Every business owner knows that the seasons influence shoppers’ behaviours. For example, NRF revealed last year that began purchases for the holiday season before September, with November being the most popular month for shopping, mainly due to special discounts during Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
Of course, the winter holidays are not the only time frame when the sales spike. Every season can influence purchase decisions differently, and with changing shopping behaviours, the need for custom marketing plans to satisfy the consumers is evident. Seasonal SEO makes sense to bring in front of your prospects relevant products, services, and content.
Seasonal SEO Advantages
- Boost seasonal sales by targeting customers who are ready to buy.
- Coupled with FOMO (fear of missing out) topical content generates excellent ROI.
- It helps you place relevant, seasonal products in front of the consumers.
- It allows you to create seasonal content that will enhance your long-term SEO strategy by optimizing pages for products that can be sold year-round.
- Rank in SERPs for seasonal search terms.
- Gain new customers from your competitors, especially if the competitors fail to implement seasonal SEO strategies.
- Boost brand awareness for your business. When you rank well for seasonal products, customers may remember your brand even if they make no purchase this time.
- Topical content is fresh and can be easily converted into evergreen content too – it can be relevant more than once.
- Seasonal content gets a lot of traffic in a short period of time.
- Good seasonal content makes your audiences stay on your site longer.
Sure, there are also some disadvantages to seasonal SEO, mostly because this type of content has some limitations. Because it has an expiry date, people may lose their interest little by little or at least until next time when it becomes relevant. But, when planned and executed properly, seasonal SEO has more advantages than drawbacks.
Tips to Plan Successful Seasonal SEO Campaigns
Shoppers behave differently every season. In the winter, they are likely to search for Christmas gifts or for skiing holidays. Summers are for trips at the sea or fun outdoor festivals. Spring and autumn may be influenced by new fashion trends. You’ll have to monitor these changes to identify different customer behaviours too. Use Google’s shopping insights to see what buyers want and when.
Start by reviewing your site’s own year-over-year traffic data and user behaviour with Google Analytics. This will show you the best-performing pages and the highest-traffic times of every year. You can compare the data to see what worked and what didn’t. This analysis is most effective if you had seasonal SEO campaigns in the past, but it can also show you which seasons don’t trigger interest in your site. From here, start refining the poorly performing pages, or create brand new topical content to boost traffic and seasonal rankings.
Seasonal SEO relies greatly on identifying consumer intent – a strategy more powerful than demographics, especially since Google’s algorithm counts on user intent to deliver search results that are timely, relevant, and useful.
Develop a 4-5-4 event calendar
To begin planning a successful seasonal SEO campaign you should know beforehand what happens and when. So, develop an editorial content plan based on a 4-5-4 (4 weeks – 5 weeks – 4 weeks) calendar. NRF offers excellent 4-5-4 calendars for monthly sales releases, however, these are valid for sales in the USA. If you don’t target consumers from this part of the world, you should craft your 4-5-4 calendar to holidays and events relevant to shoppers in your area.
This 4-5-4 calendar for monthly sales releases from NRF is just an example. You can enhance your calendar with other business-specific events, like concerts, festivals, exhibitions, business seminars, regional holidays, and much more.
Remember – topical content can be time-based (spring, summer, autumn, winter) or event-based (Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, FIFA World Cup, and so on).
Create an editorial calendar
Once you know the sales release dates, you can begin planning your editorial calendar. Start early – publishing content on the sales release dates or too close to these dates might be too late.
The editorial calendar will help your content creators plan and execute their work to meet your desired publishing deadlines. It is a valuable tool to plan not only who will write the texts, but also which other types of content – video, images, infographics, rich media – you will use to support your seasonal SEO efforts.
"An editorial calendar should be a resource for your whole team, not just content creators," says Ash Read, Buffer's editorial director cited by HubSpot. "It should be something anyone can easily access to see what's coming up and also suggest content ideas. Sometimes the best content suggestions will come from people outside of your marketing team."
credit: Bob Angus
Research seasonable keywords
Perform your keyword research based on what you are selling. You can use Google Trends to identify year-over-year or month-over-month traffic fluctuations based on your products. For example, if you specialize in swimwear, you can see the peak months for sales. You can compare search terms to see which ones generate more interest, and you can also see which countries drive the most searches. In this example, it makes sense that interest for swimsuits is higher in the summer months:
Alternatively, you can type in the name of the event you want to target and see the interest over time. This will help you decide when to publish the seasonal content. For example, interest over time for Christmas spikes as early as October.
Another great tool is Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest. This comes with a wealth of useful features, including a month-over-month trend feature, but it also reveals SEO difficulty for a given search term, and offers long-tail keyword suggestions with SERP overview, showing you the top 99 ranking sites, but also the odds for you to rank among the top 20 too.
You can use many other tools to refine your keyword research, including Google Keyword Planner and SEMRush – download our free SEO book for 2019 to learn more. Once you create a list of keywords for your seasonal SEO you can start producing the content and scheduling your campaigns.
Produce high-quality topical content
Seasonal content can be anything from landing pages for promotional marketing campaigns, to blog posts, seasonal guides, and product pages. You could also decide to launch a seasonal Q&A page, how-to videos accompanied by video transcripts, and seasonal rich media to offer a plus of value to your prospects. Here are some ideas:
- Update already existing pages with current information. Improve page titles, meta descriptions, and on-site content including seasonal keywords as they would occur naturally. Avoid spammy, black-hat SEO tactics. Add video and fresh, original images and don’t forget to optimize them for search and accessibility too.
- Create crisp, quality landing pages for your new products, especially if you run an ad campaign to drive seasonal traffic. A low-quality landing page will perform poorly, defeating the purpose of your seasonal marketing efforts. Include links to relevant products and information shoppers interested in seasonal promotions may find useful and relevant.
- Create a seasonal gift guide if you are a retailer. This will inspire shoppers and possibly help you sell more than just one product.
- For hospitality and travel sites, a destination guide with things to do in the holiday season is always a good bet. Use beautiful pictures and video to illustrate the attractions and activities and to inspire wanderlust.
- Promote local events ahead of time – remember that it takes a while for content to rank and especially people usually plan months ahead when they travel.
Whatever strategy you choose, produce content that is related to your business that will help you attract the ideal customers.
Make sure your seasonal content is mobile friendly
Mobile-ready seasonal content will deliver exceptional ROI as mobile e-commerce is expected to be worth some $3.5 trillion and to make up almost three quarters (72.9%) of e-commerce sales by 2021.
Consider also that the mobile payments market is projected to reach $4,574 billion by 2023 – further proof that mobile devices are increasingly used by shoppers. In Q3 2018, mobile sales accounted for nearly 40% of all retail e-commerce sales in the US and the numbers are likely to grow faster in the future. In fact, Google revealed that last season about 64% of the shopping was completed on a smartphone. So, it makes sense for marketers to develop campaigns that satisfy mobile users too.
Summing it up
Whatever type of business you are in, seasonal SEO makes sense if you want to generate spikes of traffic and targeted sales. Remember the rules of evergreen content too:
- Write for people and not for search bots. Create content that answers questions – it serves people who use voice search.
- Informational, useful content that answers to people’s needs will deliver better results than impersonal sales jargon.
- Write content that answers questions to increase your chances of being featured in the Google featured snippets.
- Make your content engaging – beyond text, use pictures, videos, and rich media to keep website visitors interested.
If you have not used seasonal SEO in the past, it’s not too late to start. You may also choose to combine topical SEO with other digital marketing strategies, including ad campaigns, email outreach, social media promotions, and so on. See what works for you!