“We want to get to 50,000 monthly visitors by the end of the year!”
“We want to 10 x our traffic in 6 months!”
I hear such emphatic exclamations all the time. Problem is – they are rarely followed by a rational investment of resources, outputs, effort, and a content plan with a potential proportional to the ambitious goals.
Setting such goals and not creating any actionable plans that would give you a chance to accomplish them is setting yourself up for failure.
Worse still – if you’re the boss, you can set unrealistic expectations of your employees or team members, scare them, make them feel like failures and lead them to burn out and quitting. And that’s the last thing you want.
So is your content strategy and team not working? Or…are your expectations seriously *out of whack*? Let’s do the maths.
In this post, we will look at the factors that affect the number of visitors to your website from organic content, and the number
Spoiler warning: this is just a completely theoretical exercise just to illustrate the point – there are *hundreds* of other variables and you can’t calculate the exact ROI from your content efforts.
This post is intended to show you what’s possible, what not, and how to come up with realistic KPIs for your content strategy – not how to estimate the exact results.
Reason 1: Your goal is to generate more traffic than is physically possible based on your content plan
The main reason why content strategies fail to achieve your traffic goals is that sometimes you’re expecting something that is simply unachievable based on your content plan.
Your content strategy and plan, as well as on-page factors, will determine how likely you are to achieve your goals.
The number of visitors you can get to your website from content published on your blog depends on several factors:
- the search volume of the keywords your content is ranking for – so how many people per month look for these keywords (in a specific area or globally)
- which keywords and how many keywords your content is ranking for (you do not have full control over that. Each piece of content you write may or may not rank for the primary keyword you wanted it to rank for, but it will also rank for hundreds of other long-tailed KWs.) That’s why it’s so difficult to estimate the traffic you will get from a post.
- how well-optimised the post is for the primary keywords compared to other pages competing for the same KW in SERPs
- the position in SERPs (number #1 in Google gets on average 32% of clicks according to Brian Dean of Backlinko, but number #10 gets only about 2.5% of all clicks according to the Search Engine Journal.)
- On-page SEO factors such as site load speed (time to first byte, image loading time) accessibility, core web vitals etc.
- Your domain authority/rank, link profile strength etc.
- Any Google Penalties imposed on your domain (if your domain has been flagged e.g. for unnatural outbound link profile, your content will be deprioritized in Google. If you have duplicate content from other sites on your blog, Google will not prioritize it either.)
If you’re in a niche industry, you won’t find a lot of KWs you can sensibly rank for with a SV > 500.
Look at the sample screenshot of a content plan for a niche B2B SaaS below:
Here’s a more accurate monthly content plan with the total search volume of all primary Keywords:
That’s 33 blog posts that can potentially attract 5,766 searches.
That’s around 176 searches per primary keywords.
If all of these posts rank on #1 (which is of course, very very unlikely to happen).
They will – as we discussed before, attract on average only 32% of all clicks. (According to Brian Dean, the #1 result in Google gets ~32% of clicks.)
That’s 0.32 * 176 = 57 visitors per blog post.
Let’s assume the blogs also rank for several other long-tailed keywords that will attract 100 more visitors per month.
That’s still only 157 visitors per blog post. In the absolute best case scenario.
To be more realistic, let’s halve it. That’s 79 visitors per post.
So 33 posts * 79 visitors = 2607 visitors.
And that will not happen immediately after you’ve published the posts. New content can easily take 6-9 months to maturate and rank.
How much will it cost you to drive 2607 new visitors to your website per month?
If an average post costs you $300, that’s $9900 per month for 2607 visitors. That’s almost $4 per click.
How to estimate your traffic per blog post? When will you “double” your traffic?
Let’s assume your average SV for your primary Keywords is 100.
Now, let’s assume *all your posts* rank on # 1 for the primary KW you want.
Now – do you think 100% of the searchers will click on your search result even if you’re on # 1? That’s if your content writers write really clickalicious meta descriptions.
Of course, each posts will rank for several (200-300) more long-tail keywords you didn’t plan for. Let’s assume this gives you 100 more visitors for each post.
Let’s assume you can publish 1 blog post per day, 5 x week. That’s 20 per month.
Assuming you’re starting from 20 k visitors ppm, how long will it take you to 2x your organic traffic?
That’s 20,000 / [(100 x 0.32 + 100) x 20] = 7.57
7 months (!) if everything is picture-perfect.
And that’s also assuming your original traffic stays the same, which without any maintenance is complete bollocks.
How to make rational assumptions about the traffic you can generate from your content plan?
Because it’s impossible to predict which long-tail keywords that you haven’t even planned for your content is going to rank for, you will be better off looking at how many visitors your blog posts are driving per month on average.
Here is a Google Data Studio dashboard showing the number of sessions per post per month:
- Calculate the average number of visitors (you may need to choose this dimension in Google Data Studio) per month on average from your new posts.
- Multiply that by the number of posts per month you are going to publish.
- This will be your most realistic estimate of the traffic wins you can gain from your content plan per month.
- You can “milk” more conversions from the posts by improving your conversion rates from each post – e.g. by adding CTA banners, popups etc.
- You should also not lose sight of your old content and do regular content updates to maintain your rankings for your old posts.
Hope this post has helped you put things into perspective, have more realistic expectations and assumptions, and finally hit your goals! 🙂