Miracle Inameti-Archibong discusses Statistical Forecasting For SEO at SEOnerdSwitzerland

Statistical Forecasting For SEO w/ Miracle Inameti-Archibong

Here you find the transcript and a link to the youtube recording of SEOnerdSwitzerland meetup ‘Statistical Forecasting for SEO” with Miracle Inameti-Archibong.

Keyword based forecasting is great when you are writing content for a specific page on a specific topic. However, it has its flaws as it is difficult to definitively track all the keywords that are driving traffic to your site.

Also, most stakeholders do not understand or care about keywords. So, how do you conduct a holistic forecast that incorporates all site implementations (content and technical)?

In this talk, Miracle Inameti-Archibong covers SEO forecasting in a way that is holistic, using language and techniques that stakeholders are familiar with making it easier for them to understand and buy into.

You will learn:
· Why forecasting is important
· When do you need a forecast?
· How to conduct a forecast
· Understanding and mitigating outlier
· How to present your forecast
· How to show return on investment

Meet Miracle Inameti-Archibong

Miracle Inameti-Archibong provides expertise in Technical SEO and Data Strategy to resolve challenging problems and implement practical and pragmatic solutions.
Miracle is an incredible speaker, enthusiastic and able to explain complex ideas with simple words. We totally admire her way of handling data and creating SEO forecasts.

Follow Miracle on Twitter @mira_inam

Follow Miracle on LinkedIn Miracle Inameti-Archibong

Check out Miracle’s personal website to learn more about what she does, book her for a talk or for mentoring.

Miracle Inameti-Archibong at SEOnerdSwitzerland, 2021

Thank you Miracle for your presentation

Thanks to our speaker Miracle Inameti-Archibong, we are so happy to welcome you! Preparing a presentation and being present at the meetup take a lot of time.

SEOnerdSwitzerland is nothing without speakers willing to share their knowledge. I am happy we got to welcome Miracle!

About #SEOnerdSwitzerland

SEOnerdSwitzerland is a non-profit association that aims at promoting and sharing knowledge about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEOnerd Switzerland organizes events in person and in webinars. 

Join the community of SEO enthusiasts.

Follow us on Twitter @SEOnerdSwitz where we share slides, nexts events and articles we enjoyed.

Full transcript of the webinar about forecasting for SEO with Miracle

Sara Moccand Sayegh: Okay, so let’s see if people can hear us. And if they can… Can somebody like say, “Yes we can hear you, we are fine”? Because for me, it’s always a big issue if nobody is answering. So let us know please if you can hear us. Okay, I’m excited by nobody is answering. Ah, “We can hear you.” Thank you for that. Yeah, that was like an interaction at least. Okay, so it’s perfect. Yeah, and we have some of those so, okay. Some people are interacting and it means that they’re now listening to us. Okay, so would you like to start? Let’s start, let’s go. Let me start my presentation.

Miracle Inameti-Archibong: Let’s start.

Sara: Yeah, let me start by presenting, as you know, first of all I need to say something. Today, Isaline will not be here because sadly she’s sick. Nothing very bad. She will recover and you will see her to the next event. Don’t worry. But today -voila, voila- you will be with us. So, that’s all. So, about the association, Isaline and I open SEOnerd Switzerland because like… Why we did it? Because we love it, working together. We’re working in the same agency. And then, she decided to go freelance and open her own company. And so I was like, “Oh my god, we find no place to speak about SEO in Switzerland.” And at the same time, I’m losing Isaline. So, it didn’t work for me. It didn’t work for her either because if not she wouldn’t ever open it with me. And then, we open our association. And we are so happy because we always have brilliant speakers like Miracle. Can I say Miracle because it’s very French for me? I can’t manage. For me, that’s like, it is Miracle.

Miracle: Don’t worry.

Sara: Okay. So, I try to really say it more English but no, it doesn’t work. And so…

Miracle: I think, that’s alright.

Sara: Perfect, thank you so much. And so that is why we open the association. And we are happy to share the knowledge and have our great speakers. So, everything is always recorded. On YouTube, you can find the recording. We have like the caption. So then, I mean I know that I have a strong accent so at least, you can understand what I’m saying. And apart from that, I need to thank our sponsor because obviously, if we can do also that it’s because of our sponsor. So, they help us cover the cost of, for example, of Zoom captions and some other stuff regarding the association. So, thank you PILEA and thank you LIIP. Okay, we did it.

And, what’s next? I will arrive with you too, don’t worry. So, next thing important is our next event. It will be another fantastic event. Some of you probably already have heard about this event. So, it’s about Ulrika and she will speak about using Search Intent to understand your customer’s demand. Yeah, I can do it. To understand the customer’s demand so that is another great event if you want to subscribe for next time.

Explain… okay. So, now I should explain what will happen to this event. Sorry, but I needed to have a cheat sheet for that because there is no Isaline. So okay, what should I explain now? So, there it will be obviously Miracle speaking. And at the end, you will have the question, you will have the time and she will answer your questions. So, you can ask your question in the Q&A or in the chat. Do it the way that you feel more comfortable and I will manage to check both. And I’m sure that Miracle will help me. So, anyway we will manage to check both, don’t worry. So, that will be… So, yes. At least that you can ask all your questions for this great event.

Who is Miracle Inameti-Archibong?

So now, I can finally introduce our guest. Yes! Okay, so what people… I don’t know about you, I don’t know because almost everybody knows you, I mean. Yeah, you’re a rockstar in SEO. So, can somebody not know you’re not? But at least let me try. And so, she’s the head of SEO at Erudite. So, you are specialized in Technical SEO. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I often see you speak about that. So, that means that you’re very strong also in everything that is data strategy and this kind of thing. What you don’t know probably, the first time that I saw you, it was at the Women in Tech SEO. And I was like, “Wow,” because not only you were saying very clever things but on stage you were great. I was laughing so much, and I was like, “Wow.” And then, Isaline came in Jan and she told me, “Listen Sara, can we invite Miracle?” And yes, she said Miracle, too and I was like, “Yes!” So, we were super excited. And we are super excited to have you. Sadly, she can’t join. But… So, you did thoughts of it, too. I don’t know if there is something that I can add about you that I didn’t say. Go, go, go for it. –

Miracle: It was enough. I’ve got nothing to say.

Sara: It’s your call, I mean, you can brag. It’s okay if you brag, also.

Miracle: Okay, I don’t want to set to the expectation too much, just in case.

Sara: That’s too late, I already did it.

Miracle: So, yeah, yeah… Yeah, so I’ve been in SEO and most of my presentations are very agency-speak because I’ve worked all my career in agency, if anyone’s looking for in-house wink-wink. No, I’m just joking. I’ve worked agency and most of my career has been agents. It doesn’t mean that you can’t take any of this because you often need to show ROI in-house, because there’s dev time that’s been spent. There’s a lot of things that has been done and everyone wants to know that whatever the SEO team is doing is actually working. But yeah, so I’ve spent 10 long years in this industry and yeah, it’s still I’m still hanging in there, still slogging on.

Sara: That is a good news for everybody, I would say.

Miracle: Yeah, so should I start?

Sara: Yeah, yeah, please. I will stop speaking. Now, you can start reading your presentation.

Miracle: Okay, so I hope everyone can see me and hear me okay. So yeah, as Sara said, I will be talking about Statistical Forecasting for SEO. And as I’ve said, I come from an agency background and every time we have to pitch we often have clients saying- because most of the time people will come to us either they’re firefighting something’s gone wrong and then, they’re looking for someone to fix it. And they’re just like, “Yeah we need this thing fixed.” And they often trying to fix the wrong thing. And we’re like, “Hmm, there’s loads of other things you can do.” And they’re like, “Why should we do it?” You know, they don’t understand SEO or they’ve just built a site and they’re like, “Well, we’ve built this site. Can you just SEO it? We’ll give you the login to our CMS.” And that’s it. And in order for us to get them to understand the benefits of SEO, in order for us to educate them, we often have to forecast. And of course, sometimes the client has been with you for a while. You have your client renewal calls. And then, you have to tell them, why it is beneficial to them to keep using your service.

Why do you need SEO forecasting?

The great thing about forecasting is that it creates expectation. Again, because people come to you with a checklist. They don’t understand what SEO is. They don’t understand what SEO is supposed to do. They just say something for Google or we just need our site to comply. And they don’t… It’s not high list on the list of things that are important to the marketing team. SEO is never up there. And so, everyone gets the big budget. And so, if you want SEO to get a better budget, you need to create the right expectation because SEO is just never there. An example, see the pandemic. When the pandemic happened and everyone said cutting marketing budget, freezing spend, SEO was always the first casualty in the marketing team. Again, we often have clients come to us or in-house marketing teams say, “Well, we’ve been set this target for our marketing this year.” They’re supposed to achieve 20% year-on-year. “And this is the part we’ve allocated to our getting traffic.” And you’re like, “Yeah, but how?” You know, how did you come to this data? How did you get this arrive at this figure? How do you know that with the budget you’ve said for SEO, SEO can achieve that?

Again, one of the things it changes it from like a to-do list of, “Oh, I need to fix broken links,” do these two like, “Oh, this can actually make a difference to the overall business goals,” that this can make a difference to the financial goal of the business. Because once you start giving a monetary value to something then you get the C-suites engaged. Now get them, no one like when you start talking about rankings people even no SEO fully understands the depth of Google’s algorithm. Now, trying to explain that to someone who is not SEO inclined is like trying to explain to my mom what I do. I just do something, to her, I just- She tells me, “Oh, my computer is not working.” And I’m just like, “I can’t, that’s not my job.” Everyone just thinks you do something with hardware, software. It makes no difference to them. And so, you can imagine how the CEO’s eyes just glazes over when you start talking about rankings, algorithms, and things that no one actually cares about.

So this is why we bring forecasting because it just fixes everyone’s eye on the price. It’s not about getting the site in line with best practice. It’s not about, “Oh, there’s something Google requires of your site.” It’s about making money for the business. And that’s why as SEO Consultants, we have to speak more like marketers. Our job is to bring more money to the site. To the site, our job is to end the business more revenue leads. And so, we need to make sure that we are putting that at the forefront of any kind of proposal that we’re doing.

When do you need a SEO forecast?

So, when do you need to do a forecast? As I’ve said before contract renewals, it’s a great time to bring the forecast before the client and say, “This is why we’re saying you should spend xyz amount of money. Because if you spend xyz amount of money, we can achieve xyz amount of profit for you.” Again, when you’re presenting your strategy, you’re presenting something radical. You want your client to change the entire AI. You want them to build new pages. You want them to re-platform. You know, you’re saying and they’re like, “Whoa, this is going to cost us a lot of money. Why should we do this?” So, when we started saying, “Well, it’s good for Google.” It’s not a very strong reason. But saying, “It can end you this amount of money,” is a great reason for them to do it. And of course, if you work in an agency client-pitches is always a great way to be like, “Everyone else has said this is what they’re going to do. But we have said, we’re going to do this. And this is the amount of money that we’re going to end for your website.” It’s always a great way to lead any conversation.

Keyword based SEO forecasting

So now forecasting, the kind of forecasting we do. And before I joined Erudite, I didn’t used to do this kind of statistical forecasting. I used to do the traditional keyword-based forecasting where you will get a list of keywords that you think your client will run for. And then, you get the organic and click-through rate. And then, you multiply that by search volume. You take the conversion rate, the average conversion rate on the site, the average set volume. And then, you roll that out over 12 months. And then, you get your forecast for the client based off a keyword list.

That’s fine if you’re just doing content work. You know, to an extent, it’s okay. It’s not robust enough but it can pass if you’re just focusing on, “Oh, they’ve asked me to create a content for this landing page. These are the keywords the landing page is targeting.” You can roll that out because that task is very narrow. However, when you’re doing things that affect the entire website things like speed, things like CTR, that affects the entire website, that kind of keyword-based forecaster is just not holistic because it’s so difficult to predict keyword trends now.

And one of the reasons why personalization, everybody tracks, everyone like, yeah, the amount of our information that is online affects. You know, I was complaining the other day. My husband lost his dad and we were not even talking about it because none of the plans were being made here. But then, as soon as I signed in, I was being trapped by funeral sites. I was seeing the ads everywhere and I was just like, “What is this?” I didn’t even search for anything because I’m not the one planning funeral. But then, yeah, personalization makes a big difference to the kind of results you get. The location makes a big difference to the kind of results you get. All of the tools that we use to track our clients keywords the location of the tool crawlers, as well as the IP address that’s being used to ping the SERPs to get the data affects the results you get, the searches language, privacy setting, are you logged in, are logged at- All of these things. And so it’s getting more and more and more difficult to do anything that is so narrowly based on a set of keyword lists. You can’t predict all the long tail keywords that your client will rank for. You cannot accurately guess like the major generic keyword that one page will be ranking for but there’s so much long tail, there’s so much- So, it’s really difficult to predict the outcome based on a set of keyword lists.

Linear Regression and Exponential Smoothing in SEO forecasting

And that’s why we use like Linear Regression and Exponential Smoothing. And the overall idea is just- And I’m not going to read this out because I’ve written a long blog post about this. And you can read this later. It’s just like the regression model- And this is not a new thing. Anyone who’s done like economics or statistics, these are the kind of models they used to forecast. And it’s just looking at different variables and saying how accurately can this variable predict the outcome of the next thing.

And then, we combine that with exponential smoothing. So, it that looks like because there’s always outliers in data. There might be a time when GA (Google Analytics) data is missing. There might be a time when there’s like promotion. PPC (pay-per-click) promotion and everything just spikes. There might be a time when there’s a rope crawler bottled or something or there’s a campaign that gets a lot of sales. And so exponential smoothing, now it looks like all of those stages and try to say, well, if this has occurred six times, it hasn’t occurred now, this is an outlier. We need to fill a weighted average over this data to smoothing it out to make sure that there is no spike anywhere that isn’t like a seasonal trend.

So, together these two things, they help you determine the strength of your predictor. So, how accurate is this data in predicting the next data. Again, it’s very good for forecasting an effect, forecasting trends, forecasting seasonal data, and removing outliers. And that’s why we use this method of forecasting over the other method. And again, as an agency we do CRO (conversion rate optimization). We do a lot of technical work. So, we can’t always rely on keyword as a means of forecasting because most of the work that we do affects the entire website.

What do you need for SEO forecasting?

So, what do you need for forecasting? To get statistical significance, we always advise to use at least two years of data. And if it’s a new client and they don’t have Google Analytics data, you can use sales data. I prefer to use sales data if they’ll disclose that to you because as we know Google Analytics is not 100% accurate. It doesn’t track everything, there’s cookies, there’s- Again, it’s a trend tool. So, if you can get that sales data that gives you the actual figures, that’s great. And then, some people forecast on Google impressions and clicks. I personally don’t do that. I prefer to forecast on real analytics data. But you can forecast anything you want really, really with the tool. Again, if you have two years worth of data, you can forecast anything you want And then, simple Excel spreadsheet, this is actually really easy to do really.

Train your SEO data

And then, you can train your data. So, the data allows you to select the confidence interval which says how confident are you in the robustness of this data. Is this data clean? Am I sure the client’s been tracking the right things? Are you sure that everything’s been recorded? So, you can you can select the confidence data and what you can do is play with it. So, what I try to do is like whenever I’m training my data I take like if they have 2016, I take 2016 data. And try to switch to confidence interval and see how close I can get to predicting 2017 data. So, data that they actually have. And then, I go and look at what metrics I’ve set that was able to predict 2017 data as accurate as possible. And then, I replicate that in predicting the future.

Select your seasonality

And then, you can select your seasonality. So, is it that every six months there’s a sale? You can select your seasonality or let it detect it normally. So, here you can put like six months, you can put 12 months or you can say detect automatically. There’s nothing in the business that doesn’t have like a seasonal trend, summer sales, or winter sales or something like that. Again, you can tell it what you wanted to do with any kind of missing data. So for instance, you stop tracking one month and there’s a lot of data you can turn. Basically, what it does is if you like to use the previous month’s data or it has the first month and then, the last one together and gets an average and uses that.

And this is just a video I made just to show you. So, this is 2019 and 2020 data and it’s organic sessions. And it’s creating a forecast for 2021. And as you can see it’s just highlight. Again, select the confidence interval, select the seasonality, tell you what to do with missing points and then, create your forecast. And it’s just using the forecast sheet in Excel and it’s that easy, really. And it gives you three trends. It gives you like a lower confidence, a not for one. So, you can select which one you think best mirrors. We normally plot three-trend graphs, and I’ll show you at the end because yeah, nothing ever goes as smoothly as you think it will.

And this is as simple as that looks. This is what our forecasting looks like. You can make it as complicated as you want. You can forecast organic traffic sessions and then, use that to predict revenue. And of course, once you get the organic sessions or the transactions what you do is, you go and you get the average conversion rate or you can forecast your conversion rates as well if you know that you’re going to be doing continuous site improvements. You can forecast that. And then, you take the average revenue from the site average or the value. And then, you multiply that to get your predicted revenue. So, the only thing we don’t forecast here is the revenue because you can forecast the sessions, you can forecast the transactions, you can forecast the conversion rate. And then, you use that, multiply by the average of the value to get your revenue predictions. And so, this is just for a client we’ve done. And we’ve done like- Because their business is weather dependent so we’ve done like a forecast for favorable weather. And that would be the highest confidence interval forecast for favorable weather. That would be a lower confidence interval. So, depending on what we feel. You know, if there’s rain then people will go to the business.

The trend line “if you do nothing”

And as you can see, we always have like a trend line that says okay, we tell the client, “if you do nothing-” Chances are that if the client has been in business for a while and they’ve been marketing, they’ve been promoting their site if they do nothing there will be a continuous growth even if the group will not be as fast as they want. But so we like to show them- Or chances are that we don’t try to manipulate the data. We let the data speak. I’d say, “Okay, the data predicts if you do nothing, this is how you continue to grow. However, if you use our service-” Again, we are like cautious and moderate and optimistic. And then, depending on the client like with that client, it was weather dependent. With another client it might be that, “Oh, your competitors have been aggressive this year.” And we’ve seen online that they’ve been really, really aggressive. And so, we feel like we should be cautious here in case they continue on that line. Or it might be that the client has come to us and say, “Oh, they’re missing a developer.” And so, they might not be able to implement xyz but they’re trying to make sure that they can get one on board. So, “Okay, if we managed to do half of what you said, this is what we’ll achieve. If we manage to do all of it, in a timely fashion.” Because we all know that SEO is timely, you have to do it and I’ll Google to crawl it and then, take effect in the cell. What I didn’t add here is that when you do this, in order to get your cautious and your optimistic, when you do your normal forecasting with the forecast sheet. Then you can say, “Okay, this is what we think you have.”

“If you use our service” forecasting: the tricky part

And then, you can say, “But if you use our service,” and this is a tricky bit. I’m not going to lie. This is the tricky bit that depends on experience. And you have to research on your client’s competitors before you say, “We feel-” And this is where experience comes into it. Then you would have, “Going with our service, we can guarantee you-” Well not guarantee, we can say, “We’ll have like a 10% increase in your expected profit. And that’s why we shouldn’t do Nothing Models. With the Do-Nothing Model, you would have had like three million. Using our service, we believe that with all the recommendations we are telling you to do you can get a 10% increase.” And be very careful when you do this part because you need to look at, who their competitors are? How aggressive their competitors are doing? How much are they prepared to spend? What on the side can you actually fix and what is strictly out of your control? You know, and caveat that. And tell the client you have to do what we say you should do in a timely manner. Just because you’ve hired an SEO Agency doesn’t mean your SEO is fixed. You actually have to implement what we say and then, your SEO is actually fixed.

So, that’s the way we approach it. And using this model we have a 5% error margin. So now, we have clients that come to us just because they’re like, “Can you do us a forecast because we have a direct business meeting? Can you also do it for our marketing team as well because we just want to check what we’ve done?” Things like that because we have like a 5% error margin. And we’re super, super transparent with them about how we do it, why we do it, and we show them the Do-Nothing Model. And they can decide which one they want to take for themselves. And then, we can say- And this way, we can always track how close are we to the forecast. Then, you can adjust once you’ve built the relationship with your client that’s transparent, anytime you have real data, you can add it and adjust the forecast model. And be like, “Okay, this is where we are now. We said in six months we’ll be here. What is happening, we’ve exceeded that. Maybe we increase the forecast.” So, whenever we have, periodically, like every three months when we have new data, we add it in just to make sure that the forecast model is right.

And then, calculate narrower. Again, this is not a new formula. And you just say, how much is a client going to gain from using our service. Obviously, you would 10%. To 10%, if they were on their own 3 million and as the 10%, what does it cost times 100? And I think for an agency, it’s easier for us to say, “What it costs?” because we know what the spend is. I think in-house it might be a bit tricky. If they have external developers then, it’s easy to just calculate how much you paid your external developers. In-house, it might be really different because you can’t just put your salary there. And calculate how much the spend is on you because they were like external factors. So, I appreciate that.

So, now that you’ve predicted all of these things, you tell the client this is what I can do for you. I think most important thing about a forecast is achieving that forecast. So, forecasting is one thing. And telling the client that this is what we can do for you is one thing. Achieving that forecast is a totally different ballgame.

How robust is the data informing the target?

And, first thing first, and I always say, this is how robust is the data informing the target. How robust is that GA data? When last did you do an audit? When last did you do in order to check that? What’s organic traffic is being counted as organic traffic? When last did you check to see that there’s no spam buster just feeling corrupting your data? So, I’ve put a link there to like a Google Analytics template that we do to say first things first, when we onboard a new client is to check their data. We’d always check and except they’ve been with a reputable agency, there’s always something wrong. So, I would always check the data to make sure that- Which is why if we can get sales data to do the forecast, brilliant, because sales data is always more robust than GA data that we have access to.

➡️ For a Google Analytics audit, check Erudite Agency Google Analytics audit template.

Align your strategy to the company direction

Again, align your strategy to the copy direction. I can’t stress this enough. I mean, oftentimes SEO is always like a tick list of best practice. Best practice might not always be best for your client. Think about where they’re going. And it’s not just when a client comes to you and say, “Oh, we want to do this. We want to gain more visibility.” First thing is to sit down and ask them, where do you see yourself in the next two years? Where’s the business going in the next few years? What is the direction? And think about the long-term goals not just the initial growth because that always helps in shaping the strategy and you’re less fire-fighting. Imagine a client coming to meet you now, “We’re about to build a new site and we want to make sure that you create a brief for our developers that it shows that the site is SEO friendly.” And then, you just go ahead and create that brief. Two weeks later when the site is live, they’re like, “Okay, now we want to become an international site.” And you’re like, “Oh, well this platform you’ve chosen doesn’t allow for proper search folders.” You know, and issues like that in common. But if you are sure where they’re going next 2-3 years, you can think ahead and think about the longer term strategy and provide that real benefit for them from the start.

Always check tasks that you’ve done before

Another thing, especially in the agencies that happens is that because you have so many pots that you’re holding you have a task list of what you’re going to do for this client. You’ve done it, tick, tick, tick, tick. “Whoo, June is over, I can rest.” You created the report and the report says this is what happened and you send it up. And then, you forget that you ever did that thing. You just forget and you forget that SEO is a long con. It’s a long game. You have to wait to see something content you created. Now, in six months we’re doing better. If you just reported on it this month, you’re losing out on all that value that it’s going to create six months down the line. So, always check ever green content. Always check tasks that you’ve done before. We increased the speed. We did a technical fix to fix the speed of the site six months ago and the site speed jump by that. And then, keep checking and keep checking it. And say, “Since then revenue has increased by 10%, 20%.” All of those things are SEO wins that you shouldn’t forget to keep shouting about. And then, reporting on and then tracking because that will all go back to showing how much you are achieving in your forecast.

And I’ve just created like a Google sheet. Again, this is a Google sheet which is just like how to look for monetary value in things. And because sometimes it’s really hard to tie specific tasks monetary values but this just looks at how to sitemap optimization and maintenance. You know, are all the URLs right? URLs that we’re not in the set but they are now in the set. How much is that page now generating in leads or conversions? And then, that’s something that you can report on. There is no always easy and it doesn’t always show in black and white what we want to. But then, if you keep checking them each one of these might prove valuable.

Giving SEO activities a revenue implication

And why is it valuable to want to be able to understanding like to tie revenue back to task? It’s because, again, if you don’t achieve your forecast, if things don’t go right, the client will always ask, “Why?” And in justifying why and getting them to push someone to get things done, it’s always good to have a revenue implication to be like, “Well, this hasn’t been done. We’re losing xyz amount of money.” And in my experience, that always gets things moving because the developers will not always have the same KPIs as you. And they’re also busy firefighting. They want to make sure the site is still working. They want to make sure they check out journeys they’re working. That’s their top priority. So, they don’t understand why they should be fixing this thing when to them, it’s working. And so, when there’s a revenue implication from the CEO whether it’s the revenue implications decision to be like, “Oh, now I want you to prioritize this.” And of course, they can’t ignore that. So, it’s always good to be able to give things a revenue implication.

Why is it valuable to want to be able to understanding like to tie revenue back to task? It’s because, again, if you don’t achieve your forecast, if things don’t go right, the client will always ask, “Why?”

Miracle Inameti-Archibong

And yeah, so I’ve written a whole blog post about forecasting because that’s more in-depth than any presentation that I can do. And yeah, because sometimes you’re not always able to articulate on any of these things. And writing and reading through and writing a game is always the best ways to go about expressing yourself. So, I think it’s more valuable for me to share this post than to share any slides that I’ve done on forecasting. So yeah, Sara will be sharing any of all the links I’ve shared here so that everyone can access it and can read more.

➡️ For more details, check Miracle Inameti-Archibong’s blog post on Erudite Agency’s blog.

Yeah, so that’s for me. Now, for your questions. Thank you.

Sara: First of all, It was excellent, I’m super excited. And with this presentation, you solve one of my problems. So, I don’t know, I will give obviously, the priority to other people to ask questions. You know during the presentation you received ‘brownia’ during the presentation because you receive, “This is amazing…” I mean, “These are the similar…” Oh, wait. Again, “This is amazing!” “Oh, exciting!” Et cetera, et cetara. So, anyway it was super.

Questions & answers

Does anybody have a question? Don’t do as usual in the last five minutes asking 10 questions. So, if not I will go for it. Okay. Yeah, apparently it was too clear for everybody. Just to me that I have a question. So, can I do it?

Miracle: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And even if it’s a question based on forecasting, if it’s just an SEO question in general, I’m happy to.

Sara: No, don’t worry. I will stick to the presentation. Why did I come to London to discuss about the rest? So… So I saw the news the interval confidence, do you say interval confidence? 

Miracle: The confidence interval, yeah.

Sara: Oh yeah, there was something wrong in this sentence. Okay, of 95%, I imagine that you play on that, no?

Miracle: Yeah, I don’t always use nine depending on the client.

Sara: Okay.

Miracle: Especially if it’s a new client that I am not sure of how clean their data is, I don’t use 95%. However, I always try to like forecast on the previous year. So, if I’m doing a forecast for 2021, let’s say COVID didn’t happen because COVID has thrown everything. So, if I’m dealing with a forecast for 2022.

Sara: Yes.

Miracle: Let’s say COVID won’t happen, I will take 2020 data and then forecast it. And switch the confidence interval to get as close as the actual 2021 data they have. So, that’s how to train your data. So, you take a previous year that’s already happened and then, you try to play with it. Try to change the metrics and see if you can get as close to a yet the data that you have live and compare the output.

Sara: Yes, okay.

Miracle: When you compare the output and it’s very similar then you can now use it to predict-

Sara: The confidence interval is higher. Now, I get it because it’s 95, I was like, “Okay, that is pretty confident.” Okay, so anyway, now I understand. Okay, so thank you so much for the answer. Okay. So, again, this is really like… yes. Okay, here it comes. It starts coming. Wait. Okay, that was a long question. Let me go down if I arrive… oops.

Okay. For lead generation client, how would you forecast the potential revenue generated? Would you get information from the sales team to get an idea on the average order? Example, the potential client is a manufacturer of pipes and can get an order for anything between 100 items and 5,000 liters per order. That looks a very precise example to me.

Miracle: That is very broad. What did she say? What did the person say? Sorry. She said how much was the range of the…?

Sara: So, the range was between 100 and 5,000.

Miracle: That’s very broad. The final average between those figures is really difficult. But what it might be useful to do is to break it down into sections. So, instead of forecasting for the whole site at one go you can forecast based on the monetary value. I’m sure the content, the…. I’m not sure, I think but the others will be split. Different things will cost different things. So, you might have to go more granular forecast where you forecast on each section or each type of product and then, roll that up to one. Because getting an average between 100 and 5000 is there would be too much error of margin. There will be too much error, yeah.

Sara: Okay. So, I don’t know, is that clear? Does it make sense? Yeah. How do you manage forecasting in different languages?

Miracle: I think because the forecast is numbers, so because it’s numbers I don’t think it makes any difference if it’s a different language. It’s just because it’s number. You have requested numbers so it should be fine.

Sara: So, another question? As I told you, you need to start the question and then, you have tons of people. You will not go away at seven o’clock. Okay, thanks Miracle. Okay, what if external factor has step effect on the reality that eventually skewed the forecasting results like competitors, an available product, penalty, clothing or it was a result of an online brand marketing.

Miracle: That’s what we say. We say this, whatever we present a forecast to a client we say, “This forecast is based on all things being equal.” All things being equal as that when the forecast was made. It’s based on all the information you have given us now which is that, you’re going to launch this brand now; this product is going to launch a successful time; you’re going to implement our SEO recommendations at xyz time. And that’s what this forecast is based on. If all of these things are not done this forecast will not be achieved. And so, you need to make it explicitly clear that this is dependent on this. You know, this is dependent on this. This is dependent on your PPC spend containing at this rate. Because we know that when people PPC spend goes up, organically goes down. So, you need to make all of those things clear to the client. And that’s why we always say, we revisit this every quarter. Every quarter we visit it with the live data to see if it’s still achievable. If the is live data is tracking up then, we know it’s achievable. If the live data is not tracking then, something’s happened. What’s happened? Once the product launch delayed or something and then, we will reforecast. So, you need to make it super clear to the client everything SEO. This is the moving document. This is the moving- The strategy is moving. It’s agile. Because we need to take into consideration what is happening and what hasn’t happened at all times.

Sara: Okay, I hope that was clear. Anyway, it was for me. So… Another question, how can I forecast for a new business who don’t have a website yet and are new to SEO?

Miracle: So, you can forecast based on search volumes. And then, in the blog post I wrote, you can use a tool, Advanced Web Rankings. Advanced Web Rankings, they track a lot of click-through rates. So, they track a lot of click-through rates across different industries and they split it by brand and on brand. And there you can use- So, again this would be a lose forecast. You can say, okay, search volumes and then, you might not have to integrate like keyword ranking positions into that one because it will be really difficult if they don’t have any GA data; they don’t have any sales data; they don’t have anything to go on by. So, you might want to use like, yeah, that might be a time to go back to using things like keyword data and using search volume data. And then, saying, “Okay, if you’re in this ranking position based on Advanced Web Rankings, you get this click-through rate.” This click through and this is the amount you’re proposing that you will sell your product on average and use that keyword forecasting method because it’s really difficult if they don’t have any data to forecast using this statistical model. So, that might be a good time to go back to. And I might even add this if I do another presentation of forecasting online. This would be tricky for clients that have nothing. So, you might want to go back to using the keyword. The keyword better for that one.

Sara: So thanks, it was a good answer. So, does somebody has another question? No? Ten, nine… Come on, this is your last chance. Oh, it looks so good. Seriously, your presentation, it was excellent. I mean, it was a difficult subject from my point of view. And you were really able to make it very clear so that was excellent. And for the panel, too, obviously. They gave up. How can we sum up forecasting into a process from analysis to execution?

Miracle: Sorry, I didn’t get that.

Sara: Okay, I will try it again. How can we sum up forecasting into a process from analysis to execution? How can we sum up forecasting into a process from analysis to execution? Maybe… Maybe somebody can help me. Maybe, you want to clarify the question.

Miracle: Yeah, because it says, how can we summarize it from analysis to execution? And I think from my understanding, I talked about making sure that your strategy is tied into what the business is trying to achieve. And always looking at whatever you’re trying to do. You know… This strategy that I’ve put forward, this tactic that I’m using for this client, will it make the boat go faster? For example, I recently looked at a client that had a WordPress blog. Now, I propose that they do some speed optimization. But I tested a few things like enabling caching, I tried to optimize the images, and nothing was working. So, we’re like, “Well okay, this website as it is, is so old. The code base is so old. You’re going to spend a lot of money looking through the code and going line-by-line.” The kind of visitors that are coming to this site just this current speed now, obviously, speed matters but does the current speed matter to them? What are they looking for? And will they go elsewhere? And because it’s a religious organization it didn’t really matter. So, just looking at this. So, the money was best spent elsewhere in optimizing their local search because people were more likely to visit them, locally. And call for information rather than go on the site to pray. So, it is looking at things like what is going to make the most value and the most impact for your client from a business perspective. And not just what is best practice because now everyone is talking about speed, core web vitals, bla-bla-bla. It’s easy to get swept in and forget that what is this client trying to achieve. That’s not to say all these things are not impossible but what will get the most ROI for your client? And what kind of consumer do they have? And what is that consumer’s expectation? What makes that consumer to convert? And that’s what you should always be thinking about. 

Sara: Okay, so apparently you got the question and you answered the question. So, yes he is happy. So, there was a thank you. So, apparently you answered perfectly to the question. So, another question and then, probably we will let you go. Well, now that speed is being discussed, how much do you look into web performance? And if you do, what do you look at specifically? Okay.

Miracle: Oh god, this web performance is like the top thing because that’s something that will have an effect on the entire site. And every channel is so important for conversions especially on eCommerce sites. So, the first thing to do especially with an eCommerce site is images. And one of the reasons why I say images because images is something that if they don’t have developer at the time it’s something that you can do on your own. You can use automated tools to like resize images. And then, just say, “Here’s a bunch of images. Can you please upload them back into the CMS? Or if you have access, again talking agency speak because the kind of size of clients we work with, we don’t normally go into their CMS. But there are things you can do. First of all the quick wins and I know that whenever you use all the tools they wish throughout all of these JavaScript issues. But JavaScript and any code-based issues is not an easy fix. And you will get a lot of pushback if it’s not their normal site maintenance cycle. So, I would say, first of all, always go after the quick wins. Things like third party tools, like third party apps, third party codes these that’s always like a pain because you can’t optimize the actual code. So, one of the things that we always look to do is what can we move to GTM (Google Tag Manager) and then, we can create a tag in GTM that says, ‘Only load this after the page is fully loaded.’ So, you might not be able to move everything but you can move some of things especially things like chat box. Look at the… don’t get me started.

And again, I think one of the things that SEO can learn from the CRO team is like using things like Hotjar to see, is the customer actually engaging with all of these things that are on the page? The page is this this long and then, you have this chat box and everyone feels it is super important. And then, you take some hot chat recordings and no one’s actually interacting it, no one’s actually clicking on it. Or they have they pull onto product pages like all of this long list of products that everyone’s advertising and they want to put like 10 products in the row and no one ever scrolls down to that part of the page. So, it’s just things like that, that I have new user impact that you should be checking for first. Because it’s really interesting to be like, “Oh, there’s loads of JavaScript that you can…” but then, 90% of the time that would just get you the biggest pushback. And they’ll just be like, “Oh, this is going to take us 20 hours to fix this code. And this is not our usual maintenance cycle.” And it will get pushed back. So, just focus on quick wins like that. Things like, how many fonts have been loaded on the page? And one of the things that we started doing as an agency is when we- Especially with our accessibility audience, we should totally have my colleague, Jess on here because she does an amazing presentation in accessibility. It’s like, trying to define the online brand guidelines because you’ll see that to a naked eye, these two colors are the same but to a crawler, they’re two different things that needs to be loaded. And then, you see like a page is calling like 14 different colors that are blue and all of them are marked important. And you’re just like…

Sara: This is good. We would be happy to have your colleague then because accessibility is obviously something we love. So yes, for the next year.

Miracle: And it’s like, 13 different fonts are big. It’s all well and good for styling and none of them are being hosted on the client’s domain. So, this is all different handshakes that have to happen for all of these things to be loaded. So, it’s just quick to get items like that that can be quickly tweaked or telling the client, “Well, these fonts, you can buy it.” Or things like jQuery files especially when there was like the cookie update. Lots of people were loading like different using third party apps for jQuery. And instead of using one central jQuery or using the jQuery for the Google host they were just loading multiple jQuery files. So, things like that that can be easily tweaked should be looked at before we start looking at the almighty code-based. But those would be the things that are definitely most savings. But then, I will always say prioritize quick wins And then, push and push to get all of that JavaScript. Oh, and then, things like caching. Yeah, enabling cache, the longest cache and policies ever. Enabling all of those things, those are things that will move the needle quickly.

Sara: That was quite a complete answer and I love it. So, I don’t know if somebody has another question before we finally let her go. Okay, so I will start the final sentence and the final thank you. Are you sure that there will not be another question coming up now? Okay, let’s do it. We can do it. So, I’m scared to start. Okay so, first of all thank you so much. So, as you saw, it was like people are passionate about this subject. As I learned so much from you, I’m sure that other people did, too. I hope that we will have you again. Maybe next year, it would be great. And maybe with your colleague. You come together we will have a party together. And… I don’t know what else to say except that really, you make this complex subject as easy as possible. And then, I will share the slide. I discover a problem in… What’s name of this platform? Meetup, yes. Good to remember the name. Because apparently, I can’t attach so I will discuss with Miracle if we can do it in a different way because I can’t add attachment If not, I will send you my email address. Write me directly on my work email address and I will send you this slide or something like this. We will figure out how to do it without having a link, probably. Okay, so apart from that, is there something then you want to add Miracle just like to complete?

Miracle: Oh no, thank you everyone for coming. I’m not going to share the slides but I think you’re better off reading the blog post because the blog post is more comprehensive. It goes through like the training data, explains everyone. And of course, things like this might look super easy until you start doing it. So, if you have any questions, please reach out to me. I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn, @mira_inam. I’m happy to until you start playing with it you don’t understand yet. then, you start to seeing errors and then, you need help. Just let me know if you need any help. And thank you so much for coming.

Sara: So, just a second. I will put your Twitter and the LinkedIn so that they can join you directly. Just give me a second. You know, when Isaline is there, she’s more prepared than I am on this kind of thing. And she’s faster, she’s a machine. I’m missing you Isaline. Okay, so this if you want to follow her on Twitter and probably ask some question, apparently so you’re free. And yes, the blog post that is something that’s for sure I will add in the email then, I will send to the community. I am also very happy that you wrote a blog post on that like this. It will go more in deep. Okay. That’s all. Thank you so much. Thank you for coming. And, see you soon then. Bye! Bye, Miracle. Oh, wait, wait. They want to say thank you. Say your thank you now, you also deserve. ‘Epic presentation’ Oh, Deton, I never saw it. Epic presentation probably is the best compliment that you can have. Okay, let’s go now. Thank you so much. I would let you go back to your case.

Miracle: Thank you! Cheers! Bye!

Sara: Bye! Ciao, Miracle!