Search rankings often change. Even if your website currently ranks at the top of Google, it may drop to a substantially lower position in the coming months or years. While some ranking fluctuations are inevitable, working with a good SEO company and predictive search engine optimization (SEO) can preserve your website’s dominance in the search results. What is predictive SEO exactly, and how do you perform it?
What Is Predictive SEO?
Predictive SEO involves the creation of high-quality content on topics that you expect to become popular among your website’s audience in the future. The term is somewhat of a misnomer. With predictive SEO, you don’t optimize your website for search engines; you optimize it for visitors by creating high-quality content that they will seek in the near future. When your website has high-quality content, though, it will typically rank higher and generate more search traffic.
Most webmasters take a reactive approach to content creation. They wait until a topic is trending and popular among their audience before covering it on their website. Predictive SEO is the opposite. With predictive SEO, you cover topics on your website before they are popular.
Predictive SEO can future-proof your website’s search performance. When a topic becomes popular, it will generate more searches. At the same time, the topic will become more competitive as other websites begin to cover it. Rather than waiting until a topic is saturated with competition, you can proactively cover it on your website. Predictive SEO will establish your website’s search rankings for the topic, allowing it to withstand heavy competition when the topic becomes popular.
Monitor Keyword Searches
You can monitor keyword searches to predict what topics will become popular among your website’s audience. Keyword searches, of course, funnel visitors from the search engines to your website. Monitoring them allows you to see what topics your website’s visitors are interested in.
Most topics don’t become popular overnight. They become gradually popular over an extended period. As a topic becomes more popular, keywords based on that topic will generate more impressions and clicks for your website. If a keyword’s impressions and clicks have steadily risen over the past three to six months, you should consider creating content based on it.
Evaluate Page Traffic
Along with keyword searches, look at how much traffic your website’s pages generate. Traffic correlates with the demand for a page’s content. A reduction in traffic indicates fewer users are seeking the page’s content. An increase in traffic, on the other hand, indicates more users are seeking its content. If a page’s traffic is increasing, you may want to create new pages around the same or similar topics.
You can use Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to evaluate page traffic as well, but these platforms only show search traffic in the form of clicks. They don’t show traffic from other sources, such as external links or direct type-ins. For a complete view of page traffic, use Google Analytics.
Stay on Top of Social Media
Social media is useful for predictive SEO. As an echo chamber, it greatly influences the popularity of topics. A single user may post a message on Facebook or Twitter that gets shared by thousands of other users. The more times a message is shared, the more popular it becomes.
By browsing the top social media networks, you can identify topics that are trending. There are social media analysis tools that can reveal which posts have generated the most shares, likes and other engagement signals. BuzzSumo, for example, allows you to search for social media posts by keyword. It will then show the top posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Reddit that contain the keyword.
Leverage Google Trends for Insights
Google Trends is an invaluable tool for predictive SEO. Available at trends.google.com, it shows the relative popularity of keywords over time. Popularity is defined by how many searches a keyword generates relative to all other keywords. A popularity rating of 100 indicates a keyword generated more searches than all other keywords on the specified date.
To use Google Trends for predictive SEO, search for a keyword on a topic that you think may become more popular among your website’s audience. The default settings show popularity ratings over a one-year period. On the Google Trends graph, you’ll see the keyword’s popularity rating expressed over this timeframe. If its popularity rating has increased over the past year, it’s likely to continue to this upwards trend.
You can look farther back into the popularity of a keyword by clicking the timeline drop-down menu. Selecting “2004 to present,” for instance, will reveal the keyword’s popularity rating from 2004 to the current date. Google Trends also support custom timeframes.
Utilize Google Alerts
Consider setting up Google Alerts for some of your website’s main short-tail keywords. Google Alerts is a notification service that will alert you when another website publishes content containing your specified keyword. Once Google discovers the content, it will send you an email with a link pointing to where it’s published.
To utilize Google Alerts, go to google.com/alerts and enter one of your website’s primary short-tail keywords. Clicking the “Show options” link below the keyword box will reveal additional options. In this area, you can specify how often you’d like to receive notifications, the sources used for notifications, your preferred email address for delivery and more. To complete the notification setup, click “Create Alert.”
With Google Alerts, you’ll learn about new articles related to your website’s content. Some of these articles may cover new topics. If they are trending, you can pursue them on your own website.
To future-proof your website’s search performance, look no further than predictive SEO.
Your website will move up and down in the search results. Search rankings are fluid and regularly change based on hundreds of factors. However, predictive SEO ensures your website has high-quality content for consistently high rankings and search traffic.