How To Estimate Potential Revenue 💰 From Your Organic Keywords

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Being able to transform your client’s business can seem like magic.

“One man’s magic is another man’s engineering” – Robert Heinlein

Why You Should Change Your Keyword Research Focus From Volume To Revenue

The truth is that when you’re keyword volume data and ranking data, regardless of whether it comes from search console or a rank tracking provider, is ultimately an egocentric & meaningless metric unless you can actually tie it to revenue.

That’s why they are paying you as an agency/freelancer or paying your salary as an in-house marketer, to make money.

So why don’t we include revenue projections when we talk about SEO? Because it can seem pretty daunting! Don’t worry though, here is a step by step on how to connect that keyword research data to the revenue of the site in question.


How To Create Segmented Organic Keyword Forecast

  • Create a keyword forcast/index for each major UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION
  • Create a keyword forcast/index for each major UNIQUE TOPICAL CONNECTION

Use a Keyword Tool to get the total monthly volume

Use Semantic Structure To Break Out And Expand Your Keywords

Expand Your Keywords


Create an Estimate of What % of Organic Traffic You Could Capture

  • Est. 35% percent goes to #1 ranking, but you’re UNLIKELY to rank #1 for EVERY keyword

Google Click-Through Rates in 2017 by Ranking Position

Google Click Through Rates Ranking Position


Position 4 8.98%
Position 5 9.21%
Position 6 6.73%
Position 7 7.61%
Position 8 6.92%
Position 9 5.52%
Position 10 7.95%
Average 7.56%


Remember clicks are not conversions!

SEO Matrics in Raven tools

  • Multiply that organic traffic by your site’s average Organic Conversion rate to get Estimated leads.
    • # of “True Conversions”/# of Sessions

Remember “leads” are not sales

  • Multiply your est. leads by your estimated Close rate for leads
    • *Only for lead/sale based businesses, eCommerce can skip this step
  • Multiply the number of leads by the average Revenue per new client/sale
    • Estimate your revenue per month from 1 new client
    • Multiply by average client lifespan

BOOM! A reasonable SEO revenue projection


A reasonable SEO revenue projection


Even More Resources On Predicting Organic Conversions


Predicting traffic is hard. There are so many moving parts. You, your competitors, Google (and other engines!) and their algos. It can be hard, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Predicting traffic can help you secure resource but it can also mess you up, if your predictions are wildly wrong. Work with data you have.

Use GSC, use Analytics, use SEO tools where you can to help. Conversion predictions come from that data. If you know that x% of your traffic converts, you’re on your way. Better, if you know x% of traffic to specific pages convert, you can be even more accurate. And INTENT is vital.

A search for “Bike shops in Cambridge” is me exploring. “Buy bike Cambridge” is me looking to part with money. Group your keywords accordingly.

If you’re predicting that keywords without purchase intent are going to convert into revenue, you’re going to come unstuck. For them, a ‘conversion’ may be a newsletter sign-up or even just picking up your cookie, so you can remarket to them later.

Andrew Cock-Starkey of Optimisey


A Conversation About Predicting Revenue For Organic Search Efforts

Eric Enge: The fun part of the question “how can we predict the revenue outcome of an organic SEO campaign” is that the presumption is that we have useful data on organic search volumes for the keywords. Generally speaking we do not. Even when we get data from Google Keyword Planner, it’s hard to tell where the overlaps are, and where the quoted numbers relate to broad match, phrase match, and exact match versions of the input key phrase.

There is a reason that Searchmetrics talks about “Search Visibility” and Brightedge speaks about “Share of Voice”. Real revenue projections? Forget about it!

 Mats Tolander: While I don’t particularly disagree with Eric there are situations where it may be fruitful to take a stab at creating a model based on available data (actual traffic, estimated search volume, rankings, and projected clickthru rates based on rankings, as well as an estimate of what the average click is worth.

If we attach dollar-value A to a keyword based on actual revenue and known traffic, we can estimate a projected ROI on quadrupling traffic by moving up from say number 6 to number 2.

Examples range from simple site wide assessments based on sales or advertising revenue divided by organic search sessions, to very granular models at query and page (product) level, taking all the things into consideration, depending on client or campaign need.

Eric Enge: Mats is right, but so am I. There are business contexts where relying on search volume data you get from keyword tools to forecast Revenue / ROI is still worth doing, simply because the business needs some perspective on what the potential return might be. It just remains critical to let the business stakeholder know the limitations of the calculations being performed.