Seasonality is one of those things that almost all SEOs chose to ignore at some stage of their careers – I definitely did in the past. I always figured that once seasonal keywords start to pick up, I’ll see them popping up in my keyword research more often, at which point, I could optimise for those terms to jump on the seasonal band wagan.
Wouldn’t you know it, that was a stupid approach to seasonality. If you really want to be a front-runner and secure those page one SERPs for seasonal terms, you need to be prepared well before the volume kicks in.
And in order to be prepared, we need to have a solid understanding of seasonal SEO – what it is, why it’s important and most importantly, how we can prepare ourselves for seasonal terms.
What is seasonality in SEO?
Seasonal SEO quite basically refers to the way your website page volumes are affected by annual events and holidays – such as valentines day, black friday, christmas and boxing day etc. It also applies to the seasons of the year – spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Why is seasonal SEO Important?
Seasonal SEO is important because the volume for different search terms will fluctuate throughout the year depending on various external factors such as upcoming events or the weather.
As a business owner or the SEO for a business, you need to be aware of how seasonality may affect your rankings as well as the demand for different products. Let’s look at a simple example:
Your business sells high-quality leather gloves and you target the key term ‘leather gloves’. Let’s look at the trend for this search term – note that the Y axis ranges from 0 to 100, this represents the popularity of the term, not the search volume.
As you can see in the above Google Trends result, the term ‘leather gloves’ has a clear pattern – it picks up steam in the latter half of September, peaks in early December and then drops heavily where it stays until the next following September. This is quite obviously a seasonal keyterm because people want gloves during the winter and not so much during the summer.
Whilst this is a simplistic example, it shows you that understanding seasonal patterns is important for securing better rankings and volume for your site. You can’t just wait until the key term spikes in monthly volume, you need to anticipate this and put yourself in the best position possible to capitalise from it when the volume does pick up.
Benefits of Seasonal SEO
Clearly Seasonal SEO is important but what are the actual benefits? These are the main ones:
- You position yourself to maximise visibility and conversions during peak times.
- SEO almost always has a better ROI than PPC as far less people are likely to click on a paid advert than an organic result. Therefore, focusing on seasonal SEO may be a better option than pay per click advertising during peak times.
- By having a seasonal SEO plan, you are prepared ahead of time so if the search volume spikes all of a sudden or earlier than expected, you will be there to capture new customers.
How does seasonal SEO differ from normal SEO?
Seasonal SEO isn’t all too different from normal SEO and for the most part, you will be utilising the exact same methods. The only difference is that seasonal SEO tends to be a shorter-term strategy since you are only implementing it for the season or holiday period, whereas, normal SEO is a longer-term strategy that aims to optimise your website all year round. Seasonal SEO can also be thought of as a part of the larger SEO strategy.
How to prepare for seasonality?
Preparing your business for seasonality is far simpler than you may think and mostly just comes down to being prepared ahead of time. Here’s the step-by-step process for creating a seasonal SEO strategy:
Understand your businesses seasonality
First off, you need to know how your business is affected by seasonality – which events cause fluctuations, which products are most affected by these and when does volume tend to spike. A lot of businesses already know this information so it may be as simple as asking someone. However, if they do not have any data on seasonality, you will have to figure it out yourself (also worth doing even if data is available – always good to double check).
Luckily, finding this information out isn’t too hard. I would do it like so:
- If you don’t already have one, compile a list of all the keyterms that your website shows up for. It would be helpful to categorise all of the keyterms.
- Now you need to figure out whether there’s any significant seasonality attached to these terms. The two easiest ways would be to use Google Search Console and Google Trends. With Search Console it’s as simple as heading over to the performance tab and then selecting the keywords that your site shows up for. Be sure to change the data range, ideally include all available data. This should give you a good idea of whether there’s any seasonality involved. You can opt to use Google Trends as well, this will give you an idea of how popular each term has been in the past and is great at showing overall trends, as we saw earlier in this article with the leather glove example.
- Now that you have a good idea of which keywords may be affected by seasonality, I would begin ruling out any which may have been caused by other marketing activities. It may well turn out that, purely by coincidence, marketing campaigns for a certain keyword were launched at similar times each year, making it seem like there’s seasonality for that term. To rule this out, compare your Google Search Console data with the data on Google Trends for that keyword.
Prepare your seasonal SEO strategy
Like I mentioned before, seasonal SEO isn’t all that much different from normal SEO. Preparing your strategy will just come down to the usual SEO pillars:
- Keyword Research
- On page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Establishing Authority (a.k.a. link building)
Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
- Start off by conducting an asset review – Do you already have pages that target seasonal search terms? Do they need a content refresh? (That’s less so a question and more so a necessity, keeping content regularly updated can really help with SEO – don’t forget to change the images too). How has the previous content performed? Are there any insights from last year that you could use to inform your strategy?
- Don’t just have a single page devoted to holidays – a black friday/cyber monday/boxing day/new years sale page will not convert well. Instead, have a page for each event – be sure to make the content unique on each page. Google doesn’t like duplicate content.
- Do not delete the pages after the holiday period is over, instead you can try tweaking the message a little or you can bury the page by removing links to it from the main navigation.
Begin implementing your seasonal SEO strategy ASAP
Any SEO changes that you implement will likely take anywhere between 3 and 6 months to start bearing fruit so it’s important to start preparing for seasonal trends as soon as possible.
So for example, if you want to implement a seasonal SEO strategy for Boxing day, you may want to start the implementation in June (or in the very least September). This should be enough time to position yourself strongly just in time for Boxing day.
The longer you give yourself, the better.
Implementing seasonal SEO into your overall SEO strategy can have a tremendous effect, increasing conversions and brand awareness. The trouble is that a lot of smaller businesses completely overlook it, mostly due to the amount of preparation necessary. If you have an SEO team on hand, exploring seasonal SEO would definitely need a fantastic idea, you could uncover previously unforeseen trends that can help you smash your targets that year.
However, if you don’t have the luxury of having your own SEO team, why not consider hiring an SEO freelancer – preferably one with over 14 years of experience in delivering positive ROIs for businesses of any size. If you’d like to find out how we can work together to implement a seasonal SEO strategy for your business, don’t hesitate to give me a ring.
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