The holidays are a time when many people do their shopping online. If you’re running an e-commerce store, you can prep it for seasonal shopping to increase your traffic and sales.
In this guide, you’re going to discover 10 holiday SEO tips to ensure that your website is well-optimized for the surge in online shopping during the festive period. It doesn’t matter if it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas.
What Can Cause an E-commerce Store to Miss out on Seasonal Traffic and Sales?
A report from Insider Intelligence predicted that holiday retail sales will increase by 3.3% to $1.3 trillion in 2022. As much as this is good news, it can be of no value to you if you don’t prepare your store for the seasonal traffic and sales.
Here are some things that would make your website not benefit during the terrific holiday shopping:
Poor Quality Content
Poor quality content reflects badly on your brand and puts off customers. People that happen to find your site will just click away without even buying anything. This would mean that Google would crawl your content and choose not to rank it well because users don’t find it valuable.
Lack of Relevant Keywords
For your website to show up in the SERPs during this time, you should use relevant keywords. If people are searching for “Black Friday gift ideas” or “Christmas decorations” and your website talks about something else, chances are that it won’t rank well. That applies even if there’s value in what you publish and have high-quality products to sell, the reason being that people won’t know about your site.
A Poorly-Maintained and “Ugly” Website
If your website has slow loading times or other technical issues then no one would want to stay on it for long. People won’t be able to buy anything if the pages don’t load correctly or take too long to do so.
Also, an unattractive site is a turn-off for some customers. Many shoppers rely on good visual content before deciding whether to make a purchase or not.
10 Holiday SEO Tips for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas
Now that you know what can make you miss holiday traffic, it’s time to explore the solutions. If you need to get the best results, it helps to start planning early. Give yourself plenty of time to properly implement your holiday SEO strategy.
Try to start planning at least a couple of weeks or a month before the holiday period begins, so that you have enough time to make changes and optimize your site for maximum performance.
Still, there’s no need to worry if you didn’t plan earlier. After all, better late than never! Below, you’ll find some tips that you can implement right away and improve your page rankings in the search results during the biggest shopping days of the year.
- Keep an Eye on Holiday-Related Queries
It’s useful to monitor the types of queries that people are searching for on Google. Check what kind of holiday-related keywords and phrases they’re using, and then use those terms to optimize your content for better visibility in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). You can take advantage of the Semrush free version to find the most appropriate keywords depending on their difficulty score.
Below are some cost-free ways to discover new search queries:
Use Google’s suggestions
This is one of the easiest ways to discover what your target audience searches for on Google. The first way is to use Google”s autocomplete predictions. Type in a few relevant words related to your business niche and you’ll see Google predicting some popular keywords and phrases below the search bar.
Check this example of the search “buy gift Black Friday.”
Notice that there are several nice keywords you could go after too that you may have not known about before doing the search.
Another idea is to check the “People also ask” section. It usually appears after the first few results or towards the bottom of the page.
You may as well scroll down to the bottom of the page to see some more related queries from Google users.
Analyze your analytics data
You can use the data from your website’s analytics to identify which keywords and phrases bring the most traffic to your site. These are the ones you would want to add to more of your content without overdoing it.
You’ll need Google Search Console and the new Search Console Insights for this purpose. With these two tools, you’ll understand your audience better and discover which of your site’s pages and content resonates the most with them.
You’ll also spot high-potential queries you’ve not covered but have gotten significant website impressions for. Take a deeper look into each keyword, including how many impressions it brings and whether it fits in any of your content, to decide if it’s a potential traffic booster.
Go to Google Trends
Google Trends is an incredibly useful resource for spotting the hottest holiday trends. Because it reflects what people search for every day, you can easily know the keywords and phrases to target and boost your site traffic.
With Google Trends, you can see how a specific search term performs in the location of your business or worldwide. You can also compare one term with another to know what works better.
Here’s a comparison between Black Friday and Cyber Monday worldwide over the past 12 months:
From the screenshot, you’ll notice that these terms start to trend when these two days of the year are near. In the specific comparison, you’ll see that the term “Black Friday” is doing better in 2022 and thus worth paying more attention to.
- Optimize Existing Content with Proper Keywords
Having identified the most relevant holiday-related keywords and key phrases, it’s time to incorporate them into your content. Look at your existing content and optimize it with holiday-related keywords so that you can target more search queries. Add seasonal phrases like “Black Friday deals,” “Cyber Monday discounts” or “Christmas offers” to your web pages.
Here are the best places in your blog posts and web pages to add important keywords:
- Titles and meta descriptions: Include holiday-specific terms in the title and meta description of your content to give it a better chance of ranking in the SERPs during the holiday season.
- Introduction: Begin your blog posts or web pages with a sentence that contains the focus holiday-related keywords. That way, you can grab readers’ attention and come up in search engine results right away.
- Headers: Use keywords in your headers to break up your content into sections and emphasize important points. This will also help Google understand what the page is about.
Remember, you need to avoid keyword stuffing at all costs. This is the habit of adding lots of keywords to a page where they’re not needed. While it may have a good effect, the results are short-lived as Google and other search engines have learned to filter out such websites.
Besides blog posts, it’s essential to also update your product descriptions. Your copy is the trick to more conversions once you have the traffic. So, you need to add more power words to inspire emotions among potential buyers so they feel good and don’t resist your offers. Besides, numerous AI copywriting tools can help you craft irresistible copies automatically in no time.
- Publish New Seasonal Content
Don’t limit yourself to just updating old content. Create new content related to the holidays and publish it on your website. This could be anything from blog posts or product reviews to how-to guides or holiday recipes. Be sure to also include the right keywords related to the holidays you’re targeting in your content.
Remember, the more content you have, the better your chances of getting more traffic. However, you shouldn’t compromise on quality just to have more content for the purpose of getting quick traffic from Google. In most cases, poor quality and mediocre content that brings less value to customers won’t rank well. If you can’t keep up the quality, just publish a few top-notch pieces.
- Create a Holiday Landing Page
Creating a dedicated holiday landing page is another great way to target relevant search queries. This can be anything from a promotional sale page or discounts on products, services, and subscriptions.
You could even mention coupon codes for users to enjoy. And as we know, coupons are the perfect encouragement for people to buy from your site.
Optimize the page with the relevant keywords and include an enticing call-to-action (CTA). It helps if you create some sort of urgency for boosting conversions. Your web visitors are more likely to jump on a deal when they see that it only lasts for a short while.
As a good example, here’s Walmart’s Black Friday landing page:
The company has listed the deals and you can clearly view the differences in Black Friday prices versus regular prices. Customers can see the review count, type of delivery, and estimated shipping time before even adding the item to their cart. Plus, the “add” button is clear and well-placed on items.
- Don’t Forget the Visuals
It’s crucial to use appealing visuals such as banners, holiday-themed images, gifs, and videos so that visitors can easily relate to the content. So, take new product photos with a holiday vibe to them to add to your new and existing pages.
You can create text and graphic-based visuals using various free or paid photo-editing tools online depending on your budget. As for videos, it would be great to publish them on YouTube and then embed them in your content. This way, customers can spend more time on your site learning about your holiday offers. It will send a signal to Google that people value your website, increasing the chances of it ranking higher.
Keep in mind that part of holiday imagery optimization is publishing them with relevant titles and alt tags. You can also use important keywords in the captions of your images.
- Include Internal Links to Your Holiday Offers
Incorporating internal links into your holiday content is another strategic holiday SEO tip to increase traffic and sales. That’s because these links can keep visitors on your site longer, reducing the bounce rate and giving Google a reason to rank you higher.
So, make sure you include internal links in not only blog posts but also web pages with products or services containing holiday deals. Numerous DIY SEO tools can help you do on-page optimization like internal linking better. Doing so also helps the Google web crawler understand your site structure and discover any new information.
- Get Backlinks to Your Online Store
Link building is an important part of your holiday SEO strategy. While backlinks are things that you get gradually, you can go hunting for them before the peak of holiday shopping online.
Be sure not to engage in any bad link-building practices for fast results. They include buying links, getting poor-quality links, and lots of direct link exchanges.
Instead, do the following good link-building tactics:
- Link-building outreach: Reach out to bloggers and other websites in your niche and ask them to link back to your website or content. You could offer a free product or service in exchange to incentivize them.
- Guest blogging: Other than that, you can publish guest posts on various sites in your niche with a link back to your e-commerce store. This will help you get more visibility in the SERPs during the busiest shopping days of the year.
- Broken link-building: You can also use broken link-building to look for pages with broken links and then offer your page as a replacement. Even if your page isn’t a fit, you just need to create a relevant piece of content prior to contacting the other site owner with your proposal.
- Getting press mentions: You could provide bloggers and reporters with useful information to get a link for them as credit. You can either interact with such publishers online on social media or use online services like HARO.
- Link reclamation: Besides building new links from time to time, you could also reclaim a link you lost when a site updated its content. You simply need to inquire with the owner about it and you could get your link back.
It helps to monitor your backlinks using a backlink tracking tool and know where you stand. You’ll not only be notified when you lose or gain backlinks but also get an opportunity to check and borrow link-building ideas from your competitors.
- Leverage Social Media
Don’t forget to leverage social media as part of your holiday SEO strategy. Promote your seasonal discounts, deals, and content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms.
While promoting your online store on multiple social media sites would mean more awareness, you could also lose focus on the most important ones. Unless you’ve automated the process using a social media scheduling tool, just pay more attention to the platforms that have worked best for you in the recent past. This approach will help drive more traffic to your website and boost conversions when people are shopping for the holidays.
- Create Holiday-Themed Advertisements
Another SEO tip to increase traffic is by creating holiday-themed advertisements. You can use these to drive more visitors to your website and pages. Of course, it all depends on your business budget.
But if you can, setting up Google or Facebook ads for the holidays could easily work in your favor. The reason is that more people are ready to shop for various items and even gifts for their loved ones. You just need to target the right demographics during the ad creation process before launching it.
- Test Your Site Speed
Last but not least, make sure to test your site speed prior to the holiday season. A slow-loading website can be detrimental to your rankings in the SERPs and reduce user engagement. You also don’t want your site failing in performance in the middle of hot sales.
Use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights to test your page speed and make optimizations to improve the user experience. Some common page speed issues include inefficient web hosting providers, large image sizes, and lots of unnecessary code.
While desktops matter a lot, it’s essential not to forget mobile optimization. Optimizing your website to suit mobile devices is a must for any website these days, especially during the holiday season.
In fact, around 61% of the US population uses mobile shopping. So, you need to ensure that your site loads perfectly on phones and tablets to avoid missing out on mobile traffic. If it means redesigning the whole thing, so be it!
Wrapping It up
You never know what kind of SEO gains you’ll make this holiday season if you implement the right strategies. After all, it could be the time for your site to shine in search engine results!
And when prepped well, your online store will bring in more leads and sales during the holidays. So, start optimizing your website today using these 10 holiday SEO tips and be ready for shoppers who are looking to find great deals online!
Mike Stuzzi is an online entrepreneur who blogs at MikeStuzzi.com. He publishes helpful guides on starting online businesses, the best business tools to use, and his personal experiences on the site.