‘Tis the Season… to Benchmark Against Seasonal Trends


For sites like my own, the holiday season could look quite depressing as I review analytics. Overall traffic is down along with organic traffic as my audience shifts to holiday mode and begins to put off efforts until after the New Year. It's also a time when I have to reassure both myself and my clients that we're performing well despite the negatives we see on month-over-month or seasonal declines.

Key to reassuring yourself is to utilize Google Trends as a benchmark to analyze your traffic to. Good friends of mine own an Indianapolis pest control company. As fall turns to winter, pest activity drops significantly. Within Google Analytics, we see about 40% of the traffic we saw since the summer peak. Watching stats creep down like that month-over-month can be disconcerting, but it's quite natural.

Here's a look at the overall trend of searches for pest control in the United States. The interest is charted as an index of interest, so you can see that peak interest is in summer and right now it's about 47.

Google Trends SeasonalYou're not done yet. You also have to keep in mind that there are geographic regions within the country that have longer and shorter seasons, or even no cold months at all, so if you're a local business you'll want to shift the analysis to a metropolitan area. We've selected the Indianapolis metro region, and you can see that the index is 25.

google trends metro subregion

Given this seasonal trend, we can benchmark site traffic against it. If interest is at 25% of peak interest from the summer, we can compare our site traffic and organic traffic against that. This client is down about 35% – not 75% since the summer, so we're quite comfortable that they're still performing above average. Our organic traffic is up year-over-year but down about 27%. I'm not overly optimistic, though. We've had a mild season in the Midwest compared to other years so we should expect demand to be up year-over-year.

Have you looked at seasonal interest trends in your business and benchmarked against them?

What do you think?

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