Summertime may not be just around the corner, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel! If your peak business season is the summertime(businesses such as beach front hotels, ice cream parlors, landscaping companies, etc) then you need to make sure your seasonal SEO is in tip-top shape and ready to capitalize on the changing search behavior of your target audience. For businesses that are heavily impacted by seasonality, it's important to start thinking about your seasonal SEO efforts long before your busy season every actually arrives because by the time the season hits it's too late to make much headway for this year. Remember, SEO is a long term process so in order to get ready for the summer season you need to start your seasonal SEO activities now!
This graph shows the search volume for the keyword "Cape Cod hotel." Notice how search starts to ramp up in April, peaks in July and bottoms out in October (after Labor Day I presume). I think we can safely assume that search volume starts to pick up in April because that's when most people start thinking about their summer vacations and begin investigating their options, including hotels. So how can a Cape Cod hotel take advantage of this trend with their seasonal SEO efforts?
1. Start pumping out content that caters to the changing search behavior.
People might not be ready to book their hotels just yet, so the majority of a Cape Cod hotel's content should focus on getting ready for that summer vacation--what local events are coming up? What's so special about the nearby beach? Is the hotel great for families, couples, weddings? How close is the hotel to other attractions? The content isn't necessarily trying to sell people on booking a room just yet, but it needs to make the case that this hotel is going to be the best location for that searcher's vacation.
And why should the hotel start publishing summer vacation-themed content in February? Because they need to be able to take advantage of the shift in search behavior when it happens and their content needs time to sit, age and gain search engine trust. If the hotel didn't start publishing content until May or June they've lost a few months of time where that content could have been working in favor of their seasonal SEO. The whole point of inbound marketing is to be where your audience is when they are there and to be ready for them. If the hotel amps up their content marketing efforts now, by the time the big spike in search volume happens they'll be in a much stronger position.
2. Build local links when things are still slow.
When the high season hits a Cape Cod hotel is going to have enough work to do just to keep up with the number of guests coming in and out---chances are their SEO campaign will be the farthest from their mind. They should take advantage of the slow time before search behavior starts to change and build a few more quality local links. Cape Cod isn't a big place, but it's big enough and there are more than a few hotels in more than a few towns where people could stay. For instance, a hotel in Hyannis Port and a hotel in Provincetown are probably going to attract different guests looking for different things. These hotels should want to do well for hyper-localized searches as well (i.e. town specific, not just "Cape Cod") and now is the time to focus on building those local links. They should look to local online news sources, community websites and event calendars, local search profiles and even national hotel review sites with pages for their town to build a strong local presence.
3. Send out a newsletter to past guests.
Cape Cod is a popular vacation destination for many people on the East Coast, especially those that live in the Boston-area, simply because it's so close. Some people might take an annual trip to the Cape with their families or friends. Cape Cod hotels should want to remind those past guests that their hotel is still there before they finalize any vacation plans! Sending out an email blast or newsletter to previous guest is a great way to catch their attention again and encourage them to come back for another stay. The hotels could even offer an early-worm booking deal (maybe for some of the slower dates) to past guests as an incentive to return.
The key thing to remember about seasonal SEO is that you need to get your ducks in a row BEFORE the season actually starts. Get a little more active in social media--share photos and stories from past seasons, or publish upcoming events to start spreading the word. Connect with local (or national) bloggers and build a relationship that you might be able to leverage one day. You could also connect with other local businesses (like a Cape Cod hotel and kayak rental company) and form business partnerships to help build your online presence. Whatever you have to do to make the most of your busy summer season now is the time to get things moving!
Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, one of the premier full service SEO firms in the United States. With over 12 years of experience Nick Stamoulis has worked with hundreds of companies small, large and every size in between. Through his vast and diverse SEO, search engine marketing and internet marketing experience Nick Stamoulis has successfully increased the online visibility and sales of clients in all industries.
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