santa-claus-1149928_640
9 December 2016 | Asad Imam

Digital Santa Presents – Keywords

Welcome back to our Christmas blog series ‘Digital Santa Presents …’ With the help of the Digital Santa, we will be talking you through how to optimise your website this Christmas.

This week, Digital Santa bears gifts regarding keywords. Like the category and sub-category pages that are linked prominently in the site navigation and attract traffic all year long, there are plenty of opportunities available for brands to host seasonal content and attract traffic from searches during peak season.

With the help of Digital Santa, we’ll be answering all the essential questions when it comes to targeting keywords during Christmas!

Category gap analysis using keyword research

Like every other journey on search begins with a query, Christmas search traffic is no different. However, often brands miss capitalising on these opportunities by not creating dedicated pages to target the very popular seasonal keywords. An analysis of what the people are generally searching will quickly reveal that the number of keywords and cumulative volume of searches is enough to warrant seasonal pages to be created within a category of their own. The process of creating the Christmas segment must begin with a detailed keyword research exercise where brands should consider some of the following queries.

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-08-34-02

A detailed analysis will reveal common themes highlighting search behaviours and interest which can then be used to create sub-category pages. For example; ‘gift ideas’, ‘men’s Christmas gifts’, ‘women’s Christmas gifts’, ‘Christmas gifts for dad’, ‘Christmas gifts for mom etc’. are quite common.

Also, don’t forget about creating sub-categories around price-related terms. Keywords such as ‘Christmas gift under £xxx’ regularly come up during keyword research.

Make the pages static and accessible

Once you have created the pages it is important that they are clearly presented with a link in the navigation menu. Apart from improving user experience, there are many SEO benefits of adding links to Christmas pages from the navigation menu. Passing link value from the home page and ensuring the pages are within four hops from the home page are the two most prominent SEO reasons to do so.

Create effective landing pages

Now that you have selected your keywords and created URLs to target them, it is important the landing page at that URL is SEO effective. While it is easy to get carried away with imagery and embellishments when it comes to a seasonal page, an SEO effective landing page should have enough text content too. When adding text, ensure that you are fulfilling intent and covering the topic in depth and not just using the main keyword multiple times on the page. Once you have written the content then don’t forget including the key terms in internal links, meta data and image alt texts. All this counts towards SEO best practices and will go a long way in improving your visibility.

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-08-50-26

Timing is key

If you are creating a Christmas sub-category for the first time then it is advisable to get it live as early as six months before peak season. You could potentially have a soft-launch, meaning you make the pages live but do not link them from anywhere on the site. While the pages are live in the background, you could build links pointing to help those pages establish authority.

clock

To keep or not to keep

One of the most common questions around SEO for Christmas is what brands should do with the Christmas pages after the season is over:

  • Should they take the pages down resulting in a 404?
  • Should they redirect to the home page?
  • Or let it stay live in the background while not directly linking from the site navigation?

 

From the point of view of long-term SEO benefit, the third option is most effective and logical. Keeping the pages live in the background will allow pages to retain any link value that is naturally picked up during Christmas period. Many bloggers and journalists compile content around Christmas shopping lists etc. and link to your seasonal content naturally. The last thing you want to do is lose all that link value by either taking the pages down or redirecting to a home page.

Don’t forget the new age SEO

Now that you have done your keyword research, identified categories, created landing pages and followed the SEO basics, it is important to supplement your efforts with some new age SEO trickery. Some of the points to consider are:

  • Indexation: Ensure Google finds your seasonal content quickly using your Search Console settings.
  • Mobile usability: Mobile-friendliness is perhaps the most important factor to consider technically when it comes to present day SEO. It’s all good to have wonderful imagery and useful text, however it will not be useful if it doesn’t render well on mobile screens.
  • Page speed: Using high definition images raises the risk of slow pages. Therefore it is crucial you keep an eye on page speeds and ensure steps are taken in time to address it.
  • Structured date: For e-commerce stores that have offline presence too, there are plenty of opportunities available to add local store information. Google now reports live how busy a store is and this can add towards improving online to offline user experience. Other than local store information, structured data can be added across all different types of content on a Christmas page including video, reviews and images.

button-892149_1280

 

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year for offline marketing and there is a lot more flexibility available to the brands. However, when it comes to online, and especially SEO, a lot depends on preparing a robust and timely strategy lead by keyword research and then following through creating and promoting effective landing pages. If done correctly and in time then brands can a prevent last minute rush to acquire seasonal traffic and benefit getting additional seasonal traffic each year.

If you need help with the keywords on your website this Christmas, then why not give speak to one of the Tamar elves?

Asad Imam

Asad Imam

Search Director - Responsible for directing SEO strategy and implementation to achieve industry-beating results for all agency clients.