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Effects of Seasonality & Local Factors on SEO

Introduction

In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, understanding the factors that influence Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is critical. While conventional SEO strategies focus on keywords, content quality, and technical optimisation, overlooking the impact of seasonality, local circumstances, and even days of the week can hinder even greater success.

This article delves into the intricate interplay between SEO and various temporal and geographical factors, with a particular focus on South Africa’s unique landscape.

Understanding SEO Seasonality

Seasonality significantly influences search behaviour, presenting both challenges and opportunities for businesses. In South Africa, where climatic, cultural, and economic variations abound, grasping the nuances of seasonal trends is essential.

From tourism peaks during summer months to shifts in consumer behaviour during retail sales events, SEO strategies must adapt to capitalise on seasonal fluctuations.

How Days of the Week Affect SEO

A factor not often emphasised is how particular days of the week affect traffic and your SEO efforts. In the example below the blue line represents user traffic to a website, what you may notice is the dips in this graph. This drops off in traffic happens on Saturdays and Sundays with traffic picking up and returning to normal from Monday onwards.

The reason behind this is surprisingly simple you may assume more people are online during the weekends given the extra free time they have, however generally less of that online time is spent looking for your business and more of that time is spent on personal activities such as social media.

Blue graph from GA4 showing web traffic dips and spikes

Knowing this is important because it allows you to update your website on or just before a higher level of traffic is expected to arrive. Essentially this tells us content posts should ideally be posted during weekdays when we are most likely to take full advantage of the heightened traffic potential.

How Local Factors Affects SEO

Understanding local factors can give you an advantage in your SEO efforts, for example let’s take one of South Africa’s most challenging day to day issues loadshedding and create SEO opportunity’s out of an otherwise negative situation.

Creating SEO Opportunities from Tough Situations

Some websites can benefit greatly from a not so positive situation, for example announcements of higher stages of loadshedding. In the example below we can see how the announcement of stage 6 loadshedding Which took place on Saturday, 10 February 2024 coincides with a huge boost of traffic to none other than a soler installation page.

Stats names removed

You may find unique ways of leveraging this to the situation of your specific site for example if you run a business which has backup generators or solar energy generation installed, you could create content emphasising this to rank higher in your category or business while these trends hold. While this may not apply to all sites its important to look at your local environment and pick up opportunity’s as they unfold in real time.

Tools That can Help you Identify Local SEO Opportunities.

Google Trends is one of the most fitting tools for this job, as it identifies trending keywords you may wish to utilise while creating new content for your site or updating existing content.

In keeping with the theme lets look at the keyword solar on Google trends over a five-year period, keeping in mind that from 2022 onwards loadshedding has become significantly worse.

Google Trends showing traffic for the keyword Solar

We can see that more people are searching for these keywords as loadshedding gets worse, which makes perfect sense. Using Google trends and Google Analytics 4 in combination you can monitor these changes and make the connections between local events and traffic, which apply to your specific website and tailor your SEO efforts accordingly.

What to do When You Notice SEO Trends

When you see a boost in traffic to a page its important to understand firstly why this page is attracting so much attention, and secondly what search intent the page is satisfying during this time of heightened traffic to a specific page. From a SEO perspective you should look at three core elements: Technical SEO, content, and backlinks.

1. Target These Events with Tailored Content

You can create content that targets this specific topic and publish it on a blog page when the time is right, in this case when higher stages of loadshedding are announced you may find posting a blog article on Solar can net you additional traffic.

2. Boost Your Rankings with Backlinks

Creating backlinks to the page or blog post to boost its appearance in search results is advisable, remember Google views relevant backlinks as a vote of confidence from other sites towards your site, and adjusts your ranking in the search results accordingly.

3. Perform Regular Updates

Another action Google loves is when you keep your website updated and relevant to what people are searching with the latest and most helpful information, the quantity of content updates matters far less, so it’s not a good idea to post low quality content daily. instead, its recommended to focus on the quality of content.

While updating content matters the technical side contributes to your SEO success, as such its important to observe a standard of ensuring meta descriptions, image alt text, and fitting page titles are put in place.

4. Ensure Your Web Page Satisfies Search Intent

Its easy to go in blind and fill your content with target keywords, however search engines will love even more you if your page satisfies the searchers query quickly and consciously. This is often referred to as satisfying search intent. To put it simply, the easier you make life for your users the higher your page will rank in the search results.

5. Perform Competitor Research & Improve on Your Competition

If you notice an uptick in a particular topic, and you know the reason behind the uptick and satisfy search intent to a reasonable degree, consider doing some research on your competitor’s sites by searching the same keywords a user would search and take a look at what your competitors who out rank you in the search results are doing.

They could be ranking higher because they, provide more authoritative information on a topic, their site more easily satisfies user search intent, or their site has a higher domain authority than yours which can be achieved through backlinks.

Whatever the reason behind your competitors ranking higher than your site for a specific topic, it’s important to identify the reason so your site can improve on what your competitors are doing, which will result in a higher ranking if done correctly.

6. Familiarise Yourself with Your Users & Their Needs

Lastly while all the points above are important in improving your seasonal SEO understanding the needs of the people who use your site is critical not only to the short term but also to the long-term success of your website.

Knowing the needs of these users provides valuable insights into user behaviour which can then be used to improve user experience (UX) on your site. This knowledge of your users also makes satisfying their search intent a much easier task when you know exactly what your users need from your site.

Conclusion

In the ever-changing world of SEO, adaptation is key. From understanding the impact of seasonality and local circumstances to leveraging tools like Google Trends, businesses can stay ahead of the curve.

By focusing on satisfying search intent, updating content strategically, and learning from competitors, businesses can navigate the complexities of SEO with confidence, ensuring their online success in the dynamic South African market.