The holiday season is upon us. This can mean many things to many people. For some, it means that they can finally get that coveted pumpkin spice latte they’ve been waiting for all year. Others may see the holidays as “that time when my mother-in-law stays with me for two weeks.” For those of us in the search engine marketing community, the holidays come as a reminder of the additional revenue that can be gained by investing in seasonal SEO strategies.
Here are 5 tips that can help you bolster your SEO efforts according to season:
1. Create Seasonal Social Media Content
Since social shares affect search ranking, social media can be a valuable SEO tool. Creating viral social media content that is seasonally relevant can generate a lot of traffic through Likes, Plus Ones, retweets and Twitter mentions.
B2B and B2C e-commerce sites can benefit from seasonal social messaging. B2B companies can use their Facebook and Twitter feeds to offer seasonal discounts and incentives to potential customers or reach out to their current customers with messages of holiday cheer. They can also use social channels to perpetuate holiday-themed advertisements.
Here’s an example of a B2B Holiday advertisement from masspipeline.com:
Ecommerce sites can use social channels to share viral advertisements or offer coupons to customers.
Here is an example of a viral holiday advertisement from Toms shoes:
2. Think Like A Publisher
If you aren’t already thinking like a publisher, you should be. As Andrew Shotland wrote on the Search Engine Land SEO blog: “Map out the seasons that effect you in a editorial calendar spreadsheet and start figuring out where your areas of SEO opportunity are going to be over the next year.”
By creating an editorial calendar, you can plan ahead for seasonal events. Schedule your content so that if there is a certain page that you want to link to, you can create additional content that links to your target page. This also allows you to add variations on your target keywords.
For example, if you are running an ecommerce site that sells novelty T-shirts, you might have a page that features Christmas shirts active throughout the entire year. However, by planning your seasonal content in advance, you can create additional, holiday-specific content that links to your page of Christmas shirts.
3. Write Season-Specific Meta Descriptions
This one is for all the B2C SEOs out there (B2B businesses typically don’t do much in the way of holiday promotions). You should consider revamping your meta descriptions to include any season-specific keywords that shoppers may be searching for. Be sure to mention any holiday sales or deals in your meta descriptions. Include a call to action to maximize clicks. Also consider using words like “free” that might resonate with holiday shoppers. Consider offering free add-ons like free gift wrapping or free shipping. You can then include this value in your title tags and CTAs.
4. Perform a Site Audit
It’s very important that your site is optimized in advance of any anticipated seasonal traffic boost. You should ensure that you have proper keyword density, appropriate backlinks and that your keywords are represented in meta data. Make certain that your domain contains a sitemap and robots.txt file are optimized for maximum crawlability. Be sure to check your site for any 404 errors or broken links. SEO automation tools can perform audits at the domain and page level in order to make sure that your site is properly optimized.
5. Use Tools to Forecast Seasonal Traffic Spikes
Tools like Google Trends and Alexa can help you to predict seasonal traffic spikes by analyzing data from past years. If you notice a pattern, you can plan an SEO effort in advance and adjust your editorial calendar accordingly.
For example, a company that sells propane grills might not have planned for increased sales at the end of the summer, but by examining traffic spikes, they might realize that they should stock up on merchandise and prepare themselves to handle a larger volume of sales calls in anticipation of Veteran’s Day.