The holiday season offers an excellent opportunity for businesses to capitalize.
With consumers spending an average of $1,496 for the holidays, including gifts and travel, retailers report that their holiday sales account for as much as 30 percent of their total annual sales.
With a well-optimized website, you can gain extra leverage once the holiday season rolls around.
While the holiday season is still a long ways off, it’s best to start prepping for it now by doing search engine optimization (SEO) for your website. E-commerce sales continue to rise every year and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, 54 percent of consumers prefer online shopping more than buying in-store, according to Deloitte’s 2019 holiday survey.
If you want to capture leads and convert them into paying customers, you need to get your website ready for eager shoppers. By working to optimize your website now, you’ll be able to see results when the holidays come and you have already laid the foundations of your campaign.
Below are the steps to optimize your website for the holidays:
Without automotive services, the performance of your car will deteriorate over time. The same is true for your website. So, if you want to rank on search engines and see your holiday sales grow, you need to address any issues on your website before the proverbial wheels come off. Run a SEO website audit to identify what you can optimize.
A website audit is a detailed look into the health and performance of your site. The assessment of these areas will give you a full picture of your website’s effectiveness, the issues that negatively impact that effectiveness, as well as the areas that you can further optimize.
A full website audit can be incredibly insightful, but it’s not always necessary—you can do this at your SEO strategy or on the sixth month of doing continuous optimization on the site. You can simply choose one type of audit or combine a few from several choices, including technical audit, SEO audit, and content audit.
Let’s say you own a real estate company. Then you know how important the holiday season is as most people check out real estate listings during autumn and winter. Your customers are likely on their devices to check out properties.
But if your website contains lots of high resolution pictures of your listings, your pages may load slowly. When your website has a slow page loading speed, customers can become frustrated and leave. As a result, your bounce rate goes up and your search engine ranking goes down.
This is why testing your website speed is an essential real estate SEO activity. Once you have identified your website’s loading speed, especially the important pages like your home page and product/service and contact pages, you can take the necessary steps to improve them if they’re slow or maintain them if they’re adequate.
There are a host of available loading speed testers available online. The following from Google are free:
If your website is well-optimized, it is more discoverable on search engines, which means you are likely to get more traffic. This can increase exponentially during the holiday rush, especially if your website has e-commerce properties. And while increased traffic is good for business, it can also slow your website down if your server is not prepared.
The best practice to prepare for an influx of traffic is to switch to a more robust website hosting plan. A basic plan may be enough to keep your website running smoothly on ordinary days but might lead to performance problems during the holiday rush. However, some higher-tier plans make your website scale automatically in the event of a surge in traffic.
Some of your business goals likely involve the help of your website’s performance to accomplish. For example, if one of your business objectives is to provide better customer support –and it should – you can use your website to achieve this goal by adding a customer support chatbot that answers queries immediately.
Set other goals like these and outline how you plan on using your website to achieve them. With a clear picture of these objectives, you can make improvements on and utilize your website better.
Holiday shoppers won’t want to see your regular homepage when they’re on your website. They want to see the holiday-exclusive deals you offer. This is why you have to spruce up your website to get people into the holiday spirit and encourage them to make a purchase from you.
You do not have to have snowflakes, Santa, and red-and-green on every page of your website. Simply add some holiday-related visuals that will appeal to your customers. Highlight your exclusive holiday deals, make “Add to Cart” buttons more visible, and include holiday-related content on pages that are important for your browsers, like your homepage and product or service pages.
The value of content cannot be overstated. Through it, you can target the area where you are operating and optimize your site for local SEO. Your blog posts are especially valuable because they make for great resources for your audience. Through insightful pieces of content, you can establish your expertise in your industry and make your website more authoritative.
Optimizing content for the holidays is a great way to lead more people to your website. When you sprinkle holiday-related words that get high search volumes, such as “Christmas gift ideas”, in your blog posts, you can boost your visibility on search engines and increase your website traffic.
This also helps you plan your content calendar for the holidays:
Landing pages are essential to your SEO strategy because they allow you to target a particular audience and capture their information, which is important in conversion. This is why creating a holiday-specific landing page is valuable.
Include the following to your landing page:
There have been so many cases of cybersecurity breaches that some potential shoppers’ are afraid to shop online. They need to be assured that they can shop through your website without putting their credit card details and personal information at risk.
While you can detect security issues during a website audit, make sure your website is still secure and trustworthy by obtaining a robust security certificate. This will put a green lock badge on the address bar that contains your website’s URL, which will also have the “https” tag instead of just “http.” These will show your customers that your website is secure and their details won’t be compromised.
Live chat features, especially when it’s helmed by real staff instead of AIs, are important in normal operations of a website and a must during the holidays. These features are helpful to guide customers and answer their queries right away.
With the influx of customers during the holiday season, you don’t want to miss anyone’s message and risk turning them away. Prevent this from happening by dedicating extra staff to man your live chat features and customer service hotlines. Another workaround is to use scheduling tools so customers can easily make appointments with your team.
When you move from one address to another, mail forwarding will help you get your mail delivered to your new address despite the sender knowing only your previous one. The same principle applies to your website.
If you’ve moved your website and some of your web pages to a new URL, which is done for optimization purposes, setting up a redirect sends your visitors to the right place despite them clicking on or typing your old URL.
There is only so much you can do to show Google and other search engines that your website is authoritative, secure, and relevant to users’ queries, which is why consistency is important.
Keep in mind that SEO is not a one and done thing and neither is your website. These things need to be tweaked and optimized from time to time as your business grows. This is to ensure that your website and your SEO strategies are updated and follow the best and latest practices.
Fortunately, you have months to work on these steps and implement them consistently until the holiday season rolls around. Make sure you are prepared by the time these significant 2020 holiday dates arrive:
The holiday season is hectic and it takes a lot of hard work to make and keep your website ready for the rush. But when you put your efforts into it and start implementing the strategies above, you’re much more likely to have a happy and profitable holiday.