Talk to some of your family members and friends, and I think you will find that at least a few of them consider the period of late August to mid-September to be the unofficial start of the holiday season. Businesses large and small know this, which is why you’re able to find decent selections of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations in some stores already.
As we know, driving effective SEO results is not a task for the impatient. Your newly optimized web page will not start ranking better in five minutes, but let Google’s search algorithm spend a little time with it and watch what happens.
September and October are prime times for optimizing your holiday SEO so that online customers can find you when the last few months of the year roll around. Any business with an online presence would do well to put some meaningful effort into their holiday SEO, given that, in 2018, American online shoppers spent about $6.2 billion on Black Friday and $7.9 billion on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe data.
Here are three ways to use SEO to capture some of that business.
1. Optimize your content with holiday keywords.
If your “regular-season” SEO is already optimized for keywords that are leading users directly to your website, you really do not have to overthink your strategy for leveraging holiday-specific keywords. Check out keyword ideas in Google Trends, Analytics, Search Console, Keyword Planner, or SEMrush to see what kinds of search terms are the most popular from, say, early October to late December.
For instance, I can see in Trends that U.S. searches for “60 inch TVs” peaked in the week leading up to Black Friday in 2018. If I am a consumer electronics store, this information does not exactly help me to devise a holiday content strategy, but it at least lets me know what people want to buy, and when. From information like this, I can perhaps begin to assemble a robust PPC campaign.
Meanwhile, you can use Keyword Planner to filter keyword results through your domain to see what queries are leading people straight to you. Research holiday keywords and try to amass a healthy mix of high-volume and long-tail keywords that will both attract a lot of general holiday shoppers and draw in those looking for a specific product you carry.
Try to go after the products that tend to be big holiday sellers, such as electronics, decorations or candy. Finally, do not forget that, if you are a local business, you should target localized keywords and take a few other steps to optimize yourself for local SEO.
2. Create holiday landing pages and content.
These two ideas go hand in hand. First, your new holiday pages will be more likely to rank during the holidays than the standard product pages you’ve been using all year. So, those pages will give Google something to find, but then your on-page content will have to be optimized for the holidays, too.
Devising a holiday content strategy is no great mystery. Your landing page content should advertise your unique place in the world of holiday products, using the keywords you researched to link users to the pages of your site where people can find more products.
Of course, while optimized landing pages are certainly one part of an effective holiday SEO strategy, you should also be producing new holiday content regularly through a blog. You can check Google to see what kinds of articles trend from Halloween to Christmas. Many of them help people generate ideas about holiday home decorating, cooking and baking.
Whatever your holiday blog posts are about, make sure they help people solve a problem, that you optimize them with appropriate holiday keywords and that you publish this content on a schedule so search engines pick you up as fresh and relevant.
3. Enhance your backlink profile.
We have just discussed the importance of fresh, seasonal content to your holiday SEO, but if you really want to boost the chances of that content being found, or if you have not had the time to craft this content at all, you ought to devote some serious attention to your website’s backlinks.
Backlinks are always tremendously important for SEO, but they can really come through for you during the holidays. A sufficient set of high-quality backlinks does what it should be doing when it tells search engines that your site is trustworthy and relevant to certain types of users.
That is the SEO aspect of backlinks. At the same time, links to your web pages showing up in influencer blog posts do a lot of your advertising legwork for you, as readers of those blogs can follow those links to buy something they have just read about and are clearly interested in around the holidays.
Now, acquiring those links is not exactly like going to the store to buy bread. Only a historically authoritative brand with quality content on pages optimized for SEO is going to earn those quality links, so building your backlink profile for the holidays won’t happen overnight.
However, as I mentioned, you can see the types of influencer blogs that trend during the holidays. Imagine getting backlinks from those, and seeing that wildly successful Christmas blog link back to your wholesale candy website. Those are the links you need. Go earn them.
Harnessing SEO for the holidays does not have to be difficult, and in many ways, it really is not. It just takes some common-sense keyword research, content strategies and SEO optimization to earn superior backlinks, just like at any other time of year.
The main difference will be that, in the case of the holidays, people’s shopping habits become somewhat more targeted to certain types of products and ways of thinking. The right kind of SEO knows what those are and gets ahead of them in late summer.
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