In my experience with Digital Marketing and SEO, I’ve worked a lot of business and different business types. My advice to all of them has been the same: invest in SEO. Your business and website will always be able to benefit from it regardless of the size of your marketing budget. The longer that you make it a priority, eventually the investment will pay for itself.
That fact remains true with seasonal business owners just as much as business owners whose operations remain unchanged year-round.
SEO at its core is a tool that allows for visibility on Google and with as many people that source business and services online, it can be a powerful lead generation agent. The fact that an overwhelming majority of people click on sites that show up on page 1 of those results only highlights its importance.
Whether you own a Christmas tree farm, a summer tutor business as a teacher or a snow removal company, SEO can be a huge ally for you in how you generate business. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when it comes to SEO and seasonal businesses.
SEO is a Year Round Venture
Seasonal businesses are labeled as such because the nature of what their business provides, operates primarily out of a peak season that is associated with a certain time of the year. Christmas tree farms are a prime example of this. They sell a product that is specifically associated with a certain time of year and for 10 months, these business owners prep for a 2-month busy season that accounts for almost all of their revenue.
The common misconception for people that own seasonal businesses is that they can hold off on SEO or other marketing techniques until it gets close to that peak season. While for marketing platforms like social media that makes some sense, SEO doesn’t operate the same way.
SEO is like a fine wine. It gets better with age! In principle, social media posts have a depreciating shelf life and quickly become outdated after you post. That’s why volume for social media is so important. Volume for seo has advantages too, but the longer quality content or website is active and available online, the more credibility it can gain with Google & the keywords that you’re trying to rank for. So if you are a seasonal business owner and you take your site down after the busy season to save on site maintenance & SEO costs, you’ll have to start the process of building your rankings all over from scratch when you’re ready to reactivate everything again.
By maintaining your website and SEO all year, you’ll continue to strengthen your position on Google and when that peak season starts, your business will continue to rank ahead of your competition.
90 Day Rule
Another reason that it’s not recommended for seasonal business owners to take your website down during the slow season or try and revamp online marketing just ahead of peak season is the 90 day rule. The 90-day rule isn’t an official rule or guideline of SEO, but more of a generalization that digital marketers use to describe the time it takes to rank on page 1 of Google for keywords in your area.
A lot of business owners when they get started with online marketing, expect to see results almost immediately. Google needs time to validate a business’s website to make sure that it’s following standards for optimization and then index the site within their search engine. That alone takes time. Once that indexing period is complete, those keywords can start doing their work to help get your webpage found in searches. And typically, getting on page 1 in your local area for your major keywords could take approximately 90 days.
This isn’t a one size fits all rule. A lot of ranking factors for keyword rankings can depend on the area you’re trying to rank for, the amount of competition in the area that you’re up against for the same keywords and how niche/common the keywords you want to rank for are.
I always like to use the gym analogy here. You can’t go to the gym and one day later, expect to be in shape or have 6-pack abs. Those results come with time and discipline. The same goes for SEO. If you try to implement SEO at the 11th hour before peak season, you won’t get the same type of results that you would be able to by following the 90 day rule and giving your site the time it needs to succeed on Google.
Local SEO vs Service Area
As a good follow up to the 90-day rule, it’s important to know as a seasonal business owner what areas you serve or are attempting to serve. If you own a snow removal business in Minnesota, you may be in one area or town, but can provide your services to people in the surrounding areas. Just like it takes time to rank for keywords on Google in your local area, it also takes time to rank in those surrounding areas as well.
So while providing that lead time for you to get your web presence high for potential customers in your area, that counts double for those surrounding areas. Google understands that a lot of businesses (including seasonal) operate as regional and don’t always have brick and mortar storefronts, but the same factors that affect you in your local area affect you outside of it as well. The main thing is that you’re competing with businesses that ARE located in those surrounding areas.
Google typically weighs convenience to its users pretty heavily in it’s results. That’s why when you search for a pizza place, Google gives you several options that are often just minutes from your location. Not long distances.
They key here is creating good and compelling content for that area and having a strong customer base where you’re located. The more credibility that you can get from customers in those surrounding areas by way of reviews will also help you get your site at the top of Google in those regional towns in no time.