We’re getting close to the Diamond Jubilee which is great news if you’re in the souvenir business, especially if you are ranking for your search terms. Not ranking? It may already be too late! A successful natural search campaign can take a while to plan, some time to kick in and then you’ve got to bear in-mind delivery cut off times.
So if there’s a seasonal peak in your search traffic and business how do you time your campaign perfectly? Below I’m going to discuss a potential calendar based on my experience with a number of our retail and lead generation sites. It’s worth noting in all these cases we were working with the client on an ongoing basis so they weren’t starting from a cold start; most onsite issues were dealt with, they had links being created, etc. Instead, what we did was concentrate our attention in a particular direction where we knew a well timed improvement in rankings would lead a significant improvement in the websites objectives.
Day 0 – The timing of the peak – always start with when the peak in demand in is. For events like the Jubilee, you probably the exact date but I still suggest using tools like Google Insights for Search to try and pinpoint the exact moment when you’re going to see the highest demand. For annual events, you could also look back through your analytics and sales figures for the last few years and work out when the highest demand is.
Mark this date in the diary and everything else works back from here.
Day -14 – in every sector there will be delivery times or lead times that you need to bear in mind. It’s no use for your campaign to deliver you to the top of the result for Valentine’s Day cards on the 14th of February because by that point it’s already too late, and from the 15th of February that search ranking has next to no commercial value.
Month -1 – A month away from Day 0 you need a plan B if things haven’t worked quite as you planned. This might be a hit of Press Release Syndication, a competition to hit ‘comper’ sites or something else. Not every element of your campaign will go to plan, however a with a month to go, a strong Plan B and a bit of brute force might tip you over the edge.
Month -1.5 – Six weeks away from you peak now should be the prime time to be acquiring links. And I mean acquiring them not outreaching. Say you’ve got a guest posting plan, now isn’t the time when you should be approachng people, now is the time when you should be publishing.
Month -2.5 Ten weeks out, your outreach and content production should be in full swing. Never under estimate the time and effort required to get this right. This may need to be further out if you have compliance issues or a lots of people involved in the sign-off of content.
Month -3 – A full quarter before the peak you need a comprehensive plan in place of who is doing what by when. I think project management is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of natural search. I’ve seen campaigns with great tactical execution fail due to poor project management and equally I’ve seen slickly managed projects with average execution achieve amazing results.
Month -4 – Coming up with a plan, this is the brainstorming phase you need bring together people with different experience to come up with new ideas. you want data from last year and this is also the point when you need to work out the commercial implications of your plan. We like to model results at this stage too. There’s no point conducting a campaign which is going to cost X in agency fees and Y in internal resource if the return for the campaign isn’t going to generate profit that far exceeds X+Y. Mature search marketers know when to run a campaign and when not to, and that decision should be driven by the potential return.