Whether it’s Christmas, Halloween or the summer holidays: these annual events all have a worldwide impact on what people type into search engines. As a brand, preparing for this seasonal search can offer many opportunities, including a spike in web traffic and a boost in social media engagement. But how can this be done most effectively? Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
First of all, make sure you focus on what’s important. Each year is full of events, and thus it is key that you establish what events are likely to help you drive more traffic. Are you running an e-commerce platform? Then it’s a good idea to look at all national holidays during which people like to give each other gifts, such as Christmas and Valentines Day. In addition, it could be a quick win to tap into changing seasons, as this is when people are likely to start looking for new clothes e.g. warm jumpers or summer dresses.
Once you decided what seasonal events to focus on, it’ll be time to conduct comprehensive keyword research. You can, of course, use any keyword tool for this, but not before you’ve had a look at Google Trends. This super handy tool will tell you exactly when certain search terms are peaking, and when they aren’t.
See here the annual search for keywords bikini (blue) and gloves (red). Where the trend for bikinis is significantly going up from January until about September, after which it plummets, people collectively start searching for gloves in October. Looking at these trends can really help inform decisions around content marketing strategies for e-commerce (e.g. which products to advertise on your homepage), but they will also help you decide when to start optimising your site for seasonal trends, and when to stop.
Next, put all findings from the two previous steps together, so as to know exactly when you need to start optimising for what. If your company could really benefit from Halloween (decorations, costumes, recipes, events), it would be useful to start thinking about suitable content as early as July. If you give yourself plenty of time to create seasonal content, the more likely it is that the result is unique and of high quality.
Perhaps the most common mistake when it comes to optimising for seasonal SEO is starting too late. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a case of throwing in some seasonal keywords here and there, right before the event starts. Rather, you want to be there from the very moment people start searching for relevant terms. For Christmas, it is thus a good idea to start pushing content from about October onwards. This way, you won’t miss any of the forerunning events such as Halloween, Black Friday, Thanksgiving. And don’t forget those weeks of planning leading up to the holidays!
Also, don’t feel the need to create any new pages for your seasonal campaigns. Use your seasonal keywords on evergreen pages that are already driving traffic such as the homepage, how-to guides and popular listicles. SEO can take a long time to start working, and you don’t want to miss the boat.
Measuring the success of your campaign is crucial to finding out what worked and what didn’t. Compare the weeks up to the relevant seasonal event from the moment you start your campaign, to that same time in previous years in order to measure the overall success. Looking at metrics like bounce rate and time on site will help you look into user behaviour and establish which pages could use more help in the next year. Write down your approach and the outcome in a detailed report, so that in the future, you know exactly how to go about setting up these winning seasonal campaigns.
What do you think? Are you already implementing seasonal search into your company’s SEO strategy? If so, we’d love to hear your tips and tricks.