing does not trigger this alert.

Custom alert

A custom alert can be configured to track changes in either the Forecast status, Keyword status, or both, based on the user's choices.

Forecast status

Shows whether the Forecast’s progress relative to the chosen position range is Above Target, On Target, or Behind Target. The alert is triggered when the selected forecast status changes between updates, indicating movements toward or away from the set target, as follows:

  • Above Target: alert is triggered when the Forecast's actual performance exceeds the expected target.

  • On Target: alert is triggered when the Forecast's current performance aligns with the anticipated expectations.

  • Behind Target: alert is triggered when the Forecast's actual performance fails to achieve the predicted target.

Keyword status

Indicates whether the keywords are performing as expected in comparison to the position range set within the Forecast . The alert is triggered when there are changes in keyword performance between updates, indicating if they're moving closer to or further from the set targe, as follows:

  • Underperforming: alert triggers for keywords whose current performance is lower than the projected target.

  • Keyword on track: alert triggers for keywords whose current performance is in line with the anticipated target.

The forecasting alerts can be sent either to the selected email addresses or directly to the associated Slack account.

The Forecast’s output

Once the keywords, the target rank, and all the other parameters are selected and saved, the Forecast will be calculated.

The Forecast's output data can be split into 2 categories as follows:

Aggregated forecast data

This means that all the values listed in the KPI tabs and also in the chart are calculated for all the non-brand keywords included in the Forecast.

Forecast Status

The Forecast Status is a percentage that shows the current trend of the Forecast and it is calculated by comparing the Forecasted Visits with the Actual Visits.

Forecasted Visits = Inertial Visits + Additional Visits

Inertial Visits = the number of visits estimated to be received in the selected time frame, assuming that there would be no changes in the ranking positions for any keyword in the Forecast.

Additional Visits = the number of additional visits estimated to be received in the selected time frame, assuming that the targeted rankings are reached in the last month of the campaign.

Actual / Forecasted Visits

Actual Visits = the actual number of visits received in the selected time frame, given the current ranking positions for each keyword in the Forecast.

Forecasted Visits = the total number of visits estimated to be received in the selected time frame, assuming that the desired ranking positions would be reached in the last month of the campaign.

The visit estimates are calculated using the corresponding CTR for the ranking position and the search volume for each keyword.

Search Volume

The total average searches of the keywords included in the forecast, for the selected period and the search engine’s country or specific location, as given by Google Ads.

YoY Search Trends

This percentage shows the current trend of the search volume year over year.

It’s an average across all the keywords in the Forecast and it is calculated by comparing the search volume from the current year with the one from the previous year.

Keywords

The number of keywords included in the forecast from the total amount tracked in your project.

Refresh button

By default, Forecasts are updated once a month, taking into account the first ranking update for that month. Use this Refresh button to see an updated Forecast based on the latest ranking update from the current month.

Additional Visits

The number of additional visits estimated to be received in the selected time frame, assuming that the targeted rankings are reached in the last month of the campaign.

Additional Conversions

The number of additional conversions estimated to be received in the selected time frame, given the additional estimated visits.

Additional Revenue

The additional revenue estimated to be received in the selected time frame, given the additional conversions.

Google Ads Value

The estimated cost of getting the same number of additional visits via Google Ads. This cost is calculated for each keyword, considering the individual estimated visits and CPCs.

Forecast data per keyword

All the values listed in the table are calculated for each non-brand keyword included in the Forecast.

Initial Position

The ranking position for each keyword at the moment the Forecast was created.

Actual Position

The actual ranking position for each keyword taken from the latest ranking update.

Target Position

The desired ranking range to be reached at the end of the Forecast period.

Click Share

Estimated percentage of clicks from all the searches. It is calculated using the selected CTR curve in the Forecast and the actual ranking position.

When you hover your mouse over the click share, you can see the actual CTR for each position and the SERP features that appear for that keyword. The lines in green show the actual positions that your website ranks for that keyword. The SERP features that your website ranks for are shown in green.

Search Volume + YoY

Search Volume = the total number of searches for the selected period of time, as given by Google Ads. The search volume taken into account is only for the country or the specific location of the search engine included in the Forecast. This Search Volume includes the YoY trend that is displayed after it.

The months that are part of the selected period of time are shown in orange. Only these months are included in the Search Volume.

YoY Trend = this percentage shows the current trend of the search volume year over year. It is calculated by comparing the search volume from the current year with the one from the previous year.

Additional Visits

The number of additional visits estimated to be received in the selected time frame, assuming that the targeted rankings for this keyword will be reached in the last month of the campaign.

Additional Conversions

The number of additional conversions estimated to be received in the selected time frame, given the additional estimated visits.

Additional Revenue

The additional revenue estimated to be received in the selected time frame, given the additional conversions.

Feature availability

The forecasting feature is available for all types of plans available, as follows:

  • Agency, Enterprise monthly plans, and all yearly subscriptions can create an unlimited number of forecasts per account & per project.

  • Pro monthly plans are limited to 1 forecast per project.

  • Trials plans are limited to 1 forecast per account.

Do you have any other questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will keep building the FAQ.

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