It's that time of year again. Thanksgiving is fast approaching, retail employees are beginning to dread the inevitable Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Year's Eve are just around the corner. But it's also one of the busiest shopping periods of the year, and whether you're a newly formed ecommerce site or an established brand, everyone needs to consider their SEO strategy for the holiday season, and I'll tell you why.
Trends show that more and more people are purchasing goods and services online than ever before during the holiday season, which seems to correlate with the boom in mobile technologies. In fact, online sales increased by a whopping 15% last Black Friday and Cyber Monday, compared to the previous year in 2014.
Creating Holiday-Themed Content
Making content that correlates with the season has proven to be an effective strategy in the past. I'm not suggesting that you need to add holiday products to your inventory and try to peddle them online, but it would be a good idea to try to match some of your content with what's happening in the holiday season.
For instance, if you run a health and diet website, it might be a good idea to create content that showcases low-calorie alternatives to traditional gut-busting Thanksgiving and holiday treats. Or if you run an ecommerce store for pet products, you may want to create a post informing your visitors about which foods and treats aren't safe to give to their dogs (such as turkey bones that can splinter and cause internal damage, chocolate, holiday treats containing nutmeg, etc.).
This is also a great way to get the word out and inform your audience about any special holiday promotions you are running.
Look Up Keywords That Are Specific to the Holiday Season
There are many keywords that are cyclical and periodical. An example of a keyword trend is the increased frequency of queries for lawnmowers and outdoor products in the summer, though they are less commonly searched for in the colder months due to cold weather.
Likewise, there are keywords that pop up a lot more frequently during the holiday season, and you need to do your homework and see if any of them apply to your products, services, industry, and website. For instance, you may want to target phrases including keywords like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Gift, and so forth (although these are going to have a lot of competition!).
Maintain a Unique Landing Page
It's also a good idea to keep a holiday sales page up all year, even if it isn't used or active. The idea is to give yourself an advantage or an edge over sales and landing pages that were recently created. It takes longer now than ever before to rise to the top of the search results, and you'll have a better chance at ranking well if Google was able to index your page in the off-season.
You will likely want to update the page a every few months so that Google doesn't see the page as being static, too. I may also be a good idea to separate your Black Friday page from your Cyber Monday landing page, if they are both applicable promotional periods for your business.
(and keep them for a long time!)
Keep Your Website Well-Oiled
It may also be a good idea to review your hosting providers hardware specifications and bandwidth. For instance, if you're forecasting a large number of visitors for the holiday season, it's very likely that your server could be overwhelmed.
The last thing you want is for your website to come crashing down, causing you to miss out on big business and conversions during the holiday season. Make sure your website is well maintained, that the server is updated with the latest patches, that error logs aren't multiplying, and that the server has adequate resources such as memory and bandwidth.
Fine-Tune Your Sales Funnel
With so many shoppers turning to the web to make their purchases during the holiday season, you have a massive opportunity to grow your following and turn leads into repeat customers. In order to do so, however, you must make sure that your sales and marketing funnel is optimized to reach out to past customers.
In particular, you will want to offer something of value (such as content or a promotional discount) to help bolster your mailing list. Doing so will help turn a portion of the floods of traffic into customers who come back and make additional purchases.
Make Darn Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Mobile-friendliness has been a ranking signal for a long time now, so you should have already updated your site to send positive ranking signals to the Google algorithm. Regardless, you need to understand that a lot of holiday shoppers are using mobile devices, so you'll want to test your site.
Ensure that everything loads fine, and that your site is easily navigable from a smartphone and tablet. Furthermore, ensure that page load times are fine-tuned, and that image data isn't mucking up the speed and responsiveness of your site. Mobile device queries on Google have grown larger than queries from desktops and laptops, so your website's mobile experience needs to be flawless.
Create Video Content
The holidays present an opportunity to leverage marketing videos. Believe it or not, a lot of people don't know what gift they're going to give their friends and family, and aimlessly peruse the web to search for the perfect gift. Posting videos such as gift guides are a fantastic way to help a customer make a final decision.
The holiday season creates a flurry of gift purchases, and you need to prepare in advance to take full advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But past those two massive shopping events, you can adjust your marketing strategy to coincide with the holiday season to attract more leads, boost conversions, and improve organic rankings.