On the 14th February every year there’s a bit of craziness in the marketing departments of most businesses. We go through a stage of thinking if we marry up our unrelated products and services to the annual day of love, we might in some way get some sales or interest. More cynical marketing but sometimes it’s as easy to jump on a bandwagon than not.
You’re in luck if you can offer something that someone might want to give to their significant other on St Valentine’s Day, but we can’t all be that lucky can we? When you know you’re in that position you need to put some serious campaign planning in place. Whereas every marketer and his or her dog is creating cr*p content and social posts about Valentines you are actually adding some value.
So if you’ve got your shop going good guns and Valentine’s Day is fast approaching what are you going to do to catch it before it’s too late?
When should you start targeting Valentine’s Day traffic?
Probably the most important thing to say is to be prepared. You’ve got to start your campaign early. I used to work for a leisure-time company that sold event tickets, booked hotels and restaurants. Valentine’s Day became a major target for us. I used to run a campaign that started straight after New Year’s Eve and ramped up until the big day.
But the traffic trends are interesting. There’s a two-week window with Valentine’s Day traffic. It builds up the week before steps up on Monday before Valentine’s Day itself, peaks on Valentine’s Day itself, falls massively on the 15th and then drops off a cliff on the Sunday after Valentine’s Day. It was the same every year. The interesting thing to note is Valentine’s Day traffic isn’t just about the one day and you need to be taking advantage of the lead time and long tail just as much as taking advantage of the day itself.
Do you need to carry out keyword research for Valentine’s Day?
If you’re experienced in SEO you are going to understand the value and importance of taking a step back and doing some more keyword research. If you want to win on Valentine’s Day it’s likely you’re going to need to get some chunky Valentine’s Day orientated longtail keywords in play. The shorter your lead time to the big day itself, the more long tail you’re going to have to go. You should also be considering the semantic relevance of Valentine’s Day to your products or services and how you can convince Google that this isn’t just a case of your jumping on the bandwagon. (I don’t know what Google’s going to make of this bandwagon-jumping piece!)
Another thing to bear in mind is user intent. Valentine’s Day isn’t just about couples. There are plenty of people searching the internet around Valentine’s Day and because many marketers and businesses out there don’t think about them, including keywords that could target them could give you a win in the saturated valentine’s day content marketing sphere.
How important is mobile traffic on Valentine’s Day?
You should be optimising your website for mobile these days but it’s important to say the bulk of this activity will be happening on a mobile phone. That’s because people don’t want to let their bosses see their searching online for romantically themed gifts.
It may be worth considering setting up AMP versions of your valentine’s day pages to increase your rankings in the run-up to the big day itself.
Should local search be part of your Valentine’s Day SEO strategy?
In the same way that Valentine’s Day is mobile, it’s also local. In the leisure company I mentioned above I exponentially increased their traffic across a number of holidays including Valentine’s Day by understanding an exploiting this. If you want to take advantage of this create local silos on your site and be hyper-local. It’s not enough anymore to talk about towns and cities, you need content that talks about areas of towns, buying things that are close to buildings etc. That’s how you will really take advantage of local trends.
How to use rich content to gen generate organic Valentine’s Day traffic
There are still too many marketers – perhaps myself included – who try to do their marketing with blog posts are their only form of content marketing. But this represents a great opportunity if you want to create content for SEO because Google will reward those businesses that are creating rich content. So add images, add videos, add relevant and useful links. Make this 10x content – but let’s make it better than everything else that’s out there. That’s the only thing that will give you half a chance at winning.
Update your content from last year
Every year you will have to create some content for Valentine’s Day, however every year you will create legacy content that is no longer beneficial to your marketing efforts. Remember that page on /valentines-day-2015 ? What good is that page ever going to do you? Get all those redirects pointing at your new /valentines-day-xxxx then you can take advantage of all the good work you’ve done in the previous years. And if you’ve created evergreen Valentine’s Day content in the past, be sure to revisit it to give it more of a chance. And promote the hell out of it around the big day itself – even if it feels slightly off-message to the core Valentine’s Day campaign. Afterall this old stuff has loads of history and is more likely to rank than the new content you’ve been creating.
Why should you use social media to target Valentine’s Day
Spend the whole day on social media and just plug away at it. Join in conversations and introduce people to your content. People will be talking about Valentine’s Day on social for some days to come join in the debate with some relevant and witty comments that people can engage with.
How can you use PR for SEO around Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is massive for news media. It’s something that’s a bit fun and different and journalists don’t always like to be serious. You can use this PR to generate some citations, link equity and perhaps some brand traffic. All of this is going to help your Valentine’s Day organic traffic and really help to give your content marketing strategy a bit of a push.
Remember journalists are lazy so give them something they can copy and paste. That means talking about your business in the third person. Remember to include your brand a few times and a reference to what it is you actually do. Be succinct about this or risk having it chopped from the piece. Also, include links in the content using relevant Valentine’s Day orientated anchor text. They might not always be included (not journalists remove links) but it’s worth a try. Also, if you’ve got a piece placed and the anchor link has been removed it’s worth calling the journalist and asking them if they can include the link. Most will say no. Some will ask for money. But the odd one might be happy to add it back in. Especially if this is smaller trade publications. Perhaps consider dangling the carrot of advertising?
How important is web hosting for Valentine’s Day SEO?
Whilst we’ve discussed the benefits of having super fast AMP pages if you are in a competitive market, it’s also worth considering your hosting. Google loves fast hosting. If you are trying to compete with other businesses on faster hosting than yourself you may want to consider an upgrade to a different hosting option – there are various SEO hosting options out there – or perhaps even change suppliers.
You may also want to think about whether your hosting has the capacity to deal with the valentine’s day inundation. OK, so for most businesses this wouldn’t be a problem. But for the business I mentioned above, year on year we drove around 300,000 organic visits to Valentine’s Day content over a two week period. If your website was fortunate enough to attract that kind of activity could your server handle it? Perhaps worth just checking with your hosting provider that you’ve got the capacity in your hosting solution. In reality, this won’t be a problem for most businesses that target Valentine’s Day. But it would be a good problem to have!