Before you know it, another holiday season will be upon us. You may have already started preparing for your own personal holidays—buying gifts and putting out holiday decorations—but what have you done to prepare your website for the holidays?
Now, we’re already in November, and, as we all know, SEO takes time. And that means it may be a little too late to gear up for a full holiday search engine push. However, there are still plenty of things you can do to gain some traction in time for Black Friday and Christmas.
These tips focus on gaining quick results and making the most of the time you have left. While it is true that jumping to the top of the search engines by the end of the month would certainly be a serious challenge, there are still plenty of other online marketing options that will help you increase your traffic and make the most of the holiday season.
Here is how you get started:
Analyze Your Current Standing
What’s the overall state of your SEO? Are there some lingering unoptimized areas that need attention? You may be surprised how much a few simple changes may affect your current rankings, so you need to start working on those first.
On the flip side, also check on what you’re doing well. If you have a clear idea of what’s working well for your site, you can apply those same principles to your holiday pages that are highlighting special deals or products.
Work on Titles and Product Descriptions
People are browsing more than ever during the holiday seasons, so one of the most important things you can do is optimize your product titles and descriptions.
The titles and descriptions for your products have a direct impact on click-through rates, so you’ll want to make sure they’re properly optimized.
Now, we’re not talking about just filling them with keywords so they’ll be optimized for the search engines. While this is important, at this stage in the holiday season, it’s going to be more effective to optimize for the user.
It’s important to write quality titles and descriptions in a way that specifically draws in your site visitors while still containing your target keywords.
This means you really need to understand who your customers are, and what they’re looking for during the holiday season.
Try and tailor your titles and product descriptions to the people buying gifts, rather than the typical target audience. This way, you’re providing the highest-quality information for people who might not have any clue about your product to begin with.
Consider Load Times
How are your load times? Recent studies show that even a one second delay in load times can lead to a 16% increase in customer dissatisfaction. It can also decrease your conversion rates by 7%.
During the holiday season, you can’t afford these kinds of numbers.
While people can speculate on how much load times affect your overall rankings, it’s clear that they affect your ability to convert casual visitors to paying customers.
If your load times are suffering, start by looking at the photos on your site. Photos are one of the biggest culprits for longer load times. If you have them properly sized, it should speed things up.
If you’re still experiencing problems after that, it may be time to get a little deeper into your website’s architecture and look at other ways to reduce page load speed.
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Don’t Ignore Mobile
As you know, more consumers are shopping on their phones and tablets, to the point that you can’t ignore mobile optimization.
When you create holiday websites or landing pages, it’s absolutely critical that they are mobile friendly. Mobile customers are most likely looking to make an immediate purchase while they’re thinking about gifts for friends.
If your website can’t deliver a fast and intuitive mobile experience, you’re probably going to miss out on that sale.
Engage Consumers through Social Media Channels
Many companies are able to get more immediate responses by doubling down on their social media engagement through the holidays.
Pinterest is particularly good for promoting gift and holiday content. For example, you can create holiday Pinterest boards with optimized keywords in both the description and title that contain your top holiday products. These boards can then provide deeper linking to your holiday pages.
Don’t forget other social media channels. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all valuable resources for linking to your site, highlighting your holiday products or specials, and sending more traffic to your website for the holidays.
Consider an Aggressive PPC Campaign
AdWords and pay-per-click marketing may be a great last-minute option for many companies. While SEO takes time to get to the top of the search engines, PPC allows you to place an add right where your customers can see it.
This requires careful management, though. Prices are likely to go up as many companies bid for top keywords, so you don’t want to get sucked into blind bidding. It’s okay to be a little more aggressive with your strategies, though, if it means getting more customers to your site during this shopping season.
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Take Notes for Next Season
After you put so much work into your online marketing for the holiday season, be sure to record the things that work and the things that didn’t. The more you know about the things that performed well this season, the more you can do to prepare early for next season.
The data you gather this way can be used to implement new strategies, either for other holidays later in the year or for next year’s big holiday push.
Now that you have tracked and established a baseline performance, you can be even better prepared for the next round of holidays.
Start Preparing for Next Year
Okay, so you got a late start to the holiday preparations for your website. It happens to everyone.
That doesn’t mean you have to be late for next year.
While you may not know exactly how you plan on jumping into next year’s holiday season, you can use the things you’ve learned this year to get a head start on next year’s pig push. You may not be able to start creating holiday pages for next year at this point in time, but you can start researching keywords for the next season focusing on those SEO strategies that are known to take more time.
And just remember, Black Friday may be right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you’re too late. Get started today, and you can still position your website for a great holiday season.
Is your PPC campaign providing enough value for this holiday season? Download this checklist to find out: