Fall and winter holidays are approaching. Is your SEO holiday-ready? Do you know the best SEO strategies for your 2015 Holiday season?
You have probably begun retooling your other marketing efforts to leverage the seasonal surge in consumer spending. PPC campaigns get tweaked and turned back on, and landing pages get refreshed. Emails are tightened up and reconfigured based on what worked last year, and on current inventory. And of course you are working your social media channels. But SEO typically generates 25-50% of a site’s traffic and can be the strongest source of new prospects and of engagement with existing ones. And although SEO is generally a long term process, you probably need an SEO tune-up for the holidays. Here’s how to prepare for this annual wave of shoppers from an organic point of view.
Gear Your Content for Gift Giving
Do you have a “Gift Ideas” landing page? Is it current? Even if products are not yet in stock, it’s a good idea to get this up early. For items not yet available, offer a signup form to be notified, or a pre-order.
Enrich and update your gift pages. Add or update holiday categories, holiday coupons and discounts, with landing pages for each.
Create content around gift ideas in your market. Offer testimonials and video.
Get listed on gift sites and blogs. If you have a good giveaway gift item, send one to a popular blogger for review. Even better, give it to the blogger to use as a contest giveaway on their own site. Ask for a link in return.
Holiday Keywords, Content, and the Buyer’s Journey
Consider the typical buyer’s journey during their holiday shopping. When starting out, people will use general search terms like, “gifts for men,” “gifts for teenage girls,” “romantic gifts” and so on. As they move closer to a decision, their search narrows, and the search terms become more specific. They will include product names and categories. They may look for reviews and testimonials and video. Soon their search terms may begin to include price ranges and criteria, and brands. People often search for known brands, especially for gift giving. Use more gift keywords. Enhance your brand keywords and brand pages. Be sure to offer high level content for each stage of the shopper’s journey.
Curate Old Content
Find holiday-related content that worked in the past. Update it. You can freshen old blog posts and change the dates. Or, write a roundup blog post (or email) that summarizes and links back to previous relevant content for the season.
Along with your gift section create a general holiday-related section with blogs, videos, and more. We also recommend adding text transcriptions to your videos.
Look at your site as a buyer. Take the time to walk through the checkout process. Try different scenarios. Chances are you will find opportunities to make it smoother and improve your conversion rate. A small improvement in conversion rate can dramatically improve the efficiency of your SEO and other campaigns as well!
Meta Description Strategy
Now is the time to take a closer look and get more out of your meta description strategy. A meta description is usually used by Google for the 2-line description of your page in the search results. Once you get ranked somewhere on page 1, or even page 2, you are still competing for the attention of the searcher. This is your opportunity to write some great copy that screams, “Click me!!”
Also, meta descriptions can be edited for current relevance. Change metas to reflect sales! Add the phrase “Holiday Sale” in your descriptions where appropriate. Just don’t forget to take them down again later! Turn those search result rankings into click-throughs! And by the way, there is evidence that increasing your CTR (click-through rate) helps your rankings too!
And of course, check for missing meta descriptions and ensure they are all unique.
Do you have a brick and mortar store? If so, update your location pages. Is there a map and contact info on each location page? Ensure your Name, Address and Phone (NAP) info is correct on your site and on all directory pages where you are listed.
Do you have an easy to use location finder page? To increase the likelihood of being found, use local phrases in your copy, like, “NYC Gifts for Kids”
Can customers buy and pick up at the store? Can they check inventory at their preferred location?
Pre-Holiday Site Audit
Finally, check your SEO foundation. Before any major campaign it is wise to conduct a thorough SEO audit of your site. Take a deep dive into your technical SEO. Here are just a few key factors to mine for SEO opportunity.
- Site indexation: How well is your site indexed? What’s the ratio of content to indexation on Google? If a significant percentage or your page are not indexed by Google, you have a problem – and an opportunity. Figure out why, and you may find yourself with many more pages coming up in search.
- Errors and Redirections: Are users and search engines finding pages that have gone missing and now return a 404 message? What about 301s (Permanent Redirects)? While 301s are not inherently negative, you do not want to send the search engines hopping around unnecessarily. Comb your site for redirected URLs and replace them with the correct destination URLs.
- Canonicalization and Duplication: Check carefully for duplicate content issues caused by incorrect canonicalization. Ecommerce sites, for example, often generate an infinite number of URLs due to product filtering functionality (“faceted navigation”).
Lastly, for now, check what your competitors are doing. Do it better.
Oh, and contact us if you’d like a review of your site or need some help.
Looking for more ways to improve sales this holiday season?