Ho, Ho, Ho, It’s Seasonal SEO! – Seasonal SEO in time for Christmas
With the Christmas holidays and New Year break in sight, many businesses have begun to shift focus to seasonal SEO.
Take note of opportunities peppered throughout the November, December and early January holiday period. Gift giving, family-focused events such as Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve are the obvious contenders with a complementary increase in tourism throughout Australia during this period. Make sure not to neglect international events like Halloween, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These have become increasingly mainstream in Australia over the past years and will bring in a slew of online consumers clicking away for holiday time deals. Finally, holidays such as the Melbourne Cup and Spring Racing Carnival are of particular interest to the fashion, retail, sports, betting, food and alcohol industries.
It’s important to understand which of the aforementioned holidays and events are most appropriate for your industry and business. Consider this alongside the manpower and budget you’ll need to allocate. Above all, ensure that you have a clear goal in mind from your holiday SEO campaigns.
Most tech-savvy businesses create a specific digital strategy for these periods months in advance. Online retailers will often build season specific campaigns to increase profitability during peak times of the year. For certain industries close to half of their annual revenue, or more, will be earned during this period (no wonder we see so much more emphasis placed on shopping during these periods).
SEO: The red-headed stepchild of seasonal marketing
Whilst many businesses focus on direct sale channels such as email marketing, Google Ads/PPC, Facebook Ads, and display banners, they tend to neglect seasonal SEO and content creation during these periods and instead drive this traffic to the homepage.
This is a very, VERY bad idea.
You must understand the mindset of your audience during these periods. If you’re only chasing traffic volume, you’ll increase your costs for an increase in site visits, but your conversions will likely not reflect this growth.
Google Ads uses page relevance and user interaction to determine your ad quality score, which in turn determines the cost of your keyword bids. Understanding that seasonal SEO keywords such as “Christmas”, “Halloween”, “Valentines” or “Cyber Monday” will be extremely competitive, and in turn, expensive to bid on means your keyword quality score needs to be rock solid. Going in with a quality score of 5/10 won’t cut it.
More importantly, you can’t underestimate the impact of having consistency between your keywords, ad messaging and landing page content on user conversion rates. This has been tested and proven time and time again and Google keeps pushing their quality content agenda more each year.
Google wants you to have quality content and will reward you with lower ad costs. Your users want you to serve quality content and will reward you with higher conversion rates. Make quality content your number one priority.
So when should you start your seasonal SEO strategy?
Campaigns are time sensitive so it’s important to write the most relevant content, build the necessary landing pages, allow time for search engine indexing, natural organic links to build and for organic traffic to start to pick up so that you can optimise the page for conversions before the big day.
For some industries, starting 6 months in advance is a must. Others are fine with getting their pages up 2-3 months ahead of time. In some parts of the world, such as Latin America, people generally do their shopping last minute, so you can afford to start even later than that. More than anything, it will depend on your industry, business model, target market and capacity to create relevant and valuable content. If you have the capacity to create a page with great content in a few days, then you can afford to hold out and focus on other elements of your business.
Give your users the seasonal content they’re after
As mentioned, driving huge volumes of traffic is fantastic, but understanding the user mindset during this period is even more important. It’s a last-minute, panic-mode, sales focused mindset. Adding convenience points for your customers, such as clearly displayed holiday working hours for physical stores or temporary shopping options such as click & collect, can be very beneficial in not losing customers; and there are a lot of them to lose.
When creating content, bear in mind that you can target combinations. Common combinations are gift and family or gender-focused, e.g. “gift ideas for her”, “Christmas gifts for dad”. Further, price-driven keywords are popular searches (especially with round numbers), such as “Xmas gifts for dad under $50”. These keywords not only have high search volume but exceptionally high purchase intent so this traffic is heavily sought after by your competition and worth exploiting by building multiple landing pages for different keyword combinations.
Promoting your pages
Ok, so you’ve researched your audience, found the best keywords and built some exceptional content! Now what? Email marketing, social media links, and competitions for bloggers and influencers can all work well in getting organic links to your site. This also has the added advantage of doubling up on the traffic you bring in. It does this by increasing your organic ranking via blogger links and also getting more referral traffic once users start reading your partner sites during the seasonal period and clicking through.
Closing shop until next season
Whilst many of your competitors might take down these pages or redirect them to the homepage, we’d advocate that you keep these landing pages live and active for next year albeit with some tweaks to the content.
A ‘thank you’ message for everyone that visited in the previous period, and a ‘looking forward to the next season’ message to everyone who lands on the page before the following season starts will make visitors feel special. Adding links to other parts of the site users may be interested in can also be helpful and get you additional conversions. For example, linking to ‘Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas’ for users who landed on the ‘Christmas Day Gift Ideas’ page.