Eight powerful secrets for optimizing SEO for the holidays.
For many people, late August to mid-September marks the unofficial start of the holiday season. Businesses large and small are aware of this, so it’s not surprising to already find great selections for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in some stores.
That said, it is considered ideal for optimizing your holiday SEO in September or October so customers can easily find you as the last months of the year roll around. If you have an online presence, putting extra effort into your holiday SEO makes perfect sense.
Consider this: according to data provided by Adobe, in 2018, American online shoppers spent $6.2 billion on Black Friday and a whopping $7.9 billion on Cyber Monday. So undoubtedly, the holidays are one of the most crucial times you need to have a robust SEO strategy in place.
SEO is a long process, and attaining higher page rankings will require you to put in the work before the holidays arrive. Start the holiday season strong by keeping in mind these eight powerful secrets for optimizing SEO for the holidays:
1. Incorporate Holiday-Centric PPC Advertising
Many people start searching for holiday gifts as early as October; the holiday season typically begins after Halloween, but we have a sneaky suspicion that shopping will take place earlier where Halloween items are already on display in August.
Late fall is the time when online traffic levels start to skyrocket. Therefore, it is ideal to start optimizing your SEO around those times to ensure you are in the customers’ minds before they start looking for presents to buy.
According to statistics, ad impressions increase by 50% during the holidays while direct traffic goes up by a staggering 150%. Increased holiday traffic also leads to better buyer intent and more PPP clicks.
If you’re considering running a PPC ad, it may be best to modify your campaigns and incorporate holiday-centric keywords. Start by using specific numbers like exact numbers in dollar amounts and percent offs.
You can also make your ads stand out by using ad extensions. Ad extensions will not only make your e-commerce transactions seamless, but they can also enhance the order process so you can manage multiple orders effortlessly.
2. Use Long-Tail Keywords to Match Specific Queries
During the holidays, it’s safe to assume businesses will be competing for the shoppers’ attention. That said, you will need a clever content marketing strategy that can capture the right people’s attention. For example, one intelligent approach would be to use long-tail keywords that specific geographic factors.
This strategy is beneficial if you have a physical store. Case in point: if your region experiences heavy blizzards, consider incorporating weather-related keywords. If you have recommendation pages, ensure they have focus keywords and precise search engine terms.
3. Refresh and Reposition Evergreen Content
Evergreen content can be an excellent resource for customers the whole year-round. Ideally, they should serve your business year after year. Avoid creating campaign pages for the holidays and retiring them immediately after as a general rule of thumb.
Instead, create evergreen content like gift guides you can link to internally throughout the year. It would also be a good idea to allow evergreen content to gain links for you each year rather than starting fresh each time.
4. Revisit Your Load Times
Here’s an interesting statistic: at least 47% of consumers expect websites to load in 2 seconds (or less). A one-second delay can reduce conversions by as much as 7%. So the holiday season should be one of the best times to revisit the load times of your landing pages.
Google Analytics can be used to check your website’s load times. For accuracy, you can cross-check this with the actual performance of your page. For example, if you have a page that loads slow, large images might be the culprit.
Even if the images appear small on your website, be sure and compress the file in the backend. In some cases, images that seem to be 200×200 might be 2000×2000.
5. Create Holiday Content and Landing Pages
Undoubtedly, these two go hand in hand. New holiday pages are more likely to rank than the standard product pages you typically have.
Your landing page content should highlight your place in the world of holiday products by using keywords you can link to pages where your site visitors can find more products.
When creating new holiday content for your blog, you can search for the types of articles that trend from Halloween to Christmas. For example, many blogs revolve around holiday cooking, decorating, and baking.
You also need to make sure your posts help solve a problem and are optimized with the right holiday keywords, so search engines consider your content relevant and fresh.
6. Enhance Your Backlink Profile
If you want to boost the chances of more people finding your content, you need to take a closer look at your website’s backlinks; they can be pivotal to your SEO success during the holidays.
Having enough high-quality backlinks signals search engines that your site is trustworthy, and you offer something relevant to certain types of users. Links to web pages that show up in influencer blog posts can also make much difference.
It is important to remember that only historically authoritative brands have quality links. That said, expect you won’t be able to build your backlink profile overnight. However, links from influencer blogs that trend over the holidays are what you need, so you should earn them.
7. Don’t Forget About Mobile SEO
Many experts consider mobile SEO a mandatory strategy during the holiday season (and beyond). Over the years, more and more consumers carry out their holiday shopping using their mobile devices. Search engines are also in tune with this trend.
Your sales and ranking can likely take a massive dive if you forget the importance of optimizing your site mobile browsing before the holiday rush.
Therefore, check each of your pages and make sure every video, button, image, and text box is mobile responsive to appease search engines and shoppers alike.
8. Ensure Your Local Business Listing is Accurate
As soon as the holiday season starts, consumers will begin creating their lists and searching for items at locations nearby. Ensuring your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are accurate.
Check your business listing and make the necessary corrections if they contain an old business address or old contact information. Ideally, your location data management should have accurate NAP information and physical directions to your store.
You can also use online tools like TribeLocal or BrightLocal to spot NAP issues, find new and high-quality citation sites, and track your local citations.
Using new tools can make the whole process of filtering local listings in directories quick, efficient, and straightforward.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget January!
Make sure you produce and optimize content for the first two weeks of January. The start of a new year can be a good time for conversions. For starters, many will be looking to return or exchange unwanted gifts. Others will also be spending gift cards or purchasing products that will support their new year’s resolutions.
Make it a point also to target different keywords and adapt your content accordingly. While often forgotten, January offers an excellent opportunity to start the year strong and on the right footing.
Optimizing your SEO for the holidays can seem tricky, but it does not have to be. If you already have a robust SEO foundation, a few adjustments and tweaks based on the tips above can effectively help you snag a spot at the top of the search engine results and ensure you are a step ahead of the pack.
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