There’s search engine optimization, and then there’s seasonal SEO.
One is a constant companion that deserves consistent attention and focus to drive traffic to your pages and visitors to your profiles. The other – when done correctly – can give you a sweet little bump depending on the time of year.
Search engine optimization is easy to grasp, but more difficult to master. It’s the art of getting your content to rank well in the Google search engine.
Our digital lives revolve around the search engine. Whenever we want to know, buy, or do, we head on over to Google (it’s responsible for 94% of organic traffic) or Bing. And ranking is important:
- Three-quarters of people never scroll past the first page of search engine results.
- Most people ignore the paid ads that appear on the front page.
- Leads that arrive via search have an average close rate of 14.6%, but it’s only 1.7% for those from outbound channels.
- 92% of organic clicks are captured on the first page.
- The result in the #1 spot gets 32.5% of clicks.
If you don’t appear on the first page, it’s like you don’t exist. Outside of the top three spots, the click-through rate or CTR drops very quickly even if you are on the first page.
That’s not to say you won’t see a lot of seasonal fluctuation throughout the year. And you can capitalize on that. “Seasonal” refers to more than just the uptick in spending and buying we see in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It includes Black Friday, Cyber Monday, back-to-school shopping in late summer, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, the seasons themselves, and much more.
Whether you’re a small business looking to capitalize on the trends or a seasonal business only open in the summer or holidays, there are steps you can take to catch those waves of increasing demand. With a little planning, you can produce a consistent uptick in your organic traffic at the same time each year.
Meet the Customer’s Needs
Taking advantage of seasonal SEO is not a shady tactic. You’re going above and beyond to meet consumer needs. They want this, and they want it now. If they’re looking for Christmas decorations in November, it’s because they’re ready to buy. They’re happy. You’re happy. Satisfied customers increase traffic and profit.
Your first step is to identify the naturally-occurring highs and lows for a particular keyword or product. If you sell Christmas ornaments, then you know you’re going to see increased demand in the lead-up to Christmas.
Others may be a bit more difficult to pin down. Maybe it changes from year to year, or maybe there’s more than one uptick. There are simple SEO and keyword research tools to help with this part, including Google Trends, which is free.
It’ll show the relative search volume for any keyword. Choose a geographic region, time period, or type of search, and Trends will display a line graph. You can also compare several keywords on the same graph.
Down jackets experience a major spike in demand starting in the fall and peaking in the winter. Makes sense. But let’s say you sell raw honey. When’s your season? You might think spring or summer.
You’d be wrong.
The highest search volume for ‘raw honey’ occurs every year in early January. Why?
You’d have to do some research, but it may be because that’s the time of year when people set resolutions. Healthy eating is a common one, and raw honey is a healthier alternative to processed sugar.
So, as a raw honey vendor, you’d want to accelerate your SEO efforts starting in November, with content that pushes the health benefits of your product. Then, you’re perfectly situated for the rise in demand. When they go looking for it, they’ll find you.
If you have a website, you can dig into your own data to find the highs and lows for your traffic. Using Google Analytics, you can get valuable insights into your traffic trends over the course of a year.
The Audience > Overview graph provides a convenient snapshot of the peaks and valleys over time.
Check out Acquisition to see where your visitors are coming from. This data provides a roadmap for the seasonal niche events you should be targeting.
Combine it with insight from the Google Search Console on specific keywords and how much traffic they generate, and you know exactly what’s bringing in traffic at any given time, and where customers are going on your site.
What are the keywords that people are using to find your products or service? You might turn to a keyword research tool to find new opportunities. Make a list of those words bringing in the most traffic, and the relevant keywords you’d like to add to the mix.
Don’t forget about long-tail keywords. They may have a lower search volume, but they represent a much higher level of searcher intent. Long-tail is the difference between searching for ‘shoes’ versus ‘brown leather shoes for men’. Lower overall volume, but much more intent to purchase.
Put It All Together
Once you’ve analyzed everything, you should see some clear patterns on what (keywords) and when to use them. Create content to match – content that reflects the peak engagement period and the slow-down period.
Create seasonally-specific calls-to-action, pages, and navigation menus on your site. Highlight the seasonal niche events. Give yourself enough time to generate awareness and momentum. Start your efforts at least a month or two before the peak, and continue them for about a month after it.
Keep your SEO healthy at all times. Create and share high-quality and relevant content. Build and earn strong backlinks. Seasonal spikes can be very lucrative. Find them. And grab them.
About the Author: Jeshue Betts is the regional marketing representative of LawnStarter.com, an online and mobile platform that connects homeowners with lawn care professionals for care-free and efficient services.
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