Set yourself up for sizzling summer business with a search strategy

Alice Mansergh, Google’s small business director, gives her advice on how small businesses should embrace the summer.

summer SEOIt’s a safe bet the big workplace water cooler topic will now focus on summer holiday plans. With travel and accommodation already booked people will start focusing on the more pleasurable preparations necessary for full enjoyment of their holiday.

Tourists are expected to flock to the UK this summer while the staycation trend of the last decade will also see Britons exploring the UK. Nearly 60% of Britons are expected to take a holiday or mini-break on the coast this summer, according to the annual Travelodge holiday index.

UK businesses need to be prepared for this. More people than ever look for the things they need online, so it’s important to reach potential customers in the moments that matter. This includes moments when consumers are looking for what they want to do, what they need to find or where they want to go this summer. We can see from Google searches which are the most popular summer destinations this year, with London topping the list followed by places such as Blackpool, Stonehenge, Center Parcs, York and many more.

Summer presents a huge opportunity for businesses that contribute to the holiday experience with ancillary services and products if they are ready with the right solutions and advice to meet consumers’ holiday-related needs. Businesses can see how consumers are interacting with their websites – what topics they like and gravitate towards, what’s of less interest, or causes them to shop elsewhere through tools like Google Analytics. Then they can tailor website content or Google AdWords bids based on this information.

Consumers are willing to loosen the purse-strings and splash out on items that add to their holiday experience. They are happy to purchase a new outfit, beachwear or accessories, from sunglasses to tote bags – searches for ‘bikini’ are set to peak by the end of this month, for instance.

If you are selling accessories, you can use Google Trends to shape the specific products you push forward by seeing popular search terms. For example, last year, interest in ‘polka dot’ and ‘floral bikinis’ increased from April 26, with each overtaking the other until ‘polka dot’ searches won out around July 9.

People will also want to look their best before hitting the promenade. They have become conscious of how their bodies are affected by the world around them and how they look – they like those selfies to be near perfect. Searches for ‘pedicure’ begin in mid-May and stay steady until the end of August. In 2015, UK queries for ‘sunscreen’ jumped 160% in the last week of June.

They will also be hunting for activities at holiday destinations and the equipment that might be needed – from cycle hire to scuba-diving. Or the dreaded ‘what to do on a rainy day?’ that we all hope won’t be necessary.

This is the right time to surface relevant content on your website, such as any ‘how tos’ or advice, for instance scenic cycle routes. For AdWords bidding, make sure you are specific about what you offer. Use words in your campaign that clearly distinguish you from other products or services so you don’t waste your budget. For example, a company selling playing cards would greatly benefit from making a point of always bidding on ‘playing cards’ rather than just ‘cards’, which as a search term returns gift cards as a stronger result.

Finally, two key tips to help devise a profitable summer strategy would be ‘Think Family’ and ‘Think Local’. People want to spend more quality time together as a family – we can see that from the rise in relevant searches. In 2015, queries for ‘family day’ peaked at the start of August. Package up family offers or family discounts then shout about them. And don’t forget the rising trend for multi-generational holidays across three generations of a family.

Once at their holiday destination, people will start using their smartphones to look for places and services in the locality, for instance searching for “ice cream parlour near me”. Use Google Analytics to identify the audiences looking for local services and then you can tailor and refine your offering and marketing. Alan Chalmers, owner of Eat Walk Edinburgh – a company specialising in tours of Edinburgh for foodies – learnt that his main customers were from the UK and that they were searching for his business all year round, so he was able to advertise more effectively and expand the business with more tour guides.

The chance to help people to enjoy their holidays at the same time as boosting revenue will be a satisfying goal and you can look forward to counting your own takings on a well-deserved break later in the year.

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