Stop optimising your website!


Rob Marsden

Head of Digital - Earned and Owned

Technical SEO

… Or Just Work Smarter!

I don’t of course mean stop optimising completely, that would be silly! I mean slow down optimisation in some areas and speed it up in others to get the most from the resources you have available. It’s what I like to call ‘seasonal SEO’.

Let’s pretend you run an online shop which sells outdoor and camping gear. Some of your keywords might include terms like ‘tents’, ‘wellington boots’ and ‘camping stove’ so you perform the usual tasks – make sure you have relevant pages for each term, ensure those pages are highly optimised then go out there and build some links to those pages by creating some useful and exciting content. You really want to rank well for all 3 terms so 33.33% of your time is dedicated to building links for each of the 3 phrases.

The thing is, it’s May and you’re not yet ranking close to the first page for the term ‘camping stove’. Now is a good time to head over to Google Insights.

Google Insights Data

Insights was used to identify seasonal search trends for the keyword ‘camping stove’. The orange dot shows the traffic data for May and the maroon dot shows the peak of this traffic in August. Now, if you were ranking on the second page of Google, May would still be slightly too late to start optimising because ideally you want to be sitting in a strong position on page 1 by now ready for the rising traffic levels over the next few months. As I mentioned above though you’re not currently ranking close to page 1 and have a lot of work to do. With this in mind then, when should you start optimising? There are a number of factors to consider here, some of which are detailed below:

– The link building resources you have available to target this particular term

– The competition surrounding the SERP

– The value of the term – is this a ‘vanity term’ or do you have a large product inventory and ranking well will provide real value to your business

If you have reasonable resources available and the SERP is quite competitive then I’d say February would be a good time to start optimising. This would give you 3 months to get some good links and hopefully rank somewhere near where you need to be. You should start to think about ramping up the effort at the beginning of April.

If we look at the keyword ‘tents’, summer time seems to be a period of high search activity whereas activity for the term ‘wellington boots’ in the same period is low. We can compare the search volumes in Google Insights.

Google Insights Graph

The blue line shows tent trends and the red line wellington boots.

So what do you do with this data? You produce an area of focus calendar:

Areas of Focus Calendar

Building this out to include all of your product types can give your SEO campaigns real direction. You could go a level deeper and produce calendars for product styles (4 man tents? Gas camping stoves?).

Head over to Google Insights and have a play, you just might be surprised at what you could uncover!