Is your website “holiday” ready? We all know the holidays generate a significant amount of traffic to both eCommerce and non-eCommerce sites alike, with people shopping, traveling, dining out, and planning for the New Year. Here are five SEO holiday tips and tricks to ensure you get the traffic you want on your site for the holidays.
Research Holiday Keywords
Holiday keywords are essentially “seasonal keywords,” meaning they typically generate most of their traffic during the holiday seasons. For this reason, you should focus on identifying keywords that trend during the holiday. Fortunately, Google offers a wide range of tools that you can use to do that. For example, you can use Google Trends to identify consumer behavioral changes over time. Some of the other tools that you can use to create your holiday keyword list include Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console and your site’s analytics (historical) data. Of course, you can also use other keyword research tools, such as SEMRush, to identify the most appropriate holiday keywords for your holiday marketing campaign, as well as find out how your site ranks for specific keywords.
Write Content Based on Holiday Keywords
Once you have your keyword list, create holiday-specific content based on your keyword phrases. More importantly, aim to publish your content at least 45 days in advance to participate in more than 90% of the search traffic. If you publish your content one week in advance, you’ll only be able to participate in about 50% of the search traffic.
Find Link Building Opportunities
Link building is a vital component of SEO. Luckily, the holiday season offers plenty of link build building opportunities. Examples of such opportunities include gifts for brand influencers, unlinked mentions, coupons, and promotions. SEMRush provides a great brand awareness tool and alerts you anytime your brand is mentioned. You can also set up Google alerts to do the same. Google alerts will email you whenever your brand is mentioned on the web.
Ensure Your Site is Up to Speed
A recent report from Radware says that about 60% of site visitors would abandon a web page that takes three or more seconds to display content. Simply put, fast websites generally have higher conversion rates compared to sites with low load speeds. Walgreens, for example, had the fastest ecommerce site in America during the 2015 holiday season with an average load time of 1.41 seconds, according to Catchpoint. As a result, the online pharmacy reported a 49.5% increase in sales during the first quarter of 2016. This means that, if you want to increase your Internet traffic and improve your conversion rate, you should speed up your website.
Luckily, you can use several strategies to achieve this goal. For starters, invest in a content delivery network server (CDN) such as Akamai. This distributed network of servers delivers content based on the locations of the user, content delivery server, and origin of the webpage. Because of this, a CDN would allow your website to render static content faster. Secondly, keep your code structure clean and lean. More specifically, the scripts at the top of your web pages should be minimal and minified. Thirdly, optimize your images by reducing the size of your image files. You can easily do that using image manipulation tools such as Photoshop and TinyPNG. Fourthly, use as few third-party plugins as possible. This is because, while third-party services such as video and social media plugins enhance the user experience, they slow down the load time. For this reason, you should keep such plugins to a minimum. Fifthly, use asynchronous scripts to make your website feel fast. Asynchronous loading would skip over the slow loading elements on your site, allowing your core site information to load first.
Ensure Your Site is Optimized for Mobile Shopping
For starters, incorporate a secure checkout with payment services such as PayPal, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay. Secondly, if you’re using auto-slide carousel, you should use static images for your mobile site homepage. Thirdly, to reduce typos during checkout, disable auto-correct during checkout and use a purpose-built touch keyboard. Fourthly, add a wide range of product zoom features including swipe, pinch, and double-tap to improve the overall user experience. According to the Baymard Institute, about 40% of mobile websites don’t support image zoom gestures. This means you can leverage these features to gain a competitive edge over your competitors.