The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Seasonal SEO
Oh Valentine’s day. The day of overbearing love, overpriced flowers, sappy cards, delicious chocolates, and my 15th favorite day of the year.
Valentine’s day is the day many people use as an opportunity to profess their love for one another. But it also presents a digital marketing opportunity for B2B organizations.
I’m talking about seasonal SEO.
Seasonal SEO is a tactic online marketers can use to drive more organic traffic and gain more visibility to their sites during seasonally-specific peak traffic periods. This pertains to holidays, actual seasons, trends/fads, and popular events.
I know what you’re thinking. Justina, you said SEO is a long-term plan, not short.
And it still is. Just bear with me, I’ll explain. Let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of seasonal SEO.
The most obvious good of seasonal SEO is that it revolves around current trends and news, thus attracting more newcomers.
Take Black Friday, for example. As marketers, we know people are going to search for deals, shopping tips, and ideas to fully optimize their time out. By writing new content or optimizing relevant pages to correlate with their searches, you can improve how your site ranks in your customers’ SERP results.
Another ‘good’ aspect of seasonal SEO is that it has relatively low competition in the B2B space. With evergreen content being easier to manage and seemingly more valuable, most organizations opt-out of catering to trends, as they aren’t selling directly to consumers.
But you have to keep in mind that when marketing to other companies, you’re not just marketing to the company — you’re also marketing to the people who work there.
Seasonal SEO also presents an opportunity to target specific keywords or topics that aren’t normally targeted based on known trends.
For example, below is a snapshot of the Google trends for the last four years for searches around Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.
As you can see, searches for these shows peak whenever new seasons are released and plateau when the show ends. By monitoring trends, you can target related keywords before the peak hits and capture the audience (and SERP results) before the competition.
With every good, there must be a bad to counteract it and seasonal SEO is no exception.
First thing’s first, seasonal SEO ‘expires’. Whether you’re writing about the upcoming MLB championship series or making a landing page for Coachella’s newest line up, your SEO efforts are only going to last while those topics are relevant.
With that, another ‘bad’ aspect of seasonal SEO is that you’ll need to stay on top of expired efforts and handle them appropriately. Outdated pages and content can take away traffic and potential conversions from more important items on your site.
Your consumers may be looking for information about the 2017 RSA conference, but instead find your landing page for the 2014 show. They’re immediately going to bounce off your page and find the information somewhere else.
Seasonal SEO may also produce little to no ROI for B2B organizations… at least immediately.
Like I mentioned in the ‘goods’, you’re more than likely attracting new visitors who are entering your site at the top of the sales funnel. In the B2B space, sale cycles can last months and your seasonal SEO may not persuade consumers to move down the funnel at that moment.
Whether you love or hate seasonal SEO, we can all agree that it has an ‘ugly’ side that will make you think twice about engaging in it.
While it may seem like a shorter (and easier) version of SEO, seasonal SEO actually requires a LOT of pre-planning.
You’ll need to analyze your sales patterns and traffic trends to find applicable ‘seasons’ to cater to. If you’re aiming to capture more Christmas traffic, you’ll need the start your SEO planning as early as mid-August and implement it in October.
In addition, you’ll have to decide whether you’re going to develop new content and pages or use existing items. If you choose the route of new, you’ll need to ensure that you’re not duplicating content or affecting the authority of existing pages.
You’ll also need to create a post-plan (i.e. how you’ll handle your expired efforts). Yes, placing a 301 on the page may be fine at first, but you could potentially run into a redirect chain, which is a series of redirects that go from one URL after another, forcing search engines to wait until there are no more redirects to step through. The more redirects there are in place, the more authority a page loses. What’s more, your site will also take longer to load and decrease in its overall quality.
See, I told you I’d explain.
I’m not going to lie. Seasonal SEO is not easy, but it’s not impossible. It does present a great opportunity to capture a new audience, but that’s not how you turn them into customers. Your seasonal efforts must complement your long-term SEO plan and direct your audience down the funnel.
What do you think about engaging in seasonal SEO? Have you been “successful” with it?