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Do You Have a Seasonal Search Engine Optimization Strategy?


Pay attention to seasons and holidays to grow your website trafficRecently I’ve been watching my search engine referrals more closely than usual because I have been working to optimize for some new terms. It struck me that after almost year and a half of blogging, the data available on traffic patterns is astronomically valuable to you in terms of building your online business.

I’m a stats junkie anyway, because I feel that analyzing traffic patterns is like peeking into the minds of your site visitors. With a blog, the visitors you get to know are the most vocal commenters - studying your analytics allows the non-vocal visitors tell you what they like - and don’t like.

There are SO many ways to take advantage of seasons and hot trends in Search Engine Optimization. And you don’t ever need to stray off topic in order to take advantage of them.

One of the most popular posts on this blog, 94 Ways to Keep Kids Busy for the Work at Home Parent, is starting to fall off the charts:

Summer Seasonal SEO Trends

Why? I’m not doing anything to make Google angry - it’s the simple fact that now that kids are back in school, parents no longer need help keeping their kids busy (in fact, it’s probably high time I wrote a post on juggling your business schedule with school activities, eh?!).

A more dramatic example is a post I wrote early this year called Blogging Tax Deductions :: What Can You Write Off?:

Tax Season SEO Traffic Trends

Not only do you see a huge dropoff after April 15th, but you can also start to see a tiny uptick in the summer as those of us who got an extension started to face the IRS music again.

So how can you take advantage of this and drive more traffic to your website?

  • Write articles around seasonal trends
    You don’t necessarily need to write about back to school shopping, but you can use it as a launch for a metaphor post.
  • Use seasonal keywords in post titles
    Just mentioning a hot keyword in your headline pulls more traffic, but if your post has nothing to do with Halloween, then the boost will be short-lived.
  • Launch a separate niche blog or site targeted at a holiday or season
    MothersDayCentral pulled this off SO well - and their brilliant linkbait post sealed the deal to put them on top of Google’s Mother’s Day charts
  • Watch news sites for hot topics and events
    This site has done well writing about the Super Bowl and Harry Potter on just the right days, even though Dawud and I stayed on topic - blogging and business.
  • Rotate advertising on your site to fit the season
    You may be able to do well selling iPods on your site year-round, but will probably sell more if you mention that they are great presents during the December holidays, to give to college grads, or that the Easter Bunny likes to hide them with eggs.

For more reading (just found this after I wrote this post - Ironic!): Seasonal Traffic and How to Capture It for Your Blog from ProBlogger, and Take Advantage of Seasonal and Holiday Traffic from Tyler Banfield.

Here’s a few more research tools for identifying trends:

Share the Love... and the Traffic ;) These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Netscape
  • StumbleUpon
  • Ma.gnolia
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Bumpzee
  • co.mments
add to sk*rt

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  • Discussion

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    On August 29th, 2007 at 2:12 pm, Suzie Cheel said:

    Thank you for this Wendy, and very timely. i have just discovered i have been ranked in the top 100 Aussies bloggers, which is very encouraging after a huge technorati drop , I can see i have to look at my stats more closely and do more work behind my blog.
    Amazing how you and Darren are in sync so often

    On August 29th, 2007 at 3:29 pm, Easton Ellsworth said:

    Wendy, that “94 Ways” post will surely pick up steam again whenever holidays arrive - this December-January and next May-June in particular. You might consider updating it to like 1,000 ways (split up into a bunch of posts?) using reader participation or something … so that it remains a blockbuster for that season.

    Great tips as always.

    On August 29th, 2007 at 4:10 pm, swirlingnotions said:

    Great tip Wendy. I always get overwhelmed by stats . . . I feel like they hold secrets that I can’t decipher. So now I’ll have a leg up on seasonal stats at least!


    On August 29th, 2007 at 4:24 pm, Wendy Piersall said:

    Hey Lia - I wrote a 2 part series on the basics of analytics a while back:

    Hopefully they will help decipher it a bit - once you get in there, the data is really fascinating! :D

    On August 29th, 2007 at 9:15 pm, CHESSNOID said:

    Excellent post, Wendy. I never took into account the seasonal effect. I am still a new blogger and am looking to learn from more experienced bloggers like yourself. I do appreciate it. :)

    On August 29th, 2007 at 11:37 pm, Webomatica said:

    Good tips. Another one that might apply to your readers is television season premieres and finales.

    On August 30th, 2007 at 7:47 am, Mother Earth said:

    amazing the timing of this post — I took on a writing gig for some additional part time casb. The title for his newsletter is going to be
    “Season-ings - happenings with a bit of spice” The guy is a chef. I personally thought that was very clever!!

    Mother Earth

    On August 30th, 2007 at 11:02 am, lucia said:

    I remember being astonished at a traffic spike in October– it happened after I posted a knit pumpkin pattern! The number of searches for “pumpkin pattern” was amazing. (Unfortunately, I suspect most were looking for costumes, not knit table decorations.)

    On August 30th, 2007 at 11:27 am, randaclay said:

    I have a kids site, and it’s crazy how seasonal the traffic is. I had huge spikes leading up to Easter for example. You definitely have to catch it early- I’m planning on posting a month before Halloween.

    On August 30th, 2007 at 11:36 am, Tiffany @ said:

    Excellent article Wendy. My niche is green living and I do seasonal pieces on eco-freindly holidays every year and for most major holidays. They always bring in alot of traffic and they are wonderful for affiliate sales. I just did a post on eco-friendly school supplies and that post has been brought a windfall for me…and hopefully every year it will be the same. :)

    On August 30th, 2007 at 12:34 pm, Pat B. Doyle said:

    Great post! I have found the same thing. An article I wrote on Halloween costumes gets traffic every year around Halloween.

    On August 31st, 2007 at 7:10 am, Miranda said:

    What a great idea! It seems so obvious, but few of us think about it. I decided to share your post with my readers on WorkShak:

    On September 3rd, 2007 at 3:05 am, Dennis Bjørn Petersen said:

    I’ve never really thought of seasonal keywords.

    You mention having keywords in the headline, I guess the previous post with MILF in the headline will attract a ehmm.. mixed crowd ;)

    On September 3rd, 2007 at 9:30 am, Wendy Piersall said:

    Oh, Dennis, you crack me up! I shouldn’t even be working today (Labor Day here in the states, but I just had to answer back on this one! ;)

    I thought long and hard about that headline, and in the end, I decided to use it, but I plan on adding a noindex tag for that url in my Robots.txt file.

    Not so surprisingly, there are a million other sites who have actually optimized for the term, so I’m not ranking for it - but you should see some of the keywords that are used to find my old post “The Top Ten Hottest Moms in Search Engine Marketing”.

    OMG. They are terrible! :roll:

    On September 4th, 2007 at 12:15 am, Dennis Bjørn Petersen said:

    LOL yes. Top Ten Hottest Moms in SEM sounds like a headline a certain Hugh Hefner magazin, not that I’d ever seen one of those of course.

    I guess all that could happen is a few disappointed visitors ;)

    On September 8th, 2007 at 5:24 am, Gaida said:

    Thanks for a great & informative post on taking advantage of seasonal changes. You can also make huge profits on eBay by following the seasons. Another good news source is Google News to help find popular topics for topics on your websites. It’s also definitely worth trying to decipher your traffic stats.

    Mentions on other sites...

    1. This Week In SEO - 8/31/07 - TheVanBlog on August 31st, 2007 at 8:34 pm
    2. Having Fun with Blogging Mad-Libs and Link Love on September 2nd, 2007 at 8:04 am

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