Pumpkin Spice SEO: Is Seasonal Search Engine Optimization Worth Your Time?

pumpkin spice latteSeasonal SEO investment should be subjective and complement brand strategy.

Search engine optimization is a long game for marketers. Strong domain authority and prime search engine results page (SERP) real estate is your long-term payoff for months (and often years) of invested optimization tactics. Big picture SEO should always be your goal, but that doesn’t stop businesses from experimenting with seasonal strategies to focus on short gains for a brief period of time.

Companies that commit to seasonal search engine optimization gamble that the uptick in site traffic is worth the investment. With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to take a good look at your seasonal strategies.

Get the Ball Rolling

Different brands measure search engine optimization success subjectively, and the same is true regarding seasonal SEO expectations. Most businesses experience some form of seasonality, whether that means across-the-board sales spikes during the holidays or different items selling better during a certain time of year, but not all businesses invest in seasonal SEO the same. Ask yourself the following questions if you’re considering new seasonal tactics:

  • How crucial are seasonal customers to business? Determine the percentage of sales season-specific consumers are responsible for. If this percentage is substantial, it’s easier to justify additional SEO investment.
  • What’s your competition look like? If competition is scarce for keywords or markets you’re targeting seasonally, the gamble of further search engine optimization is less risky and more profitable.
  • Will assets be reusable? Remember, long-term SEO is the goal even when you’re working on short-term strategies. Seasonal search engine optimization assets (keywords, copy, media) should not be created for one-time use. Instead, design seasonal campaign elements to be evergreen for reuse year after year for maximum investment returns.

Regardless of how minimally or excessively your marketing focuses on seasonality, the key to success is to get an early start. If you decide to focus on Christmas keywords in mid-December, you’re late to the party. 

Escalation Over Time Leads to Success

In order to reap the most SEO reward from your work, start your seasonal keyword emphasis one or two months early. That means for Christmas keywords, you should implement SEO tactics, subtly, well before that December deadline rolls around. That is, don’t overdo the early seasonal push or you’ll alienate consumers before the holidays hit. This way you can establish authority for your preferred areas of focus and be in prime position to reel in the seasonal traffic as it ramps up.

A well-rounded, multi-faceted seasonal SEO strategy doesn’t happen overnight. Good SEO campaigns (be they seasonal or otherwise) escalate over time. The work you do early in the campaign lays the foundation for future gains, and during the campaign’s life, it’s your job to infuse complementary marketing materials into the equation.

Monitoring Seasonal Metrics

To rationalize continuous SEO spend on seasonally inspired campaigns (holidays, seasons, trends and fads, etc.) month-over-month data comparison just won’t cut it. The best way to interpret whether your seasonal search engine optimization efforts are having an effect is to compare the same period year-over-year. It’s the same game as traditional SEO metrics monitoring, but this time you have a seasonal scope to help define success.

Secondary SEO is the Best Seasonal Strategy

Never abandon overall brand SEO focus to wager on untested seasonal or holiday possibility. Your seasonal efforts should be secondary, but even secondary search engine optimization needs to serve your brand before it caters to seasonality. Set priorities, weigh short-term goals against long-term aspirations, and don’t be afraid to cut seasonal fat if it can’t be justified.

With a few big holiday opportunities knocking at the door, it can’t hurt to put thought into seasonal strategies. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Start early.
  • Seasonal SEO should be secondary to brand SEO.
  • Reusable assets (evergreen content) are better than one-offs.
  • Escalation leads to success.

With any campaign, results and tactics are and should be subjective. If your brand tries to make the most of seasonal consumer traffic, it’s important to understand the pitfalls and opportunities that seasonal SEO present. As a marketing rock star, it’s your job to navigate through the seasonally charged fluff and find the SEO sweet spot somewhere between the pumpkin spice and a few competitive Christmas keywords.

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