Forrester Research released its 2017 holiday sales forecast and it's predicting online consumer spending will reach $129 billion this year, up 12 percent from 2016. Clearly, it’s time for retailers and other marketers to up the game when it comes to their online selling prowess. But sadly, as a digital marketer, I continue to see far too many companies failing to tailor their SEO strategies to take advantage of the seasonal uptick in consumer searches. It’s their “set-it-and-forget-it” approach to SEO that’s preventing potential customers from finding their offerings, which is sure to result in lackluster holiday sales.
The truth is, Virginia, there is an SEO Santa Claus. And by modifying a few keywords, any online business can attract additional potential buyers to its holiday sales funnel. Take a look below, where I’ve listed five holiday-inspired tips that can truly make the difference between a naughty or nice selling season. Adjust your SEO terms accordingly, and both your business and the customers it serves will greatly benefit.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
This is probably the No. 1 area where I see online businesses take a tumble. Their pages don’t provide an easy shopping experience when displayed on mobile devices; and yet, that’s where close to 70 percent of holiday online purchases will originate. The last thing you want to happen is have someone actually land on your site and then be frustrated by load times or display issues. They’ll simply bounce back out and visit the next search result. Test your site for mobile optimization. It’s probably the most overlooked component of the SEO equation.
Use Very Specific Search Terms
Consumers have gotten search savvy over the years and it’s not unusual for them to cut-and-paste an entire product description, including the name, model number, size and or color into a search engine. The more descriptive you are with your own terms, the more likely you will match their search queries. One trick we like to use is adding the current year to the mix. Tired of finding out-of-production merchandise in their search results, consumers have started adding the year to their queries, to get a list of the most up-to-date merchandise.
Produce Special Holiday-Themed Content
Be sure your non-sales pages provide attractive and useful holiday-themed content. This is much more likely to attract seasonal sales traffic than the “evergreen” material you might typically host. At the same time, be sure to customize your landing pages to reflect a seasonal theme. This way, first-time customers to your site see that you are up-to-date with the time of year and, more importantly, are a company that likes to join in the celebration.
Coordinate All of Your Channels
The algorithm elves at Google love when all of a company’s marketing channels are all on the same holiday page, including off-line campaigns. Make certain that your SEM paid advertising campaigns, social media posts and keywords all reflect the same holiday sentiments. The goal here is to give your customers the most seamless buying experience possible, no matter how they come to your website. Having coordinated approaches from all of your inbound channels aids in this seamless appearance.
Make Use of Your Toolbelt
So many businesses, especially those going it alone, struggle with finding the right keywords to use, often cramming too many superfluous terms into the mix. This is unfortunate, considering there are so many tools available to help with this; many coming from Google itself. Be sure to use sites like Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner to help you identify the popular search terms that sync with your sales sector. Then work on decluttering your keyword string of outdated or unpopular terms.
The holidays represent the biggest sales time of the year. It just makes good business sense to tailor your strategy and customize your offerings for the final quarter of the year so customers can easily take advantage of your offerings.
Related story: Winning the Holiday Paid Search Race