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4 Tips For Success With Seasonal, Local SEO

While pondering what to write about this month, I noticed my wife searching the Web for back-to-school items the kids needed – new backpacks, pencil sharpeners, new shoes, erasers in the shape of pandas, and so forth.
If you search Google for “kids backpacks”, you’ll see a “Nearby Stores” link displayed just below the image/shopping results, the most prominent section of the SERP.

If you sell kids backpacks, you’ll probably want to rank well for queries for it year-round, but back-to-school time is probably when it really pays to rank well for the term. In this case, you’d want to make sure that your inventory is available in Google Shopping so that you can show up in the Nearby Stores SERP.
As you are considering your SEO efforts, you should be thinking about the seasonality of your business as well as how it effects how your local customers use search.
For seasonal and locally focused SEO campaigns consider the following tips.

1.  Plan Ahead

If you want to rank for a seasonal keyword like “back to school sale” in your city, you’ll probably want to try to rank for the query ahead of time. While putting up a great piece of content and getting links at the time of the event can work, as people are more likely to link to something that’s current, I have found it’s more reliable to get your content indexed and linked way ahead of time.
During the actual time you want to have the best rankings, you can also add additional content that targets variations of the keyword and links back to the original page you are trying to rank. This can both bolster the original page as well provide an additional URL that can rank.

2.  Understand The Time Window

Planning for your New Years Eve party usually starts around December 1st. So if you’re a restaurant, you’ll want to rank for “New Years Eve menu” well before New Years Eve comes around.

3.  Understand The SERPs For Your Keyword

While Google and Bing update their various SERP displays regularly, having a handle on the different SERP inventory available for your target keyword is a good idea.
If Google is showing a lot of images, then you know you need to work on image optimization. If there are Shopping results as in the backpack example, you know you need to get your inventory in Google Shopping.
For event-based keywords like “Black Friday Shopping”, Google often shows relevant News links above the organic results around the time of the event. For the News results, consider writing an article on “Black Friday Shopping” for your local newspaper.
Often times, SERPs with News results also show blog results, so this would be an indication that you might want to add some content about the event to your blog. If it’s a hot term, update your blog regularly throughout the day, as Google will often update these links with the latest content.

4.  Create An Editorial Calendar

One of the challenges (and opportunities) with the Web is that it forces businesses to start thinking like publishers. But businesses should already know when their hot seasons are.
They also should know the types of products people will be looking for and the types of questions they will be asking search engines. Map out the seasons that effect you in a editorial calendar spreadsheet and start figuring out where your areas of SEO opportunity are going to be over the next year.
To help you get started, I have created a Local SEO Seasonal Calendar that shows some of the major events for the year, complete with relevant local business categories/keywords for those events and the window of time for each.
And remember, with local SEO, ’tis always the season.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.