Let's deal with the elephant in the room: if you are a business that has been working with (or looking to work with) an SEO agency, you will no doubt have been told that SEO is a mid to long-term investment. In the majority of cases, great results do not happen overnight. Nothing has changed. This is still very true.
As such, getting a new website ranking in the top spots for highly competitive search terms by the Christmas period is unlikely at this relatively late stage in the calendar year. However, if your business has a focus on SEO and has a website with healthy authority, there are certainly tweaks to your campaign that will benefit you during the holiday season! If you are really prudent you may even look to implement some of these in order to make the most of the holidays next year.
1. Content Led by Your Sales Funnel
Re-evaluate your buyer personas and inbound marketing funnel for the upcoming holiday season. Who are you looking to target? What exactly are they looking for? What are their buying processes likely to be? And in turn, how can you tailor your content to align with these factors?
For example, with more expensive products, 81 percent of users conduct thorough research around the pros and cons of the product as well as compare the product to others on the market. Creating content that directly offers these users value during this "weighing-up" stage is a great way to connect with them at a relatively early stage in the buying process, therefore increasing your exposure to them as they move further down the sales funnel. Another example would be to create content around gift ideas for the holiday season, again resulting in users engaging with your brand during their buying process and satisfying a key step in your own inbound marketing funnel.
2. Next-Day Delivery
This is a rather large sweeping statement here so in case you're offended, let me share my apologies in advance. One gender of our esteemed species is notorious for last-minute shopping. Christmas Eve is full of mildly sweaty guys trying to figure out how their better half will string them up if they deliver a gift bought at their local petrol station.
Next-day delivery, especially through the holiday season is paramount in capturing these frantically searching prospects, and it's your job to capitalize on the mad rush. So make sure that your content is very clear about your delivery timescales and that your website functions well enough to allow for quick purchases - Google will take notice!
3. Click-Through Rates
Let's take it back a stage: your content is live on your website and ready to be served up by Google as a relevant and valuable result for your target search terms. However, you need to attract those all-important clicks from the SERPs, and this takes a bit of persuasion. So be sure to deploy holiday-specific terminology in your meta data, making it clear to users that you can provide the gifts that they're looking for in time. Likewise, check that your schema markup is in place for the product page: overtly displaying prices, reviews and specific products will help your result stand out in the SERPs.
It is all well and good capturing traffic for your given (holiday-specific) search terms, but the main priority is getting prospects to convert into customers. Your early-stage content should encourage users to explore product-specific pages through clear calls-to-action, potentially offering further incentives if they provide user data that can be used in alternate marketing channels such as email and re-marketing.
Remember, if you have targeted the correct search terms the users will have already demonstrated buyer intent; it is now your job to make sure that it is as easy for them to convert as possible. So talk to your UX/UI designers about reassessing the user journey on your website for the holiday period with a view to increasing conversions.
They Work for Non-Retailers Too
You do not have to be a retailer for these quick four tips to have an impact on your holiday SEO. The same theories apply to service-based businesses or even content-led websites. Be very aware of your buyer personas, and do your very best to align your site with their needs and requirements. After all, that is fundamentally what Google is looking to do with its search results!
Simon Ensor is a marketing specialist with a passion for delivering tangible growth for businesses through search engine optimization and conversion-based web design. He is a sought-after commentator and contributing author, having been featured in renowned publications such as the BBC, Search Engine Watch, Website Magazine, and TRT World. With over a decade of experience, Simon has worked with a diverse range of clients, from startups and scale-ups to established brands and organizations, adapting his approach to meet each client's unique requirements and achieve the best possible results.