As I’m sure we all know, SEO forecasting is one of the most tedious and frustrating tasks that many of us have to cope with for pitches. In my short time at OMD I am quickly learning how important these forecasts are to larger clients and as a result our team have been forced to improve the sophistication of our forecasting models.
When I first spoke to Bas about writing this post my intention was to write a bit of a rant about the cost and time consuming nature of forecasting and as many have already illustrated before “a forecast for SEO is not even worth the paper it is printed on.” However, given our involvement in an ongoing pitch and the subsequent improvements we have made to our model I think it is worth sharing my findings and suggestions and would love to hear what sort of things others in the industry have come up with to cope with the myriad of issues thrown up by this reporting.
So, if you are a technical SEO and you already know how horrible the data is, I urge you to skip to the end of the post and to weigh in on the comments below about some of the techniques and modelling you all have done to make life easier (e.g. Excel hacks, estimation tricks, number of terms use when trying to create a sample, how you deal with the long-tail, etc.). Though you may find some of the statistics and arguments useful should you find yourself needing to forecast!
However, if you are a client, if you have to deal with clients or if you have to sell to clients I strongly urge you to read the below issues with the data most SEOs use for forecasting and also read about the amount of time this sort of work can take – time that we could be spending to make your website better! (more…)