Seasonal trends effect keyword volumes in varying degrees. In some industries, there is almost no seasonal variation in keyword volume. Examples of such industries include staple products like groceries, telephone services, family medicine, auto repair – the things that all folks need pretty much all the time. Then on the other end of the spectrum are those products that are acutely seasonal. The most pronounced examples would be Santa dolls around Christmas time, pool building services in spring and summer, air conditioning repair in summertime in the Southern U.S., weight-loss programs just after New Year’s and in the spring; you get the idea.
The truth is that nearly all keywords are seasonal to some degree – just perhaps not enough to worry about. Sure, a family medicine business will drop off during summer while folks are away on vacation. But, if you are a family practitioner, small dips in seasonal volume won’t effect your strategy enough to warrant major changes in your approach. Seasonal variations in keyword volume will matter more to people in truly seasonally-based industries.
So, how would an air conditioning repair business work around seasonal changes in keyword web traffic for “air conditioning” terms? Surely the keyword traffic would drop off in cold weather (believe me, it does). The answer is to prioritize air conditioning terms in the spring and summer and then prioritize heating and heating repair terms in the late summer and fall to capture shifts in seasonal blog traffic. But how can you be sure when to pull the trigger and adapt your strategy?
That’s where Google Trends comes in handy. Google Trends is a search tool that displays seasonal variations in keyword volumes over time. It can help you time your marketing campaign with greater precision and effectiveness. It can also give you a more meaningful picture than just looking at keyword traffic averages for the prior twelve months (which is what you get with Google Adwords Keyword Tool). This can help you avoid seasonal keywords that have had a high traffic volume recently but may be getting ready to drop significantly in the near future.
Some keywords are obviously seasonal, such as Christmas, Halloween and Santa. However, not all seasonal keywords are so obvious. Typing a keyword into Google trends allows you to view a graph that shows the spikes in search volume for a given term over the past six years. With such a huge amount of data available, it is easy to see whether the search volume spikes at the same time each year.
One example of a seasonal keyword that is not so obvious is “HD TV.” Now, if you think about it, it’s easy to see why this keyword is seasonal. A lot of people buy these expensive televisions as a Christmas present for the family or over the long Thanksgiving weekend and Black Friday sales, so it makes sense that there is a huge spike in search volume for this keyword at the end of every year. After running this keyword through Google Trends, as you can see from the screenshot above, the traffic for “HD TV” rises reliably in November and December.
Google Trends also allows you to see whether the search volume for a certain term is going up or down over time. Going back to HD TV’s, you can see that although the upward trend at the end of the year is consistent, the overall search volume has been falling slightly in the past year. This may allow you to predict lesser customer interest in the future. If you want to narrow down the trends even more, you can filter the results in Google trends by country or state by clicking the “All regions” pulldown at the upper right of the screen. You can also view data for each year separately instead of viewing several years at once by clicking the “All years” pulldown at the upper right.
But there’s more opportunity here than just raw search volumes. These trends may help you staff up during the busy season or manage your inventory more precisely.