To earn more customers from your website you need to attract more visitors. And if you want to bring in more visitors from organic search, you need to rank your pages higher in the search results. Unfortunately, ranking improvements typically don’t come overnight. To enjoy the benefits of search visibility during the holiday season, you need to start optimizing now. And the best place to start is with your content.
Optimizing Existing ContentDo you have existing seasonal content from previous holidays? If so, updating and repurposing this content could be your most cost-efficient option to earn search visibility in the upcoming months. To best demonstrate the strategies I’ll be sharing in this post, I’m using a real-world example of a business that is heavily influenced by seasonality. My running example throughout the post is Hickory Farms. (Full disclosure: while I have no affiliation with Hickory Farms, I do think their snacks are delicious.) Let’s see if Hickory Farms has any old content that could be updated and optimized for this year’s holiday season. Searching through the company’s blog, I found that they have a Thanksgiving gift guide and a 2018 Holiday Gift Guide. Both pages could be leveraged to bring in qualified organic traffic during the holidays, but we need to investigate further to determine if they’re worth updating. The first thing you should do when analyzing organic search opportunity is to review the current search results. There is a lot you can learn from examining the SERPs, including:
- Difficulty and competition: Are there big brand names plastered all over Page 1? Are the ranking pages high-quality in terms of content and design? If yes, it’s fair to assume it will be difficult to rank for these keywords.
- Formatting best practices: Look for common trends among the ranking pages, as these are likely contributing factors to why those pages rank. For example, if you see multiple results with video, you should strongly consider adding video content to your page.
- Searcher intent: Most importantly, the ranking pages will give you insight into searcher intent and what types of pages people are searching for. Are all the top results definitional content? Do you see multiple review pages? Analyze the results to better understand what searchers want.
- Add an H1 along the lines of “Thanksgiving Gift Ideas”.
- Include the same keywords in more H2s and H3s to help Google further associate the page with the topic and likely improve rankings.
Creating Seasonal ContentUpdating existing pages may not be enough to take full advantage of the holiday season for your business. In these cases, you should also consider creating new season-specific pages. Content creation should always start with keyword research and creating seasonal content is no different. However, seasonality adds an extra wrinkle and you need to be mindful of past (and current) trends to ensure you’re targeting the right keywords. For example, using the free tool Google Trends, Hickory Farms could compare the queries [thanksgiving gift basket] and [holiday gift basket]: This quick comparison shows that while there is some interest for [holiday gift basket] around November – and that interest is lower than the interest for [thanksgiving gift basket] – the interest for [holiday gift basket] peaks during December. This is helpful information as Hickory Farms can adjust their keyword strategy and focus accordingly. With the holiday season approaching, Hickory Farms should identify a content gap they could fill relatively easily to potentially earn significant organic traffic. To find this opportunity, I’ll use one of my favorite keyword research tools, Ahrefs. Ahrefs makes keyword analysis easy, as I can plug in Hickory Farms’ URL and navigate over to the “Organic Keywords” section to view all the keywords that Hickory Farms has a page ranking in the top 100 for. As I analyze these keywords, I’m looking for the intersection of three metrics:
- High search volume.
- Low keyword difficulty.
- Ranking positions near Page 1 or 2 for Hickory Farms.
- Sizable search volume: 7,200
- Low difficulty: 11 (out of 100)
- Decent rankings for Hickory Farms: position 11