What is seasonality?
Seasonality from a Digital Marketing standpoint is when your business is affected by seasonal trends in the marketplace. As digital marketers, there are lots of advantages when it comes to jumping on the back of these seasonal trends from a Search Engine Optimisation and Paid Search perspective. We take a closer look at seasonality and how to drive impact with your digital marketing campaigns.
When is the start of your peak?
When it comes to seasonality, identifying when a peak occurs is definitely important in order to help us establish a starting point for both SEO and PPC. From an SEO perspective, we need to start thinking about seasonality and its peak roughly up to 6 months before! The reason this is the case is due to the nature of Search Engines. We want to help establish our brands as a point of authority and get them ranking for seasonal keywords as soon as possible. By starting early, we can help “ride that wave” of peak and be front and centre for those big seasonal terms.
Whilst PPC is a very agile channel and can respond extremely quickly it may surprise you to know that we’d want to know seasonality even earlier than SEO. Most companies generate a marketing budget and in order to work within this we regularly find ourselves predicting 12 months of activity so as to invest the budget at the most opportune moments. After that, there’s the nitty-gritty of ad copy, landing pages, promotions in GMC etc. that all take time, but can be done much closer to the seasonal event.
What are your Seasonal terms?
From a Combined Perspective:
Keyword research is key, currently, at least keywords are king for search, be that paid or organic. We’re both using the same tools to get this job done as well as using both channels to generate information for the other. Using these tools we can identify previous seasonal keywords which you can expect to see increases on a monthly basis until the time of said seasonal event.
Understanding which terms you’re going after at the early stages can really help you when it comes to content creation for SEO.
Looking back at previous seasonal events will also help you mine a wealth of keywords from tools such as Search Console, if you’ve been active in this similar space before!
whilst Google has been tightening up visibility they still provide the best data to those who pay for it. This is one of the huge benefits of having all your SEM efforts in one place as it really boosts the quality of data available to SEO having PPC sat next to them!
From an SEO perspective:
This is where our content comes into play. Now that we have identified the keywords we want to target and rank for, we need to make sure that we are capitalising on those keywords by including them without our content creation. If you’re an ecommerce brand you might have dedicated sales landing pages for each product category. You’d want to make sure you’ve mapped the right keyword to the right sales page and utilise those terms within your page titles, meta descriptions and on page content.
How to make sure you’re ready?
From a PPC Perspective:
The structure will be key here, depending on the duration of this seasonal occasion you may create specific ads throughout the account to call attention to it, but any seasonally specific terms should ideally have their own niche carved out in the account, be that at an ad group level to prevent having to update your reporting or at a campaign level to allow more budgetary freedom. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the use of extensions, these are especially beneficial for a shorter-term seasonal event, where there may be more harm done than good by updating ad copy (reduction in ad rank from having copy in the account that doesn’t already have a historic CTR).
Extensions allow you to push forward key messaging and even direct searchers to the most relevant parts of your site without taking any hits on ad rank, the downside here is going to be how often the extensions show. Google has continually increased the number of ads that can show extensions in the auction, but this is no guarantee that everyone (or even most of) your audience will see them. Finally, keep the seasonal terms live after the event, update the copy and if necessary the landing pages you use, but there’s no reason to pause or worse delete them. Searches will naturally decline (this is of course a seasonal event), but you don’t want to miss out on what traffic does come through as it will be as qualified (if poorly timed) as during the seasonal event, additionally not needing to generate relevance against the keyword portion of ad rank will give you a slight speed advantage next year.
From an SEO Perspective:
There are some common mistakes we’ve come across when it comes to seasonal trends which is why it’s important to have a plan for during and post seasonal campaigns.
- Sales page has been live for the last 6 months
- Keyword-optimised content has been created and put on the landing page to build anticipation
- Ensure that the page can be found within Sitemap.xml file
- Ensure there are no “noindex” tags present on the page and make sure it isn’t blocked in the robots.txt file so it can be found and ranked in search Engines.
- Ensure the page is easily navigable with a link within your site’s navigation
- Ensure there is clear messaging on the homepage to indicate the seasonal event with an internal link
- Update the on-page content to reflect that it is the end of the seasonal campaign
- Include additional internal links to other categories, products or services elsewhere around the website, so that a user may still continue to browse
- Remove the link to the campaign from the navigation as well as the sales page but DON’T DELETE THE PAGE
Post seasonal curve is where most SEO issues tend to lie. There have been many occasions where sales pages have been deleted and what this does is reset you in that seasonal landscape for the next time that seasonal campaign returns.
By keeping your sales pages live on the website, you won’t be starting from essentially 0 authority in this space the following year. This also means that any backlinks that were generated won’t suddenly link to a broken page and start to lose any value for your site.
How to measure seasonal success?
When it comes to measuring success the classic KPIs for both channels tend to be traffic and revenue. However, with the world being turned on its head with Covid for the last few years, there is definitely a different landscape to take into consideration when it comes to comparing your data year on year.
This can skew your reporting data and may not be giving you a true and accurate measurement of how successful your campaign has been. Depending on the type of business that you own, it might be worth comparing your data to 2019 rather than 2020 or 2021.
If you would like to discuss how you can maximise the impact of an upcoming seasonal campaign, get in touch with our award-winning Digital team today.