Content marketers dedicate a lot of attention to creating content that can generate leads all year round, but normal days aren’t what get people excited, holidays and big events are. Even when you’re a B2B company, seasonal content can help you switch things up, raise brand awareness, recapture your audience’s attention, and help your customers capitalize on once-a-year opportunities.
Tory Gray recently posted some great tips on Linkedin on how you can optimize your seasonal content. In this article, we’ll have a look at what exactly seasonal content is, how (not) to create it, and how you can optimize your existing seasonal content year after year to get the most out of your resources and your rankings.
What is seasonal content?
Seasonal content focuses on something that only happens at a particular time of the year, such as a holiday, the start of an actual season, or a major event like the Super Bowl. Effective seasonal content clearly links the event or holiday it’s about back to your offer.
Seasonal content is only relevant during a certain period of the year, contrary to evergreen content which is continuously relevant and independent of seasonal events. However, that doesn’t mean you can publish your seasonal content and then forget about it as soon as the season passes…
How (not) to create seasonal content
While seasonal content only gets temporary interest, the events they’re based on are recurring. Things like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and the start of summer happen every year.
Does that mean you need to create a post about Thanksgiving 2022, and then one about Thanksgiving 2023, and then one about Thanksgiving 2024, and so on? No!
In fact, that is exactly what you want to avoid. Instead of creating multiple Thanksgiving articles over the years that all target the same keywords, you want to create one excellent Thanksgiving post that you can optimize each year a month or two before the event or holiday takes place again. This post should have an evergreen URL such as /thanksgiving-activities/ (and not /thanksgiving-activities-2022) and it should be annually be optimized to ensure it keeps ranking. In short: Never include the year in the URL.
If a curse word pops into your head because you have created similar Thanksgiving posts over the last few years, fear not. We’ll discuss what to do with those further down in this article.
First, let’s have a look at how you go about optimizing seasonal content.
6 ways to optimize seasonal content
Optimizing seasonal content isn’t so different from optimizing evergreen content. Start by putting together a list of all of your seasonal content and organize it per event or holiday. Then check which holiday is one to two months away and start optimizing that content.
Ideally, you’ll include the optimization of seasonal content into your content marketing calendar as it’s something that needs to happen every year around the same time.
Update the content
First of all, you’ll want to make sure that all of the information in your seasonal post is up-to-date. While a holiday such as Christmas falls on the same day every year, one like Easter, for example, does not, and so you might need to update that in your content.
Other things to look out for are timely references to things that may have happened in a specific year and factual information such as statistics that need to be updated. Article types that are specifically sensitive to this are trends pieces. Nobody wants to read predictions about what was going to be trending in 2017 at any point past 2017, so make those articles relevant for the year to come.
Even when you have content that isn’t tied to a specific year, you can add relevance and freshness to it by including the current year in places such as the H1, the page or meta title, and the meta description. An example of this could be a blog post such as The Best Workforce Management Tools for 2022.
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you replace references to past seasonal offers with current ones.
Add in relevant ranking keywords
Once you’ve updated the actual information of your seasonal content, it’s time to make sure it ranks well. One of the easiest ways to do that is to add in any related keywords that the article is already ranking for, but that it doesn’t have in its body yet.
To find those, plug the URL of your post into Ahrefs’ site explorer or into Google Search Console.
Sometimes you can simply add in keywords by replacing a synonym you already have in your article. Other times, you’ll need to add a few sentences. You might even want to include a new section if you notice that you’re ranking for a keyword that’s highly relevant but that you haven’t addressed yet in your post.
Relevance is key when adding in keywords. If your post on Thanksgiving activities happens to rank for “size of Turkey eggs”, that keyword most likely isn’t relevant to your content and so it shouldn’t be in there.
When you’re checking which secondary keywords you’re already ranking for and could add to your article, you might notice that one of them is actually more relevant to your article, has higher search volume, and is less or equally competitive than your current main keyword. In that case, you might want to consider optimizing your seasonal post for that new main keyword.
Just make sure you’re likely to get a lot more traffic from it than for your current main keyword.
Optimize for the main keyword
Even if you’ve followed SEO best practices when writing your seasonal content, you’ll still want to check whether your main keyword is included in:
- the H1.
- the meta title.
- the meta description.
- the first 100-200 words of the article.
- at least one H2.
Ideally, your main keyword should also be (part of) your URL, but if it isn’t, it’s usually better to optimize everything else and leave the URL alone so you don’t need to create a redirect and lose the authority of the original URL.
Reminder: Keep dates out of your URLs
The only exception is when there is a date in your URL. If you originally created your Thanksgiving article in 2017 and the URL is /thanksgiving-activities-2017/, you might want to change that to the evergreen /thanksgiving-activities/.
The reason is that when an internet-savvy user opens your article and sees the URL, they might think it hasn’t been updated since 2017, even if it has, and leave your post again.
If you change a URL, you need to create a 301 redirect. There are several plugins that help you to do this, including SEO optimization plugins such as RankMath.
Use a content optimization tool
Aside from checking Ahrefs or Google Search console for keywords that you’re ranking for but not using yet, you can use a content optimization tool such as Surfer SEO, Page Optimizer Pro, or Clearscope, to audit your seasonal post and compare it with the top-ranking pages.
These tools will show you which words your competitors are using that you are not, whether you should make your article longer or shorter, and much more.
The key to using these tools is to not blindly follow every recommendation they make, as they don’t have the ability to actually interpret an article the way humans can. If, for example, six of the top results mention “rights reserved” under each of their images, these optimization tools will likely recommend that you mention “rights reserved” somewhere in your post. Obviously, this won’t help you rank better.
Do competitive research
This lack of human interpretation is why you’ll want to always also do your own competitive research. Open the top results in Google for your main keyword and analyze their:
- content type: are they blog posts, product pages, category pages, something else?
- content format: are they listicles, how-to guides, opinion pieces?
- content angle: how do they approach the topic?
If 8 out of 10 results on the first page are listicles, you have the best chance of ranking if your article is a listicle as well.
Republish as new
Even if you’re optimizing an existing post, you’ll still want it to appear as new. Luckily, this is easy to do. Just change the publication date of the post in your content management system to today and hit publish.
By doing so, your article will remain live with the same url, but it will now show as having been published (or updated, depending on your settings), today.
Note that you don’t want to schedule your seasonal content to republish in the future. If you do this, your article will be drafted again until that future time comes which means it won’t be able to receive any traffic and it will show a 404 error to anyone who follows a link to that post.
Now you know how to optimize your seasonal content, but what do you do when you’ve created a new article for the same seasonal event year after year?
What to do when you have multiple posts about the same seasonal event?
Maybe you currently have a post about Things to Do on Thanksgiving that was published in 2019, one about Thanksgiving Activities that was published in 2020, and one about Thanksgiving Party Ideas that was published in 2021.
If all of these posts rank well for different keywords and get a decent amount of organic traffic, then keep them. But if there is overlap in the keywords they’re ranking for and they only get so-so traffic, you’ll want to merge them into one big Thanksgiving post and you’ll want to do so on the URL of the post that is performing the best.
If, say, your Thanksgiving Activities post performs pretty well but your other two Thanksgiving articles can only be found on pages three or higher, you would:
- incorporate the (best parts of the) content of the two other posts in your Thanksgiving Activities post.
- draft the two other posts, and 301 redirect them to your Thanksgiving Activities post.
Your enriched article with be more valuable and have better chances of attracting qualified leads.
Get Started With Your Seasonal Content
Seasonal content offers the opportunity to capture your audience’s attention with something different and to help them navigate things like holiday sales periods and major events. It deserves a spot in your content marketing strategy alongside evergreen content.
When creating seasonal content, focus on content that can be updated and optimized every year and keep dates out of the URL.
Start publishing ahead of time so that your content has time to rank, as you want to capture that seasonal interest when it’s there. Lastly, make sure to add the optimization of seasonal content to your editorial calendar so you never forget to prepare for any holidays or events.
Not sure where to start? Get in touch to discuss how we can help you put together a seasonal content strategy.