Seasonal SEO: preparing your website for success every season
Many companies sell goods or services that are linked to annual events or external factors such as Christmas or hot weather. Seasonal SEO is a powerful and cost-effective way to help you achieve your seasonal goals and sales targets.
What is Seasonal SEO?
Seasonal SEO considers your website’s organic performance through external events and factors, and these events can be placed into two key categories:
- Time-Based. This includes Summer, Winter, and specific months.
- Event-Based. This includes Christmas, New Year, Eid, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Halloween etc
Why is Seasonal SEO important?
Understanding and optimising your website for seasonal events is important as it can help you take advantage of peaks in demand, as well as plan ahead for periods of low sales.
Boosting product sales at the most important times of the year is highly beneficial and a crucial strategy for any ecommerce business. While SEOs cannot control demand, we can certainly plan and ensure you are near the top of the search results at the times that matter the most.
How do I find out if search demand is seasonal?
You can usually find which products or services are seasonal/hit a peak by looking at Google Trends. This tool helps you see when users search for a term the most and what they are interested in, this can help you determine fluctuations in search behaviour.
For example, if you were an ecommerce retailer that sold a variety of party related products, if you researched some of your main products in Google Trends, you would see that ‘board games’ demand spikes just before and during the Christmas period significantly. You can then plan an SEO strategy for ‘board games’ in September in order to capture the peak of search demand in December for these products.
Google Search Console (GSC)
You can map out your performance data over the last 12 months based on seasons using GSC. If you look at your keyword data over the last year, you can often see dips or peaks, and consider likely reasons for this. Do they match with a season? a weekend? a specific event? holiday periods?
When looking at GSC for trends, be aware of your other marketing activities. An increase in clicks or impressions for a certain term could have been impacted by something other than seasonality of demand.
SEMrush offers a keyword trends metric in their ‘keyword overview’ dashboard. This can help you to quickly ascertain how much interest users have shown in a given keyword in the last 12 months. Take your top 10-15 keywords, pop them in and take a look at the yearly trends.
How to optimise for seasonality in SEO
Look at last year’s data
Your first step is to review your analysis. Use the above tools to figure out where your highest / lowest periods of demand are. Once you have a list of your top seasonal products and what month or months most people are searching for them in, you can move onto the next stage.
Create new landing pages
Once you’ve worked through your current content assets to determine what seasonal pages you already have, it’s time to create some new ones. Ensure you have category pages for all relevant events – Black Friday, Christmas, Summer or any annual events – that have specific search demand.
For example, If you sell furniture, then there will be people searching for garden summer furniture during the late spring or early summer. Do you have a page dedicated to this season?
Any new category pages can link to a number of child pages that can also target seasonal terms. For instance, outdoor summer furniture may link to other pages like outdoor summer dining table, outdoor summer bean bags, garden parasols, barbecues etc.
Top tip – Don’t put the date or year in your URL. This means you can reuse them year after year.
You also need to consider long tail keywords, as your next step.
Create a content plan
You’ll need to create a content plan far in advance of your seasonal trend cycle in order to ensure you have time to optimise it as well as give Google time to index. This is where you can tell the story from before demand starts, during the peak and then when it slows down.
You should carry out research for long tail keywords relating to your product area and map them out throughout the year accounting for search behaviour.
Taking the above example, you might plan to begin your content push in April. Your initial narrative might be around the ‘when is the best time to purchase your summer furniture’. You’ll then want to prepare for the peak in demand by creating content around ‘the best outdoor furniture for your garden this summer’. As demand begins to slow down you may produce content around ‘how to store your outdoor furniture for the winter.’
This is just a brief example of how you could ‘tell the story’ of your product throughout the year in order to align your content with your customers’ needs at the time.
Optimise for conversions
Depending on the new landing pages you’re creating, you may want to update your main navigation to feature these more prominently in times of higher demand. You can then remove them when the peak is over to replace with more relevant content.
Consider optimising your CTAs for the time of year and avoid boring ones. For example, instead of ‘call now’ you could use more creative messaging like ‘Create your perfect outdoor space.’
Once the holiday/special occasion ends, what can you do with the pages?
Delete the pages?
You could delete your pages from the website entirely, including from the CMS but this is a pretty bad idea from an SEO perspective for many reasons; If you remove the page it is going to be impossible to maintain high rankings when this season comes back around and you’ll lose any URL authority that was created over the time if it was live. This also creates more work for you as you’ll have to create another seasonal page next year. Avoid this!
Put the pages in draft mode?
Alternatively, you can put the pages back into draft mode so you still have all the content in the CMS but the page is removed from the live site. This does mean you won’t have to recreate content for the same time next year but the same SEO implications apply, if a user can’t find your page then Google also can’t!
Hide the pages from the menu
The recommended approach is to remove any links to your seasonal pages from your main menu / navigation so users can’t find it. However, the page will still exist and therefore remains indexable by Google, and may well be found by those early birds looking for your products.