Santa Claus is comin’ to town–is your website ready? If you haven’t optimized your website for the big holiday rush … well, it is probably too late in the game to rank for the most competitive keywords. The good news is that there are a few eleventh-hour SEO strategies you can implement that can help you capture search traffic and some new customers. Start executing the following four tactics immediately and your website will still have an opportunity to reap the rewards of a holly jolly holiday season.
Optimize for Answer Boxes & Voice Search
Consumers are not only typing in queries, they are also using voice search to find what they want. A recent Search Engine Land article reported that the use of voice-operated personal assistant devices is predicted to increase, and that “Google Home and Amazon Echo device sales are expected to exceed 24 million” in 2017. By appearing in the coveted answer box spot on the search engine results pages (SERPs), your content will be in an optimal position to reach users who are conducting online or voice searches for what you have to offer.
Review your website’s content and see if there are opportunities to edit or add content that could earn an answer box position. Answer boxes typically pull content that answers a “what,” “who,” “what,” “when,” “which,” “how to,” or “where” question. They may also pull content that addresses superlatives such as “best,” “cheapest,” or “fastest.”
Look for ways to structure your content using a simple Q&A format, and consider targeting long-tail keywords and, if applicable, geotargeted keywords. Examples of the types of content topics that could capture holiday-related answer boxes include “best gifts for…,” “recipe for pumpkin pie,” and “how to make Christmas ornaments.”
Get Your Google My Business Profile In Order
If you have a brick-and-mortar presence, a Google My Business (GMB) profile is crucial for appearing in local search results for your product- or service-related keywords. A GMB profile is always important, but it is especially essential during the holiday season when you want to attract as much in-store holiday foot traffic as possible. A profile will also help you connect with people who are using voice search to find stores, restaurants, movie theaters, or holiday-related activities. Setting up a GMB profile is free.
Already have a GMB profile? Verify that the names, addresses, and phone numbers (NAP data) of all your locations are accurate. Many other directory listings pull GMB information, so if it is incorrect in one listing, chances are it is wrong in others as well.
You’ll also want to add any special holiday business hours to your profile, and update the images in your listings if your stores are decorated for the holidays or if a photo is outdated.
Take Advantage Of Trending Topics
Use Google Alerts and track social media hashtags to monitor news and trending topics. Depending on your business, you may want to monitor toys, sporting equipment, electronics, fashion, winter travel destinations, holiday recipes, financial news, etc.
Develop blog posts, gift guides, videos, infographics, or other valuable informational content focused on the topics people are talking about. Keep in mind that the content should be relevant to your products or services.
Be creative and think of original ways you can relate trending subject matter to your business.
Content centered around current news or trends has a good chance of being found in the SERPs, and it is also more likely to be shared through social channels. It also shows that your business is a thought leader and that you are keeping up with what is happening in the industry. Establishing yourself as an expert in your field or industry can help attract new customers, nurture existing customer relationships, and benefit your business long after the holiday season is over.
Review Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, & Main Pages
While you won’t have time to do a complete re-optimization of your website, you do have time to make some quick edits to your title tags, meta descriptions, and main pages. Make sure that your title tags are keyword-focused, and that your meta descriptions are written to encourage clicks through to the site.
Concentrate on your homepage, popular category pages, special offer pages, and any other pages you deem important for holiday shoppers. Consider updating meta descriptions and page copy for landing pages with holiday-oriented sales messaging. For example, a toy website’s “games and puzzles” landing page could have a meta description such as, “The top games and puzzles of Christmas 2017 are on sale today. Board games, electronics, trading cards and more. Great gifts for all ages. Shop now.” If you offer free shipping, emphasize that in the copy and meta description as well.
Keep track of any holiday- or sales-specific meta descriptions so that you can revise them when the holidays are over.
Prepare For A Merry & Bright New Year
Optimizing your website for the holidays at the last minute can be a challenge, but these strategies can help salvage your site for the most important retail season of the year. And once the holiday craziness dies down, you can begin establishing your search engine optimization goals for next year.
January is the perfect time to start building a strong foundation for the 2018 holiday season. Get your website ready for a mobile-first index, the expansion of voice search, the growing importance of schema and AMP pages, and whatever algorithm changes the Google goliath throws our way. Planning ahead is the best way to make your holiday sales wishes come true.