Although the Christmas season is still 6 months away, it is rapidly approaching. Studies have shown that the summer months are the ideal time to start planning and implementing your marketing for the holiday season. Is your site optimized appropriately to get the most out of this rush of online holiday traffic? If you think it is too early to start optimizing for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, you are already behind the curve. The following are a few reasons to help you better understand why you should be optimizing your website now:
More and more people are selling online
More and more people are shopping online
More and more people are buying gifts earlier to avoid the Christmas rush
Search engine optimization can often take 4 weeks or longer to begin affecting your site’s rankings
Your optimization efforts are not just limited to Christmas. If you sell unique gifts or any kind of holiday specific items, now is the time to be aggressive and move ahead of your competition. What better way to get ahead of your competition than to have your site rank for some of the top holiday keywords? If you can move up the rankings and get ahead of your competition, you’ll have an edge without having to compete through prices, as is often the case with many e-commerce sites. Some ways you can go about improving your rankings for specific holiday keywords include:
New Pages – Create specific pages for your holiday-specific merchandise. You don’t want people to land on a generalized landing page for when they are looking for Halloween decorations. Be sure to either create a page specific for that holiday or use an updated version of last year’s holiday gifts page.
Optimize your Homepage – This can mean creating some fun banners or images that will promote your newly created holiday pages. If it is close to Halloween, show some of the items you have for sale and make them easy for people to find. These images should be kept current as holidays come and go.
Keep Pages After Holiday Passes – This is something you should always do, even if you are not promoting that page be sure to keep it somewhere on your site since it can build SEO value, even when not receiving a lot of traffic. Possibly even create a holiday specific section in your navigation. Remember, there are a lot of people who look for after-holiday sales so you don’t want to delete or hide a page that could provide you with a sale.
Press Releases – Create a few press releases that you can distribute announcing what your current specials are, whether it’s a Halloween sale or some new Christmas decoration that is available for purchase on your site. Not only will this be picked up by news feeds and other websites, it will also yield some back links which will help increase the SEO value of your holiday keywords.
Articles for Distribution – Similar to how Press Releases work, Articles for Distribution are a great way to get your message out there as well as gaining some back links in the process to help boost you rankings.
Link Building -Link building should be one of your top priorities, and, with the holiday season approaching, you should be shifting some of your link building efforts to focus on the holiday keywords you are trying to rank for. Shifting 50-75% of your efforts towards holiday-targeted marketing would most likely be a safe estimate so you are not also losing rankings for your year-round keywords.
Don’t forget that, in addition to special holiday-focused online marketing, running sales and/or discounts will always help boost sales, as well as utilizing a blog. Announcing special deals through your blog will bring in more traffic from readers as well as more links. With the Christmas season starting earlier and earlier every year it is very important that you stay ahead of your competition by keeping your site optimized and ready for the holiday season.
Jason Hagemann is a search engine optimization strategist for MorePro Marketing. He has been in the SEO business for over three years. His experience with different types of linking campaigns has helped many sites increase their search engine rankings.