And, what could possibly be jollier than opening up your marketing budget, commandeering an office space, and settling in for a 2020 marketing calendar marathon?
With 2019 almost behind us, it’s time to set your sights on next year’s marketing campaigns. That means a lot of #CatDad photos, “New Year, new you” messaging, and pumpkin spice lattes.
Consider this your ultimate holiday marketing calendar for 2020. Many of the holidays listed here are classics; some are feel-good holidays, and some are made up by brand themselves.
Trust me, you’ll want to bookmark this.
If you’d like to gain more inspiration, take a look at the 2019 and 2018 holiday marketing calendars.
Sidebar: If you would like me to add more holidays, topics, or just have feedback please fill out 👉 this form. I review all the feedback and comments before building 2021 marketing calendar. Thank you!
2020 Free Marketing Calendar Templates
Whether you’re the kind of marketer who starts feeling festive in July or you’re the wait-until-Christmas-break type, there’s no doubt that prepping your 2020 holiday marketing comes with a cornucopia of stressors.
The good news is that I’ve started the planning process for you.
Ahead, I’ve shared my two holiday marketing calendar templates for 2020 including a Google calendar and spreadsheet. That will help you get through the season like a boss.
Yep – these holiday marketing calendar templates may be the best gift you’ve ever received.
2020 Marketing Calendar
Here is the marketing calendar for 2020.
The tab titled “All Holidays + Google Calendar” can be used to upload to Google Calendar.
Your 2020 marketing calendar is going to be above and beyond – all with a seasonal twist. Let’s keep it going with a breakdown of all the holidays, big events, and inspiration campaigns.
Your 2020 Holiday Marketing Calendar
I’ve separated this calendar by month, so you can jump to a certain month with one click below:
Right now, there’s a good chance that your target audience is getting bombarded by winter sales and gym workouts on Instagram.
The thing is, January is the time to experience a refresh. Along with this rejuvenation, comes college football games, SAG awards, and Elvis’s birthday.
If you’re not sure where to begin when crafting your January marketing campaigns, ahead are holidays, sporting events, birthdays, and more to celebrate in January.
Weight Loss Awareness Month National Blood Donor Month National Thank You Month National Hobby Month National Tea Month Girl Scout Cookie Season Begins
January 1-7 – Diet Resolution Week January 14-20 – Hunt For Happiness Week January 15-19 – Sugar Awareness Week January 22-26 – Clean Out Your Inbox Week January 22-26 – National School Choice Week January 28-February 2 – Meat Week
January 1 – New Year’s Day January 1 – National Hangover Day January 1 – Outback Bowl January 1 – Rose Bowl January 1 – NHL Winter Classic January 1-5 – PGA Tournament of Champions January 2 – Science Fiction Day January 3 – Festival of Sleep Day January 4 – Trivia Day January 5 – Golden Globes January 5 – National Bird Day January 6 – National Bean Day January 6 – Cuddle Up Day January 8 – Elvis’s Birthday January 9 – National Take the Stairs Day January 10 – Girl Scout Cookie Pre-Sales Begin January 10 – National Bittersweet Chocolate Day January 10 – Houseplant Appreciation Day January 11 – National Human Trafficking Awareness Day January 13 – College Football Playoff National Championship January 13 – Oscar nominations announced January 13 – National Sticker Day January 14 – Dress Up Your Pet Day January 14 – National Clean Off Your Desk Day January 15 – National Hat Day January 17 – Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day January 17 – Get To Know Your Customer’s Day January 18 – Winnie the Pooh Day (Author A.A. Milne’s birthday) January 19 – National Popcorn Day January 20 – Penguin Awareness Day January 20 – National Cheese Lover’s Day January 21 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day January 21 – National Hugging Day January 23 – Sundance Film Festival begins January 23-26 – Winter X Games January 23 – National Pie Day January 24 – Compliment Day January 24 – National Peanut Butter Day January 25 – Opposite Day January 25 – Chinese New Year January 26 – SAG Awards January 26 – Grammy’s January 26 – Spouse’s Day January 26 – National Hockey League All-Star Game January 27 – Chocolate Cake Day January 28 – Fun at Work Day January 28 – Community Manager Appreciation Day #CMAD January 28 – Data Privacy Day January 29 – National Puzzle Day January 31 – Backward Day
Popular hashtags for January:
Examples of January holiday marketing campaigns for brands:
February is extra special this year. It’s not all about Valentine’s Day, Fashion Week, or Super Bowl Sunday (okay, maybe it is).
This year, February packs a punch with an extra day because it’s a leap year. February 29 happens every four years to keep us aligned with orbit around the sun.
So, what’s a marketer to do in February to target the right audience?
First, wish for spring to begin. And, second, keep scrolling for all the inspiration you need to make February a high-performing month for your business.
Black History Month American Heart Month National Heart Month National Weddings Month National Cherry Month
February 1-7 Eating Disorder Awareness Week February 6-13 – New York Fashion Week February 10-16 – Freelance Writers Appreciation Week February 13-19 – International Flirting Week February 14-21 – Condom Week February 14-20 – Random Acts of Kindness Week February 14-18 – London Fashion Week February 18-24 – Milan Fashion Week February 24-March 4 – Paris Fashion Week
February 1 – National Freedom Day February 2 – Groundhog Day February 2 – Bubble Gum Day February 2 – Super Bowl Sunday February 3-9 – AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am February 4 – World Cancer Day February 5 – World Nutella Day February 5 – National Weatherperson’s Day February 6 – National Chopsticks Day February 7 – Wear Red Day February 7 – Give Kids a Smile Day February 7 – Send a Card to a Friend Day #SendACardToAFriendDay February 8 – Boy Scout’s Day February 9 – National Pizza Day February 9 – Oscars Ceremony February 10 – Umbrella Day February 11 – Make a Friend Day February 12 – Lincoln’s Birthday February 14 – Valentine’s Day February 15 – Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday February 15 – Singles Awareness Day February 17 – Random Acts of Kindness Day February 18 – Drink Wine Day February 18 – Presidents Day February 20 – Love Your Pet Day February 22 – Washington’s Birthday February 22 – Margarita Day February 22 – Walk Your Dog Day February 24 – National Tortilla Chip Day February 25 – Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday February 26 – National Pistachio Day February 26 – Ash Wednesday February 28 – Floral Design Day February 28 – Girl Scout Cookie Booth Sales Begin
Popular hashtags for February:
Examples of February holiday marketing campaigns for brands:
Just when you are finally out of your holiday winter slump, Daylight Saving Time catches us all longing for a nap.
Although there’s no amount of coffee that can help you prepare for the upcoming month, I did share a few marketing campaign ideas below to get you started.
From the World Wildlife Day to International Women’s Day, March has a lot to offer.
Women’s History Month Nutrition Month Peanut Month Music in Our Schools Month Craft Month Irish Heritage Month American Red Cross Month March for Meals The Great American Cleanup
March 23-28 – National Sleep Awareness Week March 12-17 – Girl Scout Week March 12-17 – Campfire Birthday Week March 26-31 – National Cleaning Week
March 1 – Employee Appreciation Day March 1 – Peanut Butter Lover’s Day March 2 – National Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day) March 2-8 – Arnold Palmer Invitational PGA March 3 – Day of Unplugging March 3 – World Wildlife Day March 4 – Grammar Day March 6 – Dentist’s Day March 6 – Oreo Day March 6 – Shaq’s Birthday March 7 – Cereal Day March 8 – Popcorn Lover’s Day March 8 – Girl Scout Day March 8 – International Women’s Day March 8 – Daylight Savings March 10-15 – The Players Championship PGA March 11 – Napping Day March 13 – Jewel Day March 14 – Pi Day March 15 – The Ides of March March 16-22 – SXSW March 16 – World Sleep Day March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day March 18 –Awkward Moments Day March 19 – First Day of Spring March 20 – Agriculture Day March 20 – World Down Syndrome Day March 21 – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination March 22 – World Water Day March 23 – Puppy Day March 24 – American Diabetes Association Alert Day March 26 – Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness March 26 – Baseball Opening Day March 29 – Mom & Pop Business Owners Day March 30 – National Doctor’s Day March 30 – Earth Hour Day March 31 – Crayon Day March 31 – Transgender Day of Visibility
Popular hashtags for March:
Examples of March holiday marketing campaigns for brands:
“April showers bring May flowers,” makes April sound like…well…a real bummer.
April deserves silent golf clap because April is bringing us National Denim Day, World Autism Day, the Master’s PGA tournament, and so much more.
And, to top it all off, springtime drops (hello, spring cleaning and pretty Peeps).
Earth Month National Volunteer Month National Autism Awareness Month Keep America Beautiful Month National Garden Month Stress Awareness Month National Poetry Month
April 15-22 – National Volunteer Week April 16-22- Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week April 23-29 – Administrative Professionals Week April 22-28 – Every Kid Healthy Week April 22-28 – National Princess Week
April 1 – April Fool’s Day April 2 – World Autism Awareness Day April 2 – National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day April 3 – Don’t Go To Work Unless it’s Fun Day April 3 – Find a Rainbow Day April 3 – National Walking Day April 4 – School Librarian Day April 5 – Palm Sunday April 6-12 – Masters Tournament PGA April 7 – World Health Day April 7 – National Beer Day April 9 – Winston Churchill Day April 9 – Equal Pay Day April 10 – Good Friday April 10 – Free Cone Day (Ben & Jerry’s) April 10 – Golfer’s Day April 10-19 – Coachella Music Festival April 11 – National Pet Day April 12 – Easter Sunday April 12 – National Grilled Cheese Day April 15 – National Titanic Remembrance Day April 15 – Tax Day April 15 – National High-Five Day April 20 – Lookalike Day April 20 – Boston Marathon April 22 – Earth Day April 22 – Administrative Professionals Day April 23 – Take Your Daughter and/or Son to Work Day April 24 – Denim Day April 27 – Arbor Day April 28 – National Superhero Day April 30 – National Honesty Day April 30 – National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day
Popular hashtags for April:
Examples of April holiday marketing campaigns for brands:
National Geographic: Partner Content for the North Face
May doesn’t just celebrate the start of summer with a day OOO, it also kicks off our summer marketing campaigns.
ALS Awareness Asthma Awareness National Celiac Disease Awareness Month Clean Air Month Global Employee Health and Fitness Month National Barbecue Month National Bike Month National Hamburger Month National Salad Month National Photograph Month Gifts from the Garden Month Lupus Awareness Month Military Family Appreciation Month
Food Allergy Awareness Week (second full week of May) April 30-May 4 – National Tourism Week April 30-May 4 – Drinking Water Week April 30-May 4 – National Pet Week May 7-11 – Teacher Appreciation Week May 6- 12 – Nurse’s Week
May 1 – Red Nose Day (date for 2020 not announced yet) May 1 – May Day May 1 – Mother Goose Day May 2 – World Password Day May 2 – Kentucky Derby May 2 – Thank A Teacher Day May 4 – Star Wars Day May 4 – International Firefighters Day May 5 – Cinco De Mayo May 6 – National Nurses Day May 8 – World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day May 8 – National Teacher’s Day May 9 – National Receptionists Day May 10 – Military Spouse Appreciation Day May 11 – Eat What You Want Day May 12 – World Fair Trade Day May 12 – Mother’s Day May 14-17 – PGA Championship May 15 – National Chocolate Chip Day May 16 – Love a Tree Day May 18 – Armed Forces Day May 18 – National Bike to Work Day May 18 – NASCAR Day May 18-Jun 7 – French Open May 19 – Armed Forces Day May 22 – Indianapolis 500 May 20 – Be a Millionaire Day May 24 – Victoria Day (Canada) May 25 – Memorial Day May 25 – Geek Pride Day May 25 – National Wine Day May 26 – Sally Ride Day May 31 – World No-Tobacco Day
Brace yourself, we’re halfway through the year. That means heat waves, #RadDadsSquad pics, rainbow flags in shop windows, and summer getaways.
So while you’re dusting off the BBQ or hitting the links, now is the time to create shareable marketing campaigns like the ALS ice bucket challenge or the IHOP’s IHOb campaign.
Because if you don’t share it on social, did it really happen?
Men’s Health Month National Safety Month Acne Awareness Month LGBTQ Pride Month National Adopt a Cat Month Aquarium Month Candy Month
June 4-10 – Pet Appreciation Week June 12-18 – Men’s Health Week
June 1 – National Donut Day June 2 – National Rocky Road Day June 4 – Hug Your Cat Day June 4 – National Cheese Day June 5 – World Environment Day June 7 – National Chocolate Ice Cream Day June 8 – World Oceans Day June 8 – National Best Friends Day June 9 – Donald Duck Day June 10 – Iced Tea Day June 11-14 – Bonnaroo Music Festival June 13 – National Weed Your Garden Day June 14 – Flag Day June 16 – Father’s Day June 16 – World Juggler’s Day June 18 – National Splurge Day June 18-21 –U.S. Open PGA June 19 – National Kissing Day June 20 – First Day of Summer / Summer Solstice June 21 – National Selfie Day June 22 – National Take a Dog to Work Day June 27 – National Handshake Day June 27-July 19 – Tour de France June 29 – Camera Day June 29-July 5 – World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational June 29-July 12 – Wimbledon June 30 – Social Media Day
Popular hashtags for June:
Examples of June holiday marketing for brands:
Life’s Good, Get Dirty
If we can clean up 65,000 fun-loving festival goers at #Bonnaroo, we can take care of your mess too with our long-lasting, durable washers. #LifesGood #GetDirty
Posted by LG Electronics USA on Thursday, June 21, 2018
July is more than just another summer month. It’s also a chance to celebrate America’s independence, order too much stuff on Prime Day, share your favorite emojis, and watch golf.
When it comes to marketing in July, there are tons of opportunities to engage with your customers – from pet safety tips during the 4th of July to free shipping.
Ice Cream Month National Grilling Month National Picnic Month National Independent Retailer Month National Blueberry Month
July 15-21 – Capture the Sunset Week July 16-22 – Independent Retailers Week
July 1 – National Postal Worker Day July 1 – International Joke Day July 2 – World UFO Day July 4 – Independence Day July 4 – Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest July 5 – National Bikini Day July 7 – Chocolate Day July 8 – Video Games Day July 11 – National 7-Eleven Day July 12 – Pecan Pie Day July 13 – Rock Worldwide Day July 13 – French Fry Day July 15 – National Ice Cream Day July 16 – World Snake Day July 16-19 – Summer X Games July 17 – World Emoji Day July 18 – World Hepatitis Day July 18 – Hot Dog Day July 18 – Amazon Prime Day July 19 – National Daiquiri Day July 20 – National Moon Day July 21 – #NoMakeUp Day July 24 – Amelia Earhart Day July 26 – Aunt and Uncle Day July 28 – Parents’ Day July 30 – Father-in-Law Day July 30 – International Day of Friendship
Popular hashtags for July:
Examples of July holiday marketing for brands:
Smirnoff: 4th of July Party Pitch
Amazon: Prime Day Deals
There are those who keep us cool by keeping theirs. Professionals in the art of refreshment – A/C techs, fridge specialists and pool professionals. We prefer to call them The Refreshionals. And they proudly present the only drink that’s certified refreshing – the #JimBeamHighballpic.twitter.com/EYcueRZw9J
Let’s be honest: The reality is that August signals that summer will be over before we know it. It’s back-to-school season and every girl has a PSL on their Instagram feed.
So, whether your audience is heading off to experience dorm life for the first time, kicking back with a cold one for NFL preseason, or just Netflix and chill with your dog, August has something for every brand.
Back to School Month National Golf Month National Breastfeeding Month Family Fun Month Peach Month
August 6-12 – National Farmers’ Market Week August 13-19 – National Motorcycle Week August 13-19 – Feeding Pets of the Homeless Week
August 1 – World Lumberjack Championships (2020 date TBD) August 1 – NFL Preseason begins (2020 date TBD) August 1 – National Girlfriends Day August 2 – International Beer Day August 2 – National Ice Cream Sandwich Day August 5 – International Friendship Day August 8 – International Cat Day August 9 – Book Lover’s Day August 10 – National S’mores Day August 12 – Middle Child’s Day (Go Jan Brady!) August 13 – Left-hander’s Day August 16 – National Tell a Joke Day August 18 – Bad Poetry Day August 19 – World Photo Day August 19 – World Humanitarian Day August 20 – National Lemonade Day August 21 – Senior Citizens Day August 26 – National Dog Day August 26 – Women’s Equality Day August 30 – Frankenstein Day August 31 – National Trail Mix Day
Popular hashtags for August:
Examples of August holiday marketing for brands:
Staples for Students Scholarship Sweepstakes
Enter our #DormBattlestation Giveaway for a chance to win the ultimate college setup, including gear from MSI Gaming,…
Posted by Newegg on Friday, July 20, 2018
Target Run with the Stauffer Family
Back-to-school season is here! Follow Papa Buz, Mila and Emma from Kcstauffer on their #TargetRun. ✏️ 🗒️ Start your list here: http://tgt.biz/742yu
Posted by Target on Monday, July 23, 2018
Break out those bathing suits and sunglasses one last time as September brings the first signs of fall.
I’m the kind of marketer who overplans. So, to help keep things on track, I have to narrow in on what the brands I work with really need.
With this list of popular holidays in September, you can decide if you want to skip Talk Like A Pirate Day (but, I mean, why would you?), or maybe you’re ready to cheers to the start of Oktoberfest.
Everything about September should be easy and breezy – your marketing budget included.
Wilderness Month National Preparedness Month National Food Safety Education Month Fruit and Veggies—More Matters Month National Yoga Awareness Month Whole Grains Month Hispanic Heritage Month Little League Month Better Breakfast Month
September 9-15 – National Suicide Prevention Week September 18-24 – Pollution Prevention Week September 17-23 – National Indoor Plant Week September 24-30 – National Dog Week
September 1 – International Bacon Day September 2 – Labor Day September 5 – Cheese Pizza Day September 5 – International Day of Charity September 6 – Read a Book Day September 8 – Grandparents Day September 11 – 9/11 September 11 – Patriot’s Day September 12 – National Video Games Day September 13 – Uncle Sam Day September 15 – Greenpeace Day September 16 – Wife Appreciation Day September 15 – Boys’ and Girls’ Club Day for Kids September 17 – Constitution Day September 17 – Citizenship Day September 18 – Rosh Hashanah September 19 – International Talk Like a Pirate September 19 – Oktoberfest Begins September 21 – International Day of Peace September 22 – First Day of Fall September 22 – Car-free Day September 23 – Checkers Day September 25– National Voter Registration Day September 27 – World Tourism Day September 27-28 – Yom Kippur September 28 – Native American Day September 28 – World Rabies Day September 28 – National Good Neighbor Day September 29 – Coffee Day September 29 – World Heart Day September 30 – International Podcast Day
Popular hashtags for September:
Examples of September holiday marketing for brands:
For some, October is about watching Hocus Pocus on repeat, pumpkin beer, and orange-stuff Oreos. Then, there are those of us marketers who see October a chance to promote your brand like the Dunkin Dress Up Contest, or Lush’s Halloween Collection.
If you’re planning to work overtime to deliver a scary good marketing campaign for October 2020, this list of October holidays will help you climb uphill to holiday marketing domination. Unpleasant dreams! 👋👋
Breast Cancer Awareness Month AIDS Awareness Month Bully Prevention Month Adopt a Shelter Dog Month Celiac Disease Awareness Month Financial Planning Month National Pizza Month Allergy Appreciation Month
October 1-7 – Great Books Week October 1-7 – National Work From Home Week October 15-21 – Mediation Week October 15-21 – National Business Women’s Week October 22-28 – National Red Ribbon Week
October 1 – MLB World Series begins (date TBD) October 1 – World Vegetarian Day October 2 – Name Your Car Day October 2 – Brow Day October 3 – National Techies Day October 3 – National Boyfriends Day October 4 – National Taco Day October 4 – Oktoberfest Ends October 4 – National Kale Day October 5 – World Teacher’s Day October 6 – World Smile Day October 9 – Columbus Day October 9 – Leif Erikson Day October 10 – World Mental Health Day October 11 – It’s My Party Day October 14 – Columbus Day October 13 – World Egg Day October 16 – World Food Day October 16 – Boss’s Day October 18 – Spirit Day (anti-bullying) October 19 – Sweetest Day October 24 – United Nations Day October 27 – Make a Difference Day October 30 – Mischief Night October 30 – Checklist Day October 31 – Day of the Dead Begins October 31 – Halloween
November sparks the fact that the year is almost over. November creeps its way into our marketing campaigns with the official introduction of the holiday season.
And, that means holiday-themed marketing campaigns like HotelTonight’s humorous holiday ads or Oreo’s #colorfilled packaging.
So, in honor of those marketing comrades-in-arms who are planning their 2020 marketing calendar with you, I’ve shared some memorable holidays to make your calendar even more palatable than last year’s old dried-out turkey.
Movember National Healthy Skin Month Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month National Adoption Month National Gratitude Month Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month National Diabetes Awareness Month
November 13-19 – World Kindness Week November 13-17 – American Education Week
November 1 – All Saint’s Day November 1 – Daylight Savings Time ends November 1 – World Vegan Day November 2 – Day of the Dead Ends November 3 – Sandwich Day November 3 – King Tut Day November 8 – Cappuccino Day November 8 – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine (STEM) Day November 10 – Marine Corp Birthday November 11 – Veterans Day November 12 – Chicken Soup for the Soul Day November 13 – World Kindness Day November 13 – Sadie Hawkins Day November 14 – World Diabetes Day November 15 – America Recycles Day November 16 – International Tolerance Day November 17 – Homemade Bread Day November 19 – National Entrepreneurs Day November 26 – Thanksgiving Day November 27 – Black Friday November 28 – Small Business Saturday November 30 – Cyber Monday
Popular hashtags for November:
Examples of November holiday marketing for brands:
In honor of Veterans Day, we’re offering 50% off when you upgrade your membership—for one day only.
Posted by Ancestry on Friday, November 10, 2017
Discover’s Black Friday Deals: Shopping Survival Guide
For some, December can be one of the merriest times of the year. For us marketers, it can be the busiest time of year.
From Google’s Santa Tracker and Office Depot’s Elf Yourself to Starbucks Give Good campaign and REI’s #OptOutside push, there’s something in it for every marketer and brand.
So, marketers, this list is for you to make the holidays a little merrier.
National Human Rights Month Operation Santa Paws Bingo Month
December 2-10 – Chanukah December 26-January 1 – Kwanzaa
December 1 – Presidents Cup PGA (Dates TBD) December 1 – World AIDS Day December 1 – Rosa Parks Day December 1 – Giving Tuesday December 3 – International Day of Persons with Disabilities December 4 – Cookie Day December 6 – St. Nicholas Day December 7 – Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day December 9 – Christmas Card Day December 10 – Nobel Prize Day December 12 – Poinsettia Day December 14 – Roast Chestnuts Day December 15 – Bill of Rights Day December 15 – Free Shipping Day December 18 – Bake Cookies Day December 19 – National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day December 20 – Go Caroling Day December 21 – First Day of Winter / Winter Solstice December 23-30 – Chanukah/Hanukkah begins December 23 – Festivus December 24 – Christmas Eve December 25 – Christmas Day December 26 – Kwanzaa December 26 – Boxing Day December 27 – National Fruitcake Day December 31 – New Year’s Eve
Popular hashtags for December:
Examples of December holiday marketing for brands:
Food52: Cookies of the World
UPS: Wishes Delivered
Cards Against Humanity Saves America
Leesa – Giving Tuesday offer
What’s in Your Marketing Strategy for 2020?
What are your marketing goals for 2020? And, what marketing campaigns do you have planned?
I’d love to hear about your marketing goals for 2020. And, any campaigns you loved from 2019. Tweet us at @sejournal or @annaleacrowe to share your thoughts!
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita All screenshots taken by author
You can think of Tobiko as a kind of anti-Yelp. Launched in 2018 by Rich Skrenta, the restaurant app relies on data and expert reviews (rather than user reviews) to deliver a kind of curated, foodie-insider experience.
A new Rich Skrenta project. Skrenta is a search veteran with several startups behind him. He was one of the founders of DMOZ, a pioneering web directory that was widely used. Most recently Skrenta was the CEO of human-aided search engine Blekko, whose technology was sold to IBM Watson in roughly 2015.
At the highest level, both DMOZ and Blekko sought to combine human editors and search technology. Tobiko is similar; it uses machine learning, crawling and third-party editorial content to offer restaurant recommendations.
Betting on expert opinion. Tobiko is also seeking to build a community, and user input will likely factor into recommendations at some point. However, what’s interesting is that Skrenta has shunned user reviews in favor of “trusted expert reviews” (read: critics).
Those expert reviews are represented by a range of publisher logos on profile pages that, when clicked, take the user to reviews or articles about the particular restaurant on those sites. Where available, users can also book reservations. And the app can be personalized by engaging a menu of preferences. (Yelp recently launched broad, site-wide personalization itself.)
While Skrenta is taking something of a philosophical stand in avoiding user reviews, his approach also made the app easier to launch because expert content on third-party sites already existed. Community content takes much longer to reach critical mass. However, Tobiko also could have presented or “summarized” user reviews from third-party sites as Google does in knowledge panels, with TripAdvisor or Facebook for example.
Tobiko is free and currently appears to have no ads. The company also offers a subscription-based option that has additional features.
Why we should care. It’s too early to tell whether Tobiko will succeed, but it provocatively bucks conventional wisdom about the importance of user reviews in the restaurant vertical (although reading lots of expert reviews can be burdensome). As they have gained importance, reviews have become somewhat less reliable, with review fraud on the rise. Last month, Google disclosed an algorithm change that has resulted in a sharp decrease in rich review results showing in Search.
Putting aside gamesmanship and fraud, reviews have brought transparency to online shopping but can also make purchase decisions more time-consuming. It would be inaccurate to say there’s widespread “review fatigue,” but there’s anecdotal evidence supporting the simplicity of expert reviews in some cases. Influencer marketing can be seen as an interesting hybrid between user and expert reviews, though it’s also susceptible to manipulation.
About The Author
Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes about the connections between digital and offline commerce. He previously held leadership roles at LSA, The Kelsey Group and TechTV. Follow him Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.
When used creatively, XPaths can help improve the efficiency of auditing large websites. Consider this another tool in your SEO toolbelt.
There are endless types of information you can unlock with XPaths, which can be used in any category of online business.
Some popular ways to audit large sites with XPaths include:
In this guide, we’ll cover exactly how to perform these audits in detail.
What Are XPaths?
Simply put, XPath is a syntax that uses path expressions to navigate XML documents and identify specified elements.
This is used to find the exact location of any element on a page using the HTML DOM structure.
We can use XPaths to help extract bits of information such as H1 page titles, product descriptions on ecommerce sites, or really anything that’s available on a page.
While this may sound complex to many people, in practice, it’s actually quite easy!
How to Use XPaths in Screaming Frog
In this guide, we’ll be using Screaming Frog to scrape webpages.
Screaming Frog offers custom extraction methods, such as CSS selectors and XPaths.
It’s entirely possible to use other means to scrape webpages, such as Python. However, the Screaming Frog method requires far less coding knowledge.
(Note: I’m not in any way currently affiliated with Screaming Frog, but I highly recommend their software for web scraping.)
Step 1: Identify Your Data Point
Figure out what data point you want to extract.
For example, let’s pretend Search Engine Journal didn’t have author pages and you wanted to extract the author name for each article.
What you’ll do is:
Right-click on the author name.
In the dev tools elements panel, you will see your element already highlighted.
Right-click the highlighted HTML element and go to Copy and select Copy XPath.
At this point, your computer’s clipboard will have the desired XPath copied.
Step 2: Set up Custom Extraction
In this step, you will need to open Screaming Frog and set up the website you want to crawl. In this instance, I would enter the full Search Engine Journal URL.
Go to Configuration > Custom > Extraction
This will bring up the Custom Extraction configuration window. There are a lot of options here, but if you’re looking to simply extract text, match your configuration to the screenshot below.
Step 3: Run Crawl & Export
At this point, you should be all set to run your crawl. You’ll notice that your custom extraction is the second to last column on the right.
When analyzing crawls in bulk, it makes sense to export your crawl into an Excel format. This will allow you to apply a variety of filters, pivot tables, charts, and anything your heart desires.
3 Creative Ways XPaths Help Scale Your Audits
Now that we know how to run an XPath crawl, the possibilities are endless!
We have access to all of the answers, now we just need to find the right questions.
What are some aspects of your audit that could be automated?
Are there common elements in your content silos that can be extracted for auditing?
What are the most important elements on your pages?
The exact problems you’re trying to solve may vary by industry or site type. Below are some unique situations where XPaths can make your SEO life easier.
1. Using XPaths with Redirect Maps
Recently, I had to redesign a site that required a new URL structure. The former pages all had parameters as the URL slug instead of the page name.
This made creating a redirect map for hundreds of pages a complete nightmare!
So I thought to myself, “How can I easily identify each page at scale?”
After analyzing the various page templates, I came to the conclusion that the actual title of the page looked like an H1 but was actually just large paragraph text. This meant that I couldn’t just get the standard H1 data from Screaming Frog.
However, XPaths would allow me to copy the exact location for each page title and extract it in my web scraping report.
In this case I was able to extract the page title for all of the old URLs and match them with the new URLs through the VLOOKUP function in Excel. This automated most of the redirect map work for me.
With any automated work, you may have to perform some spot checking for accuracy.
2. Auditing Ecommerce Sites with XPaths
Sometimes, stakeholders will need product level audits on an ad hoc basis. Sometimes this covers just categories of products, but sometimes it may be the entire site.
Using the XPath extraction method we learned earlier in this article, we can extract all types of data including:
And much more
This can help identify products that may be lacking valuable information within your ecommerce site.
The cool thing about Screaming Frog is that you can extract multiple data points to stretch your audits even further.
3. Auditing Blogs with XPaths
This is a more common method for using XPaths. Screaming Frog allows you to set parameters to crawl specific subfolders of sites, such as blogs.
However, using XPaths, we can go beyond simple meta data and grab valuable insights to help identify content gap opportunities.
Categories & Tags
One of the most common ways SEO professionals use XPaths for blog auditing is scraping categories and tags.
This is important because it helps us group related blogs together, which can help us identify content cannibalization and gaps.
This is typically the first step in any blog audit.
This step is a bit more Excel-focused and advanced. How this works, is you set up an XPath extraction to pull the body copy out of each blog.
Fair warning, this may drastically increase your crawl time.
Whenever you export this crawl into Excel, you will get all of the body text in one cell. I highly recommend that you disable text wrapping, or your spreadsheet will look terrifying.
Next, in the column to the right of your extracted body copy, enter the following formula:
In this formula, A1 equals the cell of the body copy.
To scale your efforts, you can have your “keyword” equal the cell that contains your category or tag. However, you may consider adding multiple columns of keywords to get a more accurate and robust picture of your blogging performance.
Over the almost 16-years of covering search, specifically what Googlers have said in terms of SEO and ranking topics, I have seen my share of contradictory statements. Google’s ranking algorithms are complex, and the way one Googler explains something might sound contradictory to how another Googler talks about it. In reality, they are typically talking about different things or nuances.
Some of it is semantics, some of it is being literal in how one person might explain something while another person speaks figuratively. Some of it is being technically correct versus trying to dumb something down for general practitioners or even non-search marketers to understand. Some of it is that the algorithm can change over the years, so what was true then has evolved.
Does it matter if something is or is not a ranking factor? It can be easy to get wrapped up in details that end up being distractions. Ultimately, SEOs, webmasters, site owners, publishers and those that produce web pages need to care more about providing the best possible web site and web page for the topic. You do not want to chase algorithms and racing after what is or is not a ranking factor. Google’s stated aim is to rank the most relevant results to keep users happy and coming back to the search engine. How Google does that changes over time. It releases core updates, smaller algorithm updates, index updates and more all the time.
For SEOs, the goal is to make sure your pages offer the most authoritative and relevant content for the given query and can be accessed by search crawlers.
When it is and is not a ranking factor. An example of Googlers seeming to contradict themselves popped this week.
Gary Illyes from Google said at Pubcon Thursday that content accuracy is a ranking factor. That raised eyebrows because in past Google has seemed to say content accuracy is not a ranking factor. Last month Google’s Danny Sullivan said, “Machines can’t tell the ‘accuracy’ of content. Our systems rely instead on signals we find align with relevancy of topic and authority.” One could interpret that to mean that if Google cannot tell the accuracy of content, that it would be unable to use accuracy as a ranking factor.
Upon closer look at the context of Illyes comments this week, it’s clear he’s getting at the second part of Sullivan’s comment about using signals to understand “relevancy of topic and authority.” SEO Marie Haynes captured more of the context of Illyes’ comment.
Illyes was talking about YMYL (your money, your life) content. He added that Google goes through “great lengths to surface reputable and trustworthy sources.”
He didn’t outright say Google’s systems are able to tell if a piece of content is factually accurate or not. He implied Google uses multiple signals, like signals that determine reputations and trustworthiness, as a way to infer accuracy.
So is content accuracy a ranking factor? Yes and no. It depends if you are being technical, literal, figurative or explanatory. When I covered the different messaging around content accuracy on my personal site, Sullivan pointed out the difference, he said on Twitter “We don’t know if content is accurate” but “we do look for signals we believe align with that.”
It’s the same with whether there is an E-A-T score. Illyes said there is no E-A-T score. That is correct, technically. But Google has numerous algorithms and ranking signals it uses to figure out E-A-T as an overall theme. Sullivan said on Twitter, “Is E-A-T a ranking factor? Not if you mean there’s some technical thing like with speed that we can measure directly. We do use a variety of signals as a proxy to tell if content seems to match E-A-T as humans would assess it. In that regard, yeah, it’s a ranking factor.”
You can see the dual point Sullivan is making here.
The minutiae. When you have people like me, who for almost 16 years, analyze and scrutinize every word, tweet, blog post or video that Google produces, it can be hard for a Google representative to always convey the exact clear message at every point. Sometimes it is important to step back, look at the bigger picture, and ask yourself, Why is this Googler saying this or not saying that?
Why we should care. It is important to look at long term goals, and as I said above, not chase the algorithm or specific ranking factors but focus on the ultimate goals of your business (money). Produce content and web pages that Google would be proud to rank at the top of the results for a given query and other sites will want to source and link to. And above all, do whatever you can to make the best possible site for users — beyond what your competitors produce.
About The Author
Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.