SEO for seasonal peaks

Retail SEO for seasonal commerce

Seasonal commerce has changed. Long gone are the standard four seasons a year.  A new study into seasonal commerce that is being released tomorrow shows that almost one in five retailers has moved to a four week season cycle, with 37% of respondents saying that their seasons had shortened.

The research, sponsored by OneHydra, was conducted by Internet Retailing to understand the challenges of seasonal commerce for multichannel retailers that span buying and merchandising, operations and logistics and selling, online and offline.

What is clear is that we are seeing new behavioural patterns emerging. Increases in seasonal activities, such as Black Friday and proms, are making it harder than ever to predict peaks. Customers are also leaving their purchases to the last minute as confidence in fulfilment increases, causing shorter order windows. The opportunities can be huge, however this means all marketing activities need to be insightful and agile enough to respond to these movements quickly and support the trading strategy of the business.

So, to what extent do retailers need to adjust their SEO practises to maximise each peak?

There are two activities retailers need to focus on:

1. Demand-driven categories

The goal of demand-driven SEO is to routinely identify categories that you haven’t defined, but the user has, and pre-emptively curate a page of content and products and place it in the user journey.

While the page may not fit into the traditional category structure that you have setup in your PIM or your facets, if shoppers are suddenly searching Google for “pink soled heels”, serving up a new page that gives prominence to your matching products and content will ensure you don’t deny them the opportunity to find you on Google.

2. Seasonal popularity

Both demand-driven and your more standard categories are all subject to seasonal growth and decline. Whether it’s housing searches, clothing items or hotel locations, all of them rise and fall to greater or lesser degrees throughout the year. However most web storefronts don’t shift around all that much. The goal of seasonal SEO is to recognise where products and categories are moving towards peak search demand and rotate those pages. This gives them more prominence in the site so they rank better when there are more people searching for them.

These two activities form a key piece of what retail SEO needs to look like. A strategic tool for trading, revenue maximisation and opportunistic selling.

Retailers that can do this will find their SEO investments going a lot further, a lot faster.

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