SEO Forecasting: How to Predict and Plan the Future with Dan Petrovic (NEWBIE)

SEO Forecasting: How to Predict and Plan the Future with Dan Petrovic (NEWBIE)

SEO Traffic Projection for eCommerce Websites

 

Do you have a crystal ball?
Or a set of runes?
Or are you pretty dang good at deciphering tea-leaf patterns in your mug?

No? Well if you can’t see the future, how are you going to predict the future of your marketing campaigns?

How are you going to forecast results?

So many humans are blindly executing SEO campaigns, and crossing their toes and bum cheeks for results.

But today I’m talking to one of the SEO greats about how to use human ingenuity, apps, and insight to foresee the traffic your SEO efforts will bring to your website.

 

Tune in to learn:

  • What SEO forecasting means
  • Where to start when planning an eCommerce SEO campaign.
  • The two main ways to increase your site traffic.
  • Tips to get more clicks on existing results with Click Through Rate (CTR) Optimisation.
  • How you can project CTR-based traffic increases.
  • How you can project future financial gain, and which tools can help.
  • How seasonality can affect your projections.
  • The differences between projecting for service-based businesses and eCommerce businesses.

 

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And big thanks to Compelling Copy for their lovely review:

“I love this podcast as it gives me the latest tips that I can use to help my clients with their SEO strategies.

 

Kate’s interviewing style is friendly and accessible. Normally when people talk SEO my eyes glaze over and I just don’t get it.

 

This podcast breaks it down and gives me real, usable info from some of the world’s leading SEO gurus.

 

Thanks Kate! Looking forward to the next episode.”

 

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About Dan

 

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation.

Dan is a web author, innovator and highly regarded search industry event speaker.

Weird fact about Dan: Dan has made a real levitating hoverboard.

 

 

Connect with Dan

 

Useful Resources

 

 

 

Transcript

 

Kate Toon:
Do you have a crystal ball or a set of runes? Are you pretty dang good at deciphering tea-leaf patterns in your mug? No. Well, if you can’t see the future, how are you going to predict the future of your marketing campaigns? How are you going to forecast results? So many humans are blindly executing SEO campaigns and crossing their toes and bum cheeks for results. But today I’m talking to one of the SEO greats about how to use human ingenuity, apps and insights to foresee the traffic your SEO efforts will bring to your website. Hello, my name is Kate Toon and I’m the head chef at The Recipe for SEO Success an online teaching hub for all things related to search engine optimization and digital marketing. And today I’m talking with Dan Petrovic. Hello, Dan, how are you? 

Dan Petrovic:
Hello. I am doing really well. How are you?

Kate Toon:
I’m good. Now, I’ve been trying to get Dan on this podcast for about 72 years and he’s steadfastly refused. But eventually, I just wore him down and he’s here today. So, it’s very exciting to have you here. I’m now going to awkwardly read out your bio while we look at each other. Is that okay?

Dan Petrovic:
Go ahead.

Kate Toon:
Okay. Am I saying Petrovic right?

Dan Petrovic:
No one ever says really correctly.

Kate Toon:
Petrovic?

Dan Petrovic:
Petrovic.

Kate Toon:
Petrovic.

Dan Petrovic:
That’s right.

Kate Toon:
That’s right. I’ll say it like that. Dan Petrovic is the manager of DEJAN and Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimization. Dan is a web author, innovator and highly regarded search industry events speaker. Weird fact, Dan has made a real levitating, hover board. Is that what I can see in the background?

Dan Petrovic:
Yes. That’s what you can see. I actually had to look for it because I noticed you put it in the little intro. I thought I’ve got to dig that up.

Kate Toon:
What do you mean? What are you talking about?

Dan Petrovic:
Unfortunately, I’m out of liquid nitrogen, so I can’t do a demo, but yeah, some other time, maybe.

Kate Toon:
I’m not sure if you are pulling my leg. 

Dan Petrovic:
For real.

Kate Toon:
Are you pulling my leg? Is it really?

Dan Petrovic:
Yep.

Kate Toon:
Okay. I need to see that. I want a TikTok video of you doing that, straight after this podcast.

Dan Petrovic:
Sure.

Kate Toon:
That’s a dream of mine. I’ve got some roller skates and the next thing I want to get is one of those boardy things that, you know the ones where you just stand on them and you can just… You know what I mean?

Dan Petrovic:
Yes.

Kate Toon:
Yeah.

Dan Petrovic:
The downside of my hover board is that it could probably sustain the weight of a mouse or a hamster. Yeah, it was like…

Kate Toon:
Okay, now I’m getting the picture. So it has to be an anorexic gerbil for it to work.

Dan Petrovic:
Yup. Well put.

Kate Toon:
Okay.

Dan Petrovic:
Now for me to actually line the hover board with as many superconductors it actually needs, that would cost $20,000. And my wife would rather have blinds installed in the house. So there you have it.

Kate Toon:
Wives. So boring, aren’t they? 

Dan Petrovic:
Practical.

Kate Toon:
With the blinds and carpet and food. Anyway. Well, I’d rather talk about that, but instead, we’re going to talk about something even more futuristic, which is forecasting. So, I mean, a lot of people are out there doing the SEO and they’re logging into their Google analytics and going, “Okay.” And then they log out again and they don’t really have any insight about what’s happening. They just keep doing the do. And they very much report on what has happened rather than what could happen. And so you’re coming in today to talk about how you can execute your SEO campaigns with the future in mind. But when you talk about forecasting from an SEO point of view, what sort of things are you talking about? What sort of metrics are you looking at?

Dan Petrovic:
Well, see, I’ve been doing SEO for 20 years. And one thing that hasn’t changed is a client comes to me and says, “When will it happen? When will I get the results? What will happen? How will that impact my bottom line?” All these questions constantly hammering. So, I had no choice. I had to invent a way of giving them something solid without promising smoke and mirrors. Right? So, I usually open up with saying something along the lines of I’m the weatherman I can tell and I can forecast the weather, but I cannot make it rain, Google does. So, with that in mind.

Dan Petrovic:
So, I look at data and I try to predict different scenarios that would happen if this, then that. So, when I do that it gives us an idea of how long it would take if we do this versus that, different scenarios, and informs future work. So, if I focus on these three pages, instead of those 10 pages, would that have a different financial impact? And then we play with figures like click-through rate and different ranking positions in scenarios. The beautiful part is that all that data is already in there. Google gives it to us for free, search console. So, that’s what we use to model these future scenarios.

Kate Toon:
But at the end of the day, the metric that you’re coming down to is less about, I mean, it’s using the ranking the time on-page and all of that. But it really is about the bottom line saying if we focus on this particular keyword for this particular phrase, and we do these particular changes, this could happen with your revenue. Yeah. And it’s all tracked through.

Dan Petrovic:
Yeah. That’s right. So, let’s get straight to the very end of what would normally be a presentation about forecasting, is you end up with a list of keywords and pages. And next to each one, there’s a dollar number, dollar value that tells you how much money you would make. If, for example, this keyword moves one position up, or if it gets into position one, or if it’s click-through rate changes from 20% to 22%. Now when we play with these numbers and things it helps that you actually have some traffic to start with. So, this is not an exercise for a startup that just launched their website. This is an exercise for somebody who’s been in business for maybe at least six months or a year, has some traffic coming through, has some data to work with otherwise your whole projection game would be super hypothetical.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. You’d be basing it on competitors and data.

Dan Petrovic:
Correct.

Kate Toon:
But I love that. And it’s so simple, often with my students on my courses, they’re like, “Oh, I found this new keyword, I’m going to go for it.” And I’m like, “Look, but look, you’re in position four with this keyword, if you just improved your click-through rate by this much, how many more of those products would you sell or how many more contact forms would you get completed?” But people are always looking for the new, “Oh, but new opportunities.” Work with what you’ve got, work with what Google has already given you and improve that. Especially for looking in Google Search Console, we’ve got so much data there that we can use without even having to rely on the SMS, SEMrush’s or the SEMrush’s I think it is now, and the Moz’s and the all of those tools.

Kate Toon:
So, we’re going to focus a bit more on e-Commerce stores today because obviously that projection is a little bit easier when you’re dealing on a product that has a value that you can then see the conversion. So, if you’re planning an SEO campaign for an e-commerce store. What steps would you take? I mean, I’m sure there’s a few, but what maybe two or three steps would you take in planning that with the future in mind?

Dan Petrovic:
Yeah. So, for an e-commerce store, there’s one specific challenge that’s always, always there. Google says one thing, make sure that you have great rich content that everyone will love and link to. And this and that. And I’m thinking who links to e-commerce landing pages like a pair of shoes, because there’s nothing particularly unique about them. And so, when you plan for an e-commerce campaign, you have to decide, if you’re going to do a piece of content for a product landing page that will cost you $2,000 content, photos, videos, create it 10 times better than your competitors landing page. Page them or might even add links. So, how do you decide, obviously you let’s say you have 800 products, times 2000, that’s a lot of money, but with our strategy in place, you probably start strategizing top-down and target the first three products.

Dan Petrovic:
Spend six to $10,000 on the most important products that you have, the best sellers, the ones with the highest margin. So, this comes from business data, whatever you think will work best and whatever customers are after. So, campaign needs to be designed in such a way that product descriptions are really super rich. All the other technical SEO aspects. That’s just SEO hygiene. You want to make sure you’re not blocking Google board. You want to make sure that all the SEO tick boxes are in place. That’s not what we’re really talking about today. That’s a totally separate discussion, but the challenge is here, great content is expensive. And you need to create a priority list. Again, we have a little list. We refer to that list and we say, Oh, okay, well, these three pages contain 26 of our most valuable keywords and we’re going to focus on them.

Dan Petrovic:
Plus they will bring us a good return on investment, good margin. So, these will be the pages that we’ll start working on. Now once that part of the strategy is out of the way, then you want to think about, okay, well, what is my authority building strategy for these pages and my content. And the mistake that people make most often in their strategy or not having a strategy is they start up a blog and they start hammering at the keyboard and writing random stuff, or guest blogging, or inviting guest bloggers to rifle them or whatever. Everyone’s getting links towards their blog and your product pages are not getting any love. So, part of an e-commerce strategy for me would be how do I act actually attract authority building towards the landing pages that I want to convert.

Dan Petrovic:
And then the challenge that comes with that is, can you overload an e-commerce landing page to the point where it impacts conversions, where there’s too much shiny glittery stuff that detracts from the actual purchase? Well, we know that we can use a different layout elements, tabs, accordions, to structure that information in such a way that would give users access if they need to but also not distract from the actual purchasing process. So, once you have the authority building part in there and all the SEO boxes are ticked, the final stage, and I think very few people are actually doing this, they do it in CRO and conversion rate optimization, but not for SEO is testing. Testing, testing, and experimenting. So you need to set up your tests and run experiments on an ongoing basis, never stop. It always surprises me that people actually do look at analytics, and often at scroll maps and heat maps, but they never record user sessions to see what people actually do on these pages before they make improvements. So, some of those elements would definitely go into a strategy that would be in line with your forecasting.

Kate Toon:
I love that. I just want to recap on a few things that you said there. So, we’re going to use a combination of our SEO data, looking at the pages that are performing well, the keywords that are ranking well, and then we’re going to measure that against our business data of which products sell the best, have the best margins. And that’s how we’re going to come up with our hit list, because I guess as well, we know with e-commerce stores often, it’s 20% of the products that are generating 80% of the sales and a lot of the sub-products haven’t seen a sale in months. So, we’re not talking about doing this on every page of your site. You’re going to pick some hero pages and test this out, basically test out these approaches. Right?

Dan Petrovic:
I would ultimately like to see the whole website having these content rich pages, but that will happen maybe five years down the track. When you say, “Haha, finally I’ve done it all.”

Kate Toon:
Yeah and when we tested it. We, actually did a really good episode with Amanda King talking about split testing for visibility and conversion rates use doing AB testing for SEO, not just for CRO. So yeah, I really agree that so pick one product that’s doing well, do nothing to it, pick another product where you do all these things and see what happens. I don’t think there’s enough. There’s not enough of that. Is there?

Dan Petrovic:
It’s definitely not enough testing. And one thing that I like to do, and I don’t think people realise it’s almost like a superpower is SERP, click-through rate testing. Now you can’t do AB testing with that because you can’t run two parallel universes, to see your rankings and your snippet in two variants at the same time in Google. But you can do sequential testing, collect data for one week for snippet that has title A and description A and then run it against the title B and description B and see how they compare. Now, when you run a test like that. So, okay. Let me backtrack, what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to look attractive in Google search results when trying to be, even if you’re the result, number five, you will get more clicks out of that.

Dan Petrovic:
Then result number four, three, if you are more attractive to click on, and that could be an interesting keyword or a dollar sign or having a featured snippet or something that people don’t consider normally. So when you’re testing these things, you run it for a week or a month, and then you test it against the previous time period. Now, when you’re doing that, you can’t mix up your positions. During the test period, your rank will move. You might find yourself in position five, six, and seven. You have to split the click-through rate for each ranking position because you can’t factor in the click-through rate on a position six, same as in position five. Does have to be split up when you measuring one period against the other. Just so you don’t confuse rank based click-through rate improvement with content-based quicker rate improvement.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, it’s that whole testing one thing at a time and keeping the data clean. And we talk about click-through rate optimization. When you’re looking at your search engine results pages, you’re seeing where you’re sat with your other competitors, all trying to go after that same keyword. What are some of your core tips around getting more clicks from your existing results that make over for your SERP results?

Dan Petrovic:
Well, one thing that’s really important to do is once you dive into it, you might have a theory that you’d like to put the test. That’s cool. You can go and implement that. But what I like to do is I like to look at all of the data for all of the keywords and pages and look for pages that are somehow outperforming the average. And I like to look at keywords or queries, search queries in search console that are somehow for some reason outperforming the average. And opposite of that I like to look at the queries that are just underperforming for some reason. And I like to look at pages that are under performing as well. So, how do you figure this out? Okay, well, again, we stick to one data point at a time. Let’s look at position number 10 in Google.

Dan Petrovic:
I have a website, sells shoes online. And for these all these queries when something ranks 10 in Google on average, that will be variations. But on average click-through rate for position 10 will be 5%. Suddenly, I find a page in my search consult that has a click-through rate of 1%. What do I do with that information? Well, I try to find all the underperforming pages and I look for patterns. What’s in common with these pages. Remember people haven’t seen the page yet. They’re just judging it by the title and description or schema, whether it is a rich snippet involved or price or review, it could be that you don’t have the reviews and everyone else does, or it could be that you’re the only one that doesn’t have the star ratings and everyone else does. And that’s helping you somehow.

Dan Petrovic:
It could be any number of wild and weird things. The point is you can never guess what it is. You have to look at your data and seek anomalies whether it be underperforming or over-performing you learn from the bad ones and you try to come up with a hypothesis. You figure out what doesn’t work and you test it. Don’t just run with it, test it. And also when you find something that you believe, let’s say you put copyright signing your title, and that gives people more confidence thinking you’re a big brand or a TM, or trademark. And you think that’s what makes your click-through rate high on average, because that’s what you’re seeing on those pages. You take that too and make it a test and you run your test, collect the data.

Dan Petrovic:
And if it works, apply to the rest of the site if something that you noticed was a negative influencer test that as well. And if it proves to be true, like in your test, it shows that it’s decreased the click-through rate, then make sure that you go through all your titles and descriptions and you remove that bloody thing out of everything. It cannot be anywhere, but this, this process never stops. You never run out of tests. You can continuously polishing and improving your click-through rates. And eventually you’ll find that you’re getting 5% extra traffic, 10% extra traffic. It’s not going to be much, but if you’re like, if you have 10,000 visitors per month and you get 11 next month, that’s pretty good. That’s like moving position. Now that means that when you do move the rank in Google, you’re going to get that much more extra.

Dan Petrovic:
And that’s what this kind of way of thinking and framework allows you to do. It allows you to project. So for something that was position three, you can say, “Whoa, if I move to position two, I know how much traffic I will get, because I know what the click-through rate on average is on position two.” It’s simple math. You just multiply it. But what’s really important is for an e-commerce website to attach their average order value with the conversion rate to a potential scenario. So you say, “Okay, this page, if I improve the click-through rate by 5%.” Well, that’s a bit ambitious, but like depends like if it’s a first result then 5% might be a realistic increase. If I increase it by 5% my average order value on the website is $200. And conversion rate is 3%.

Dan Petrovic:
You can work with those numbers and you can actually project the value of moving up. You can predict the value of CTR optimization, click-through rate optimization exercise, and you can forecast different scenarios if you focus on this page versus that page. And that’s in a nutshell, the process, the logic of it.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, it makes perfect sense. And I think the interesting thing is while I’m looking at the anomalies is going into the actual search results. Because I think some people get lost in the tools and they’re looking at the search features and the click-through rate, but sometimes you go into the search results and there’s an obvious reason for that anomaly. Actually when you look just with your normal human eyes, not using a tool like I ran obviously number one for Kate Toon. But I don’t get the full click-through rate. You think, I am the only result I should get a hundred percent, but of course I don’t want to go to the search results because the whole first page is Kate Toon. And some people might be going to my other website or to an article or to YouTube or to. So, but on first results, I’d be like, there’s something wrong, I’ve done something wrong, but you have to use your common sense as well.

Kate Toon:
And I like looking at the different search features there as well. I love that. So, with this ability to predict the future, it’s almost magical, isn’t it? One thing I love for all the SEO people listening is with this kind of rationale we’re always good SEO people don’t offer guarantees of course, and say, “We’re going to give you a number one ranking or whatever, but you can justify the work because if you can say this check, if we do this work, we can predict an increase of X.” Then, as you said, it’s worth investing that $2,000 in that particular page. Because I think that’s one challenge that a lot of business owners have is that they are putting all this money forward and they don’t know what their return is going to be. So, why don’t all SEO companies do this? It’s magical.

Dan Petrovic:
Yeah. I mean, effectively what I’ve described just before is a form of a an ROI blueprint that you can just do to calculate the value of SEO in different scenarios. Obviously you don’t know the outcomes in the future, but you can have a really, really educated guess about the whole thing.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. And I mean, you talked about conversion rate optimization and I’ve seen members of my community who just do something as simple as making like a 15 second video of them handling the product and just seeing that, that increases the sales of that particular product by X. So, they know that if they add that video to X amount of pages, it’s going to have that overall effect. It’s simple, it’s common sense. It sounds like common sense, but it also sounds genius at the same time. Now when we’re talking about e-commerce obviously seasonality can have a massive impact on results. How do you factor in seasonality into your projections?

Dan Petrovic:
Well we’ve actually struggled with this many times because the different ministers have their own little seasons and things, but typically it’s fairly straightforward. You try to look at the major holidays and everything like florist. You know what your big days are like if it’s going to Valentine’s day that you cannot factor in that data as any normal day or prior to Valentine’s for example. So, when you’re running your tests, you should be aware that user behaviour changes, click-through rates will be higher on high demand days and seasons. Shopping before Christmas and all sorts of things like that. So that’s just one of the things that could mess up with your data and you just need to be mindful. So, of course we built a tool just to run this whole what I’ve described as the framework. We actually will have as a working tool that takes the data from search console and just spits out the list that I was talking about.

Dan Petrovic:
Now when we do that, we actually have a little option for annotations. Just in case if you’re a florist and you forgot, you just put your little flag in there analytics can do annotations, but we try to correlate that with real world events. So, in our little timeline in Algoroo we have just a little flag on each day that is of significance for an industry. But what’s also important is you should also have something that annotates global events, something that Google’s done and it’s outside of your control. And why is this? Because you may have done absolutely nothing and your CTI has changed or decreased because Google’s just introduced some new shiny carousel at the top, special search features that are very magnetic there just asking for those clicks. So, it’s nothing that you’ve done, but you need to be mindful of that event.

Dan Petrovic:
So, that should be in your timeline as well. Another type of event is not a global event. It’s not a seasonal event. It’s an automated live event on your level. So specific to your site, let’s say you have earned three new links, or your rank has moved something that happened, but you didn’t do much. It just happened. And then there’s a final class of an event that you should be monitoring. And that is a local event that you’ve had influence over. He changed the title tag or a content of a page or something, put it in, in your annotations, whether it be analytics or your spreadsheet keep an eye on these things. So when you’re running these experiments, wondering why the ranks are moving and click-through rates are moving, you don’t get the false positive. “Oh, see, I changed this word in the title, and now my click-through rate is higher. It works.” And then you look at the global event and you’re, aw, actually, it was something that Googled did.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. And I think that can be challenging as well for people who aren’t in the know about what Google are doing. I’ve seen a lot of people freaking out about the fact that they’re losing traffic from a particular post that was doing well. And yet recently I read that Google is like removing a lot of the featured snippets. There’s been a massive decrease in the amount of featured snippets. So it’s not anything you’ve done. You haven’t messed up your posts. I think people panic a lot. And I also liked the idea of tracking those global events. Like if there’s something happening in the world and people aren’t necessarily going out and buying flowers this week, because there’s bush fires or there’s this happening that you keep track of that. So as you said, You’re not becoming a doom monkey when there’s actually nothing that you’ve done.

Kate Toon:
I think that’s really, really good. Now we’re talking a lot about e-commerce business here, but clearly all of this applies to service-based businesses as well. I mean we can set goals in analytics to track the number of people who are coming through our contact page. And we could say, look we could apply all the same principles to a degree. I mean, we could even give each entry we get getting our concept page of dollar value. If we wanted to use, make it make more sense to ourselves, but do you use this method on service-based businesses?

Dan Petrovic:
All the time. So, there’s a simple, simple replacement in our calculation. We just look at the value of a client. So, you obviously don’t get that conversion data in analytics. But you do get the traffic and you ask the client to give their best guess as to lead to a sale. Now they could be selling wind turbines and sell three per year, where the conversion value would be not just the product itself, but a lot of consulting involved in planning and infrastructure and everything else that goes with that. So, there’s hybrids where there’s a product and service involved, there’s service only, your lawyers and all the other services trades this type of stuff, you just look at not the average order value because there’s no order, but the value of a customer or lifetime value of the customer, you can use both models for that.

Dan Petrovic:
But it doesn’t stop you at all from predicting the traffic gains based on CTR and rank movements. So, that should still be pretty informative. So, naturally when people look at SEO, they usually see rank gain as a traffic generator. And so rank higher and rank for more stuff, but they drop the get more clicks from the same ranking spot. And there’s another element that is often forgotten. It goes slightly beyond that traditional forecasting and planning, and it’s called market research. And you just ask people. People often forget that when they’re doing the projections. Now, how does this work? Let’s say you have a really novel product. Let’s say you’re selling the little squeezy thing.

Kate Toon:
Hover boards for anorexic gerbils. Yeah.

Dan Petrovic:
I love that one. But imagine, I just can’t think of a thing that you use to squeeze your toothpaste out of the tube.

Kate Toon:
It’s called a toothpaste tube squeezer.

Dan Petrovic:
Yeah. That’s what you call it, but what do I call it? The SqueezMate, that was one of the brands. So, let’s say you’re retailing that and the problem that you have is this just not search volume for it. It’s a normal product people don’t know that it exists. So, what’s your strategy? Well, one of the strategies that you could adopt is run a survey, show them a picture of the product and tell them to say what they would type in Google to find it. You would get a tonne of amazing answers. You could run a hundred respondent server, a thousand response survey, that’ll inform your keyword research.

Dan Petrovic:
Then you have no data for that, but now knowing your average click-through rates, you can project for new keywords. Imagine that. So, forget about what you and your competitors are ranking for. New stuff, nobody ranks for, you can now project for. This is not head terms. This is not long tail. This is like new tail didn’t exist before. Google themselves told us like 30% of the queries that are typed in Google every day. I’m just making up a number here.

Kate Toon:
I think it’s 13. That’s the number I usually make up. I like to make up percentages on the spot.

Dan Petrovic:
17% of all statistics are made up.

Kate Toon:
13.2. Yeah. No, it’s 99%. I think you’re find. But yeah, they haven’t seen the term before and sometimes it’s where you have to go for the term and then make the term known. You go out with your branding and your social media and you actually create an audience for your term that you’ve made up. We’ve seen that happen a lot in SEO. So with all this, I mean, I think with service-based businesses, it’s almost easier because especially for like, you’re a small business, you’re an accountant, you’re a copywriter, you’re a graphic designer. You could only maybe need a shift in one new client a month and that could achieve your financial goals. Do you know what I mean? You just get one new client just by doing a bit of SERP optimization, whatever that could be amazing to you.

Kate Toon:
Obviously e-commerce stores, you’ve got so many products in smaller values, but I think this is it, working with what you’ve got. I like where you said there. Ranking higher and ranking for more, no. Look at what you’re already ranking for and what you can do to improve that.

Dan Petrovic:
Squeeze more out of it.

Kate Toon:
Squeeze more out of the tube, the toothpaste tube. So, you’ve mentioned a couple of the tools that you use. You’ve obviously got your own platform and your own software, but you also mentioned a few other tools. One of which was Google Search Console. What other tools can we use to find out our SEO predictions.

Dan Petrovic:
This is going a little bit deeper and more advanced, I suppose. But when I run an experiment and it’s not yielding the results that I really expected and I’m puzzled and I want to check things at scale, I tend to use Ahrefs to understand without going to search results and looking at them. I try to understand why? Because they have a feature where they can next to the keyword have a little data point that tells you if there was a featured snippet or otherwise a special search feature, presenting in a search for that query. So, that’s very helpful to understand, for example at scale rather than going page by page of search results, that could be tedious, especially if you’re running an e-commerce website. You don’t have the luxury of doing that, but if you export the ahrefs data you can actually see the percent or the number of the queries that have triggered the answer box, the accordions, the knowledge panel, and all sorts of features. Things that could influence your CTR, for example, could be presence or absence of video results on use.

Dan Petrovic:
This ambiguation queries, Google is not sure about a query, so it’s trying to give different things. And it could be any number of reasons, like if you’re in tourism and you feel like if you’re doing the snorkeling tours of the great barrier reef. At the very top, you’re going to get the carousel of things to do at the great barrier reef. If you have that at the top, bye-bye click-through rate, it’s just nothing you can do about that. But pivot change your strategy away from that query for something else. And you could find what that something else is by looking at ahrefs data for looking for queries that don’t contain those special search features.

Kate Toon:
So, actually look for the things that don’t have the features rather than focusing on the ones that do. Yeah. Okay.

Dan Petrovic:
Yeah. That’s right.

Kate Toon:
Cool. So, I think SEMrush also shows you which keywords you have those features for as well. So, you can actually search in there as well. So, great. And Google Search Console is really about looking at what you’re already ranking for and looking at the click-through rates that you’re getting, looking for anomalies. I can never say that word. And you talked earlier. I mean, I know it changes and with the stats changing so much, it’s pretty hard to say now what a number one organic placement results should get in terms of click-through rate, because it’s hard to even understand what a number one organic placement means now with the ads and the featured answers and the local pack and the whatever. Do you have a source of truth that you go to say an average organic number one placement should be getting? Because I remember it used to be like 33%.

Dan Petrovic:
I don’t.

Kate Toon:
No. Its hard, isn’t it?

Dan Petrovic:
I’m very much against that. We do have industry CTR curves presets. In our tool we have a preset that helps you if you have no data. Let’s say you are that startup and you don’t really have much in terms of query and click-through rates and other useful data in the search console, but you still want to run some projections and run some tests you can do that. There’s a little dropdown that you select, then you just go, okay. “Health.” And it just, prefills your click-through rate curve and gives you your projection based on industry averages. It’s a guess. When it comes to averages, averages can only be calculated on the site’s own basis. Look at your own data and make your own average. Now, if we go a little bit more advanced, some of the pitfalls and some of the things that could skew your data, brand queries, remove them.

Dan Petrovic:
You don’t want to factoring your 80% click-through rate or your brand. Get that out of the way when you’re running your calculations. What else can cause trouble? Well, non converting keywords, for example, you have a great blog post and has a click-through rate of 45%, but it’s not your product. Remove the URLs that contain blog. If you have anything that is not influencing purchase and financial impact, if you want to grow your blog traffic, that’s fine. By all means run that calculation. But sometimes what I do is I actually run separate reports on blog and separate reports on landing pages.

Kate Toon:
And so, just to simplify it for the audience and make sure that we’ve understood you properly. We take out those brands, we take out the extremes, the brand, the blogs. We ended up with just our conversion keywords. And we say look, on average, when we’re in position four, we get this click-through rate. So, this product here, that’s in position five. If we could shift it to position four, based on our own averages, we could see an increase of X. So using your own data, not going- 

Dan Petrovic:
Your own data and your own partial data, because you remove the brand query. All the brand queries and you remove the non-commercial queries as well. When calculating for ROI.

Kate Toon:
That makes sense. It all sounds wonderful. I’m sure lots of people listening to this will be like, this is something I want to do. If you are not some major brand, but maybe a small e-commerce store owner. And you’re thinking this is something I’d like to do. I’d like to stop running blind and just randomly optimise product pages and whacking things up here left right and centre. What would be your number one tip for them, for someone getting started the best for how to kind of get stuck in.

Dan Petrovic:
Set up a spreadsheet that measures your results of all your tests and start testing immediately. You cannot have success without a good, solid testing culture internally. You’re just copying often I’ll do a silly thing and my competitors will copy it and I’ll be just taking it off because it didn’t work and they just continue to use it as like what’s everyone using this didn’t work. It’s a stupid idea. Right? So, I think it’s very important to set up monitoring and testing framework that will inform the any future decision you make.

Kate Toon:
I love that. If I were, you, I’d be a bit more evil and just do lots more random tests and see who falls for it. That sounds a lot of fun. That’s the danger of being an influencer. You see people will do what you say without even knowing whether it works or not. Dan it was well worth waiting for, thank you for coming on the show. It’s been amazing to have you here. Where can people find out more about you and more about DEJAN?

Dan Petrovic:
You can just Google DEJAN marketing or Dan Petrovic. But you can also follow me on Twitter, I’m active there @dejanseo. And the tool that I mentioned is just Algoroo. But you might hook them up with the link there because there’s a special little-

Kate Toon:
Totally going to hook them up with the link. A link to your Twitter, your website, the link to Algoroo. They’re already all in the show notes You know what also is in the show notes? A video of Dan making a hover board.

Dan Petrovic:
Brilliant.

Kate Toon:
So when it gets to see the hover board as well. So, if you’re listening and you want to find out more about the hover board, maybe you’re a bit interested in SEO forecasting. You can go ahead. And it seems like all the proper SEO’s really get into their Twitter, don’t they? I don’t see you bouncing about on Instagram or TikTok very often.

Dan Petrovic:
No.

Kate Toon:
Oh, look Dan, thank you so much for your time today. It’s been awesome.

Dan Petrovic:
Likewise, absolute pleasure.

Kate Toon:
So that’s the end of this week’s show. If you have questions about SEO forecasting and how to predict and plan the future. Head to my, I love SEO group on Facebook. As you know, I like to end the show with a shout-out to one of my lovely listeners. And today it’s from compelling copy, “I love this podcast as it gives me the latest tips that I can use to help my clients with their SEO strategies. Kate’s interviewing style is friendly and accessible. Normally when people talk SEO, my eyes glaze over and I just don’t get it, but this podcast breaks it down. It gives me real usable info from some of the world’s leading SEO gurus.” And I must say, thank you Johanna Kohler for that, but I must say it was an absolute thrill today to have Dan on the show.

Kate Toon:
I’ve wanted to get them on the show for ages, such a smart man and such a nice chap too. So there we go. A bit of fangirling and thanks to you for listening. If you liked the show, don’t forget to leave a five-star rating and review on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you heard the podcast, your review will help others find the show and make me happy. You can also get a shout-out on the show. Now I really highly recommend that you head to the website, therecipeforseosuccess.com, where you can learn more about SEO forecasting, and check out the useful links, including the link to Dan’s Algoroo tool. And that’s it for this week. So, I hope you enjoyed that good luck with your crystal balls and until next time happy SEOing.