Monday, July 24, 2017

How to Use Surveys to Hook More Customers

What’s the number one goal of content marketing?

Besides the obvious answer of generating leads and making conversions, it’s maximizing engagement.

Content marketing thrives on engagement!

You want your audience to take an active interest in your content and interact with your brand.

This typically comes in the form of likes, shares, comments, etc.

But there’s a new format that’s really picking up steam, and that’s surveys.

They’re especially big on Facebook right now.

Here’s an example of one Jeff Bullas used to figure out what his audience’s goals were when using LinkedIn:

Facebook Market Research and Surveys for B2B

When done correctly, surveys are excellent engagement boosters because:

  • they’re inherently interactive
  • most people have a natural desire to compare themselves to their colleagues and peers
  • most people enjoy offering input and providing their opinions on the topics that matter to them

Surveys ultimately enable you to raise the collective interest in your brand and attract a larger portion of your target demographic.

By building this interest, you can get people to pay more attention to your brand and hook more customers.

But there’s an added perk: market research.

Surveys are absolutely perfect for gaining intel on your audience’s interests, preferences, likes, dislikes, etc.

And that’s incredibly important!

You can use this information to improve your marketing, fine-tune your offerings and so on.

What I’m trying to say is that surveys accomplish several important things all at once.

Not only are you increasing engagement and building interest in your brand, you’re reeling in leads and doing market research at the same time.

It’s a win-win-win situation!

Effective strategizing

But here’s the thing.

There’s a lot more to it than just slapping up a survey and waiting for the sales to start pouring in.

Like any aspect of marketing, it requires the right strategy and an understanding of how to make your surveys appealing to your audience.

Otherwise, no one is actually going to respond.

In this post, I’m going to explain how to use surveys the right way, how to increase your response rate and how to turn respondents into customers.

I’ll also highlight some platforms you can use to get started.

Don’t be a nuisance

Let me start by saying you need to use tact when asking people to participate in surveys.

Each time someone goes online, they’re bombarded with deals, ads, offers, promotions, friend requests, etc.

To cope with this onslaught, people have to pick and choose what to participate in, which often makes them reluctant to take part in surveys.

After all, it takes time and effort.

Even if there are only a few questions, people have to take time out of their days to fill out a survey.

So it’s super important that you’re not being a nuisance when asking people to participate.

You need to go about it the right way.

Here’s how.

Approach the right demographic

Ideally, you’ll target individuals who are already familiar with your brand and have proven they have an interest.

It’s much easier to get someone to participate if there’s some level of built-in loyalty already there.

Research from SurveyGizmo found there was a huge disparity between external (people who are unfamiliar with your brand) and internal (people who are familiar with your brand) surveys.

Just look at the difference in response rates:

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It’s more than double.

When you’re just getting started, I recommend targeting Facebook followers, email subscribers and so on.

Go after those with whom you already have a level of rapport and who developed loyalty to your brand.

Here’s a good example of IKEA hitting up its Facebook followers with a survey:

Ikea Questions

As you can see, it got a nice number of votes at 286.

Believe me, it’s much easier to get these people to take action than those who have never heard of you.

If someone already has a vested interest in your brand, they should have no problem supplying you with their feedback.

Keep it brief

Most people are willing to answer a few questions.

But not many are willing to answer a dozen or more questions.

The longer the survey, the lower the response rate will be.

For instance, most people wouldn’t want to bother with a survey like this:

matrix question

Or this:

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It’s just too big of a time commitment and requires too much mental energy.

And quite frankly, it’s a little intimidating.

But responding to a survey like this is no big deal:

facebook survey

A quick click, and you’re done.

Keep this in mind when deciding on the number of questions to ask.

Incentivize it (sometimes)

In most cases, most people have a “what’s in it for me?” type of mindset.

Maybe they’re unwilling to participate in a survey as is.

But you can always sweeten the deal by incentivizing things.

Here’s an example from Artifact Uprising:

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Here’s another from Babies R’ Us/Toys R’ Us:

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Earning $10 or being given a chance to win a $250 gift card is a pretty strong incentive.

This would definitely pique the interest of many people.

But you know what?

Your incentives don’t necessarily need to be over the top.

In fact, deals like these aren’t in the budget for everyone.

But I’ve seen many brands do quite well and increase their survey response rates significantly by including a promotional code for 15% off shipping on the next order.

And think about it.

An offer like this also encourages people to buy.

Here’s what I recommend.

Do some A/B testing offering a survey without an incentive and then one with an incentive.

See how big of a disparity there is, and use this data to decide whether or not to use incentives for future surveys.

Timing is everything

There’s also the issue of timing.

It’s imperative you offer surveys at the right time, when people are most likely to respond.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say someone just subscribed to your newsletter.

You wouldn’t want your first email to be asking them for their input.

It just wouldn’t make sense and would be annoying.

A better approach would be to occasionally target subscribers who consistently open your emails after they’ve had a chance to get comfortable with your brand.

They should be a lot more receptive to such requests and willing to participate.

Survey platforms

We’ve established that surveys have multiple uses and can be used to hook more customers.

We’ve also discussed some fundamental strategies for pulling surveys off effectively and maximizing their response rates.

But how do you get started?

I suggest first checking out Facebook’s survey tool.

Start by going to “My Surveys” on Facebook.

Click on “Get Started Now:”

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Enter a title for your survey:

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Click “Continue:”

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You’ll then come to this screen:

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From here, you’ll want to add your questions by clicking here:

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Enter your questions, choose the question type and include images if you want:

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Rinse and repeat until you’re done.

At the end, you’ll be able to preview your survey and finally publish it.

Facebook is a good place to experiment with surveys if you have a sizable audience already familiar and comfortable with your brand.

You can create surveys that are quick and easy to answer, and they can be integrated seamlessly with the rest of your posts.

I also like Facebook because their surveys aren’t really obtrusive.

If one of your followers is interested, they can instantly participate.

If not, they can simply keep scrolling through their feed.

No big deal.

Other platforms

When you’re looking to create surveys for your website, blog, email, etc., there are several different platforms to choose from.

One of the most popular is Survey Monkey.

I find it to be straightforward and easy to use.

You can also create some really professional looking surveys with virtually zero design experience.

The best part is the basic version is free.

You’re limited in terms of the number of questions you can include and the number of responses, but it should be enough to get the ball rolling.

If you want more features, you can always upgrade later.

Here’s a screenshot of the different plans available with Survey Monkey:

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If you’re looking for reviews on other survey platforms, I recommend reading this post from WordStream.

It will tell you pretty much everything you need to know and give you the rundown on some of the top platforms.

Conclusion

Surveys are nothing new.

They’ve been used for thousands of years.

But using them as a content marketing tool is fairly new.

They’re gradually becoming more popular but have yet to be used on a massive scale.

This means there’s plenty of opportunity if you know how to use them correctly.

As I pointed out before, surveys offer a means of accomplishing three important things:

All three are huge for your bottom line.

And once you get the hang of the process, you can use it time and time again.

How often do you participate in surveys?



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Friday, July 21, 2017

Here’s How to Perfectly Optimize Your Infographic for SEO

Infographics are amazing!

Besides being one of the best ways to explain a complicated topic with ease, they make information come alive.

Research found,

people following directions with text and illustrations do 323 percent better than people following directions without illustrations.

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Maybe that’s why “infographics are ‘liked’ and shared on social media 3x more than any other type of content.”

And the concept of relaying information through visuals is nothing new.

If you think about it, cave paintings and hieroglyphics dating back to 30,000 BC accomplished the same thing.

They were far less sophisticated but demonstrate just how hard-wired we are when it comes to visual information.

So it’s easy to see why infographics have become so ingrained in content marketing.

They get results!

Unbounce even went so far as to say “infographics are the most powerful tool in your content marketing arsenal.”

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And like with any piece of content you create, you’ll want it to be SEO friendly.

But here’s the thing.

Doing SEO for an infographic demands a slightly different approach than the one you would use for a conventional blog post.

In this post, I explain the most vital components of infographic SEO to ensure yours gets proper visibility in the SERPs.

The biggest hurdle

Let me start by saying infographics are technically just images.

They are typically saved in image formats such as JPEG, PNG, GIF, etc.

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Of course, they’re much more robust and contain far more information than a regular image, but that’s how Google views them.

This is important to know because Google can’t “read” images like it can text-based content such as a blog post.

Fortunately, there are several other elements that you can optimize.

Start with keyword research

You won’t be able to take advantage of keywords in the actual body of an infographic, but there are a few areas where you can insert keywords.

That’s why you’ll still want to do some keyword research to identify a primary keyword phrase as well as a couple of secondary phrases to target.

Let’s say I was planning on creating an infographic about productivity hacks.

A quick search on the Google Keyword Planner shows me that “productivity hacks” is low competition, which is good.

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The only issue is that it’s a short-tail keyword with only two words.

But I could still probably make it work, especially if I added “infographic” to the end of “productivity hacks.”

In terms of secondary keywords, there are a few possibilities.

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The bottom line here is to perform keyword research like you would for any other type of content.

The only difference is how you go about inserting those keywords.

File name

Selecting the right file name is vital.

This is one of the main factors that Google will analyze to determine what your infographic content is about.

You need to get it right.

I shouldn’t even have to say this, but you’ll obviously want to stay away from anything generic like Image001.png.

This tells Google absolutely nothing and is going to be a strike against your infographic SEO.

A better choice would be something like productivity-hacks-infographic.png.

It’s short and sweet and lets Google know exactly what your content is about.

Just make sure you’re not doing any keyword stuffing, using the same phrase multiple times or anything else that’s spammy.

But you already know that.

Alt text

Equally important is your alt text.

This is the text alternative of an image that lets someone know what an image contains in the event that it doesn’t load properly.

Screen readers for the blind and visually impaired will read out this text and thus make your image accessible.

More importantly, this gives you another opportunity to explain to Google what’s in your infographic.

Just follow best practices for your alt text and describe as succinctly as possible what your infographic is about.

In this case, I might want to use “Infographic explaining 15 productivity hacks.”

URL

Your URL is important for obvious reasons.

As I mentioned in a post from NeilPatel.com that referenced Google’s top 200 ranking factors from Backlinko, when it comes to the significance of URLs, here is what we know:

  • URL length is listed as #46
  • URL path is listed as #47
  • Keyword in the URL is #51
  • URL string is #52

I’m not going to cover the nuts and bolts of URL optimization here.

You can find that in the post I just mentioned.

But I will tell you that you want to aim for a short URL that contains three to five words and a max of 60 characters.

This advice comes directly from an interview with Matt Cutts, so you know it’s gold.

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When it comes to keywords, be sure to include one or two of them in your URL.

Research from John Lincoln and Brian Dean found that this is the sweet spot and considered as part of URL keyword best practices (at least for the time being).

H1 tag

Although you can’t capitalize on the H1 tags (or H2s, H3s, etc.) in the body of your infographic, you can still place one above your infographic so Google can “read” it.

Here’s an example:

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See how the same keyword phrase that’s in the actual infographic is used as an H1 tag at the top?

This is a simple yet effective way to give your infographic a bit more SEO juice.

While H1s may not be as big of a ranking factor today as they were a few years ago, they certainly don’t hurt.

And they can be especially helpful for infographics where you have a limited amount of text to work with.

Meta description

Ah, the good ol’ meta description.

Here are a few best practices to adhere to when creating one for your infographic.

  • It should be between 135 and 160 characters in length.
  • It should include your keyword phrase (once).
  • It should accurately describe the content within your infographic.
  • It should have a CTA at the end to encourage search engine users to click on your content.

Getting it just right should make your infographic go further with Google and help you rake in more organic traffic.

For more on creating a killer meta description, I recommend reading this post from Yoast.

Supporting text

I really like hacks, shortcuts, loopholes, etc.

Call them what you will, little tricks like these are what help you gain the edge on the competition.

And there’s one specific hack I would like to point out in regards to infographic SEO.

It’s simple. Add some supporting text at the beginning.

Here’s a great example of what I’m talking about:

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Notice that it’s nothing fancy.

It’s just a few paragraphs that expound upon the infographic and offer a quick preview of what it’s about.

This is helpful for two reasons.

First, it provides a brief description for human visitors, which should hopefully pique their interest and make them want to check out the infographic.

Second (and more importantly), it supplies Google with additional text to crawl and decipher meaning from.

This helps your infographic get found and increases the likelihood that it’s indexed under the right keywords.

So it’s a win-win situation.

There’s no reason to go overboard and write 1,000 words of supporting text, but 100 words or so can be a great help.

An added plus is that you can throw in a couple of internal links to relevant pages on your website.

Don’t force it, but try to work in some internal links as well.

Load time

Back in 2010, Google announced that page speed was a ranking factor.

Content that loads quickly will get preference.

Not only that, a faster load time tends to translate into a lower bounce rate, more time spent on your site and so on.

The point I’m trying to make here is that you should be conscious of how long it takes your infographic to load.

Keep in mind that infographics are fairly bulky images, so this can definitely be a concern.

Generally speaking, PNGs, GIFs, JPEGs, BMPs and TIFFs load the fastest, so keep this in mind when choosing a file format.

You can also test the loading speed of your infographic with this free tool.

Just type in the URL.

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Then click “Analyze.”

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Google will analyze it and grade it.

If there are any issues, Google will provide you with specific advice for speeding it up.

Conclusion

Doing SEO for an infographic isn’t dramatically different from doing SEO for any other type of content.

It incorporates many of the same techniques and strategies.

The main thing you have to work around is the fact that an infographic is an image and therefore Google can’t “read” it like it can regular text-based content.

Fortunately, there are several ways to get around this and ensure your infographic is perfectly optimized for search engines as well as humans.

By covering all the bases, you’ll position it to climb the rankings and achieve maximum visibility in the SERPs.

Do you have any other recommendations for doing SEO for an infographic?



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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

3 Steps to Claiming a Trademark for Your Niche Site or Products

I'm happy to bring a guest post to you today from Leland Faux.  Leland is an attorney that blogs at LawoftheBrand.com.  

Leland blogs about trademark, copyright, and online business issues at Law of the Brand. He helps small business owners navigate these and other legal matters. If you'd like to submit a question (or get​ legal help), you can email him at leland@lawofthebrand.com.

Here's Leland…

In this post, I'm going to discuss some basic trademark issues that you should know as you build a niche site. Then, with that background in mind, I'll go over the 3 steps to claim a trademark. But before I do, let me share some stories that illustrate the issues.

Story Time: Trademark Issues in Real Life

First, there is apparently a niche market for flowers encased in crystalline resin. A gal was marketing these as “Flower Crystals.” Well, she ended up with a cease and desist letter because “flowercrystals” is a registered trademark owned by another person who, you guessed it, sells flowers encased in crystalline resin. (More details).

Similarly, a friend of mine started a business and was able to get on a very popular podcast to market his brand.  The problem: his brand uses the same words and a similar logo that are registered to another company. This means he has a high risk of getting his own cease and desist letter–or worse, a demand for all profits and other statutory damages, such as triple damages and attorney's fees and costs.  This is not an issue you want hanging over your head when you are getting your business going. (More details).

Spencer, here at Niche Pursuits, had his own experience with a trademark cease and desist in building a niche site. He ended up shutting down the site. (Read the post.) I would suggest that you read up on trademarks here, and they go check out that article and the comments section.  People have different ideas on the matter. You should see what you think.

As these stories demonstrate, it is important to be aware of the trademark landscape any time you are creating a website, brand, business, or product. So with that in mind, let's get to the basics.  

Trademark Basics

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is something you use to identify the services or products that come from you. It can be a logo, name, words, sounds, colors, or even smells. If it's a “mark” you use to identify your products or services in trade it is a “trademark.” (Technically a mark for services is a “servicemark” but there's no difference).

There are actually four types of trademarks: common law, state registered trademarks, federally registered trademarks, and international trademarks. Common law trademarks are often referred to as unregistered trademarks.

Trademark Infringement

Infringement occurs when someone other than the trademark owner uses the mark or a confusingly similar one in commerce. If you infringe on a trademark, the trademark owner can force you to stop your activities and may be entitled to damages. These damages can include any profits you have derived from the infringing activity and, if the trademark is registered, statutory damages such as triple damages and attorney's fees and costs.

In practical terms, this means that all of your hard work can get shut down or end up going to the trademark owner. Even if you successfully defend a claim, you'll likely incur significant attorney's fees and expenses in evaluating and defending against it. The bottom line is that you want to avoid trademark infringement problems. And you're in luck because following the three steps I'm about to share will help you do just that, and more!

The 3 Steps to Claiming a Trademark

Step 1: Brainstorm Strong Trademark Ideas

When it comes to trademarks, there is a scale from weak to strong marks. The law is not really going to protect weak marks. When you are thinking of potential trademarks, you should go for strong marks. Here is the scale from weakest to strongest:

Generic Words

These are words that are just the name of the product or service. For example, the word “apple” for apples is generic. It will not be given trademark protection.

Descriptive Words

These are words that are not quite generic but are merely descriptive of the product. An example might be “Awesome Tasty Apples” for apples or “A+ cleaners” for dry cleaners. This type of wording may not be given trademark protection. It is possible, but not likely.

Suggestive Marks

These words might be suggestive of some of the features or attributes of the product without describing it exactly. Suggestive marks are strong marks. An example of this might be “Netflix” because Netflix provides movies (ie: flicks) on the “Net.” For comparison, a descriptive trademark for what Netflix does might be “Internet Movie Club.”

Fanciful or arbitrary words

These a words that are either made up or are completely arbitrary to the product. A good example of an arbitrary mark is Apple for computers. Although “apple” is a generic word for apples, it is arbitrarily applied to computers. A fanciful mark might be Xerox (although interestingly enough, Xerox became so popular that the word “xerox” became the generic term for making copies).

When you are considering trademarks for your site, products, or business, you should avoid weak marks if your goal is to have an enforceable trademark.

Step 2: Perform a Trademark Search to the Level that Satisfies You.

Once you have an idea of what you want your trademark to be, you should perform some sort of trademark search. The purpose of a trademark search is to avoid infringing on an existing trademark. The question here is how detailed do you want to search? As mentioned, there are four types of trademarks (common law, state, federal, international). When you are investigating the trademark, you should consider each.

Searching Federal Trademarks

Searching federal trademarks is the most accessible of these trademark searches. I would also argue that it is the most important because these trademark owners have shown, by registering their trademarks, that they want to enforce them and they paid the fees to do so.  The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) keeps a database of registered trademarks that is free to search. It is called the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). People refer to searching the federal database as a “knockout search” because if you find a potential issue, you can (and should) knock that option out from your choices.

Searching TESS is an art form on it's own. A search may include not only the exact words but also synonyms and words that sound or look similar. But you can at least put the name you want to use and see what comes up, if anything. 

Searching State, International, and Common Law Trademarks

Doing a search of all the different types of trademarks is referred to as a “comprehensive search.” Unfortunately, I don't know of any databases that make it free or easy to do a thorough investigation of state, international, and common law trademarks. States may have their own records. Each country has records too. For common law, you can see what comes up on google, but best practice is to search yellow pages, business directories, state business registrations, domain registries, and so on. But obviously doing all of these searches manually will be cumbersome.

There are several companies that have built the technology or systems to scrape available databases for all types of trademarks.  The costs of gathering the information will range from a few hundred dollars to well over $1,000.  A rule of thumb is the more expensive searches are more comprehensive. Examples of search companies are TrademarkNow and Corsearch.

These searches essentially give you raw data and information. You then need to use this information to investigate and make a judgment call on whether you think your intended trademark passes muster.

No one will force you to perform a trademark search. The purpose of the search is to help you understand your business environment and to evaluate risks. If you want to take on the risk of not performing a search, or even of using another person's trademark, that's entirely up to you.

Step 3: Apply for the Trademark

If you believe the trademark is available, you can claim the common law trademark simply by using it in commerce. There's actually nothing else you need to do (but you can get my free report with more tips on common law trademark at lawofthebrand.com) If you are only doing business in one state, you may want to register the trademark in that state. This is typically done on a form with the Secretary of State.

The Application

If you are engaging in interstate commerce (ie: across state lines), you should consider a federal trademark. (Related: Pros and Cons of Trademark Registration). You can apply for a federal trademark through the USPTO. In fact, they provide a guide to walk you through the process. Most often, I recommend at least doing a basic word mark–meaning you trademark the words you are using as opposed to a particular stylized version of the words. If you trademark the words themselves, you can then style them however you prefer.

The Review Process

Once submitted, an attorney employed by the USPTO evaluates the application. You can familiarize yourself with the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure to understand what these attorneys are looking for and to help you through the application process. You will not likely receive a response for about 8 months. Because there is a lot of grey area and subjectivity in trademark law, the trademark office often requests some modification or seeks clarification on your application. Although there are no official numbers, trademark attorneys anecdotally observe that 85% of applications come back with at least some minor revisions requested.

On the other hand, the trademark office may deny the application. This often occurs if the trademark is merely descriptive (a weak mark) or if the office deems the trademark to be confusingly similar to a prior registered mark. You will get an opportunity to respond if this occurs.

If your application passes the attorney's review, the USPTO will publish the application for opposition. This means anyone who takes issue with the registration can file an opposition to the application. When that occurs, you will have to make your case before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). Of course, the hope is that by choosing a strong mark, performing and adequate search, and appropriately filing the application you will avoid the costs of dealing with infringement claims, oppositions, and the TTAB.

TLDR: Putting it all together

Here's what you should have learned: A trademark identifies the trademark owner's goods or service in commerce. Infringing on another person's trademark puts your business at risk. The 3 steps to claiming a trademark help you avoid these risks by helping you:

  1. Create a strong trademark,
  2. Investigate whether that or a similar mark is already in use (a Trademark Search) by–at a bare minimum–performing a knockout search using TESS, and
  3. Apply for a trademark with the USPTO to protect your own trademark.

Want Help?

If you don't want to go through all of this by yourself, I'm happy to help. I have the resources in place to help you perform and evaluate a trademark search, submit a strong trademark application, and respond to common USPTO office actions. I can also help you with infringement issues, whether they are claims against you or if you find that your trademark is being infringed upon.

If you have questions about trademarks or want help, you can reach me by email (leland@lawofthebrand.com) or by text: 702-291-1799. I also handle copyright and other legal issues for online business.

The post 3 Steps to Claiming a Trademark for Your Niche Site or Products appeared first on Niche Pursuits.



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How to Get Your Content to Rank for Seasonal Keywords

When you hear the phrase seasonal keywords, what comes to mind?

Is it Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and general holiday-related keywords?

Well, that’s definitely part of it.

Of course, you’ll want to put the extra energy into optimizing your keywords for the holidays.

After all,

holiday retail sales during November and December brought in $658.3 billion in 2016.

This translates into holiday retail sales representing 20% of total retail industry sales.

But there’s a lot more to it than that.

When I say seasonal keywords, I’m referring to any particular time of the year when there’s a spike in a particular search phrase and when there’s a predictable increase in sales in a given niche.

Some examples include:

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • 4th of July
  • Back to school
  • Halloween

You get the idea.

See, there are opportunities abound throughout the entire year for SEO marketers.

It’s simply a matter of capitalizing on trends and using seasonal keywords to your advantage.

I would like to share with you a formula I’ve developed for identifying seasonal keywords and getting your content to rank for them.

This way, big opportunities for increasing your overall sales won’t be wasted.

Use Google Trends for research

The first thing you’ll want to do is go to Google Trends.

It truly is a marketer’s best friend and is jam-packed will all kinds of helpful insights.

To begin, type in the seasonal event you’re interested in.

I’ll use Father’s Day as an example:

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After pressing “Enter,” here’s what I get:

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Scroll down just a bit, and you’ll see two important sections: “Related topics” and “Related queries.”

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Both serve as a great starting point because you can look at the data from previous years to determine what types of Father’s Day-related searches people use the most.

Click on the right arrow at the bottom to browse through the rest of the list:

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This will quickly give you a sense of what people are interested in and searching for as it relates to a particular seasonal event.

For instance, I might be interested in “Father’s Day gifts”:

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It could serve as a topic I could potentially create content around.

Plugging a broad keyword into the Google Keyword Planner

Let’s say after a little research on Google Trends, I’ve found a broad keyword I’m interested in.

I know for a fact people have searched for it in the past, so I know they’ll be searching for it this year as well.

What you want to do now is plug that broad keyword into the Google Keyword Planner for a larger list of keyword ideas.

Type it in under “Your product or service.”

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Click on “Get Ideas” at the bottom:

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Here’s what I get:

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The first results don’t look all that great because they’ve all got a high competition level.

That’s a problem for many industries, so I’ll need to do some extra searching to find the diamond in the rough.

After scrolling down some more, I begin to see some keywords with lower competition, like this one:

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Ideally, you’ll choose long-tail keywords because this means less competition and often a higher conversion rate.

This is the heart of smart keyword research.

And remember: 70% of all search traffic involves long-tail keywords.

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That’s almost always your best bet.

This is a really simple example, but this formula will work for virtually any seasonal event.

Just start with Google Trends to find a broad keyword.

Then plug it into the Google Keyword Planner to fine-tune it, and find a long-tail phrase you have a strong likelihood of ranking for.

To cast a wider net, you may want to repeat the process a few times until you have a handful of keyword phrases at your disposal.

Using Ubersuggest

Here’s another tip.

Ubersuggest has a nice little feature that can give you some additional ideas.

Here’s how it works.

Go to the Ubersuggest homepage.

Type in the seasonal event.

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Click “suggest.”

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You’ll see this:

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Now click on “Word Cloud.”

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Here’s what I got:

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This is another simple way to see which keywords related to your seasonal event are commonly searched for.

The bigger the word, the more often people include it in their search queries.

I find this can be a nice way to round off your keyword research, and Ubersuggest will provide you with just a bit more data.

Sometimes, you can insert one or more of these keywords into your overall keyword phrase.

Creating your content

At this point you should have an understanding of what some of the most popular searches are and have at least a few long-tail keywords.

Now, you’ll want to base your content around those searches and keywords.

I probably don’t need to say it, but you’ll want to create robust, comprehensive content that’s better than that of at least 90% of your competitors.

You’ll also want to include plenty of images and data whenever it makes sense.

I suggest doing a quick Google search to see what you’re up against to ensure you kill it with your final product.

In terms of content length, you can use this post from NeilPatel.com as a reference point.

It highlights how long your blog articles should be by industry.

You may also want to learn about the skyscraper technique from Brian Dean if you haven’t done so already.

And don’t think you have to limit yourself to a conventional blog post.

There are plenty of other content options.

Here’s what’s trending with B2B marketers in 2017:

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Video marketing is scorching hot right now and is a medium I suggest experimenting with.

Knowing when to post your content

Besides simply finding the right seasonal keywords and creating killer content, it’s essential you post your content at the right time.

This is a biggie, and you need to strike while the iron is hot.

But how do you know when to post?

To find out, you’ll need to go back to Google Trends and do the following.

After searching for a seasonal event, you’ll see a series of options directly above the graph.

Click on the down arrow beside “Past 5 years.”

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This will allow you to set the date and choose how far back you want to go.

I recommend searching last year’s results because it’s an easy way to tell when people really start searching hot and heavy.

Click on the “Past 12 months.”

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Here’s what pops up:

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All I have to do now is determine when the trend in Father’s Day-related searches begins.

In 2016, things started picking up between May 7 and May 13 and peaked between June 11 and 17.

This tells me my content needs to be ready to go by May 7 in order to take full advantage of the spike in searches.

But, of course, I’ll want to have it posted at least a couple of weeks in advance.

That’s because it can take Google anywhere from four days to four weeks to index content.

So, you’ll want to give it some time to simmer.

I tend to err on the side of caution, so I would probably aim for posting my content somewhere around April 7.

This should ensure everything has time to get indexed and claim its rightful place in the search results.

However, if you were in a crunch, you could push it to the beginning of May.

But keep in mind this could reduce your content’s impact and probably wouldn’t bring nearly as much organic traffic as it would otherwise.

Planning in advance

The key to targeting seasonal keywords successfully and raking in big traffic is to stay ahead of the game.

You don’t want to do this at the last minute. That’s only going to minimize your impact.

If possible, do some initial planning a few months beforehand.

In the case of Father’s Day, which occurs in mid to late June, I would want to start planning sometime around March or April.

This would ensure I have adequate time to perform my research, select my keywords, create my content, post it and allow Google to index it.

That way, I don’t have to rush or stress myself out.

Do whatever makes the most sense to you, but try to think ahead.

Otherwise, it’s like cramming for a huge test the night before.

Seldom does it end well.

Conclusion

Seasonal keywords are a gold mine.

And remember: this goes way beyond just the holiday season.

Depending on your niche, there are opportunities to crush it year round with seasonal keywords.

The best part is the formula is quite simple.

It’s a matter of gauging interest, figuring out popular search trends and doing keyword research like you would for any other piece of content.

From there, you just need to be sure you publish your content with enough time for Google to index it and before people start searching on a mass scale.

Have you ever cashed in on seasonal keywords before?



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