How to Optimize for Seasonal Keywords by @sllewuy

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Planning your content can be a difficult task. It can be very easy to just draw a blank when thinking about what to create. We wonder about our content’s effectiveness in organic search and want to make sure our ideas have some substantial data. A simple way to come up with good, evergreen content is to use information that Google provides us and use it to our advantage.

When I reference “seasonal keywords” this means keywords that generate most of their search traffic during a specific time of the year. This is obvious for holiday terms like Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, or Super Bowl Sunday where most of those associated keyword terms will have most — if not all — of its traffic in a single month. But the traditional sense of keyword research focuses on seeing search volume on a calculated monthly average. This creates the tendency to overlook some seasonal trends when auditing through a bulk list of keywords.

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Image 1: Google Adwords Search Volume Trends for Valentine’s Day

For a topic like Valentine’s Day, we are going to see a very high search volume for the month of February — 50 million searches, as opposed to any other time of the year. So it would be in the best interest for businesses to optimize their content around Valentine’s Day related topics before the start of February.

SEOs roles are evolving to be more involved with the content creation process. We know it is not enough to just optimize for a specific keyword anymore. We must also optimize our content to address the anticipated needs of our target audience. SEO content creators also must anticipate what the next query after finding their content might be, and intuitively find a way to incorporate that aspect into their content piece or find a way to easily lead their user to another content piece that answers the anticipated query.

We must explore and examine our visitor’s possible follow-up queries:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • How

Answering these questions will help us create more meaningful content. We can figure out these questions and how to approach our content through avenues like the suggested search box at the bottom of broad queries or the “people also ask” section of search.

How to Find Trending Topics?

I like to use Google Trends to help me get a handful of ideas on paper.

What I love about Google Trends is the ability to filter down to specific dates and time ranges.

The feature allows you to prepare months ahead by seeing what was popular in past years. You can learn a lot about your industry and your customers by diving deeper into the categories around breakout and top queries.

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Image 2: Google Trends Custom Time Range

Here is a simple example, when I worked primarily in local SEO, where my clients would be local contractors. So if I am tasked to create helpful content for potential customers, I would like to get an idea of where to start. If I put in “plumbing” in the search term area of Google Trends I can start getting some ideas.

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Image 3: Winter Plumbing Topics

For my example, I am thinking about preparing for the coming winter season, so I have set my date range to the last three months of last year to see what was trending. Google Trends gave four primary ideas for me to work from. I can tell Furnace is a hot topic in the winter, so I will focus more effort in generating content topics related to Furnaces to reach my client’s relevant target audience. This is a long-tail keyword strategy in the making, as we prepare to dive deeper on the topics and related queries portions in trends.

Getting ideas to support this main topic idea is easy. Again, Google Trends can get more detailed with this topic if you click on it.

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Image 4: Drilling Down Google Trend’s Suggestions

I now have related topics and related queries related to furnaces. Related queries are helpful because a lot of those ideas can be made into small content pieces to stand alone or can be grouped together to make a very informative content piece.

Planning When You Need Content and When to Post

To figure this part out, I like to expand my custom range to the full year. This allows me to toggle around Google’s interest over time graph and see the specific day or week the content I am trying to write about will start becoming popular, as well as when the topic is no longer relevant.

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Image 5: Interest Over a One-year Time Span for “Furnace”

What I can tell from this graph is interest is relatively flat until the last week of September, then this topic continuously trends upward for the remainder of the year. So it is in my best interest to plan to have these content pieces done and ready by August, so they will have the time needed to be indexed, understood, and shown in the SERPs. From this graph, I can set a specific deadline for September 4th.

If you take this process and apply it to your specific industry, you might be surprised by ideas you would never have thought of. Every industry is different. For my specific example, there were obvious trends between the changing seasons and the varying services a contractor might offer. Being able to narrow down exactly what service to focus on is extremely helpful.

If you are in e-commerce, this can be applied to specific products you sell. A good example is if you sell electronics, a hot month for your business will probably be November for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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Image 6: Interest for Headphones are Highest on Black Friday and Christmas

Why Is This Important?

The importance of optimizing for seasonal trends from an SEO standpoint is obvious — it is capitalizing on known increases in search volume for specific time periods. Creating content centered on chocolates and flowers in time before Valentine’s Day in February is much more lucrative than any other month.

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Image 7: Valentine’s Day Trends Shown by Google Trends

There is the benefit of creating evergreen content from this process. The content you create now will have traction again in the following year, and if you start planning early you can anticipate your traffic spikes for the coming years.

Image Credits

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

In-Post Images: Screenshots by Author taken from Google Trends. Taken February 2017

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