A Christmas Hangover: Why do rankings drop in December?

14th January 2022 | | Blog, Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation

The holiday season is behind us and we’ve emerged from our comfortable Christmas bubbles to dive headfirst into a chilly and busy January. Traditionally a time of reviewing the successes and failures of the previous year and making resolutions about ways in which we can improve ourselves. This extends to our businesses of course and, from an SEO point of view, it’s natural to want to see how we finished the year. Then, to our disappointment, we see that the last month of 2021 was one of our worst performing months for rankings and visitors. It’s enough to banish any lingering vestiges of Yuletide good cheer!

 

The seasonal dip in December is a recognised phenomenon. Most industries suffer from similar problems and have done so for years. Whilst your rankings maintain visibility, your traffic is likely to experience a drop and you start the year wondering if you have to rewrite your entire digital marketing strategy. After all, it won’t fix itself will it? Well, as it happens, it usually does.

 

Traditionally, January is one of the busiest months for website traffic for dentists. Plenty of those New Year’s Resolutions revolve around oral health and people are starting to get back into the normal routine, where they think less about presents and more about practicalities. This often carries into February and March, making the first 3 months of the year some of the most profitable. Great, but why did I have to go through a bad December to get here?

 

There are plenty of theories around why the last month of the year is often a slow one. One is that as major corporations make a big push for advertising they increase their PPC budgets exponentially, which can have a knock on effect and increase your cost per clicks’. Another is the simple fact that, due to preoccupations, people are less likely to search for dental treatment in December which results in fewer visits. Another still is that the impact of Christmas changes our regular search patterns on Google, which in turn impacts how the complex algorithm works.

 

The reality is that nobody can ever give you a definitive answer, as is the often the case in the world of SEO. However, what is clear is that this is an industry-wide issue that appears like clockwork once a year and resolves immediately afterwards. There’s no need to panic, but there is some opportunity to grasp. As previously mentioned, the first 3 months of the year can be some of the most productive. So, if you were putting off that PPC campaign until the right time, you’d do a lot worse than starting it now. The importance of getting off to a good start cannot be underestimated. Now that Big Ben has bonged, Auld Lang Syne has been sung and we’ve recovered from our overindulgence it’s time to focus on making 2022 a prosperous and productive year.

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