Getting seasonal traffic all year round might sound like an oxymoron, but it’s perfectly possible with the right planning.
Demand changes with the seasons provides opportunities for savvy marketers to generate increased business throughout the calendar year. Not only does seasonal SEO give publishers more muscle at peak, but it also helps leverage traffic in the troughs.
Seasonal content gives your website a topical and timely presence which attracts new searchers and gives returning visitors a reason to keep coming back. Better still, because seasonal campaigns are timebound they generally enjoy significantly higher conversion rates.
Planning is a key part of any SEO campaign and one thing you can be sure about is that the seasons come around at the same time every year, so excuses just won’t wash. Seasonal planning provides structure for your annual marketing activities and helps allocate resources to boost your business’ bottom line.
What is seasonal SEO?
Seasonal SEO can be loosely divided into two categories: seasonal opportunities which change with the changing seasons (such as increased demand for healthy recipes after the festive period or lighter recipes during the summer months) or event-based opportunities (such as increased demand for cake recipes at Easter or more ambitious bakes during The Great British Bake Off).
How to identify seasonal SEO opportunities
Google Analytics is the most obvious starting point when researching seasonal opportunities. By setting the Date Range to cover the preceding 12-months (and ticking the checkbox to compare to previous period) you’ll get a clear picture of seasonal peaks and troughs. It’s important to remember that Google Analytics is a measure of current traffic, rather than overlooked opportunities, nevertheless it’s an invaluable tool and provides a benchmark to measure the success of future campaigns.
Google Trends tracks traffic trends for search terms over time and can be a great source of seasonal keyword inspiration. Keyword data can be analysed by location and language, making Google Trends especially useful for localised and geotargeted seasonal campaigns. Google Trends also provides suggestions for ‘related queries’ which can be a useful addition to your content calendar.
Google Search Console provides a quick visual shortcut to help identify seasonal traffic trends. Select the Performance tab and change the date range for a clear and concise overview, which can be further dissected by date and query.
Competitor Campaigns The last piece of the puzzle is to analyse your competitors and see if there’s anything you are missing or could improve. Signing-up to competitors’ newsletters is an easy way to stay on-top of their marketing campaigns and keyword research tools such as SEMrush will help identify traffic trends and pinpoint which keywords are driving Organic and Paid traffic throughout the year.
Tips for running a successful seasonal SEO campaign
Once you have identified seasonal opportunities the next step is to start planning your campaigns as follows:
Content Calendar Populate your content calendar with seasonal campaigns and decide how much resource you are going to dedicate to each marketing channel and how Paid and Social can be leveraged to support Search.
Keyword Research Keyword research is the backbone of SEO and seasonal campaigns are no exception. Seasonal keywords will naturally have longer tails making the easier to get ranking organically and cheaper to bid on.
Evergreen URLS Using established URLs which have already built-up some link equity is a great way to kick-start seasonal campaigns. Choosing a generic URL such as /sale or /offers (which does not contain any seasonal references) allows reuse for multiple campaigns and can be temporarily redirected with a 302 to the homepage when not in use.
Supporting Content Dedicated landing pages are a must for seasonal campaigns, but don’t forget to produce supporting blog and social content to raise brand awareness prior to the campaign and drive searchers to the site during the campaign.
Internal Links Give your campaign pages a little link love with internal links from your sitewide navigation, high traffic landing pages and your homepage.
Calls To Action Seasonal traffic converts well and you can push rates even higher with incentives such as free shipping. When deciding on sales incentives consider the lifetime value of a customer and what their details are worth in your database.
Force Crawl Once you have published your campaign pages use Google Search Console’s URL Inspection Tool to submit your pages to Google and speed-up indexing. Finally, don’t forget to make sure that your campaign pages are included in your sitemap.xml.