Every business is impacted by seasonality in one way or another. Even if your company isn’t dependent on the actual physical seasons (like a lawn care company might be) there is a certain rhythm to your business cycle that repeats itself from year to year.
Some months are going to be slower than others no matter what you do with your SEO. When visitors or sales dip down for a month or two don’t assume your SEO campaign is no longer working; it could just be seasonality at play.
One of the biggest things to understand is that seasonality impacts overall search volume. When fewer people are searching for your products/services there is bound to be a dip in your traffic. When there is less search volume there are fewer visitors overall to send your way, even if your SEO campaign is in full swing. For instance, according to the Google Insights for Search (part of the keyword research tool) “kitchen remodeling contractors” has fairly consistent search volume from January thru May, but search volume in the US bottoms out in December.
When you think about it this change in search volume makes sense; people are more likely to do remodeling projects in the summer than they are in the winter. Even if you were to look at the broader keyword of “kitchen remodeling,” November and December have the least amount of search volume for the whole year.
Think about seasonal specific keywords like “adult Halloween costumes” or “Christmas tree farm.” Those keywords get next to no search volume for most of the year, but experience major surges when the right season comes along. The Google Keyword research tool says that “Christmas tree farms” has an average search volume of 74,000 local monthly searches, but I highly doubt anyone is looking for a Christmas tree in July. In reality, 90+% of the searches for “Christmas tree farm” happen between mid-November and the end of December. 74,000 searches looks like an amazing number for any keyword, but when you take a look under the hood you realize exactly how those searches break down.
Even for keywords that you would think shouldn’t be affected by the seasons, such as “IT services,” are impacted by seasonality. When looking at the Google Insights for Search feature, “IT services” experiences a dip in search volume in November and December before rebounding in January. IT services shouldn’t be dependent on the physical seasons, but think about what’s going on in November and December—it’s holiday season.
Most businesses don’t want to undertake any new major IT projects in those months because people are going to be taking vacation time. The search volume picks back up in January because people are back from the holidays and the year’s budget has been approved; now they have funding in to invest in new IT services.
Seasonality is one of the reasons, among many others, that you can’t look at your SEO in a silo. There are so many factors contributing to the overall success of your SEO campaign that assuming it’s not working one month because traffic or sales or down is simply naïve, and actually very dangerous to the long term success of your SEO.
I’ve seen some site owners panic over a slow month because they didn’t account for seasonality and completely redo their keyword research and target a whole new crop of keywords. In reality, if they had just waited it out their traffic would have rebounded with not problems. Instead, they panicked and are starting at square one with a whole new set of keywords (that will still be affected by seasonality someday!)
About the Author – Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing a brickmarketing.com that offers full service SEO solutions. With 13 years of experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by writing for the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers.
Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or email@example.com