Content Marketing

Capitalising on big events and why SEO is nothing like Tennis

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 by Dave Colgate

I’m on a mission to write a blog that combines SEO with Wimbledon. I’m not really a fan of Tennis so about all I could come up with is “how major sporting events impact online sales” (and even then a colleague came up with this one for me). Well, if you happen to sell tennis balls, I guess this is a good time of year for you. That’s about the extent of it.

I hate those blog posts that pitch their title with “How SEO is like [enter event here]”, so let’s get that straight first – Tennis is nothing like SEO.


(By all means comment if you disagree, I’m expecting impressive examples though).

What I can talk about, however, is how major sporting events impact search results and how that influences sales through organic search. Ah ha! We’re onto something!

With any major event that gets a lot of offline promotion and attention from mainstream media, it impacts online search. Not only are people talking about it a lot online and offline – people are searching a lot too.

During the Olympics in 2012, London was the most searched-for city in Google Maps. In addition, Google reported that global search volumes were dramatically higher for London 2012 than Beijing 2008. Another interesting fact was that the most successful countries also saw a spike in search traffic. Sporting success was also reflected online with Jamaican searches for “track and field” increasing 40% (thanks to Usain Bolt for that one) and US searches for “swimming” was up by 25% as American Michael Phelps defeated stiff competition from fellow countryman Ryan Lochte.

These figures really go to show how seasonal trends can play a major role in search campaigns. Search engines are clever enough to figure out what’s hot because of both online user behaviour and increases in related content. Let’s take Wimbledon for example. Yesterday, ‘Wimbledon’ and other related terms dominated results with over 100k searches:

Wimbledon Sunday June 23 2013

Historically, Wimbledon has consistently done the same:

Wimbledon search demand

You can clearly see the yearly peak in search interest for “Wimbledon” whenever the event has been active. The build-up to these events and while they’re happening is a great time to capitalise on these situations and gain additional traction for your campaign.

Don’t just think about Google

Whilst Google is still the most popular search engine on the market, there are plenty of others out there – Bing, Yahoo, YouTube and so on. Also, think about other types of media where you can create content that relates to the event whilst remaining in context of your business objectives. During these major events there’s a higher level of potential traffic, so reaching into more channels can increase the traction your campaign accumulates and the number of eyes it reaches.

Planning and Preparation

You can pretty much guarantee that next year online search will go just as crazy for Wimbledon as it will this year and has for the past few. Therefore, prior planning and preparation of content – for release at the start of the event – will ease your workload and provide a much better chance of seeing success.


As well as the big media outlets, there are plenty of other platforms and blogs that talk about different events. Hunt these out during the quiet times and start getting in touch with them early. Preparing these contacts and teeing them up will allow you to reach further with your content much earlier, thereby allowing you get more out there. Keep an eye on the popular platforms during the event the year before as well. These chaps may continue to have punch next year (or even more), so it’s good to get involved with them early on. Remember to go to them with good ideas and awesome content. Offer something they’ve either not seen before, or something that no one else has.

Create dedicated campaigns

As well as your current search campaign (which could be applicable all year round), design and implement specifically crafted campaigns. They don’t necessarily have to be completely SEO orientated, but what they should be is engaging and different. Everyone has the same ideas around these events because everyone wants a piece of the action, so you have to create something really unique and special to get noticed. Games, interviews and commentary throughout are just a few of the successful techniques you could employ to capitalise on such an event.

Implement social media

If you’re not already, you should really start leveraging social media. This includes all the major platforms like Google+, Facebook and Twitter. In addition, there could be niche ones applicable to your industry too, so it’s worth hunting those out and becoming active within them. Social activity proliferates during big sporting events, so being a part of the scene before it kicks off is going to be very useful. Not only does it give you a predetermined channel through which to push campaigns and content, it can also save some leg work in promoting during these times as well.

Finally remember, Tennis is nothing like SEO.

Share this article

About the author

Dave Colgate

Dave Colgate

Dave came on board with Vertical Leap in 2010 with a strong SEO and web development background, having worked on Content Management Systems and eCommerce websites. With a creative flare, Dave combines his knowledge of design, usability and SEO with advanced technical skills for a broader view of search that achieves great results. Follow me on Google+