One of the keys to modern digital marketing is establishing yourself as a thought leader. Your organization undoubtedly has something unique and special to say in the marketplace; creating and marketing content that conveys that viewpoint is one of the best ways you can promote your business in today’s search engine-driven world. Done properly, content marketing promotes your brand over and over again over a long period of time by enabling others to find and share the compelling stories that you tell. As the number of people linking to and sharing your content rises, your website’s search engine ranking will increase as well. Today, I wanted to share a content marketing case study from Young Marketing Consulting client Wanted Analytics.

Wanted Analytics provides human resources departments with talent marketplace data – what companies are hiring for what positions, how much they’re paying, how hard certain skills are to find, etc. One thing we’ve learned over the years is that nothing catches a visitor’s eye more than data that helps them make decisions or provides an interesting insight. And as you can imagine, Wanted’s data set is a content marketing goldmine. So, we worked with them to build a blog-centered digital marketing and lead generation strategy that provides excerpts from Wanted’s data in areas such as bilingual staffing, in-demand IT skills, and more. So far, the results have been generating leads and driving site traffic, and the momentum keeps building.

Our biggest content marketing success so far came when Wanted ran a blog post on the recent meteoric rise in hiring for the “Internet of Things”. A reporter from Forbes came across the post and ran a story on where to find a job doing Internet-of-Things work based on our content. That’s fantastic exposure without paying for a public relations firm, and it’s all thanks to content marketing.


“Search engine optimization is kind of like eating. You just have to do it every day.”

Frank, our head of digital marketing, said the above to me the other day and he couldn’t be more spot on. When helping our clients grow their web traffic, the team spends more time examining content marketing performance in Google Analytics than we’d care to admit. But one of the most common questions we receive about web traffic around this time of year actually has very little to do with search engine optimization (aka SEO) at all. Since we’re fast approaching the dreaded December web traffic slowdown, I thought it would be a good idea to spend a bit of time helping you to understand what’s happening.

Though most reports I’ve seen on the phenomenon are anecdotal based on individual sites or agency experience, a consensus among marketers is that the typical site’s traffic drops 20-40% during the period between Thanksgiving and New Years. Digging a little deeper, we can use Google Trends as a proxy for web traffic in various industries. As you’ll see below, search volume generally falls off a cliff in December. There are exceptions for consumer products and retailers that are heavily involved in holiday shopping, but by and large you should prepare for your lowest web activity levels of the year.

What’s Behind December Web Traffic Declines?

Don’t worry, your website’s search engine optimization hasn’t suddenly gone haywire. Web traffic declines in December because people spend much more time doing offline activities during the holidays: traveling, visiting with family, opening presents, carving the ham, etc. And, unless you’re in retail, entertainment, or consumer products, your site will likely see its lowest traffic levels of the year during this period.

So What Can My Business Do to Keep Healthy Holiday Traffic Levels?

Whenever you’re looking to drive organic web traffic, publishing volume becomes key. Continue your regular updates, understanding that you’re speaking to a much smaller audience. Because of that fact, you may want to take a moment to respond to those individuals who are visiting you on social media in December. You can also post more shareable holiday-themed content (if that kind of material lends itself to your business), and if you’ll be running year-end discounts or offers make sure to get your email marketing out early enough that people haven’t already tuned out their email.

The important thing is to recognize that December traffic declines are temporary. If you don’t see traffic return to normal by later in January, then it might be time to dive back into your search engine optimization efforts.