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Predict Google Rankings: How to Predict Content Performance Before Publishing

Michael Chibuzor is a content marketing expert with 8+ years writing experience. He's worked closely with Neil Patel, and contributed to the Entrepreneur, Problogger, CoSchedule, and other elite blogs. He's happily married, with a lovely son.

Can you successfully predict your organic rankings?

It’s hard for a lot of businesses to predict these days with the constant Google updates. More so, because Google hasn’t given anyone a clue whatsoever!

It seems that SEO professionals and content marketers are just creating content and hoping for the best.

But you don’t have to approach SEO like everyone else. There’s a better way to predict your rankings.

This ‘approach’ helped Neil Patel to rank for several competitive keywords, such as online marketing.

Here’s what you should know:

With data from reliable SEO Content Optimization tools such as Similar Content, you can successfully predict where your whether or not your target keywords can rank on Google.

The beauty of this tool is that even if your content isn’t optimized to rank, you can continue to tweak it until you get the best ranking predictor rate.

Don’t take data at face value, because you will not see the whole story. Try to listen with a discerning ear, analyze data closely, and you’ll mine untapped gold in the search engines.

Yes, it’s possible and I’ll show you exactly how to predict your rankings in this guide.

You’ll also learn the best practices, the benefits you stand to gain, and a ton of helpful resources.

Similar Content’s Content Marketing tool helps you to get the whole story. It allows for quick and accurate analysis of keywords.

By leveraging the optimization and predicting tool, you can prioritize tasks, discover content opportunities to enhance your SEO efforts.

How Similar Content Tool Predicts Ranking

Similar Content is a great tool, for a good reason: It can predict whether or not your next article will rank in Google’s top 10 results.

Here’s how it works:

Log in to Similar Content, enter your seed keyword (e.g., digital marketing), select your location (I chose the United States), and click on the “Search” button.

Next, scroll down to see the Topic Difficulty, Top Score Achieved, Search Volume, Backlink Difficulty, CPC, Average Clicks, and more.

There’s more. Similar Content can help you optimize content so it ranks better.

If your main keyword is “digital marketing,” you can add other closely-tied variations of that keyword in your post.

Here’s the tool showing you the best three-word suggestions for the main keyword “digital marketing.”

Predicting your success with search engines is tough, but not impossible with the tool above.

Sometimes, you just need to understand your audience better to be able to help them.

Because in the end, ranking in Google, getting organic clicks, and generating real traffic to your website or blog requires a deep understanding of searchers.

Rather than focusing on Google AI, just pay attention to how users interact with your website, how they search for queries, and the trends.

Why Predict Your Organic Traffic?

How much traffic can you expect from Google?

If you’re investing money, time, and other resources to drive SEO campaigns, you need to, at least, have a ballpark figure of what success should look like.

If your website is fairly new or has a lesser authority score than your competitors, then you don’t have to target the same keywords they’re targeting.

For example, using the Similar Content Optimization tool, I found that well-known brands and websites are already dominating the search results for the ‘digital marketing’ search term.

Businesses, CEOs, Founders, and Digital Marketers all have their reasons for doing SEO. But every business wants to make better decisions, based on the data they have about users and customers.

There are two reasons why businesses prefer SEO agencies or tools that can predict search visibility:

  • To generate great ROI from their investment. SEO can be a huge investment (most businesses still spend $5,000 – $20,000 each month), projecting how much that investment can yield after a 3, 6, 12 months period can help in the decision-making process.

  • To scale their digital marketing efforts. When you know what your results from SEO look like, it can help you to scale: hiring and training team members, investing in more expensive marketing tools, increasing budget, and so on.

How Can You Predict Organic Traffic?

Not all SEO tools are created equal. Some are recommended for keywords research while others are great for competitive analysis, link analysis, and so on.

So how do you predict organic traffic? Let’s dive into the 5-step process:

Step #1: Build Your Keyword Map

Creating a keyword map is important if you want to accurately predict your traffic from search engines.

When you create a keyword map, you’ll assign keywords to specific pages on your website or blog; based on the analysis of the keywords you’ve conducted previously.

A keyword map organizes your best keywords and ensures that your pages are hyper-targeted to the keywords you’re going to talk about.

Here’s a good example:

Another effective way to organize your keyword map is to leverage search analytics tools.

With such tools, you’ll see all the keywords + URL data. This will guide you towards optimizing the keywords for each landing page.

You’ll instantly gain access to the list of keywords that are driving organic clicks, traffic, and rankings to your pages.

The benefit of creating a keyword map is that it improves your overall keywords selection, such that you’re able to prioritize your content creation strategy, identify awesome content gaps, optimize your best content, consolidate or remove duplicate content, and push your rankings to the top.

Step #2: Analyzing Your Click-Through Rate Using Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) provides rich data and tools for predicting rankings.

Although it’s a short-term prediction methodology since your projection will be limited to 12 months.

Using Google Search Console, you can dig into your top pages based on additional, custom criteria. For example, the score or value you assign to them.

You can use any Crawler or SEO tool that can integrate with other sources and any tool that gives you rich keyword data.

For example, you can use SEMrush to find those pages that are bringing you the best results already, then enter the ‘target keywords’ into the Similar Content tool to analyze them.

To get started with this audit, make sure you extract and export data related to the organic search from, such as:

  • Keyword

  • URL

  • Estimated CPC

  • Level of competition

  • Monthly search trends

  • Number of results in Google

  • The current position in Google

  • Monthly searches

Make sure you place these data in a Spreadsheet.

Once they’re laid out, you’ll see the state of your website, and new opportunities you can explore in the search engines to improve your rankings.

Step #3: Improving Existing Keywords

Although SEO has changed, the traditional approach of building supporting pages in a bid to strengthen your ‘core’ page is still very effective.

Brain Dean, founder of Backlinko usually improves his existing content.

Using the Similar Content ‘ranking predictor,’ I found that he optimizes his content for the main keywords, plus great content.

In the example below, Brian ranks for a high-volume keyword “video seo.”

Here’s how it works:

If you have a page that’s on page 2 of the organic results, you can improve that page within a few weeks or months by simply updating that page, interlinking it from your new posts, and doing the traditional on-page SEO tactics you already know.

If that page is currently ranked at number #3 on page 2 of Google, you can improve the current position by sending signals from other pages to it.

Without creating new content, you can do technical fixes, tweak your title tag and meta description, to get better results.

You’ll see results within the next months or years.

Step #4: Calculate Base Trend

Trends are important in SEO because they help businesses to know the direction of a given topic or search query.

For better accuracy with your predictions, it’s important to calculate the base trend before considering other factors.

So what’s a base trend?

A base forecast is a process of using the mean for every data point.

The best way to calculate the base trend is to determine the formula in Excel.

Simply supply the relevant data, and let Excel do the rest of the computation for you.

Your choice of data will, to a large degree, affect your base forecast.

This is the point where you’ll start to develop an accurate prediction of your ranking.

Your base trend can also be extracted from your month to month organic results.

If your web pages have been sitting in Google’s top 10 results for months, you can use that as a benchmark to determine and predict your future rankings.

Come on, how can you predict you’ll get to the top 5 organic results when you’ve never reached the first page of Google. It just doesn’t work that way.

In making predictions, you have to be realistic and look at data logically.

Step #5: Track the Patterns of Improvement in Your Rankings

To successfully predict your rankings, you need to have recorded a level of growth.

Once your historical data is collected, it’s time to forecast the level of growth after implementing your new SEO campaigns.

That being said, Neil Patel ranks for the competitive keyword “affiliate marketing” and I wasn’t surprised.

The Similar Content ranking predictor shows it’ll rank.

When tracking patterns of improvement, remove assumptions and sentiments, use the data logically.

Is it realistic that you’ll see a boost or dip in your search rankings?

Don’t jeopardize the reliability of your forecast by making unjustifiable ranking claims.

To effectively calculate potential growth in organic traffic and ranking, you need to keep these tips in mind:

Understand how the development schedule works and how your predictions can become a plan for implementation.

You should be able to identify gaps in the calendar, otherwise, you may not see significant results soon.

Assess your current ranking data and realistically gauge where you see your business in the next 12 months.

Has the website or blog you’re working on suffered any Google algorithm update?

This should be included in your forecast, as it’d help you to know how long it’d take to resolve the issue, fix the penalty, or redirect the website to an entirely new domain name.

Be sure of how competitive your industry is. If you want to see results quickly with improved organic traffic and ranking, then you should consider the competitiveness of the organic search results.

Are there big players in your industry or can you take on some of the sites already sitting on the Google first page?

When can you expect to obtain new links from other relevant and trusted websites? How many links do you plan to earn/build?

Inbound links are important because, often, all you need to outrank your competitors is more quality links.

You may be predicting increased organic ranking and traffic after implementing your SEO strategy.

However, you need to implement the tips above, that way, you’ll increase the chances of ranking better in the search engine.

Benefits of Predicting Organic Ranking

Every business owner or marketer wants to know what the future holds for their business.

Being able to foresee future events can help you in planning and implementing winning SEO campaigns.

Here are some of the benefits of predicting your ranking:

1). Total control of your business

Therefore, when you predict your ranking and align the results to your ROI, it means you’re in control.

You’ll no longer be caught with pants down.

You can take on bigger SEO projects — after all, you’ve mastered the behind-the-scenes processes.

This is a rare SEO skill that requires focus and dedication. But it’s well worth your time and resources.

Thanks to Similar Content, an SEO Content Optimization tool for small and mid-size businesses.

With this tool, you’re no longer in the dark as to what drives rankings, how to get to the top of search engines, the difficult levels of different keywords, and the competitors’ websites that are ranking against yours.

Make sure that as you predict your rankings, it should be as accurate as the data and tool you’re using would allow.

Make predictions based on the data you have, and not on anticipated data.

All things being equal, making predictions can help your business to break out and achieve tremendous growth and success.

It’s more than luck, it’s being able to analyze data for decision-making processes.

2). Enhance your company’s strategies and internal processes

As you predict your ranking, you put springs in your company’s internal processes, strategies, and even culture.

It reinforces the need to plan better for the future when thinking about SEO campaigns and your digital marketing strategies.

Predicting your success in the search engines can also make you feel confident in setting goals and applying them to your strategy — to improve internal projects.

3). Builds confidence and accountability in your team

Predictions that are based on credible data can help you to continuously set realistic goals for your business.

For example, if you’re sure that in 3 months, your organic traffic will grow by 70%, will this knowledge motivate you to set a new goal?

Of course, it should.

Your goals will act as your Police to nudge you back to the track if you’re always distracted.

You’re also able to measure results and whether or not you succeeded in improving your site’s organic ranking and traffic.

When you set goals and monitor your site’s performance over time, it’d create a better sense of accountability for you and the team.

4). Track and increase ROI

It’s a lot easier to increase your ROI when you have the tools and systems in place to monitor your site’s performance and improve bottlenecks in the techniques and processes.

Predicting your ranking based on user data will ensure that every resource and time invested to execute a strategy that doesn’t yield positive results can be reallocated to strategies that have proven to increase organic visibility.

This is also a good example of how to increase your ROI in the long run.

5). It Keeps customers happy

One of the easiest ways to keep your customers happy is by knowing what they want. And offering products and services to meet their ‘want.’

As you predict your organic reach, you can identify the most in-demand offers on your website.

Isn’t it a great way to produce the best products to fulfill the buyers’ needs? Yes, it is!

Through SEO predictions, you gain insights about the desires of your target audience as they visit your website.

This is important if customers come to your website to buy products.

The better you’re at predicting your ranking and traffic, the more opportunities you have to foresee the level of demand for your current products and the need for new products.

6). Steer your business on the right path

Predicting your ranking is a great way to keep your business moving forward in the right direction. Where is your business headed?

What are the changing SEO trends to be aware of?

How do you keep up with the competition?

These are some of the common questions you’d want to answer after making predictions.

If you don’t want your business to be outranked in the organic search by weaker competitors, you need to always ‘make’ plan.

Don’t give your competitors a chance to win in the search. If anything, they should be learning from you, not the other way around.

Best Practices to Keep in Mind When Predicting Your Ranking

This section is important because it highlights the best practices and tips you need to hold dear to your heart while predicting your rankings.

a). Gauge the impact of events on your traffic

What significant events websites and businesses?

Of course, seasonal trends are a defining force that causes fluctuations in organic ranking. But some events can improve or mar your traffic.

Therefore, you need to estimate how much impact these notable events would have on your organic traffic.

These events could be the Olympics, yearly sales, a global event, a feature on a media website, or a podcast interview on a major influencer’s site.

Obviously, COVID-19 is impacting organic traffic as we know it.

That’s another example!

To successfully estimate how much impact events would have on your organic traffic, it makes a lot of sense to identify the expected boost in organic traffic.

Simply go through your historical data — you’ll gain user insights and know what happens when a sale is made, and the impact it’s had on your traffic.

With these estimates, simply integrate it into the following months when the event will take place.

b). Predict the impact of your SEO activities

This one is tricky but equally important. You need to know the impact your SEO activities are making on your overall performance.

Better yet, it’s best to estimate how much impact your SEO efforts are making each month.

For instance, begin the year with proven strategies that entail optimizing content and title tags.

Interestingly, you may foresee that this seemingly ‘tiny’ on-page SEO task would increase your organic traffic by 2% in the next month or so.

Both aggressive and conservative predictions come to play here.

An aggressive forecast is applicable when you’ve got the relevant resources, and all the needed changes are being implemented based on the set guidelines.

On the other hand, a conservative forecast is to be considered when every element of your SEO campaign isn’t running seamlessly as expected — although all the significant changes have been implemented.

c). Forecast accuracy

After predicting your ranking, you need to move a step forward and measure the accuracy.

Bear in mind that predicting organic performance requires a continuous tweaking. It’s not a one-off task.

Therefore, you have to identify the degree of your predictions’ accuracy. Is your model useful? How do you ensure you’re not wasting time?

Accuracy is really important if you regard organic traffic as a major marketing channel for your website.

Remember that unrealistic expectations, which negatively affects the accuracy of your predictions, can be a huge obstacle to your company.

So, develop attainable expectations — and you’ll be more confident in your day-to-day SEO activities.

Conclusion

SEO has evolved from on-page and off-page techniques to a more robust implementation field — where technical, copywriting, data analysis, keyword grouping, content clusters, and more are now common practice.

Predicting organic ranking opportunities provides an avenue to organize your efforts, prioritize content marketing efforts, and quickly grab opportunities to improve results from your SEO strategy.

Use the Similar Content tool to spot hidden keywords opportunities, identify content gaps, monitor progress, and track key SEO metrics, all from one central dashboard.

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