You know how the big box stores seem to start putting out the holiday decorations earlier and earlier every year?
As obnoxious as it is, they do that because Christmas is where they make a good chunk of their money during the year, and the longer the holiday season, the longer customers will be holiday shopping.
When it comes to prepping your ecommerce store for holiday success, you cannot start improving your SEO soon enough.
Why You Should Start Your Holiday SEO Now
The single biggest reason to start now is because SEO takes time to yield results. Once you start an SEO campaign, it can take 1 – 6 months to see improvements from your updates. Typically, it’s on the lower end of the spectrum, but if you want to have high quality SEO in place come Black Friday, you have to get started NOW.
It also helps to understand how SEO can help you during the holidays.
Beyond the advantage of having more dominant organic rankings and more traffic, organic search results become a tool that allows users to comparison shop from unbiased, reliable sources.
When someone finds a product they want to buy online for the holidays, a large portion of them are going to verify that they’re getting the best deal by comparing their current offer with others they can find on the web. To ensure they’re getting unbiased results, those shoppers turn to organic results to ensure they’re seeing reliable pricing and not ads.
Last but not least, strong SEO can help reinforce other marketing channels like social media, paid ads (think quality score) and marketplaces like Amazon.
Yes, contrary to popular belief, the holiday shopping season is not all about increasing your ad budget, SEO plays a big part in the success of your holiday season.
Holiday SEO Tips
Here are some ways you can leverage SEO techniques to help boost your SEO and organic traffic during the holidays and grow your revenue.
Be Topical & Trendy With Your Content
If you want to see quicker traffic results from on page content, you need to be topical with what you post. See what is trending in Google Trends or on Twitter and create some content around it. While this strategy might not help you rank #1 for your dream keywords, it will help you drive traffic in the short term to your website.
Here are some topical content ideas for your blog:
- Responses to popular news stories (stay away from anything too political)
- Niche holiday topics – think about interesting, off-beat, or brand new angles on familiar holiday topics
- Relate to current trends – Take a peek at Google Trends and what’s trending on Twitter and see if any of that fits into your brand. If it does, find a creative way to relate it to your business and/or products
Focus On Your SERP Appearance
In a recent study by Sistrix, they found that one of the biggest factors in whether a user clicks on your listing from organic search is your SERP appearance.
This means that your title tag, meta description, URL, and any structured data need to be on point in order to earn those clicks.
There are a few rules of thumb for creating great SERPs:
- Utilize your keywords
- Keep it short and sweet
- Don’t always use your brand
- It’s the holidays, be jolly
- Utilize relevant structured data
On top of helping your click through rate, updating your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions help move the need quicker than in depth content strategies. They might not be as powerful of a tool, but a positive tweak to your titles can impact your rankings 1 or 2 spots in a matter of days.
If you’re on a limited financial and time budget, start with optimizing your SERPs.
Tease Out Any Performance Issues
It is imperative that you make sure your store is ready to be shopped by your customers. Even if you have #1 rankings for “holiday gift guide,” if your site isn’t easy to use on both desktop and mobile devices, you’re going to lose customers.
You need to verify that the following components of your store are in working order:
- Checkout process (mobile & desktop)
- Account creation
- Responsiveness of both your category/collection pages and product pages
Here are some ways you can verify that your ecommerce store is working properly:
Shop Your Own Store
The best way to garner data on how your customers view your site is to shop your own store. Use it on both desktop and mobile devices and keep detailed notes on things that are not working properly or don’t look right on the device.
You want to make sure that your site is easy to use, easy to understand, and looks great on any device.
Focus on Site Speed
During the holiday season, competition is very, very high. On top of having a great user experience, you need to make sure that your site is as fast as possible. Analyze your site’s load speed and determine ways you can improve it. In 90% of cases where site speed is an issue, the website owner is trying to load massive, unoptimized images.
Site speed can be complicated because it takes into account your website’s tech as well as the content on the page. In some cases, there won’t be much you can do about your site’s speed, but reducing image sizes and having optimal compression is a great place to start.
If you want to get a grip on your site speed, run your website through one (or all) of the site speed analysis tools below:
Be Realistic with What You Can Accomplish
Once you’ve got a list of site speed and user experience improvements, it’s time to start making improvements. But you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish with your resources and skills. For many site speed and user experience improvements, you will need development assistance. If you have access to a developer that can help you work through site improvements, that’s great.
But the reality is that many website owners and merchants don’t have readily accessible development talent. So you need to be realistic about what is doable. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you undertake website changes:
Are these changes that can wait?
There’s a certain “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality when it comes to website development changes. Because these changes take time and have the chance to break other components, it might be smart to delay certain updates until after the holidays to avoid inconsistencies.
Is it in the budget?
Development updates can be expensive, especially if you’re undertaking bigger projects or components. Ask yourself if it makes sense to undertake these changes now from a budget perspective. With the holidays approaching, it might make more sense to put that money into advertising or SEO campaigns as opposed to your development projects.
What are the goals?
For some website improvement projects, you can easily lose track of your overall goals and how they’re being tracked. Be sure to have a very clear outlook on what the goals of your website improvements are and how to approach them before you start any projects like this.
Yes, it’s July, but you should be thinking about the Christmas season right now. The sooner you are prepared, the more effective your holiday season seo ecommerce strategy is going to be. Below are some additional resources you can reference for additional holiday marketing tips, advice, and insight: