Optimizing SEO to Attract Shoppers This Holiday Season

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Christmas is right around the corner. Is your SEO up to scratch to take advantage of the multitudes of shoppers, and bring in the profits for your business? If you don’t think your SEO is geared up for the mounting shopping rush, now is the best time to start.

In this article, we list the ways you can optimize your SEO for the coming holiday season.

  1. Check Your Current SEO Strategy

If your SEO were a car, you need to check which parts work properly and which need fixing. List down all the components that contribute to your SEO rankings and see what is performing well and what isn’t. Check which pages are giving your business the most traffic, as these are indications of how your organic search is performing. Then, with Google Analytics, check these findings with the top keywords; that will let you know which pages need their SEO worked on. Do what is necessary to optimize them.

  1. Use Social Media Efficiently

Consider these facts about consumers and eCommerce: 30% of online shoppers said they would more likely buy from a social media network like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat. On any given day, there are 1.45 billion social media users that are active, and of that number 85.8% are outside the US and Canada. A considerable number of orders made via social media, about 85%, come from Facebook alone.

In the Philippines, there are 67 million people active online. This number is expected to increase by 12% yearly. The country continues to rank first in social media use and hours spent online; this is why businesses are bullish about e-Commerce’s growth in the country.

With numbers like these, there should be no reason you won’t or can’t use social media to push your products or services. To harness social media effectively, you have to create a content plan for the holiday season. Post about offers, sneak previews and deals with links going back to your website. Use both engagement and sales-oriented posts to sell to your current fan or customer base and attract new customers. Never forget that social media gives your e-Commerce business a direct line to your followers, and can successfully draw in new customers who are more likely to buy your product or service.

  1. Check Load Times

Is your website loading fast enough? Thanks or no thanks to quick bandwidth speeds and impatient shoppers, your wiggle room for load speeds is very small. These days, almost 50% of all consumers expect websites to show up on their browser in 2 seconds or less. If your site loads by even a second too slow, you could have 7% fewer purchases than expected.

This season, be sure to check how fast your website and pages are loading, especially the landing pages. Use Google Analytics’ site speed tab to check your website’s loading times, and compare that with the actual loading times of your website. Should you discover that your website and other pages are taking too long to load, check your site’s or page’s pictures. Overly large images could be causing the slowdown. Be sure to compress your photos to avoid any impact on your pages or site’s loading times.

  1. Drop Hints for Shoppers

Even if your promos or deals are not final, and you’re still in the process of fleshing out your holiday marketing efforts, you should post-holiday previews. The purposes of these posts are two-fold: not only does it tease and pique the interest of your customers, but it also arouses the attention of search engines.

Posts that have “Watch this space this holiday season” or even something that says “coming soon” can create some buzz and interest in your audience. It will also work to give your business better rankings in search queries connected to your business. Remember also that Google ranks pages higher when they’re updated consistently with new content.

Don’t be complacent and let your website or your social media sites go quiet. Update them routinely throughout the holidays to boost traffic, which can give you more sales.

  1. Boot up the Blog

The logical thing to do would be to make your list of holiday keywords, then…wait. It may sound right for you to put off blog writing until you’re closer to the peak of the holiday season, but this is a mistake.

For a better guarantee of more traffic at the right time, it would be better for you to follow the 45-day rule.

This means you should post your blog content 45 days before your target date, to ensure the greatest impact possible. By using this rule, your content will take part in 90% of search traffic. It would be best if you never took for granted how consumers like to prepare their shopping lists well ahead of the holiday rush. Ideally, you should be blogging and posting by mid-October to hit that shopping sweet spot in mid-December.

  1. Keep Keywords Updated

An easy SEO task to miss is to not update your keywords before the holiday season rolls in. While you’ll want to rank well in the obvious keywords for your line of business and industry, you should remember to use holiday-appropriate keywords that can give you a significant traffic boost. Use keywords that hit closer to the mark. For instance, instead of depending on general keywords like “Christmas gifts,” make it more specific and narrowed down.  Or if you’re peddling holiday food baskets, “Christmas gifts for foodies” would drive more traffic to your pages and target more of your niche’s customers.

Don’t recycle holiday-themed keywords that you’ve used in previous holidays, as well, as these can change. Refer to Google Trends Reports and see if those prior keywords are still effective, and tweak them as you see fit.

  1. Give Good Deals

Offering big discount coupons and exclusive sales are suitable for your e-commerce business, and it’s good for your SEO, too. An excellent example of this is Lazada, Southeast Asia’s biggest eCommerce group. Lazada is known for holding special sales on the dates of 11-11 and 12-12. On the 12-12 offer, not only did Lazada’s sales reach over 30 times the normal daily gross across Asia, but their sites got 1.3 billion visits, too.

Apart from putting your offers on your site, you can use Google’s Shopping feature. Google Shopping links to your website and also lets you offer discount coupons to online users when they land on your page.

Whether it’s Google search or Shopping, the considerable number of visits generated by either of them can be traced to your offers. Offering enticing discounts or having special sales can lead to a higher click-through rate and lower bounce rate, and make shoppers take more time browsing the website.

When these stats are high, they inform search engines that the page meets the needs for a specific search query, and it’s ranked higher.

  1. Never Leave Out Mobile

Make sure that your site is optimized for mobile, and check that the load time is fast and that every appropriate photo, text box, video, and a button is responsive for all your mobile pages. Your mobile site has to work properly, especially for the Philippine market. There are 69 million internet users, and 92% of those users visit online stores. Approximately 62% of them have made purchases via their mobile phones. That’s a market of 42.7 million shoppers. Your mobile site has to be ready to handle the holiday shopping rush, to ensure it works for your sales and SEO rankings.

Remember to check, update, and tweak your SEO service as needed, especially before the holidays. Don’t rely on anything you used in the previous holiday, as trends, keywords and even search algorithms change every year. You can use these tips to help you optimize your SEO, but it’s better to hire an SEO agency as managing every SEO service can be hard work.

A web professional of 20 years, Bernard is the General Manager of Truelogic, an SEO Company based in the Philippines. He is a strong advocate for creating a culture of leadership. He has launched 4 companies, over 300 websites, and more than 11,000 marketing campaigns.

Optimizing SEO to Attract Shoppers This Holiday Season

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