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Different times of the year bring about different types of online searches. As we head into fall there are new topics that are becoming more prevalent in online searches. Whether it be ‘back to school’, or ‘football’, the Labor day weekend signifies a shift for many people when they say goodbye to their cargo shorts or summer dresses and they start preparing for the leaves to fall and for the temperature to dip.

This year, even though searches for “labor day” were down 38% compared to 2010, people were still searching for many Labor Day related terms. According to Yahoo!, shopping, affordable vacations and, of course, food were the most searched items this past weekend.

Let’s take a peek at the search trends from this past holiday weekend in North America:

Labor Day 2011

The most searched question in relation to the weekend was, “When is Labor Day?”, which was up over 148 percent, with women comprising 58 percent of people who were searching for the answer.

Yahoo reported that searches for the term ‘labor day’ were down 38 percent vs. last year. Searches such as “labor day weekend 2011″ however, were up 1,889 percent. Other searches that were popular in relation to Labor Day: ‘Labor Day Telethon’, ‘Labor Day Sales’ and ‘Labor Day Parade’.

Labor Day Food

Labor Day is often associated with late summer barbeques, family time and sweets. So it shouldn’t be a big surprise that of all the searches to see a big increase in August, ‘Cherry Pie’ was one of the biggest; leaping by 9,324 percent over the course of the month. Clearly people’s minds are stuck in the candy jar, as recipes for peach cobbler, cookies, cheesecake, Rice Krispy Treats and cake were very extremely popular searches as well.

Labor Day Shopping

Nothing signifies the end to summer like a ‘back to school sale’. As Labor Day quickly approached, most people were very busy hunting for deals. Coupons for Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, grocery, JCPenney, Old Navy, Forever 21, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch and Express were among the most searched. The stores with the most searches were led by Walmart, Target, Macy’s and Kmart.

Labor Day Getaways

There’s no better time to take some vacation than over a long weekend and it seemed that Yahoo! searchers were trying to get one last summer retreat in before the fall. “Cheap weekend getaways” searches were up 3,602 percent, while “cheap all-inclusive vacation and “vacation deals” were up 4,808 percent and 107 percent respectively. Also prior to the weekend, “Groupon getaways” searches climbed by over 60 percent as well as “travel distance calculator” which climbed 525 percent.

What Can You Learn About These Search Trends

We know that SEO is important to a lot of our customers and one of the things the above ‘labor day trends’ shows us is that search volume can be highly inconsistent from week-to-week and month-to-month. But, with a bit of planning, you can seriously capitalize on this!

Any good SEO professional will tell you that one of the very first things you must do when embarking on an SEO strategy is to pick your keywords. After all, you can’t target every keyword because you’ll just end up with a lot of losing battles…. And we want battles you can win! So, carefully choosing the right keywords is really important.

One of the factors that effects keyword selection is search volume. To assist with that you can use this tool from Google: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

Obviously a term that is searched for more often can potentially bring you more traffic, which is what you want. But, that doesn’t mean you need to restrict your keyword targeting to only terms that have a good search volume all year round.

Imagine if you were a website that targeted “cheap labor day getaways”. You probably wouldn’t get much search traffic in February, when no one is thinking about Labor Day at all. And, throughout most of the months this would be a term that really isn’t driving much traffic. But, then when August hits and your search term experiences something like a 3000% increase, well, at that point you are laughing!

The lesson here is that there is nothing wrong with targeting a term that is only going to really spike in volume during certain seasons, on certain days, or around certain events/holidays. The key is to plan ahead of time because you definitely cannot decide on August 15 that you want to dominate ‘labor day’ searches in two weeks, it simply won’t happen.

But, if you map out your strategy and can stay the course throughout the months where your specific date/time sensitive keyword isn’t doing much for you, then when the time arrives, the fruits of your labor will be well worth it.

In closing, I can’t believe it is September already!

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