The need to promote an annual event occurs… that’s right: once a year, every single year. Yes, each event comes and goes. But unlike the real world, where we just celebrated our annual Independence Day holiday here in the U.S., there’s no need to pop all the balloons and tear-down the “4th of July Fireworks” sign.
Search engine optimization (SEO) has a lot of strengths when compared to other marketing channels. SEO can build long-term equity for a website, providing a cost-effective supplement to paid search ads, media buys, and many other forms of online advertising. But one area where SEO has traditionally fallen short is with seasonal or event-driven promotions.
SEO practitioners know that preparing a website to rank in search results takes a lot of time and effort. Even after the changes are made, the search engines still need to digest the new pages and adjust rankings accordingly. Because of this lag time, SEO isn’t usually considered a front-line technique for promotions that come and go.
I’ve recently come across a couple instances that counter that wisdom, and have forced me to reconsider SEO for seasonal work. The key to using SEO effectively is to recognize that recurring events, or promotions that occur in a sequence, are not actually temporary.
July 4th occurs once a year, every year. So if you’re in the business of fireworks or annual 4th of July events, get ready for it… and stay ready for it.
The web has infinite room for stashing-away landing pages or micro sites that promote seasonal events. These sites can be left live, with messaging in place to inform off-season visitors that the event is no longer in progress.
Once we accept this idea of a permanent placeholder, we can then consider the use of SEO as a long-term, year-over-year tactic for gaining ground in search engine results.
Keep in mind: SEO only produces impressions when people actually conduct a search. So there’s no need to worry about getting swamped with off-season traffic. But when that traffic does materialize, you will be ready to catch it with a well-ranked site.
What about promotions that aren’t recurring? Marketers frequently push one-time events into the limelight. Celebrity endorsements are an ideal example: a famous personality is contracted to act as a spokesperson for a fixed period of time. The Super Bowl is a popular time for this marketing technique. That endorsement deal may get renewed, but often it’s just a one-time occurrence—so how could we possibly capitalize on that?
One aspect of search engines that we can leverage is the fact that they treat webpages like real estate. Once your URLs have been cataloged, they can provide you with a valuable time-to-market advantage when you need exposure for some new content.
Marketers who rely on one-time promotions often produce a series of them. By parking your new promotion on the same real estate as the previous one, you can derive some advantage in terms of getting fast exposure, even if the two promotions don’t share any content. Conceptually, it’s very similar to the seasonal aisle in a department store.
So SEO can be used for temporary promotions, if we can find ways to create permanent place holders for them on the web. The key is to prepare in advance, and to take every opportunity to reuse your internet real estate to support future campaigns.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.