Holiday season SEO: start preparing NOW!

September 15, 2016
Comments Off on Holiday season SEO: start preparing NOW!

By Michiel Heijmans

holiday season preparations: santa on beach

It’s 86°F outside, and here we are telling you to think about the snowy days of Christmas. Already. If you have an online shop, please start thinking about the Christmas holiday season already!

Ranking in Google isn’t something you can do overnight, and that is why it’s never too early to start. Remember, it’s already September. Don’t forget we also have Black Friday (25th of November) and Cyber Monday (28th of November) coming up as well. You can set up a lot of content for all occasions. In this article, we’ll go over some things you can do to get prepared!

45 days rule

Bigcommerce.com published an article about what they called the 45 days rule. Regardless of the fact that you’ll be able to prepare earlier, their concept is interesting. It tells you to get your content in gear at least 45 days ahead, and they divide that period into three steps:

  • 45 Days in Advance: Post your promotion to your website calendar and post a save-the-date post on social media (including your email newsletter).
  • 7 Days in Advance: Post an upcoming events post to social media and via email and encourage other small businesses to share it with their followers.
  • 1 Day in Advance: Post a reminder event post via social media.
  • Source: Bigcommerce.com

    Besides the promotion mentioned above, I think you can do a lot more in terms of setting up new pages and renewing old ones. Let’s dig into that a little bit more.

    Setting up holiday season gift pages

    First, we need to think about what kind of category or special landing pages make sense for the upcoming holidays. You can always set up pages like ‘Best gifts for fathers/girls/teens’, ‘Newest deals for your 6/10/12-year-old’, ‘Best mom/friend/grandparents discounts’ or even think along the lines of ‘Top 10 gifts for outdoor/skiing/parasailing enthusiasts’ and ‘Top 3 deals for stay-at-home moms/dads/etcetera’. Just to name a few.

    Make your landing or category page, the page title and the meta description fit the upcoming holiday season. Obviously, these pages can be re-used for Valentine’s day and your summer sale. Find old content that fits the holidays, rewrite titles and meta descriptions to match the upcoming season and chances are you won’t have to update the post itself at all.

    You can link the all-year holiday season pages mentioned above to, for instance, specific Christmas landing pages (‘Top 7/10/25 gifts for under the Christmas tree’) to boost these when the time has come. That could be around the 45-day mark mentioned by Bigcommerce, but I wouldn’t mind stretching that to 60 days. There has to be enough time for Google and Bing and all the other search engines to follow your links and find your specific holiday season landing pages in time.

    Social media

    Social media like Twitter and Pinterest can play a huge role in the success of your (online) holiday sale. Take Pinterest for instance. Raise your hand if you or your wife/husband has a Pinterest wish list? Most of us have that, right? If you manage to get the right products on people’s wish lists, that can have an impact on your sales. Personally, I like to draw inspiration from other people’s wish lists as well. To bring attention to your products, Facebook posts, and Facebook advertising are great. It’s all about creating demand.

    In the previous section, I’ve also mentioned top 10 lists. We all know these work pretty well on social media. Similar to this, I’d recommend setting up holiday gift guides and sharing these. A good example is the Huffington Post Holiday Gift Guide. This is pretty clever. Huffington Post simply created a taxonomy for Holiday Gift Guide and added all posts that fit into this category. It creates a nice overview for all kinds of gifts for a plethora of people. ELLE has a page like that as well, and so do more companies.

    New products

    Following shopping guides, I’d also like to emphasize that this is an excellent time to pitch new products. If you know of potential best-sellers for the upcoming holiday season, be sure to start writing about these now. Think about how tech sites write about concept iPhones, features that might be added and things like that. The more you write about these products upfront, the more likely the sales pages for these products will rank when it matters. Obviously, you should link all pages that you made in advance to that one main page you’ll set up when the product is released and can be bought. Treat that page like cornerstone content.

    Re-using content

    Old wine in new bottles. If you have a Christmas guide for 2016, feel free to re-use that in 2017. Update the year, and update details like popular brands and popular products for that year. If the slug of your URL is /christmas-2016/, change that to /christmas-2017/ around August next year and redirect the old URL to the new one. No need to create a totally new page. It would be a waste of nice inbound links to not re-use that old URL. Of course, this is even easier if you simply don’t include the year in the URL.

    In the months before the holiday season, you could even simply repost popular posts from last year (a bit adjusted if needed) on social media. Valentine’s Day might even become Secret Santa. Cyber Monday might match daddy’s favorites for Christmas. These are probably small adjustments; perhaps just adding ‘this Christmas’ to a meta description or title will do.

    Optimize for speed and mobile

    Last but not least, we recommend you check and optimize your website for speed and mobile. These are recommendations you’ll get from any SEO blog or consultant, everyday all day. Mobile, mobile speed and speed in general, are becoming more important every year (or day, for that matter). When preparing your website for the holiday season, this is a good a time as any to re-check your mobile website and site speed and update or improve these, if possible.

    That wraps it up. You can never start too early when your online business depends on the holiday season. Be prepared; start now.

    Source:: SEO