Happy 2015! You just returned from that awesome vacation to the Bahamas where you traded in your winter parka for a bikini and snowstorms for sunny skies. You’re not too excited to go back to work, but hey, someone’s got to keep an eye on those analytics.
You pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit down at your computer, open up your Google Analytics Dashboard, and precede to drop your mug in shock, spilling the coffee all over yourself. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY TRAFFIC? WHERE DID IT GO? WHY IS MY CONVERSION RATE SO LOW?
Remember that awesome Bohemian vacation you just had? Yup, the Internet just took one as well. Don’t fret. You’re not alone. This disease–Seasonal Affective Data Disorder (SADD)–has a high incidence this time of year.
There are 2 major outbreaks of seasonal affective data disorder every year:
Summer: June – August
Holiday Season: End of November – December
Why do outbreaks occur during these months?
Think about when you are taking your vacations and apply that to the Internet. The summer (June-August) and the holiday season (December) are the months with the greatest number of people taking vacations. While some people may enjoy trolling the Internet on their vacations, most people are offline, outside, and with friends or family.
According to psychologists in The New Yorker, productivity drops in the warm weather months. The sun is shining, the skies are blue, and instead of focusing on what we should be doing, we’re focusing on what we’d rather be doing. Not only do we find it harder to concentrate on mundane tasks during nice weather, the heat and humidity actually zaps energy increasing sleepiness.
Students account for a large portion of Internet activity and when they are out of school, not searching the Internet for the answers to their homework or sometimes without easy access to the internet, website traffic falls—dramatically. Just look at the graph from Google Trends on the keyword “how to write a poem.” Now that’s a dip in traffic.
How do I improve traffic during these outbreaks?
If you’re as crazy as I am about increasing traffic and improving engagement, you’ll want to do as much as you can to nurse your web analytics back to health while they are “sick.”
Create content that is specific to what people are searching for in that season. In the summer, think about what summery information people who are on the Internet are searching for and how you could incorporate that into the content on your website. Do the same thing for the holiday season.
Create targeted AdWords campaigns that capitalize on the terms people are uniquely using during these SADD times. Over the holidays, people are shopping for presents for their friends and family. Do you sell any products on your site? Be sure to capitalize on “gift ideas” that link to what your site offers. Maybe ads that describe how your site can help users with their “new years resolution” will perform well. Use Google Trends to find keyword inspiration.
Build evergreen content
If you plan ahead and build the SEO value of your site throughout the year, you’ll be more resilient in the face of the dreaded slump. Create evergreen content that slowly builds your domain authority in key topics and, even if fewer people are searching, you’ll bring in more visits than you would have otherwise because you’ll rank higher. More general SEO tips here.
Not exactly a way to boost traffic, but a way to take advantage of it is to relish in the opportunity to try new things. Maybe this is a great opportunity to focus more on your social media or blog presence and let the website content just do its thing.
Don’t compare apples with oranges
Instead of comparing your site’s Atrocious August to its Fantastic February, take a look at how your site is doing year-over-year. If you compare this August to last August and you’re seeing improvement, then you’re doing something right.
Focus on mobile
More people will be out and about and accessing your site on mobile devices. Prepare for this by making the mobile experience a focus before the SADD season hits.
Relax and accept
Unless you are an ecommerce, travel, or automotive site that thrives during these seasons, you will most likely see your traffic decrease during these months. We can’t force people back onto the Internet. I don’t blame them! I’d rather be sipping hot cocoa by the fire with my family too. And by the end of January, your analytics should be back to normal.
Although these dips in traffic are nerve wracking, they’re normal. Things will improve. Instead of sitting at your computer and watching Real-Time on Google Analytics for hours on end, waiting for traffic to improve, think back to that amazing Bohemian vacation you just took and remember the Internet’s relaxing on the beach too.