7 October 2013 | Team Tamar

Digital December: 10 Tips to get your SEO in shape for Christmas

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Image courtesy of flickr user photo-gratisLast week we introduced you to ‘Digital December’, our seasonal focus on the crucial pre-Christmas run-up. If you read our ‘Crack the Christmas Crowds Online‘ post, you’ll know just how important it is to get the Christmas season right when you’re marketing online.

As promised during that post, we’re going to take a look at some of the marketing disciplines we work with in more detail, to discuss how you can make your online marketing work harder (and smarter!) during this period. To start us off, we’re taking a look at SEO.

Unlike a lot of digital marketing verticals, SEO incorporates a heavy lead-time – as most marketers will know, SEO doesn’t happen overnight. For this reason, it’s crucial that your Christmas SEO campaigns are already well underway by now. If for some reason you haven’t gotten to your Christmas keywords yet, we’ve put together 10 top tips to help you make the most of the festive season for your SEO.

  1. Prioritise your Products.

    If you’ve not been optimising for your Autumn/Winter product range for a while now, you’ll need to prioritise what you want to optimise for, in order to stand any chance of getting some quick wins. The smartest way to prioritise will involve a bit of business insight and a touch of guesswork – start trying to figure out what your biggest sellers are going to be this Christmas, and optimise for those as a priority.

  2. Get ready for the sales.

    With Christmas usually taking up a lot of our focus and energies, coupled with the plentiful time-off that comes with the season, January Sales often get forgotten when it comes to SEO. If you have the ability to plan ahead and pre-optimise your sales landing pages before the Christmas rush gets into full swing, it could be a big boost for the sales period.

  3. Pre-launch your products.

    If you’ve got a big product launch coming up, but you’re working to a specific launch date, there’s no harm in creating a landing page for your product before it goes live – particularly if you’re going to be one of many retailers selling said product. Amazon do this really well, but it’s always surprising how many retailers don’t (or can’t) get pages up on their CMS when a product isn’t yet listed as being ‘in stock’.

  4. Careful with the decorations.

    In my many years of SEO, one of the most common Christmas-related issues I see is the after-effects of the Christmas rebrand. Many retailers get overexcited with the rebranding during the festive season, and forget the hard work they put in to their onsite optimisation. If you ARE going to rebrand this Christmas, make sure your SEO stays front of mind too.

  5. Make the most of social.

    We all know how important your social media is to SEO these days, and Christmas often turns into one of the most active times on your social channels. Whether it’s a flashy campaign, a jazzy TV ad or just a lot of excited ‘buzz’ on your pages, make sure your maximise the effect it has on your SEO. And if you don’t know how to do that, get in touch with Tamar!

  6. Optimise for mobile devices.

    The importance of optimising your SEO campaigns for mobile is pretty well-known now, though a lot of retailers are still dragging their feet. Christmas is THE most important time to get optimised for mobile – according to research, two thirds of shoppers plan to use their smart phone for Christmas shopping this year. So make sure you know how to get your site appearing clearly and well in mobile search results.

  7. Make the most of the rush.

    If you’re a retailer who does well during the gift-giving season, you might be doing over 50% of your annual sales in the coming months – so your site is going to be getting a LOT more traffic than usual. Why not aim to make the most of this extra traffic to get them signed-up to your mailing list, following your social channels or giving you other useful data? You’ve got the eyeballs, now make the most of it.

  8. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

    Whilst it isn’t always possible, using the same URLs and landing pages year after year can be a real boost to your Christmas SEO – even if the page isn’t visible all year round, using the same URL each year can give you a boost if there are links pointing to it from the previous year. It might seem like a bit of a long-term plan, but getting it right once will usually have benefits for many years after.

  9. Don’t be tempted by micro-sites.

    Even if your brand planners insist that their Christmas campaign would be 100x more awesome with a microsite, avoid them at all cost – by optimising (or gaining natural links) to a throw-away microsite, you’re wasting benefit that could have been passed to your main, year-round website. Avoid it at all costs!

  10. Use Reviews.

    If you haven’t figured out how to incorporate UGC or reviews into your SEO campaign yet, Christmas could be the ideal time – common wisdom points to the post-Christmas down time as being one of the biggest times of the year to get product reviews from users, so make the most of this and provide quick and easy ways for your customers to provide reviews. Then, make the most of them by optimising them to appear in your search results.

So there we have it – ten tips that should be relatively easy to incorporate into your strategy, and should give your some real long-term gains – not just this year, but for years to come.

No need to thank me – I’ve been told that being generous will get me a spot on Santa’s “Good” list this year…! 🙂

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Team Tamar