12 eCommerce SEO Tips for Christmas
12 ECommerce SEO Tips to help ensure your online store ranks above your competitors for online shopping.
You may think it’s too early to be thinking about Christmas, but many retailers will be pinning their hopes on a decent festive season after an interesting few years. Agile Digital Strategy have put together 12 seasonal SEO tips “presents” to help you prepare your business to maximise your Christmas sales.
Now is the time to work on your Ecommerce SEO to ensure your ecommerce site is ranking well. The key to selling products online is to rank higher for target keywords than your competitors.
1. Google Analytics review
Use Google analytics or Shopify analytics to review your ecommerce website’s performance last year. How did people reach your site, what did they do once they got there, and what products/areas of your site did particularly well? You might have some great blog posts that drove lots of traffic, or some product comparisons that you could quickly update and re-share on social media.
Were your higher conversions through email marketing or through organic traffic (SEO)? Or if you got a lot of referral traffic from a third-party link (perhaps a Christmas gift guide), you could contact the site owner or journalist to ask if you can be included again this year.
If the user experience isn’t good on your website, you will notice a high bounce rate on your website. Ideally you should be aiming for a bounce rate below 50%-70% depending on your ecommerce store.
2. Review Meta Titles, Descriptions etc.
Depending on the size of your site, you might not have time to restructure your entire product page content (page title, meta description, product description and headers) but you could pick an area or a range of products that you think might be well suited to the Christmas market (or contrary to that, an area that has historically been underperforming).
Whilst reviewing the content, you should also check that the on-page content is reflective of the title and descriptions you’ve chosen and that it is backed up with sufficient blog & category content on the site too. You should also be using the product pages to target long tail keywords.
With Google Search Console you can review your websites click through rate, which can help identify what pages need to be targeted as a priority.
3. Target Christmas searches
We’ve all got people that are impossible to buy for (most men) – people who ‘have everything’, teenagers (or is that just me!) or those people who’d ‘like a surprise’ and that’s when we resort to doing panic searches, such as ‘present ideas for teenager girls interested in horses’, and the like.
There are many different sorts of search phrases, so it’s absolutely worth performing some keyword research to see what search volumes are available, how much competition there is for those search volumes and which competitors are currently ranking for them. You may be able to identify a niche word that has not yet been discovered, and if you can rank for it, you will be able to attract a potential customer that is already ready to purchase.
When thinking of Christmas and other Occassion or Seasonal offerings, think of selling gifts in certain price brackets – the cheap and cheerful, the “decent” gift and the high quality gift for loved ones. Also consider what do they need to spend to qualify for free shipping – it can help drive larger basket purchases, but can also reduce smaller sales.
4. Create Product categories
To help customers find what they need quickly, it is good to use product categories and sub categories to break up a large volume of products. Its also a good way to handle seasonal categories, could be to add a new category such as Christmas and add that to the top menu to make it quick to find for website visitors. This category can either simply be a range of Christmas gift ideas or subdivided by person (gifts for her/mom/him/dad/boyfriend/husband/wife).
You can use the Christmas sub-categories to target relevant keywords to increase both internal and external search results.
Products can reside in multiple categories, just ensure that you have a default category or collection (Shopify) selected to minimise duplicate content and use canonical URLs.
5. Paid Search - Search Engine Marketing - SEM/PPC
If you haven’t tried PPC advertising before, Christmas is the obvious time to give it a whirl. Whilst it might be competitive at this time of year, the additional volume of shoppers often compensates.
Don’t spread your resources too thinly here. Select a few key products or product types – these could be products you really need to shift (think sell-by dates, or very on-trend items), or products with the biggest profit margins, unique products, or those with the broadest appeal.
To quote the old British Gas slogan, PPC is ‘easily off and on-able’, so should you need to, you can reach your target audience quickly but also keep a close eye on your spend.
Unless you’re operating in a truly unique market, PPC can be expensive so it’s important to target appropriate keywords. Longer tail keywords can be less competitive and therefore less costly but that goes hand-in-hand with smaller volumes.
There is the option of €400 free Ad credit if your a new Google Ads Customer (terms and conditions apply).
6. Local SEO
Every Christmas, we’re encouraged to ‘shop local’ and to “buy Irish” and this may be the case even more so this year to help businesses recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
Buying local doesn’t necessarily mean physically going into the shop to buy in person – some shoppers will be looking for deliveries from local businesses. To make sure you don’t miss out on your local market, ensure your Google My Business is up to date and contains all the correct contact information – in particular, your website links and some of your key product categories.
7. Don’t rule out offline
Don’t rule out offline tactics in your Christmas marketing campaign. If you know where your target audience hangs out – then go get ‘em. If you know your local newspaper or industry publication has a great readership, think of a way to get your business in print.
The same can be said about leaving flyers, marketing literature or product samples with complementary businesses or at an event. It’s entirely possible to increase site sessions via offline activity, even if there is no opportunity to generate referral or organic traffic. You could even think about offering a promo code to a select audience and creating a bespoke landing page to appeal to this group.
8. Top of the funnel searches
Some Christmas present purchases are quick and dirty – the ‘that’ll do’ type of buy – but others require more research. This might be because the person we’re buying for is more important to us or perhaps because the spend is higher, but in both of these instances, people will do more leg work before they part with their cash.
Try to be the company that provides this advice, explains the pros and cons, compares two of this season’s must-have head cams, tennis rackets, electric guitars etc.
Remember when we’re buying for others, it’s not always our areas of expertise, so being honest, informative and simplifying decisions can win shoppers over. Not only is research-stage content super useful for your customers, it’s also great for SEO and as social media fodder too.
9. Internal linking
If you’ve done the hard work and increased the number of visitors to your site, it can be disappointing if they bounce (spend less than 3 seconds on your website without performing another action and leaving your website) and leave the site without having seen any of your other magnificent content or products.
To encourage people to hang around for longer, make sure you’re directing people to the next most relevant piece of content or product on your site. Internal linking is important here and a subtle way of enticing a user to click through to another page but don’t be afraid to use upselling such as ‘if you like this, you might also like…’ or links to other general product categories.
Google sees internal links as recommendations of other pages – the more internal links to a specific page, then that page should contain the most relevant and critical content for the website.
Also ensure that you don’t have any broken links on your website leading to the dreaded 404 page not found error.
10. Optimise images
We know that page speed is a direct ranking factor, so first and foremost you need to ensure that your site’s images aren’t slowing things down and so this means making sure your images are compressed without reducing the quality.
But it also means making sure that your images are correctly tagged in order to be visible in Google image searches. Unless you’re giving vouchers this Christmas, present shopping is a very visual experience, so it’s important to make sure that your product images are optimised too. Google is getting better at recognising what’s in an image but you can help it along by adding alt text, title text and using a descriptive file name.
11. Out of stock
With a bit of luck, the demand for your products will align fairly well with the availability of your products. It’s obviously a good feeling for a product to sell well but being out of stock, particularly too early before Christmas, can leave shoppers disappointed.
Rather than leave your potential customers with that feeling, why not ask them to submit their email address to be notified when it is back in stock. This way you can track also which items have a high demand and which to prioritise getting back in stock.
12. Social signals
Social signals (likes, shares and overall visibility) does play a role in organic search ranking but more than that, it’s the pulse of a business. It shows customers that you’re alive and kicking and ready to help them. In addition, multiple surveys show that customers are increasingly prepared to make purchases directly from social media channels and it is used frequently as a research tool before buying.
In the midst of dealing with Christmas sales, don’t let this channel dip. Prepare your social & content marketing strategy in advance so that it doesn’t need too much thinking about in the crazy build-up to the big day.
Twelve actionable eCommerce SEO tips for Christmas.
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