Successful marketing and SEO strategies are those that help you understand the pulse of your target audience and deliver content in a language they understand. If your target audience is hyped or excited about something, there you have a ‘trend’ that you can use to gain more visibility and credibility with them.
In India, IPL is one such mega sporting festival, rather like the Super Bowl.IPL draws hundreds of thousands of fans offline and online and is the talk of the town for a good two months. As with any trend, it is reflected in Google searches. With 1.8M searches for the keyword ‘IPL’, it has far outstripped other popular keywords like ‘Diwali’ or ‘Holi’.
Such a huge search volume makes it a ripe opportunity for you to amplify your SEO efforts. So, I used the SEMrush tool to dig a little deeper and uncovered three insights that can help you capitalize on it.
- PPC campaigns are placed throughout the year
A well planned year-round PPC campaign around the keyword you are targeting definitely boosts your SEO. So, here is a snapshot of the kind of ads that have been placed around the keyword ‘IPL’.
Notice that most of the ads center towards providing information about the tournament and ongoing matches. Clearly, this may not always be closely relevant to your brand.
So you can probably come up with an interesting video ads or contests (which incorporate your branding)around the primary keywords, and start running ads for them. Such ads will also encourage your visitors to spend more time on site once they click through, and thus increase your engagement on the landing page – a very good PPC win!
Another aspect to keep in mind is that ads have been shown for IPL throughout the year.
For you to compete against them, I suggest you target long tail keywords with keyword volume on the higher side. Also, ensure that the keyword difficulty is less than around 70% – this will help your ad rank higher quickly.
- Social media engagement impacts SERPs
Social media engagement is picked up by Google and the algorithm doesn’t use it directly as a factor to decide your SERP ranking. Which is why, last year, for the keyword “IPL”, it was Twitter that ranked first and not the IPLt20 official website. Here is a snapshot of the SERP from last year.
That is because more engagement and discussion or searches for IPL took place on Twitter last year, thus giving it more authority. In comparison, Facebook despite being a popular social media channel ranked only number 7, probably because it did not have as much engagement as Twitter. Despite that, it still ranks above Cricbuzz.com – a website solely dedicated to cricket talk!
- Direct traffic correlates with an increase in ranking
Direct traffic to your site can help you climb the SERP ladder. How? Aggressive branding helps you create a known entity for the search engines and. Further, more brand recall from your audience will encourage more direct visits as well as more organic searches, resulting in a virtuous cycle of more traffic.
The IPLT20 team did it this year and look at how much their direct traffic increased:
This rise in traffic directly correlates with their jump in the SERP ladder to rank no.1. So this year, the Google SERP for the keyword “IPL” looks like this:
These trend-based insights can come in handy when you plan your future campaigns for a particular trend. If you are worried that you have missed an opportunity, don’t worry, there are ways to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
So how can you identify such opportunities in future?
- Keep an eye on Google trends or use the SEMrush keyword tool –Usually, a viral trend can easily be picked out on social media. However, you can use the Google Trends graph to help you see which topic is trending and by how much. If not, the SEMrush keyword research tool can also help you analyze the popularity of the keyword. Remember to conduct thorough competition analysis to see how they are using the trend. You can learn from that and save time and effort instead of re-inventing the wheel.
- Check the CPC – Forhigh volume keywords, the CPC is usually high. If you are lucky, meaning if the keyword you have chosen is still untapped, then the CPC can actually be less – signaling immediate action from your end can prove advantageous.
For the keyword ‘IPL2017’ this was the case. From a CPC of $0.14 last year, itdropped to $0.04, despite an increase in volume from 823K in April 2017 to 1.8M in April 2018.
This could be due to a number of reasons – sinceGoogle has last years’ data, it could easily use it to create ads with high quality score. Ads with good quality scores donot need high bids after all, and so Google itself would be bidding less, thus reducing the overallCPC for the keyword.
Whatever the reason, it is the green signal for you to start bidding on the keyword and using it for your campaigns and boosting your visibility.
- Determine the keyword difficulty – Theusual benchmark for keyword difficulty, while choosing a keyword for your campaign is under 50% (or less). A difficulty level of more than 80% spells near-impossible to rank well for. However, if your keyword is high-volume, then the keyword difficulty number can be a bit high. For example,for “IPL 2017”, the keyword difficulty of 64.05% is perfectly acceptable. In fact, given the search volume and the low CPC cost, you can crush it with creative campaigning (improving direct traffic – like discussed above) and so on.
Over to You
At the end of the day, the trend or keyword you choose should make sense for your business. If you start running irrelevant ads for a popular keyword, then you risk the quality score of your PPC campaign and Google ranking your negatively for the spike in bounce rates.
SEO is all about providing the right user experience for the viewer. If you provide them meaningful content through variety of channels, at a time they are looking for it, it will be well received and boost your ranking. These hacks mentioned are just ways to identify how to do so with maximum impact.
If you have more questions, drop me a note – I would love to chat more!