Tips from the eCommerce Masters: SEO Best Practices for Holiday Seasonality
by Ron Dod
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The holiday shopping season is all about driving relevant traffic and turning website visitors into satisfied customers. In the world of eCommerce marketing, few strategies are as effective in attaining good results as search engine optimization.
SEO is the backbone of any good marketing strategy as it encompasses a variety of aspects such as user experience, informative content, images, intent-focused copy, website speed and various other facets. The point is that SEO touches a lot of different elements.
When preparing your eCommerce store for the holiday season, it is easy to overlook SEO needs when crafting holiday deals, stocking up on inventory, assembling email campaigns and tackling the myriad of other tasks necessary for seasonal success seem to take priority.
However, SEO is a vital element to any eCommerce store’s holiday marketing mix. To help ensure that merchants don’t miss out on organic traffic this season, we have assembled seven tips from some of the most influential eCommerce experts in the industry on how to effectively boost holiday SEO efforts.
There isn’t much time left before the holiday sales season begins, so let’s get started.
If you start optimizing for the Christmas season in early November, you are late: hurry. If you want to optimize for Black Friday in early November, you are already way too late.” – Michiel Heijmans, Partner and COO of Yoast
This one is fairly obvious, so we won’t spend much time here.
For merchants to obtain optimal results during the holiday season, proper planning is essential. If you haven’t started prepping your holiday campaigns, you are already at a severe disadvantage.
To ensure you have the most profitable sales season possible, start your planning now–and potentially consider hiring an eCommerce marketing agency to make up for lost time.
Prepare for Increased Traffic
“Be sure that your server is fast enough to handle more traffic, generated by online advertisement – Christian Münch, Lead Developer at the Magento Agency
An eCommerce site’s ability to handle a substantial uptick in traffic is vital for holiday sales. Over the years, numerous high-profile sites have crashed during Black Friday and other major sales days, costing merchants to the tune of billions. These failures were due to a site’s inability to handle the volume of visitors.
Be sure to verify that your site can accommodate the increased traffic load and maintain healthy speeds during the holiday shopping madness.
Streamline the Checkout Process
“Many reports state a minimum of 70 percent cart abandonment rate worldwide which means that out of 10 visitors only three place an order. What if you got an extra visit to convert into a sale? That would amount to a 30 percent increase on your bottom line straight away. When you think of the volume of sales that happens in Q4, that’s a massive impact. So how do you reduce cart abandonment? By reducing friction in the checkout process.” – Thien-Lan Weber, CMO at OneStepCheckout.com
When checkout processes are frictionless, more consumers will convert to make a purchase.
Optimize Content Accordingly
“Our SEO strategy does take into account the holidays, what we do differently is to publish content optimized for that particular period. For example, if our client is selling gifts, we will publish articles with titles like ‘10 Christmas 2017 Gift Ideas for Moms.’ If they are into the education niche, we may publish a post about ‘These five certifications will double your income in 2017.’ In other words, we try to incorporate the ‘time’ and ‘event’ to make our content more relevant.” – Alex Chris, Digital Marketing Manager for Reliablesoft.net
Seven out of 10 shoppers aren’t sure what they will be buying for the holidays. For this reason, before consumers begin their shopping frenzy, they often seek out gift ideas, guides, videos and other forms of content to help them plan their holiday purchases.
By creating content around specific events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, merchants can beef up their traffic, let consumers know about upcoming sales and gain a significant SEO boost by crafting such targeted content.
Create Video Content
“Try showcasing your products in videos, particularly if you have any holiday-themed products. There are so many ways to do so, such as ‘how to gift wrap’ videos, unwrapping videos, holiday events from around the office, and so on – just use your imagination and start spreading some holiday cheer. The more quality videos you produce, the more people you will reach, which then leads to more engagement, more traffic, more leads, and more conversions.” – Lilach Bullock, Independent Lead Conversion Expert
Regarding SEO, video content can drive a 157 percent increase in organic traffic, meaning that product videos can be a significant tool in earning new holiday shoppers. By creating a transcript of a video’s contents, retailers can gain some serious keyword juice in the SERPs.
The bottom line is that video has become a critical component to SEO efforts and eCommerce holiday campaigns.
Beef Up Product Details
“Write meatier product descriptions, turn on your comments, and work hard on your category level copy – so many eCommerce sites have thin content, which isn’t engaging for shoppers, doesn’t give enough for Google to chew on and doesn’t sell their products well (it can also lead to duplicate content issues). –Kate Toon, Independent SEO copywriter consultant
Product descriptions, images, videos and consumer reviews are often the deciding factor in a shopper’s conclusion to purchase. The influence of these factors means that including detailed product descriptions, benefits, uses, features and other pertinent information is essential to sales and SERP rankings.
Moreover, the inclusion of unique descriptions helps to prevent duplicate content issues and positions your brand above other vendors concerning uniqueness and informativeness.
“My holiday tip is to bridge technical SEO and real rankings. An SEO should always be monitoring the crawl and analyzing log files on their site. This will let you know how search engines have crawled and indexed your content. By integrating keywords into that analysis and monitoring rankings, you can see how your users’ search behavior changes as we approach the holidays. Find out when customers start looking for specific keywords and target your positioning around these changes to anticipate consumer demand. Break down this data by device and find out how mobile users behave. – Adrien Ménard, Co-Founder and CEO of Botify
Data is the fuel of most decisions in today’s digital era. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the keyword terms shoppers are searching, the devices they are searching on and the pathways they take to get to a product page are crucial for increasing search rankings, thereby enabling maximum holiday sales potential.
While this might be out of some merchants’ wheelhouses, there are always expert eCommerce SEO agencies that can help handle such technical tasks.
Search engine optimization is a critical component to building a successful holiday marketing campaign for your eCommerce store. Without a robust SEO strategy, it will be much harder for consumers to find your site and it will be far more challenging for retailers to drive sales.
Take these seven powerful eCommerce SEO tips into serious consideration when planning your 2018 holiday sales efforts.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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