Valentine’s Day ended a few weeks ago; St. Patrick’s Day is coming – do they influence you business? I’m sure every company has a list of those special days each year when interest in their products or services is higher than usual.
Huge events and holidays always cause hype, and it would be a sin not to take advantage of them.
But how do you ensure people searching for information related to those events will land on your site? Here is a simple, seasonal SEO campaign schedule you need to follow.
1. Start With Goals, a Budget, and a Strategy
When to Start: Ideally at the end of the year, but you could do it anytime.
Planning ahead – it is the key to a successful ending. Start off by taking a look at your special events list. Mark off the ones you want to focus on in the coming months.
Next, work out what sort of budget you could dedicate to each campaign. Use last year’s data, if applicable, to establish which events offer the greatest opportunity and allocate more money to those.
Last but not least, brainstorm ideas for each event. How are you going to attract visitors? What assets are you going to use – create a landing page? Run a special promotion? Build an interactive guide, for instance?
You don’t have to come up with a full plan just yet. But have at least a rough idea of what you want to do for the special event.
2. Conduct Keyword Research
When to Start: 4-6 months before the event.
You already know what phrases potential customers use to find you in search. Now it’s time to find out which ones they might use when searching for information related to a big event.
Use keyword research tools, for instance, to find out keywords searchers might be using to find services, products and information relating to an event. When selecting keywords to use, however, don’t exclusively focus on high-volume phrases. Instead, compile a list of head, body, and long tail phrases to target users at different stages of the buying cycle. It is also a good idea to research phrases related to your products or services in conjunction with the special event and your location.
When searching for keywords, pay special attention to keyword trends. This will help you confirm seasonal keywords and estimate when to launch your content so it reaches your audience at the right time.
3. Create Content
When to Start: 2-4 months before the event.
Next you need to write content and create landing pages for the event — the sooner they are live, the better. You need to give your pages enough time to mature and start ranking. You also need to give yourself time to improve your content and promote it.
What if you need to feature delicate and time-sensitive content?
It’s possible that you won’t be able to include all your content on the page ahead of time. You may not want to disclose any special promotions you are planning for the event. Many visitors might decide to wait for event-related promotions instead of buying now.
If that’s the case, consider including secondary content on the page, or listing links to various categories or relevant pages on your site.
Right after Black Friday, BodyBuilding.com replaced its promotions and other content with links and additional offers; it also added the ability to sign up for a newsletter. The page will once again begin to feature Black Friday promotions and deals closer to this year’s event.
More Tips For Creating Successful Seasonal Landing Pages
- Create Only One Landing Page Per Event: You may be tempted to create more pages for an event. After all, it could help secure a greater presence in search. Don’t do it.
- When seasonal SEO is concerned, however, more isn’t always better: As Econsultancy points out, multiple landing pages often begin to compete for rankings. Therefore, create only one landing page for each event and move any other event related-content to a blog. Then, link this supplementary content to the landing page. This will send a clear signal to Google which page is more important.
- Don’t Include a Date in the URL: Create a generic, event-related URL only. Mystore.com/valentines-day is better than Mystore.com/valentines-day-2015. This will ensure the longevity of the page.
- A/B Test the Page Before the Event: It’s almost impossible to get a landing page right the first time. There is always a way to improve the headline or call to action, among other things. That’s why you should always test your pages.
But how do you do that for a page that’s only going to receive traffic for a few days?
Use the few days leading up to the event. It’s not enough to run a variety of A/B tests, but doing so should allow you to at least verify if most of the elements on your page convert well.
4. Promote Your Content
When to Start: 2 months before the event.
Even if you missed every opportunity to create a landing page and conduct proper keyword research, you still have a chance to rock the holiday by using these highly effective ways to promote your seasonal offer.
- Social Media: Build anticipation for your seasonal promotion by posting hints about what’s coming. Social media is the perfect channel for promoting special events! This topic is too big to cover here, so check out this article: How to Improve Your Social Media Holiday Campaigns on Social Media Examiner.
- Email. Start by including short hints about your promotion in your emails. Then, send a big announcement right before the big day happens.
- PPC. Even if you don’t promote your business with AdWords, consider using it for special events. The greatest benefit of AdWords is you can switch off your campaign right after the event but still retain invaluable data for next year.
- Blogger Outreach. Bloggers and publishers in your niche might be interested in highlighting your content for their audience. Here’s a great guide from RazorSocial on how to reach out to them with your offer.
- Seasonal Sites. There might also be seasonal sites dedicated to the event. Research to see if there are any promotional opportunities on them, such as guest posts, banner ads, etc.
5. Have a Post-Event Strategy
Finally, you should also develop a post-event strategy.
Once the event is over, your seasonal landing pages become irrelevant. Traffic drops to a bare minimum and there are almost no conversions.
But in spite of that, keep seasonal landing pages live.
If they contain out-of-date information, replace it with a form to collect addresses. Or provide a list of relevant products or categories on your site to retain those users who might still land on your page.
So, do you think you are ready to rock next holiday? A clear message, great content, using multiple promotional channels, and proper planning will help you win. It’s time to have fun and celebrate!
BodyBuilding.com screenshot created November 2014
SEMrush screenshot created January 2015
Fernando Angulo is the head of international partnerships at SEMrush. He is not affiliated with any other tool of website mentioned in the article.