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Forecasting SEO w/Miracle Inameti-Archibong


Areej AbuAli & Sarah McDowell


Miracle Inameti-Archibong

In this week's episode, Miracle Inameti-Archibong discusses forecasting SEO & showing ROI. We also find out what inspires Miracle and what empowers her to be the brilliant woman she is today.

You can connect with Miracle through her website, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome to the Women in Tech SEO podcast, where your hosts are myself, Sarah McDowell, SEO content executive at Holland and Barrett, and the wonderful Areej AbuAli, who is the Founder of Women in Tech SEO and SEO consultant. We have a wonderful guest joining us today, and that is Miracle Inameti-Archibong.

How's everything going? How are you doing Sarah today?

Oh, I'm buzzing. I don't know if you could tell by how I'm speaking, but I'm enjoying my morning. It's a whole morning of podcasts recordings, so I'm very much having a wonderful time. How about you?

Super excited as well. I mean, any chance for me to get to hang out with both you and Miracle is awesome. That sounds like a great Saturday morning, considering that we were not doing much anymore with lockdown and stuff.

Oh gosh, I feel like there should be a rule that COVID isn't mentioned because yeah, I don't know, but hopefully by we're coming to an end, I don't know. I don't know what to say on the matter.

Yeah. It's annoying that just when you're allowed to meet these people in the park, the weather changes drastically. We had snow and before that it was sunny.

Miracle. How are things going? We know so much about you because you're such a valuable member of our community and I've met you over two years ago now. But just tell our audience everything there is to know about you what you do and how you got into SEO.

I think I got into SEO. Like most people will. Yeah, just purely by accident. I didn't know what SEO was. I was doing a master's degree in digital media and I did a course in advertising. And then when I finished my course, I did an internship. I started on PPC.

Funny enough and I didn't enjoy it. I saw the SEO team and how they were like investigating this, trying to do this. And I had previously read the science of why we shop. And I was interested in the psychological aspect of why people buy stuff and how to convince them to buy stuff.

And so SEO just seemed more investigative to me and more and more varied. And so I just. Gradually I moved to the SEO team and yeah, the rest is history. I think I've been doing this now for over 10 years. Always, you know, I've worked the agency side. And so I've worked with countless, but I forget which clients have worked with until we're doing like a pitch for a new client.

Do you have a favourite sector or industry or a type of website that you enjoy working on?

I would say, I mean, I would always say I love all my clients, but like things that interest me. For instance, if I have a home brand that has homeware products, that will be interesting. If you have someone that does food, you know, things that you use every day are so much more interesting to do, like keyword research and content ideation than I had done it. Pine that feels like fridge components, those, and he was like a very interesting setting for screws and fixes and stuff like that.

So, yeah, I kind of enjoy, I think, the best-case scenario, things that I use in my everyday life. Yeah.

Yup. That makes sense. Definitely. And I think, you know, for anyone who tends to go in-house rather than agency sides, that's always something that makes a huge difference. Right? Cause that's the one website you're going to be working with like day and night. So to be working, on a product and something that you care about is huge.

[Quick Fire Round Questions]

So before we kind of kick-off into the main topic, which is all things forecasting you know, where Women in Tech SEO podcast, and we just love to learn a little bit more about what empowers you to be the brilliant woman you are today?

That's such a loaded question. I know, I do know how to answer this lightly because it's such a driving force in your life being who you are. I think that as a migrant as well, so many people have given up and made so many sacrifices for me to be where I am today. And so, you know, I don't want to let them down. And they're assuming people who believe in me who has recommended me and laid it out.

It's just, I guess, all of those people and all of those things and people who are always like, Oh, you're brilliant are going to let down my daughter who thinks I'm a superstar, just wait until she's a teenager. And she realizes that.

I guess my village inspires me and of course, you know, like anyone else I want to be the best at what I do. So, you know, I can earn good money for myself and have nice things and, you know, help other people who are less fortunate than me. 

And for women who are just starting in the industry, what advice would you give them?

Oh, as I say, you know, First of all, be on Twitter. I wish I'd joined Twitter earlier. Not because you have to take part just because, you know, there's a whole community going in there. That's supportive as pointing people in the right direction and stuff like that.

So, and if you, yeah, if you're a networking kind of person network, Really does help. I was really shy at the beginning and I just didn't want to, I felt like, you know, Twitter then was such a, it was a different vibe. Isn't it? Any tasted now? So I didn't even, you know, Speeding indulging that I would say, you know, get on to tow.

If you can just see, you know, what's happening, get information, know that there is a supportive community out there, again, gender women in tech as your forum, if you're a woman or identify as a woman, because there's just so many people there willing to help. There's like a job first, it's stuff that you learned.

And the thing with SEO is that depending on which website you're walking on, you get different problems that you've never experienced before, and you might need to sound important. You might be to you, you might be free to ask someone at work cause you feel like they might.

Thank you for not quitting your job. I mean, we should jump in the forum. You ask the question, people are always there willing, to answer you. And then again, I say, you know, picking your companies was like, I guess it's hard if you're starting to pick and choose a company. Well, I, you know, I would say, pick a company that values the people as much as the work cause that makes such a massive difference to your self-esteem you feel about yourself, how you, what you feel, you know, when you feel valued when you feel you're part of something, your confidence grows and you're able to put in more.

I mean, you've touched on some awesome key points there, but the last one about valuing yourself is so important. Isn't it? And then like once he lands to value and yeah like you can sort of really shine through what you do in your work and if you feel supported then that's a great place to be. Lovely. So we've got you on today to talk about forecasting. Cause I believe this is a, would you say your favourite topic of yours or just the topic you like that you find interesting?

I mean, there are lots of topics in SEO that aren't there. So let's start with the basics then. What, what, what is forecasting when it comes to SEO?

I think simply put is just predicting the outcome of. The work you're doing before you've done it. So, yeah, it's just trying to see if it will be profitable if it's worth doing in terms of, I think I didn't have the monetary value.

And being engaged in the agency side. Cause that's something I really, I used to be an agency site and then I moved to the client-side and I used to struggle at the pitch stage when a lot of clients would be expecting some insane kind of forecasts to be submitted without even having a lot of access to the data.

So how do you kind of get around that?

We need access to data. I mean, data is everything. You know, it's pie in the sky, we talk data. And so we, we even say, you can download this data and send it to us. But without that data, it's all pie in the sky. And that's why we say it's there in a way from, you know, keyword forecasting because back in the day it was easier, you know, you know what.

Keywords with driving ranking society knew the top 500 a year and changed. It was so much easier to do keyword led forecasting, but now it's really difficult. And especially the agency I work for is predominantly tech. So how do you give a holistic forecast if you're not, you know, doing loads and loads of content optimization and stuff like that in terms of, you're not just being hired to write content and track how the content is doing.

So because of that, that's why we moved towards statistical modelling. Way of being forecasting and we always insist if you want the forecast on, right, you have to give us data, even with the data people send us, you knew that to manage that most of the time. The data isn't, you know, isn't clean GA data is not always clean.

The way people set it up is so different. And so we need at least a baseline to start, you know, we need a baseline to start. And so we always, we insist and most of the clients we do. Pitches for VP big because at the end of the day, if we win, you're going to give us access to that data anyway.

So they always give us that Google analytics data, even if it's just downloaded and sent, they give it to us and we can do full cost.

Yep. And what do you think makes forecasting important? Why is it something that clients and agencies should have in mind?

Because that's how the budget is approved. You did the C-suites they think, okay, how much is this going to bring that?

Then that will determine how much we can invest in it. And so if you're going to have a tough forecast, it's just like, Oh, this is nice to have. This is a thing that people say we have to do for Google and they don't understand it. But when you. Create a forecast. That's the revenue forecast and you can show them the ROI.

It goes, Oh, if we invest 20,000, we can get a hundred thousand den while we put in 50 K doors, the marketing towards, I don't know, something else. There's only given us 20% revenue where we can get 80% if we invest in this. And then he takes it from a nice to have to, this is something we have to do. And it gets them interested in you because a lot of times he's like, well, I've put my recommendations for what I've done this, and he's gone somewhere to die.

And because no one believes in it, they just prioritize all the things. But once there's a monetary value to something, then everyone's eyes, isn't it. The financial officer's eyes as I need to see. So with what's happening, this channel is supposed to give us 80% revenue. Why is it? Why is it?

Well, I think it's not happening means you can go back and be like this person, that person, and then you get someone hired to push it because they know the revenue implication. 

It's key to get because I think a big thing like SEO, if you don't narrow it and you don't understand it, then you're not going to get excited about it.

But once you can sort of prove, okay, it is worthwhile investing because this is the result and this is the monetary value. And this is what it means for our business. You can get some like people who become excited, then they.

Yes, they become real, it's just speaking in the language that the C-suite understands because they proved the budget.

You know, it's not, it's not there. Your manager approves the budget, unfortunately, it's not to develop a proven budget. So you need to make sure that whoever, but it's approving the budget on the stand and you know, the easiest way to make someone understand SEO is. Money money.

So obviously there's, you've already sort of picked out some light dues there.

So when it comes to forecast and say, like speaking the language of the business and making them excited and stuff, is there some other like dues or maybe some definite don'ts that you can share with us?

I think, I think it's hard before custom because you know, you have to rely on it. You're not the one who said affect Google analytics count or whatever analytics tracking account they have that they're giving you.

So it's really hard to be like, you know, too, to check it, especially when the client is not working with you. But as much as you can check that the data that they're giving you to create this cost is reliable and is robust. Just if you can check, I mean, that's one of the greatest deals we've seen.

Wrong data being tracked as a dynamic, we've seen, you know, spikes being displaced and into the wrong places. And then someone's forecasted on that predicted a 300, 300 per cent increase. So it's just making sure that the data is clean, making sure that the data is clean and then handling everyone's expectations.

We never just do one. Byline and say, okay, this is what the data is seeing we do or do not do in what Dell we do, you know, this is what happens. If you do nothing, this is what your role customer B. If you can do 20%, if you can do 10%, we give different scenarios because SEO is just never straightforward.

And so you want to avoid saying, look, it, this is definite, because it just never goes the way you plan dev resources, things. Break for ducks during launches, plan to just be careful when you're doing that, you create more than one scenario. You check that the data is clean and you look out for outliers in the data.

If there's a spike, why, why was there a spike here? Always ask a lot of questions if possible, if they can give you also internal sales data that they've collected as well. So you check against what GS reports. So always check and check for outliers, ask them lots of questions and the creative scenario.

It was that you base things on Miracle. So if you have a specific client, for example, who is just going to do tech work, or you have one, who's gonna do tech work on-page and off-page. Can you tell us a little bit more about these scenarios and how you base them on them?

So we know that depending on the client, so we know that.

The client is established when they publish content and is most likely to get picked up quickly. So it just depends on what monitor they, you know, what month is all the content work going to happen? When will it get published? How often, how fast do we think it will get picked up? If it's a tech S your work is, is it speed, or this that's going to increase conversion rates, and it's going to have a holistic effect on the entire site.

Then you can put more uplift to when the speed audit takes place and how much, you know, How much per cent conversion rate you think is going to increase. So there's still a little bit of. I'll say experience, work that comes into the, I don't want to seek guesswork. I'll say experience, you know, that if you improve your speed that goes off.

But by how much you just have to say, okay, we've done this similar thing for a client in the diesel industry. And we saw a 2% increase. So we're going to say, okay, we'll put like, On that scenario, speed work is happening in January by February. We expect to see a 2% increase in professional rates. So it is things like that that we use to map out those scenarios.

So, first of all, we always do a do nothing model. Chances are if the client has some visibility, they've been doing some marketing. Even if FCL does not work, they will continue to grow. And so you have to model that out to see, okay. Yeah. If not cause tendencies, like, if you don't do that, when you say, well, SEO has given us 2% creativity and like, well, You know, we were agreeing already, how can we be sure this is SEO work or not?

So we always do that. And then we say, okay, based on, you know, all the things we've recommended that you do, if you do 10 of them, we could see a 10% increase. If you do 50 of them, you know, 90% then if you do know the perfect scenario, if you do everything, we'll expect to see, you know, a 50% increase. So yeah, that's, that's how we tend to.

Awesome. Is there anything, you know, when you're sort of presenting your forecast and you're presenting your data, are there any things that you can do to make it more understandable? For like, not just the business, but like, or the colleagues as well and stakeholders.

My model is simplicity, simplicity, clarity and language.

No, your default. I love them. Yeah. Just know your audience and know what's interesting to them. I think it's really exciting for us to have all this data. And have all these tools, you know, things that we can pull on. And, and for us, it always feels like if I show the client that I have seven Excel spreadsheets they'll know that I've put a lot of work into that, but you lose them because they're not there.

They don't understand. You just confuse them. There's a tendency that because you understand data so much, you just assume everyone has data numeracy, and then you just present complicated graphs that I see our intelligence, this work keys, and then you just lose them because once they start having to manually calculate things in their head to understand.

You've lost them and they wouldn't ask you any questions. Cause no one likes looking stupid because either we know the enthusiasm at which you're presenting the data to them implies that Oh, country, C country. Yes, we can see, but then you could, you could leave the pitch and then they don't get back to you because they didn't understand that they didn't want to ask you any questions.

Yeah. So make sure you're as clear as possible even on the trendline. I remember when I first started this, you liked forecasting, not forecasting, the graph that showed you where the keyword had increased, used to go down because position one is greater and he was like, you present this graph and the person's like, why is it declining?

But it didn't make sense. Do say, will you forget that when you send that off, someone is not going to be there, now, trying to work out why this graph is white, white, the graph is declining and understanding that okay. One means less and in the time it takes someone else to walk that out. You could have just inverted that graph.

So that instantly, if I look at this, I can tell in essence what it means. You know, I can tell if you tell you, tell someone, well, we've increased your speed by two seconds. What does that mean? It means nothing because I didn't know what the speed was. The CEO doesn't know what the speed was before. He doesn't know what the benchmark in the industry did is that we're saying something like we've increased the speed by 50%.

And you're now 80% faster than your Fest competitor. All the context. They need to understand that you've done a great job. So it's just making sure that at a glance, your information is clear, present to someone who does understand anything about SEO before you go and listen carefully to the questions the person asks because there's so much as your knowledge when you're making a presentation and you don't know that you're doing it because you understand what you're saying.

So make sure that you present to someone who knows nothing about SEO so that any kind of zoom knowledge is you can explain and you can outline it before you go through your presentation. Yeah, I love

That's such good advice. And I think, you know, as SEOs, we always tend to have the curse of knowledge, right. Where we are, we just assume that everyone else knows exactly what we know, which is completely untrue. So that's such good advice. And just, just to wrap up on this topic are there any favourite tools or resources of yours that you'd recommend for others to check out?

Oh, yeah. I'll say good to the Erudite blog.

They've written a brilliant post and full custody. I see some myself. So go and check that out. Yeah, check that out. And then in the latest tool, Lenin, she's put a link to like loads of full custom resources. If you're good at coding, this is hard to do for custom with turn, there's a free template.

Someone did a free template. I think that's where the keyword-based template is. If you're doing focus for content, there's another tool in Google sheets. So there are loads of tools that you can, why I didn't, I didn't Yeah, I'm not pulling down any kind of templates, but for us, we try to look at, because I said, you need to, you know, outline, look at the outliers.

What's caused a spike in data and we train the data a lot. We tend to train the data when I'm entering the data. We'll take, we try to use our model to forecast previous years that are gone, just to check that the data looks, the trend line looks similar. And so. But then use the tool as well. See if you can adjust it as a tool as well, too, to train the data before don't just take your data, put it in the tool and expect it to give you the current forecast.

Make sure you model the previous years and see how close and how accurately the tool can predict the previous years before you focus.

Right. Are you ready for this week's feature? 

[Feature Quiz]

Miracle, thank you very much for joining us today. If people want to carry on this sort of conversation or. See what you're doing what you're writing about or the wonderful things that you're sharing, where can they find you? Where are you at?

So I'm mira_inam on Twitter.

Wonderful. And would you like to do the honours for us?

You can find us on Anyone interested in being a speaker, all you have to do is just fill out a form and you tell us what topic you want to talk about. And anyone who wants to sponsor us again, you just fill out a form and it would be amazing to have more support, from the industry. And yeah. Sarah, any parting words?

I felt like I wanted to say something really wise and intelligent. And all I could think of is, you know, the classic one of don't eat yellow snow for it.

I haven't come across that myself.

Well, there you go. I feel like we've covered a lot of wise words anyway, and this whole podcast, so, yeah, I suppose anything left to say is if you're not already subscribed to the podcast, please do. Because then that helps with the algorithms and all that. And also you get notifications of when a new podcast goes live. We just have to say goodbye until next time.

Thanks for having me.