If your business is using SEO strategies, you already know it is a long-term commitment. It takes constant tweaking in content management to be competitive in your industry and remain at the top of the SERPs – no matter what time of year it is.
Event or seasonal SEO refinement is particularly crucial for the holiday season. Not only do you want to keep those loyal customers shopping with you, but it allows you to capitalize on the influx of traffic from search queries looking for the perfect holiday gifts, travel destinations, holiday recipes, and more.
More than half of consumers say they will start their holiday shopping before Black Friday or Cyber Monday; 45% before November 1st and 25% before October. A report published by CNBC indicates online transactions are projected to hit 7.8 billion on Cyber Monday! This indicates that shoppers have the holidays on their mind long before they actually come around.
What adjustments can you make to your SEO strategies to ensure your content is seen by as many potential customers as possible during the holiday season?
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin
Planning ahead is the best first strategy. With digital content, timeliness matters and lead time is essential for seasonal SEO.
Studies indicate events or promotions posted to websites the week before an event garners 20% participation of the overall search traffic. You may achieve roughly 50% if you start a week earlier, and 90% if your content is posted to sites at least 45 days in advance.
So you can see, getting ahead of the holiday rush by making adjustments to your site now will help set you and your business up for maximum reach and maximum benefit.
Do Your Research
Your data is your friend! Most e-commerce marketers perform some level of data analytics to measure the success of their key performers seasonality.
How else do you know whether your best practices are paying off? Performing data analysis is effective for a number of reasons. Namely, the process allows you to compare how your top-ranked organic keywords are performing in Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
During the holiday season, the previous six months of data can lend valuable information in determining what your best sellers were, where your consumers spent most of their time on your website, and what exactly brought them there. You can also use historical data to check keywords and rankings from last holiday season. This data can help you create new landing pages with relevant terms and update your site’s content in time for holiday searching.
If you are feeling time constraints or do not have the wherewithal to dig deep for this information, consider sourcing out to a SEM company or using SEO tools such as Authority Labs to do this work for you.
Update Your Content For the Holidays
It is not necessary or advisable to revamp your entire website just for the holidays. You have worked hard to create brand awareness, authenticity, and loyalty with your consumers.
Adding holiday landing pages with specific titles and descriptions, making keyword modifications, adding holiday links on your homepage and updating archived URLs while capitalizing on popular trends in your industry will encourage the search engines to surface these pages appropriately.
Optimize Titles and Descriptions
It is important to remember you are not only optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions to attract your target audience but also to the people who are shopping for your audience: parents, grandparents, siblings and bosses. Use language to support this new demographic.
It is hard to compete with generic terms like “Christmas Gifts,” or “Holiday Gifts.” Instead, try phrases like “Top 10,” “Staff Picks,” “Best 10” and add the year to make it current and relevant. “Best gifts for Mom in 2019,” “Top 10 gifts for the outdoor enthusiast in 2020,” “Top 10 vacation destinations of 2019,” are all simple examples.
Modify Your Keywords
Review your keywords with an eye toward integrating holiday-related terms. Shoppers are more specific in their search queries, often working from a list and likely to use more long-tail keywords in the description.
Your efforts don’t end directly after the holidays. Consumers will continue to shop through the end of December and into January, making returns and exchanges.
And don’t forget the gift card holders shopping after the holidays! Mom and Dad may have looked for the latest video game by searching “Best video games 2019” while the gift card holder may type in “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater reviews”.
Special Offers, Promotions, New Merchandise
This is the perfect time of year to introduce new products or services. Think about Apple and Samsung; they run sales and campaigns introducing the latest and greatest models which tend to coincide with the holiday season. The advertising typically includes “drip” messaging across multiple mediums. This induces excitement, desire, and need (gotta have that new phone).
If you are not introducing new products or services at this time, reintroduce your best sellers from previous events or occasions (this is where that data comes in handy).
If you will be using past holiday promotions and gift lists on your website, be sure to update the year from 2018 to 2019 in all of the appropriate places,
Free! Who doesn’t like free anything! When it comes to shipping and handling fees, most of us groan and look for another option which will provide shipping and handling for free. There is a reason Amazon Prime is so successful! Advertising that you will cover the cost of S&H may be the ticket that makes the sale.
The holiday season is a busy time of year, and your customers have many to-do lists and are usually pressed for time to get everything done. Now is the time to check your website for speed and responsiveness.
If your load time is more than 2 seconds (particularly on a mobile device), not only will potential customers bail but your search rankings will suffer as well. Improve your speed by:
- Not overusing re-directs
- Using properly scaled images
- Minify Code (fewer files the browser needs to load)
- Avoid mobile popups
- Have an easy transaction process for mobile devices
Use All Media Platforms
One of the best ways to be seen is to be in as many places at one time as you can. Cross-pollinate if you can – Websites to blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and more. This encourages the good practice of internal linking. Use the same variation of keywords from one platform to the other. Search engines will pick up on this, and your ranking on SERPs can improve.
You can also offer to write a post or share gift guides as a guest blogger on similar blogs in the same industry. This will offer the opportunity to earn links to your own platform, thus increasing your audience.
There is a way for every business to relate their industry to the holiday season with some research and creativity. The good news is, you still have time to get your ducks in a row for a fresh and enticing look… however, don’t delay because there is no time like the present!