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Seasonal rankings boosts?



6:39 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

I don't mean to look a gift horse in the mouth, but one of my pages has something interesting going on. I typically rank between #6-8 for "green widgets" and "green widgets" is a moderately competitive search term. But there's a holiday associated with that term, so the volume of searches for it surges as we come up to the holiday, making it a much more competitive term.

This year, for the first time, my rank got bumped up to #2-3 during that seasonal time, when it was of the most benefit to my site. After the season passed, my rank fell back to #6-8.

Any thoughts on what would cause this? I can't find anything that changed for this page prior to the boost. And if something did boost it - say, new links or lots of social media chatter - I don't know why the rankings would go back down after the season. It could just be a coincidence that happened to benefit my page, but the odds of that exact page getting a boost for that exact term at that exact time seem long.

Part of why I'm curious is that I've been seeing stuff like this for a while now, and wondered if Google is rearranging the SERPs for not just location but also time of year/holidays. This is the most striking example I've seen of whatever this is.


6:47 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Seasonal holidays are my thing. Google has been doing that for years. I have a spreadsheet with almost daily rankings for a single keyword going back to 2006 (most of you who know me will guess what it is) and the movement up and down as the season comes and goes is marked. Over a given 12 month period, the keyword will rank as highly as #3 and as low as #96, and then back again. Note: the keyword is very broad, and not one I would expect to rank for, to be honest) I assume it rises because Google recognizes the increase in searches related to the season, and is making its own best guess as to user intent.

You can also notice the differences when personalization and better geotargeting started kicking in.

So what you're seeing now, I've been seeing for a long time. I don't think it's new.

[edited by: netmeg at 6:49 pm (utc) on May 13, 2013]


6:49 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I am not sure if it is a time triggered boost or if its just that during the high season more bloggers/news site are talking about you and linking more but I have seen the same thing to my own sites.

ps People should not forget to take into account that Google personalizes rankings. One of my clients searched for her site everyday leading up to the holiday season and this led to Google personalizing her rankings to show her site on page 1. One day she accidentally cleared her cookies and she thought Google had banned her site because she then saw the real rankings where her site wasn't on the first page.


6:54 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Possibly due to increase in traffic, and how long people stay on your site vs other sites. There is a lot of "flux" in the serps at the moment so who knows, you could be number on today to page 10 next day etc. for no reason what so ever.

Thats what I'm seeing lately anyway...


7:52 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

netmeg, that sounds like what I'm seeing, for sure. No idea how it works, though.

goodroi, I have a good stats package and as far as I can tell, no one is linking more or anything. Also, my stats package records the ranking my query was at, at the time someone clicked through to it, so I can eliminate personalization.


8:09 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The original patent for this process mentioned seasonal boosts, "day of week" boosts and even "hour of the day" boosts. It's been happening for several years now, and I've noticed all these types. Congratulations on getting the benefit - you've clearly done something right!


9:28 pm on May 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

Thanks, Tedster - wish I knew what exactly I'd done right, LOL, and then maybe I could replicate it!

(On a side note, seeing how you've explained this, I'm wondering if these could account for any part of the traffic throttling people have reported. Like, one site is getting the "hour of the day" boost, and in very narrow niches that could be felt by other webmasters who perceive themselves as suddenly getting little/no traffic that hour.)

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