Written by Bernard San Juan III
With the holidays just around the corner, it’s important to get your clients’ websites prepped to attract all those online shoppers! It’s easy to get sucked into the stress of prepping an SEO plan just in time for the holidays but don’t worry! Here’s everything you need to do to get you prepared well ahead of time.
1. It’s never too early to start
In fact, the best time to start is RIGHT NOW. It takes a while for Google and other search engines to crawl and index your site, so it’s best to get your content and promos on your website sooner rather than later.
2. Check your website’s performance
Nothing turns a visitor off more quickly than a slow website! Think about it. How many times have you gone online shopping and waited ages for a website to load? I’m pretty sure you didn’t stay on pretty long. Having a quick website is even more important during the holidays when people are rushed to find and purchase the perfect gifts. Google’s PageSpeed Insights can tell you how long it takes for your website to load and gives tips on improving your site speed.
A common issue slow websites face is large images taking too long to load on web pages. I know you just want the best, HQ images on your website but there’s a sweet spot where images will still look crisp while taking significantly less time to load. Images should always be saved as JPEG files. These are significantly smaller than PNG files but still retain the colors and quality of the original image.
Logos, infographics and any images with a lot of text on them should be saved as PNG files. This allows you to zoom in without it looking pixelated. When it comes to files sizes, your images should never be larger than 1 MB. For full-screen images (such as on your background or header), use images that are 2000 pixels wide. And always choose the “save for web” option when you can to automatically optimize your photos.
3. Find the keywords your intended customers are using
Your customers will be searching for more holiday-centric keywords so it’s a good idea to research and spot what these are. Google’s Keyword Planner can help you find the keywords that your ideal customers are using as well as any other keywords that are gaining traction. Google Keyword Planner will give you a list of related keywords, some one-word long others 3-4 words. Check and see which keywords are relevant to your brand. Note that the keyword receiving the highest amount of traffic may not be the best keyword to use, especially if you are a small brand, because its highly competitive.
I recommend going for long-tail keywords, the ones which are 3-4 words long, because they have less competition but are more specific. For example: “shoes” may be getting a lot of traffic but may not necessarily convert because it’s too vague. “Women’s over-the-knee boots size 8” may not get as much traffic but because it’s so specific, you know there are people out there who are already looking for and ready to purchase this exact pair.
Google Trends is another useful free tool you can utilize to see which keywords are trending and even check the history of seasonal keywords (such as “Black Friday Deals” and “Christmas Shopping Ideas”). Just input your keyword and the timeline (e.g. 2018 history) and it will give you a line graph showing the highest and lowest points of its popularity. This will help you determine the best time to release your holiday-themed content.
Remember it’s best to release them before the keyword peaks so your content is already out by the time people start searching for them!
4. Write holiday-themed content
Your new keywords will help you write your holiday-themed content. Don’t just punch out content for the sake of, though! Make sure it still ties in well with your brand. Some great content ideas include holiday promotions or even new products, must-have gift lists and even reviews of your products/services.
5. Make your site mobile-friendly
Roughly 50% of holiday shopping done in 2018 was done on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. And this number is predicted to rise in the upcoming years. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you can bet your customers will be running to a website that is! Some things a mobile-friendly website should have include:
- Optimized videos that are compatible with even small screens
- Readable content (around 16 pixels big) that adjusts to the screen size
- Content that is cut up into sections instead of paragraphs
- Properly spaced-out buttons for easy clicking
6. Take note of your results
They provide valuable information about what worked and what didn’t. You can then use this as a basis for your campaigns in the years to come! Google Analytics has great monitoring tools to help you monitor things like bounce rates, site visits and even how long people spend on your website!
Facebook and Instagram insights are also extremely useful and very easy to use. You can even download your Facebook insights so you have them on file for future use.
While the holidays can be quite stressful, it’s also one of the most profitable times of the year! Just follow these simple steps and transform your website into a lead-generating machine in time for the holidays!
A web professional of 20 years, Bernard is the General Manager of Truelogic, an SEO Company based in the Philippines. He is a strong advocate of creating a culture of leadership. He has launched 4 companies, over 300 websites, and more than 11,000 marketing campaigns.