The holiday season brings in a peak of family activities, along with gifts and shopping which is extremely competitive with online vendors promoting their goods. This is a large part of their revenue for the year, so ensuring that the season performs well is crucial for most businesses. It does take some forethought to handle your SEO strategy forward since search engine optimization is a long game.
With a solid understanding of SEO tools, profiling Google Search Console and Google Analytics, and honed in on Keyword Research you can get your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) goals met. This can be done over landing pages, blog posts, link building, and ensuring you have a solid user experience.
The SEO strategy
The first step is to ensure you identify your appropriate audience, and do the user research on the keyword ideas, google trends on your competition, understand the structured data that you are looking to have to maximize your SEO results. Many businesses "think" they know what keywords they must focus on without the research. While this might be somewhat true, the audience will use a statistical variation of keywords and semantic keywords and this is what the Google Algorithm uses for SERP.
Then there is your on-page SEO and structured data for your product pages, your blogs, your landing pages, and considering user experience design and call to action. SEO Audits need to be checked on your site for technical SEO tests. This is more than just usability testing, and verifying broken links - but to ensure there are no penalties or errors that would pull your SEO backward.
Site Performance and speed
During the holidays, increased traffic will stress page load times, and if they slow down, your bounce rate will increase exponentially. This is especially important on the smartphone platform given the connectivity of 3G/4G/5G can be infringed upon. Having the speed allows your images and your value proposition to be presented well, and have a chance to engage your audience. The speed of your website is a crucial component outside of the content and marketing that you might have put a lot of effort into. Therefore it is important to address the architecture you have put your faith into, and how well it is maintained. Ensuring it is monitored especially at peak times is a must. Here are some tips on your site speed.
- If you have a slow site upload speed on desktop and mobile below 2 seconds should be an alarm.
- Mobile-friendliness score - check your mobile menus, searchability, and navigation.
- Site Audit your broken URLs and Content links and resolve them.
- Incorrect/Missing Canonicals
- Website indexing issues.
- Outdated and or redundant content pages, including collection and landing pages, need to be revisited.
- Checking for duplicate content, especially on product pages.
- Checking for your content architecture, especially on product pages when it comes to utilizing the full extent of keywords, meta descriptions, and FAQs.
- Removing orphaned pages (especially happens on Magento platforms).
- Mixed content links and non-secured pages - make sure everything is in HTTPS.
- Verify your user experience, and call to action where the value propositions lead to a clear next step.
Best tools for assessing site performance
Here are some key tools worth mentioning, that you might already have access to.
- Google Page Speed insights
- Google Mobile Friendly testing tool
- WebPage Test
- Index Coverage report on Google Search Console
- Screaming Frog (free SEO tool)
- Keyword Tool: AHrefs
- Keyword and Competitive research tool: SemRush
- Keyword Tool: Moz Keyword Explorer
Past trends in your market segment
Google Search Console can provide for long periods of time a chart of your impressions and CTR (Click Through Rates). This translates into yearly trends. Looking beyond these periods, Google Analytics can then elaborate on your organic traffic and the behaviors based on these CTRs. The historical trends are a good place to look for audience traffic and expectations of improvement over past periods.
- Which pages generated the most traffic in the past (via search results), and what keywords were associated with that page?
- Additionally, are the keywords correlated with the right intent as well as the product/brand?
- Analyze data from your competition on their pages, keywords, and other sources such as social media, ads, and Email campaigns. Make sure you subscribe to their pages to receive them.
- Which channels performed well in the past and optimize them further, while re-inventing or removing channels that don't perform well or are out of cost position. Spend the effort on what works well and expand on it, and de-emphasize that doesn't pay you back in effort and time.
- Keep building on your SEO content. Write a blog post frequently on market trends, products, and how your brand is engaging with the market (and its trends). Look at past blogs, and enhance them further with keywords and updates.
- Google Analytics and Google Search Console provide a lot of insight but might be complex to interpret. Keeping it simple in understanding the source of your organic traffic and understanding what worked well is the key input to your strategy going forward.
Keywords for your Holiday season
Keyword research is crucial in targeting your audience correctly, and the historical trends mentioned above help to identify which ones were important during that season. Additionally, keywords carry "intent" such as "Transactional", "Commercial" or "Informational" - the intent shows behavioral action upon arrival on the page. Anything outside of the three key intents could leave you disappointed and with a high bounce rate. Intent such as "Navigational" should not be a priority. Keywords that do not carry the right intentions will translate to wasting your budget and efforts. See the keyword tools above to do your research. Taking the right steps for your holiday SEO.
- Finding the right matching Holiday Keywords
- Check and utilize long-tailed keywords
- Check the seasonality of keywords using Google Trends
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday landing pages head of the event for your offers
- Coordinate SEO Keywords with Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other marketing efforts
- Drive Social Media to generate additional traffic
- Keep track of your metrics, and check what is successful in real-time
- Update your product descriptions and for your holiday period and ensure you repurpose landing pages for this year's events.
- Include local SEO for "Near me" geolocation on products that might be needed on hand right away.
We hope these SEO tips come in handy and as a reminder that your SEO matters when it comes to these highly competitive events. If you need advice or further explanation of what you should consider when it comes to tools, and what will help you and your SEO marketing strategy we are happy to help - just reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org