Creating and Using an SEO Editorial Calendar

I’ve mentioned the benefits of having an editorial calendar several times on this blog, and Lisa has done an excellent job of explaining why you need an editorial calendar from a content production point of view; however, what I haven’t talked about is how to use an editorial calendar from an SEO perspective.

From an SEO perspective, an editorial calendar can has several points worth noting:

  • You need to produce, publish, and link build to new content at least 30-45 days before you can expect it to rank (unless its a QDF term)
  • You need to have a recycling strategy in place for old content
  • You need to maximize the value of previous social media campaigns and think about how you are going use current and upcoming ones.

While these strategies are important for every website, they are especially important for websites with seasonal content, like Halloween, the World Series, or new car models, as you only get a once-a-year opportunity to get it right.

Let’s say you have website that talks about cooking. You want to start cycling links to your existing Halloween content 30-45 days before the peak searching time. I prefer to put those links on the homepage for maximum effect (see making your homepage more dynamic). You can determine when the peak searching time is by using tools like Google Trends and Google insights

Search Volume for Halloween Cupcakes

Search Volume for Halloween cupcakes

Be sure to use Google insights for keyword research and post ideas (see Four Ways Bloggers can Use Google Insights)

Keyword Ideas From Google Insights

If you can, try to do some natural linkbuilding or scraper link building in conjunction with moving the links to the home page. If you are creating new content, you’ll need to decide if it’s evergreen or social. If it’s evergreen, you’ll need to push it out sooner if you want it to rank; if its social, you’ll need to wait till the event is about 7-10 days out from peak search time, or the time when it’s front of mind. For example, “Extreme Valentine’s Day Gifts” will work fine if you publish it on February 5th. If you publish it on December 15th, it will probably fail miserably.

If you have any link bait from the previous year, my suggestion is not to 301 redirect the URL to a more commercial page. Instead, leave the content in place, and link to commercial pages, or revise the content, making it more commercially oriented. Don’t be afraid to repeat some of your past successes year after year, just give them a new wrinkle. For example, Cosmopolitan Magazine has been putting out “how to have better sex” and “look great naked” articles every few months since it hit the newsstands in the 1970’s. Just remember to give it a fresh approach and new content.

If you have content that changes/updates every year, you have two choices: you can go with a living URL approach or you can take an archive approach. The archive approach goes something like this: every year, Ford puts out a new mustang, so the URL for the current year should be something like this:

When the 2011 comes out, create a new URL and move the existing content to it. The URL should be something like this:

Then put the 2011 model information on:

Your old page hopefully has links and traffic. If you redirect it, you are sacrificing it for no good reason. By shifting the content but keeping the URLs permanent, you maximize what you already have.

So what are the takeaways from this post:

  • Put links to existing content on the home page or other frequently crawled pages 30-45 days before peak search volume days
  • Use Google trends or Google insights to determine peak search volume days
  • Rewrite or interlink existing social media pages to maximize their value
  • Schedule new social media on time that coincide with maximum search volume
  • Use a living URL or archive strategy so you don’t sacrifice any existing link equity

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