Each year Christmas presents new challenges and rewards in the retail calendar, as Google continues to change and consumers develop new patterns of purchase behaviour, retailers need to evolve and adapt to this in order to hit their targets.
It may be the height of summer right now but to give your brand the best chance of beating your competitors to the number 1 spot in Google you need to start planning and implementing an organic strategy for Christmas now.
If you read my post on the best Christmas SEO strategies for 2015 you’ll know that best practice for a Christmas SEO strategy includes:
- Keeping seasonal pages on your site but removing them from the navigation until they are relevant again so you don’t have to build up authority from scratch
- Analysing current rankings for Christmas keywords and targeting keywords where you already have some authority providing the best opportunities of ranking well
- Thinking about clever ways to use Christmas keyword variations across different pages
- Ensuring your pages aren’t competing against each other for the same target keywords
- Optimising your site for mobile visitors so they can easily view and purchase products
With these best practice titbits in the forefront of your mind, let’s take a look at some more strategies, that are becoming more necessary with changes in technology and consumer behaviour.
1. Connect to your customers with mobile
Last year I talked about the importance of having a mobile responsive site to ensure that consumers who are shopping on mobile devices, have a good experience on your site and can easily navigate and make a purchase. As the number of people who shop on mobile continues to grow, retailers can’t deny the need for a mobile site.
Beyond having a mobile friendly and well optimised site enabling consumers to purchase, mobile also serves an important function for local shoppers at Christmas who are out and about looking where to shop.
We can all relate to the frantic Christmas shopping experience, consumers can easily be going in-store, on mobile and back to desktop before they make their purchase. You need to make sure your brand is there at as many points as possible and that means when they have a mobile in their hand.
2. Put your opening hours on Google My Business
Setting up your Google My Business listing is a no brainer no matter what time of year it is. Not only will it enable customers to find your physical stores but it will also build trust and ownership around your brand.
At Christmas the stakes are raised for your Google My Business listing and you need to ensure this is set up correctly. An important part of optimising your Google My Business listing for Christmas is to update your holiday opening hours. What’s the point in keeping your doors open late if anyone with a smartphone can look up your shop and assume its closed?
3. Integrate organic and paid
In the past few months Google has made major changes to the way the search engine results pages (SERPs) look. Gone is the right hand bar of ads and in its place there are four paid ads, pushing organic listings further down the page than ever.
2016 is going to be the first Christmas where this SERP layout is in effect and for eCommerce sites this makes the inclusion of paid media more important than ever. SEO and PPC work very well together and with the right keyword strategy you might achieve total search engine domination.
4. Be more descriptive
Christmas is the time to be super specific with your product descriptions. Making sure that product descriptions, images and meta data are all optimised for the most relevant long tail keywords (3 – 4 or more words long) ensures that your products have the best chance of being found in search.
Not only will optimising your products for more specific long-tail phrases like “Rudolph Christmas jumpers for men” help you compete against the big retail giants like Argos and Amazon, who will likely be targeting the generic high volume terms, but it also indicates that the person searching is in a buying frame of mind, whereas a general search like “mens jumpers” might be a consumer who’s at the research stage.
5. Build links and they will come
As you may know, SEO doesn’t happen overnight and can take 3-6 months and more (depending on where you’re starting from in terms of authority) to take effect. So if you want to be on page 1 by October/November in time for the Christmas stampede you should be starting in April ideally and July at the absolute latest! With a considerably big difference between the click-through rate of position 1 and 2 it really is a case of “you snooze, you lose”. So start building links from a mix of different types of websites now and make sure they are sprinkled across to all of your seasonal pages, as every page you want to be found organically for will need to build it’s own authority to outrank everyone else and be in the top 10.
So get growing those blogger relationships, start producing that cool offsite content and think of your competitors blissfully unaware.