SEO is the helpless, needy newborn child of your marketing campaign. It needs consistent attention and care, no matter the size of your business. Similar to becoming a new parent, you will learn through evaluation of progress and trial and error. The holidays are no exception and depending on your business may in fact be the most crucial time of year. Beginning to earn higher page rankings and conversions will require putting in the effort well before the holiday season. If pruning your SEO is necessary for such a boost it can take weeks for Google’s bots to scan your site and for you to fine tune your keywords. The following 9 SEO tips to maximize your holiday ecommerce traffic are listed to assist you in starting the SEO update process early to ensure your products and promotions are seen this holiday season.
Analyze Where You Are: You Want the North Pole, Not the South…
Analyze the current state of your SEO like you would any other part of your business. Checking your organic search performance, explore which pages are yielding the most views and longest time on page from Google Analytics. Cross-check these results with your top performing keywords will do you a world of good. You will need to know what it is that you are already doing well in order to improve the things you are not. Certain pages, such as your homepage, are most likely already doing well. Spending time to tweak your keywords might not impact your overall performance too much so find where the lack of traffic is and work to optimize those pages that are performing less than expected.
Know Your Keywords: Make them Cheerful!
Keeping track of a list of top-performing keywords for your business is much like keeping track of your child’s first words for parental bragging rights. Just as you would utilize the words your child can express to communicate with them and show them off, you would utilize your keywords. However, forming a list of holiday-specific keywords will help your business attract new customers searching for the perfect gift, that you can provide of course. Research Google Trends Reports to discover which search terms customers are frequently using and update your keywords for these changes. If you find many of the keywords are applicable, use them! The holidays are always upon us quickly and time doesn’t allow for trial and error as a year round evaluation does.
Write Now, Not Later: ‘Tis the Season to be Blogging…
Once you have compiled a list of holiday-specific keywords, it may feel logical to push off your blog writing until later in the holiday season. Unfortunately, the longer you wait to put those keywords into action, the less impactful they will be on your business’s search success. The time it takes for Google to scan your changes can best be expressed with the 45-Day Rule. What is the 45-Day Rule you ask? The 45-Day Rule was derived by looking at the search behavior obtained from Google Trends for consumers around major U.S. holidays. Data shows that if you want to participate in over 90% of the search traffic, you need to post your content to websites at least 45 days in advance. Hence, the 45-Day Rule. Therefore, publishing your content a week before a major holiday will allow you to engage in 50% of the search engine traffic, and that’s not what you are looking to achieve, why be middle of the pack when you know what it takes to be in 90% of search traffic?
Hint Toward What’s to Come: The Snow Globe Effect
With that being said, have a concrete plan to create holiday preview pages to inform your loyal customer base what is coming soon. Even if you haven’t completely finished, post a few buzzworthy sneak peaks. Not only will this create some excitement for your customers, but it can only help generate your SEO. Use “Coming Soon” or “This Holiday Season…” pages to start building links and begin ranking on relevant holiday search queries. Google likes to see well-ranking pages that are consistently updated. Launch with a few items or a key message, and then update it as regularly as you can during the holiday season. This will boost traffic to that page and ultimately drive increased holiday sales.
Be Smart with Social Media: All You want are some Likes, Tweets and Pins
In 2012, 61% of people said they research gifts via social media before purchasing. Now more than ever social media is a platform for word of mouth as well. Advertise, promote and take advantage of this marketing explosion that only costs you what you want it to cost you! Social Media allows you to direct access all of your loyal consumers on a daily basis. This will help drive your website traffic if done correctly. This strategy should include a planned out content calendar, offers and deals, sneak previews, items available, testimonials, and anything to do with the holidays… again, use those keywords!
Create Holiday Gift Guides: Deck the Halls with Deals Aplenty…
Again stemming from my last point of using social media as a free to low cost platform, Pinterest is a wonderful tool for creating holiday gift guides. If you can manage to set your business up with a supple amount of followers this platform has the potential to drive traffic and sales during the holiday season. Your customers are looking guidance, but they also want to share their finds, make that easy for them to do. When creating holiday gift guides, especially for particular known shopping holidays, offer deals! Tuck a coupon in their stockings, studies have shown that 57% of consumers who used a coupon on their last purchase said they wouldn’t have made the purchase without the discount.
Revisit Your Load Times: NOT the Night Before…
Every one-second delay in page load time decreases customer satisfaction by 16% and conversion rates by 7%, how naughty is that? Use the holiday season as a reminder to revisit the load times of your top landing pages. Google Analytics offers the Site Speed tab to monitor load times which should be data you cross check with your page performance. Your photos could be the culprit if you site load time lags. Remember to save all images for the web or use a converter tool to compress large images.
Aim Toward Google Shopping: Santa Frequents Here
Having your product feed in Google Shopping is a sure way to gain visibility from potential buyers and improve customer loyalty. Not only do Google Shopping feeds have a higher conversion rate than other forms of PPC, but they also have a lower cost-per-click. With Google Shopping, you can create highly visual online ads, which put your products front and center, showing rich imagery and key product details on Google Search.
Don’t Forget About Mobile: On Tablet, On Smartphone!
- Last year, 28% of all holiday retail sales were influenced by shopping-related mobile searches.
- 75% of shoppers use their mobile devices in-store to research products
- 25% make purchases on their smartphones in-store
Similar trends have continued this year as omni channel selling becomes the standard of the retail industry. Therefore, it is more vital than ever that businesses adhere to Mobilegeddon’s responsive mobile site mandate for this holiday season. Before the holiday season starts, be sure that if you are not already mobile responsive and mobile friendly on all fronts, that you are ready!
Set aside some time to revisit how your website is ranking on Google and if your mobile store is ready for the holiday rush. If your organic search results are not what you would hope, remember that the earlier you make the updates and prepare for this hectic time of year the better your results will be.
Creative Click Media provides digital marketing strategies for year round results, take advantage of our free digital marketing audit offer to maximize your online visibility this holiday season.