Holiday Seasonal Keywords
Marketing Intelligence

Get Seasonal with your Keyword Strategy

by Owen Badham , Senior Product Marketing Manager at Similarweb 7 Min.
October 22, 2020 | Updated September 11, 2022

Seasonal keywords will play a hugely important part of the keyword research process for SEO, PPC and Content Marketing specialists. When mentioning the word ‘Seasonal’ traditional images of Turkeys, Christmas trees, Menorahs, Halloween costumes or Valentine’s day chocolates tend to appear. 

Many Western cultures associate traditional calendar events with holiday periods around the November and December months so it’s unsurprising that this period provides a huge number of Western retailers and eCommerce businesses with a large chunk of their annual revenue. Black Friday was named as such because it’s the day many retailers go from being ‘in the red’ to ‘in the black’.

What all this points to is that getting the seasonality of your keyword strategy right should be a key focus to ensure you maximize the potential of each keyword’s seasonal strong point. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that almost all keywords, not only those associated with a holiday, will have a distinct seasonality of their own.

What are Seasonal Keywords and why are they important? 

From an SEO perspective, major holidays inevitably lead to a swelling of keyword volume related to those holidays: spiced pumpkin mocha or gingerbread lattes near me, werewolf costumes, mother’s day flowers, best playstation games, and so on. Understanding when and what your audience is likely to search for is really what matters. 

Take Black Friday as an example. It’s a fairly recent phenomenon, but provides an excellent case study for what a seasonal keyword campaign setup might look like: 

  • You would want to have your content, links, and related pages SEO ready at the end of the summer months
  • This would ensure that search engines can find and index your content in well ahead of the seasonal period
  • As a result you would ensure your website has good visibility for searchers when they are looking for Black Friday bargains online

Similarly, around February 14 you might notice a rise in searches for engagement rings, vacation listings for romantic getaways, and other Valentine’s related keyword searches. Restaurant searches, hotel listings, romantic meal searches probably spike along with clothing, shoes, and other jewelry types. This is a good example of how one broad, high-traffic term like Valentine’s Day could be broken down into specific, small-traffic terms based on subcategories and search intent and how these more specific keyword phrases are every bit as relevant and important as the broader seasonal terms – and they might generally have less competition too! 

The above example puts a big emphasis on a digital marketer’s ability to build out their long tail keyword strategy when considering possible keywords for a seasonal campaign. They need to take into consideration the searcher’s intent at this point and research potential question queries e.g. ‘Where is the nearest flower shop?’;  and other near phrase matches which would help with building their seasonal keyword lists. 

It’s important to remember, however, that the use of keywords by searchers varies significantly over time, and for Digital Marketers seasonality is something that differs across every business and category and doesn’t just happen around these most well known global calendar events. 

There may likely be a whole host of loosely associated keywords and keyword phrases that spike around the same time, which may not be directly related to the holiday period in question. These might potentially offer far more competitive and cost-effective opportunities to be included in a seasonal keyword strategy. 

Similarweb’s Seasonal Keyword Feature

We recently launched the new Seasonal Keyword feature to support digital marketer’s in editorial and content writing teams as well as SEO & PPC Managers looking to research the seasonality behind some of the keywords and keyword phrases they think will have an impact on their campaigns. 

The Seasonal Keywords feature generates a list of seasonal keywords for any predefined category or custom category, highlighting the months throughout the year in which they gained the most traffic. It enables users to view the entire year or filter for specific month(s) to see what is trending in a given category during those time periods. 

Seasonal Keywords

Having this insight allows digital marketer’s to gain a competitive advantage by incorporating seasonality insights into their SEO strategy – giving them the foresight to become the first mover in a variety of critical areas for SEO optimization by understanding what time of year is best to plan and launch campaigns, and adapt their strategies accordingly by seeing what’s trending and in which months so they have a better understanding of what keywords will work and what won’t for their upcoming campaigns. 

Seasonal Keywords allows them to spot any white space to take advantage of or include a popular keyword into their campaigns that they weren’t aware of.

Similarweb’s 12-month view for Seasonal Keywords will allow SEO, Content, PPC managers to plan their editorial calendar ahead of time and discover additional topics in their industry where they can gain traffic – AND because editorial content is ‘evergreen’ (or reusable) from year to year, users can start planning early to anticipate traffic spikes for the coming years.

Similarweb’s Period over Period Comparison Feature

Keyword Trends

When combined with Similarweb’s Period over Period Comparison feature, Similarweb users are able to truly do their homework and view just how successful one of their own campaigns or a competitor’s campaign has performed year-over-year. Month by month analysis, whilst important, is simply not enough to get a good handle on the effectiveness of a seasonal keyword strategy – it is only over a long run of time (at least yearly) that they can assess for true success. Period over Period comparisons of annual seasonal campaigns really allows you to understand the success of a campaign and optimize ahead of time. 

Both the above features allow Similarweb customers to employ robust keyword research techniques and strategize months ahead by seeing what was popular in past years. 

How to conduct Seasonal Keyword Research

  • Pick an industry or use a custom category

Let’s say that you run an online recipes site and are interested in finding seasonal keywords associated with slow cooker recipes during the Christmas time period. Start by choosing “Food and Drink > Cooking and Recipes” from the dropdown (or you could also use a previously-saved custom category of competitors).

Keyword Categories

  • Add filters and include/exclude terms

Next you’ll likely want to filter for “Non-Branded keywords” to remove any keywords associated with a specific brand name (e.g. “Pillsbury”) if the goal is creating organic editorial content (note: if you’re running paid ads against these keywords, branded keywords may be relevant to your campaigns). We’ll also filter for terms trending in December (as this is when Christmas occurs) and include the term “slow cooker.”

Keyword Seasonality

  • Evaluate results (and include or exclude more terms if needed)

From here you can see top keywords and view their traffic share, search volume, organic vs. paid %, and even the Traffic Leader:

You’ll notice “slow cooker turkey breast” peaks at the end of the year, has high search volume, and low CPC: 

Seasonal Keywords

  • Save high priority keyword ideas to a list

You can then create a keyword list of one or many related keywords, so they’re easier to monitor in the future:

Keywords

  • Analyze individual keyword ideas or keyword lists

You can navigate to Keyword Research > Analyze Keywords and select the keyword list to get a high level overview:

Keyword Overview

You can navigate to Keyword Research > Total Traffic to see a detailed view of competitive traffic share over time. By spotting shifts in traffic, you can discover what competitors are doing and adjust your content strategy accordingly.  

In summary, optimizing for seasonal keyword trends, whether for SEO, PPC or Content strategies should be a part of every digital marketer’s playbook. It is now necessary for every digital marketer to capitalize on known increases in search volume for specific time periods. Also remembering that the North Star for all keyword strategies is to prioritize terms that are high value to your brand that also have low competition.

Seasonal Keyword Trends

Lastly, it’s worth pointing out that keyword seasonality has an annual rhythm, so there is a major benefit in creating evergreen content from this process that will pay back year after year. Having such a long-term strategic view allows you to anticipate your traffic spikes for the coming year and plan out your roadmap and conversion strategies way in advance too. 

Bonus: Download our pre-made keyword research example template below to gain a deeper understanding of the process and easily consolidate, group, and  sub-group your keywords to ensure you’re using keywords that will make an impact. 

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FAQs

What are seasonal keywords?

Seasonal keywords are search terms that have high volumes at certain times of the year. For example, this would include search terms around Mother’s Day, Halloween or Christmas.

Why are seasonal keywords important?

Seasonal keywords are important when understanding what your audience is searching for, and when. To ensure your site has good visibility during holidays throughout the year, you need to include seasonal keywords in your content, links, and related pages for SEO.

How can I find my seasonal keywords?

You can find seasonal keywords with SEO tools. Similarweb’s keyword tool generates seasonal keywords for any category, and highlights times throughout the year they gained the most traffic.

How can I measure and analyze the keywords?

The best way to keep tabs on seasonal keywords is by actively tracking the ranking. RankRanger rank tracking tool, for example, lets you easily catch on to fluctuations in keyword ranking and performance. You can also quickly detect any instability in your and your competitors’ rankings.  

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