‘Tis the Season: Ten Ways to Enhance Your Online Presence All Year Round
October 29th, 2015 by
Traffic to your website depends on how relevant your landing page is in relation to the terms being searched and how well optimized your site is in the eyes of Google. If demand for your products and services is low for a certain time of the year, chances are search volume will also be lower, resulting in less traffic to your site. Having a strong online presence is all about understanding user behavior and optimizing your site to achieve the best results. In order to accomplish this, utilizing a seasonal SEO strategy will help boost your overall online performance annually.
Whether your business maintains consistent demand or changes with the time of year, there’s something for everyone when it comes to seasonal SEO!
What Is Seasonal SEO?
Seasonal SEO refers to optimizing your site for seasonal keywords in order to get more visibility in search engine results during a specific time of the year. For example, let’s say you own a jewelry business. Around the holidays, search volume will increase for Christmas presents. Instead of just optimizing your site for vintage jewelry, you may try optimizing for “Christmas vintage jewelry,” “vintage jewelry for Christmas,” or even “holiday vintage jewelry” in order to enhance your site’s ability to be found amidst the high search traffic for the season. Optimizing your site seasonally could prevent your business from missing out on additional holiday revenue.
Capitalizing on the Seasons
So how does one go about optimizing for the seasons? Here are five tips to get your site ready, no matter the time of year.
- Do your research. Don’t just blindly select any season to optimize your site. Look at year-over-year data on Google analytics to make inferences on when traffic to your site is the highest in order to determine what season optimizing your business will most benefit from. You will want to concentrate your efforts on one to two seasonal holidays, three at most.
- Start planning now! Once you’ve selected which seasons you will be optimizing for, create a seasonal SEO calendar to outline which items you intend to seasonally optimize. (Local SEO consultant Andrew Shotland has provided an excellent resource here.) Keep in mind that searches for most seasons start much further in advance. For example, planning for Valentine’s Day starts mid-January. Once more, it can take a while to gain momentum when it comes to SEO, so starting months in advance is key.
- Create unique pages of seasonal content and optimize it for the appropriate seasonal keywords. During the season, place the seasonal landing page in the main navigation, HTML sitemap, and XML sitemap so that humans and search engine bots can access it more easily. Create one or two seasonal pages annually, three at most.
- Update your meta descriptions for seasonal pages and your site. Meta descriptions exist to facilitate a higher click-through rate between the search engine results page and your website. Not only is it a good idea to create seasonally focused meta descriptions for seasonal pages, but it is also a good idea to update the meta descriptions of your year-round pages (i.e., your home page) so that they’re seasonally focused for the time being. After the holiday season is over, be sure to change them back.
- Do not delete seasonal pages once the season is over. It can take a while for new pages to gain authority and recognition with Google. Once you get a seasonal page to rank, deleting that page would mean that you would be starting from scratch the following year. You can simply reuse the seasonal pages for next year by updating the content. Because you may not want to keep these pages in your navigation all year round, it is very important to keep these pages indexed in both your HTML and XML sitemaps so that these pages remain crawlable and hopefully indexed all year round. When the season rolls around again, be sure to implement it back into your navigation again. Rinse and repeat.
But what happens if you own a seasonal business? Perhaps your store is closed during certain times of the year (i.e., a ski company closed for the summer), or perhaps nobody is looking for your swim store’s bikini line in the middle of January! Do not fear: indeed, while search traffic to your site will be lower off season due to its correlation to current consumer demands, there are still steps you can take to maintain your online presence year round.
- Do your research. Look at year-over-year traffic and conversions in Google analytics to ensure you’ve identified the correct high season for your business.
- Display positive customer reviews off-season. While the season is still in its prime, be sure to gather customer reviews about your business, especially your Google+, Yelp, and Bing pages. For example, a family may decide in May that they would like to take a winter ski trip. They may begin reading reviews on ski resorts and ski gear months in advance in order to be well prepared for their upcoming trip.
- Engage in social media all year round. It is critically important to always be engaged with your clients and potential clients on social media. Here’s why.
- Play up off-season hype. When it’s snowing outside, it wouldn’t hurt your business to post a picture of a sunny beach with your company’s sandal line to generate top-of-mind awareness even off season.
- Create interesting blog topics year round. This will provide readers with plenty of content during peak season as opposed to taking a break from posting during off-season months. It will also generate fresh content for your site, which signals to Google that your site contains relevant content for viewers.
How do you maintain your business’s online presence year round?