SEO 101: What is Seasonal SEO?

Looking for that perfect Father’s Day gift? Or searching for the best winter coat to take on an upcoming vacation? Seasonal search terms are everywhere, and they’re year-round too!

Normally in SEO, we focus on things you can optimize that will impact your store throughout the entire year. Evergreen content is obviously essential, but what about those users who are looking at specific times of the year? Do you have content that will satisfy their queries?

Today, we’re going to explain the value of seasonal SEO as well as some easy ways to incorporate it into your strategy.

What is seasonal SEO?

Seasonal SEO is the process of optimizing your store for keywords and content related to trends, holidays, or events which occur seasonally. Some examples might be Christmas, Black Friday, or Back-to-School, but can also include times of the year, such as Summer or Winter. The keywords used reflect those which would not typically be used at other times of the year. For instance it’s unlikely that someone would search “best coffee Christmas gifts” in the middle of May. However from October onwards, it’s likely this term would see increased search volume.

Why is seasonal SEO important?

Relevant content is one of the most important parts of any SEO strategy. However, we typically focus on evergreen content - i.e. content which is relevant year-round. No matter if you read it in January or July, it will still make sense to the search user. Product pages are a good example of this - they will stay largely the same regardless of the time of year. However, evergreen content can take a long time to rank - in one study of about 26,000 domains, less than half made it to the top 10 results over a 12 month period.

Seasonal SEO on the other hand opens up new opportunities. For starters, you can add fresh content to your store year-round that will complement your evergreen content. Seasonal SEO can also help to focus your keyword strategy, by opening up more niche, high value keywords. For instance, rather than targeting “best hiking gifts”, you can also target “best christmas gifts for hikers”. Users searching for seasonal keywords are more likely to have higher purchasing intent than those without when it comes to ecommerce. It also allows you to take advantage of the seasonality of specific events, like the holidays. Seasonal content is more relevant to users at those times of year, so they’re more likely to opt for it over evergreen content.

Essentially, an SEO strategy is more complete when you have both evergreen and seasonal content.

When throughout the year is seasonal SEO relevant?

Broadly speaking, seasonal SEO is relevant year-round. It simply changes depending on the season or upcoming event. You can for instance create content related to seasons, for example “best candles for fall”. However in terms of events such as holidays, this is going to depend on your individual brand and the opportunities which you know are relevant to your strategy. Not every holiday or seasonal event will be relevant to your target customer, so you need to pinpoint what those are. 

Look at your customer data for all the different holidays you typically promote - sales volume, order value etc. Cross check this with data you have about incoming site traffic, and search terms used to discover your brand. This will give a clear indication of which seasonal events you should target with SEO. There may even be events you promote for which have low sales volume and low traffic that you want to improve. By uncovering this data, you can better plan what content may bring in more high quality traffic.

How to incorporate seasonal SEO into your strategy

#1 - Discover seasonal keywords

Every good SEO strategy starts with keywords. You want to know what terms your audiences are using, especially seasonally. Part of this may be as straightforward as adding seasonal qualifiers to your usual target keywords. These are additional words that show the intent behind the query, seasonal qualifiers might be “Black Friday” or “Valentine’s gifts”. So while your usual keyword could be “handmade cookies order online”, with a seasonal qualifier it may instead be “Valentine’s handmade cookies order online”. These provide a good starting point, so you can see what kind of content already ranks for these keywords even if it’s not the season where they’d be used. 

You can also use tools like Google Analytics’ Keyword Planner, and Google Trends to find more keywords you can use as part of your seasonal campaigns.

#2 - Write blogs that focus on seasonal topics and keywords

In the run up to the holidays, you always see lots of new articles giving people advice on what to buy and where. Merchants can replicate this same approach for their own products and seasonal SEO strategy. For example, you can write gift guides or buying guides that give potential customers up-to-date, recent, and relevant suggestions for gift ideas. Take the keywords discovered before, and build blog topics around these.

Topics aren’t just limited to things like gift guides, however. These can also be about topics which are relevant to your products in relation to a season or seasonal event. For example “10 warming cocktail ideas for Winter”, “How to pack light for the best vacation wardrobe”, or “What are the best Fall hiking essentials?”. These are all seasonally relevant, while also being diverse. Many topics that fall into this category will have recurring seasonal relevance also, sort of a midpoint between evergreen and seasonal content. In other words, they’ll be relevant this year and then will regain relevance once their season rolls around the following year.

#3 - Create seasonal landing or collection pages

Seasonal search terms may mean potential customers are scattered across multiple different pages on your site. And they may not even find exactly what they’re looking for! Consider if someone is searching for Black Friday deals - a blog from last year, or a product page isn’t going to satisfy that query. That means they’ll simply leave the page, and may not visit your site again. This can in turn harm your SEO if it happens several times. Instead, direct all that seasonal intent towards a landing or collection page with exactly what they’re looking for

The first and most obvious benefit to a landing page is you can add those seasonal keywords in content that makes sense. The second benefit is now you’ll have more concentrated traffic on that page, thus having the potential to improve its ranking. You can include much more relevant, useful content here to satisfy visitors looking for seasonal content. 

For example, if you were creating a Black Friday landing page, you could include some written copy explaining how the sale usually works, the dates for this year’s event, products included, details about BFCM shipping, and an FAQ for any common queries you see over that period. 

You can create these landing pages in advance, so they have a chance to be crawled and indexed. If it’s for a sale like Black Friday, you can use it as a placeholder, updating it with products and more content closer to the event itself. Then when the event is finished, you can add some placeholder products like those that are currently on sale outside the event. The following year, you simply update the landing page content, and you can reuse it.

Seasonal SEO is a great way to bolster your strategy. You can attract those audiences looking for more season specific content that your competitors may not currently offer. This alongside your evergreen content and other site optimizations will make for a strong, customer-led approach to SEO that will pay off in the long run.