Predictive SEO: not a crystal ball, but more engaged visitors

8 février 2023

Content experts have a challenging task: to map out, plan, create, and distribute content. That may sound simple, but there are still a lot of factors to consider — with the result that not every piece of content they publish attracts the number of visitors it deserves. Predictive SEO can give content the boost it deserves.

Predictive SEO

Predictive SEO is — contrary to what the name suggests — not always predictable. It's a way to stay ahead of the competition by betting on certain keywords before those terms actually become popular.

But what exactly does predictive SEO mean? And how can it contribute to your overarching SEO strategy? We'll tell you all about it.

What is predictive SEO?

Predictive SEO is a part of SEO where you predict what users are going to look for. However, there is a big difference between that and "traditional" SEO:

  • Traditional SEO is based on historical data — e.g., what happened last year, when did the peaks for a certain search term occur.

  • With predictive SEO, you can make an informed guess about the search terms that will generate traffic, even if they have never been used before.

How does that work exactly?

If you want to focus on predictive SEO, you should begin by identifying a clear frame of reference. At iO, we start with a regular search term survey, to map out what happened in the past to identify which search terms have already been successful for your organisation, and where there is still room for improvement and optimisation.

In the next phase, we look a little further — and ask questions such as:

  • What is happening in our sector?

  • Which trends determine our direction of travel?

  • Which films, series, books, music, or events may be relevant to our organisation?

  • Does the season influence anything about what our target group is looking for?

Use case: Predictive SEO for an international eyewear chain

When Top Gun: Maverick conquered cinemas in 2022, it was no surprise that aviator style glasses would become more popular. Our experts advised an international eyewear chain to set up a campaign around that specific model of sunglasses in advance.

That campaign was adopted in the UK, and thanks to the insights from predictive SEO, the eyewear chain recorded more than 30,000 organic visitors on that page so far, peaking at 1,000 visitors per day in May 2022. In this case, the campaign — and predictive SEO — clearly had an impact on the sale of aviator style glasses.

Want to get started with predictive SEO?

Our SEO experts will help you on your way.

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The benefits of predictive SEO

By predicting which keywords will be used in the future, you have a high chance of ranking strongly for those keywords when they are actually searched for. 

When your organisation is the first to publish something on that topic — other news sources can refer to your article as a source. These references ensure that your article is regarded as the authority on that subject.

The biggest disadvantage of predictive SEO is that the future can never be predicted with 100% accuracy. You can make a reasoned assessment, but that assessment is always based on gut feeling, knowledge, and experience.

Should I focus on predictive SEO?

Predictive SEO can be successful for organisations in any industry — in B2B, B2C, non-profit, and more. But for organisations that rely primarily on informative content, it's easier to reap the benefits of predictive SEO. After all, with a content workflow that works smoothly, you can focus on the trends of tomorrow more quickly.

Nevertheless, the chance that a predictive SEO approach works well often also depends on how developed your organisation is already in terms of SEO.

The longer you spend on SEO — and specifically on predictive SEO — the more accurate and progressive the insights you get into how trends influence user search behaviour will be.

Predictive SEO won’t form the foundations of your SEO approach, but can be a handy extra, a helpful addition that boosts your search results if you use it in the right way.

Getting Started with Predictive SEO

To start with predictive SEO, you don’t need have a large SEO team with years of experience. What you do need is a clear frame of reference.

You need to know which search terms are important for your organisation. What do you want to rank on? What terms do you want to be associated with?

In other words: a basic keyword research is certainly not an optional luxury.

Yet predictive SEO remains only one aspect of a wide range of techniques that our SEO specialists use every day to ensure that organisations achieve impressive organic results through search engines.

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