Lab Report: Seasonal Variations

FreshPlans is our lab site where we can test SEO strategies. We’re gradually doing all the things that ought to be done for a new site, and then observing and tracking the results.

In general, we’re finding that our expectations are being confirmed. That is, we placed links at the sites that have generally given good results for our clients in education, and sure enough, they gave us good results, too. We placed a bunch of ads on the sidebar, where we always ignore ads, and our visitors ignored them, too.

We had a surprise with last week’s effort. Since we’ve been active for three months, we know it’s time to add our site to blog directories and blog rings. However, the code required to join blog rings slowed our load time down enough to make people complain, so we had to remove it. We’ve never seen that before. It may be that our site loads enough faster than others we’ve done this with that the contrast between our load time and that of the blog rings icons was too large, or it might be something about WordPress sites. We’ll need to do more research, For the moment, though, we gave up on that. We are getting some traffic from blog directories, though, so we’ll continue with that effort.

Still, we’re generally seeing what we would expect from our experience and study, and that’s good news for us.

Because of that, we expect to see a drop in traffic next month, possibly a huge drop. Last year, both our major educational sites saw traffic fall by half between August and September. Many businesses are seasonal, and that’s what the clients would anticipate, both in the physical store and online.Other sites see similar patterns for Christmas shopping traffic, Passover trip bookings, football ticket sales, or seasonal recipe searches.

Today, however, we read something interesting in a forum. Ann Zeise from A to Z Home’s Cool told fellow bloggers that everyone ought to be writing about back to school right now. She reads the papers first thing in the morning, she says, and looks for headlines she can hook up with. If there’s a tsunami, your blog should reflect on how your company’s goods and services connect with tsunamis. Your Hallowe’en pages should be going up now, too, Ann says, so other bloggers can find and link to them as they put up their Hallowe’en pages. If that means writing about the best shoes for Hallowe’en, so be it. In short, go with what’s timely, not just what’s obviously relevant to your niche.

I’ll be blogging today for a painter and a physical therapist, as well as here and for FreshPlans. Today’s headline stories include war and Altzheimer’s. Clearly, special creativity is required to follow Ann’s advice.

It may be excellent advice, though. Our educational blogs get most traffic through search, and our readers are likely to search for things like “rock’n’roll classroom theme.” It seems sensible to focus on those keywords. Ann’s assuming, though, that when our target audience isn’t looking for classroom themes, they may be looking for the timely and topical things everyone else is looking for.

Someone who searches for information on last night’s meteor shower and finds a site on physical therapy may also be troubled by back pain (90% of Americans will experience it at some point in their lives). Ann’s idea could cushion your business — or at least your website– against some of the predictable seasonal ups and downs.

So… maybe nontoxic paints like those my client uses are important because toxic paint fumes are associated with Altzheimer’s disease. Maybe there have been lessons from military experience that have affected spine care. A little research is called for…






Leave a Reply