How to prepare your SEO strategy for seasonal events
For e-commerce businesses, seasonal events are often the most lucrative times of the year. The great thing about these seasonal events is that we all know when they’re going to happen, but knowing is half the battle – what can we do with this knowledge? How can you ensure that your website is ready for the surge in gift-giving that comes with events such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas? Here are some tips for your SEO strategy to ensure your seasonal web pages work for you and are primed and ready for customers to find you instead of your competitors.
1. These aren’t the terms you’re searching for
This may sound a little harsh, but the general public cares less about your branding and messaging than you do, and they often won’t search for your products or services in the ways you may want them to. Of course, branding, messaging, and tone of voice are all important and shouldn’t be abandoned, but when trying to optimise your website for search, it’s important to consider what your potential customers will actually be searching for.
Consider this example: you’re a US-based e-commerce business with a significant customer base all around the world, and you’re preparing a page for your Christmas sale event. Since the typical, inclusive term used in the US to describe the festive period is “the Holidays”, you may be inclined to use the term “Holiday” on your page and omit the term “Christmas” altogether. However, a quick look at Google Trends (see below) will show you that the term “Christmas” is far more popular around the world.[Source: Google Trends]To give some numbers on this disparity, in December 2020, “Christmas” received over 16 million searches whereas “holiday” received just over 1.8 million. Even more relevant to e-commerce businesses, “Christmas gifts” received 1.5 million searches whereas “holiday gifts” received less than 50,000.*
[*Source: Google Keyword Planner]
We’re not saying you should abandon the more common and inclusive term “Holiday” altogether, but you’re potentially missing out on so much traffic by not including using the word “Christmas” in a few places across the page.
The same goes for any event, the way that you search for it isn’t necessarily the way that others search for it. Spend a little time doing even the most basic keyword research to identify different names or ways of talking about a particular event and determine which terms are the most popular in the regions you operate in. Use these findings to inform the content you add not only to your main seasonal page but also supporting content you create around the event.
2. It’s about time
Another common mistake is launching or updating your seasonal webpage too late. Many of us think that Christmas pages should go live at the end of November, or Valentine’s pages should go live in February – and it’s understandable. However, there’s a reason why the likes of Selfridges and Harrods open their Christmas collections in August – people are interested well in advance of the actual event.
While there may be a few of us who leave Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve or pick up some flowers and chocolates on the morning of Valentine’s Day (no judgment!), there are plenty of people who are very organised and like to do their seasonal shopping early. By not launching your seasonal page until shortly before the event, you’re missing out on a huge volume of searches and potential customers.
So, when is the ideal time to launch your seasonal page? The answer is: it depends. Using a free tool like Google Trends will show you when searches for a particular event begin to increase – around the moment of inflection is when you’ll want to launch your season-specific page in order to capitalise on the relevant searches. Here are a few examples:
Christmas searches begin to increase in late August/early September:[Source: Google Trends]Valentine’s Day searches start to increase in late December/early January: [Source: Google Trends]Easter searches start to increase in January: [Source: Google Trends]When using a tool to find the search trends for a given event, be sure to look at the whole year, not just a portion of it, in order to get the most accurate information. You can even compare with the previous year to see if the trend matches, or whether the current year is unusual due to an external event (e.g. COVID-19).
Get ahead of the curve – don’t miss the boat!
3. A seasonal webpage is for life, not just for Christmas
Even after the Christmas presents have been opened, the Easter eggs have been eaten, and the Halloween costumes are back in the wardrobe, your seasonal page still has a role to play. The specific information on the page will be out-of-date following the event, but search interest doesn’t plummet to zero, and the page can still support your business.
Following a seasonal event, it’s important to update your seasonal page to include Evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that is relevant for an extended period of time. There are a number of reasons why:
Firstly, the page can provide information to users searching for your seasonal offerings throughout the year. Your messaging can even be as simple as “join us early next year for Valentine’s Day 2022!” or “Come back in Winter 2021 for our brand new Christmas event!”. This tells everyone landing on the page during the off-season when they can expect more from your seasonal ranges.
Secondly, the page can support other pages on your website by providing internal links and directing traffic to those pages. Add links to all relevant blog content to drive interested users to those pages, and be sure to add links to any related product pages. Internal links not only direct traffic to your other pages, but also spread valuable link equity around your website. Don’t let your seasonal page be a “dead-end” for users who land on it during the off-season; make it easy for them to navigate around the rest of your site – you may see some conversions as a result!