How to cash-in on holiday SEO

It’s late-December. The holiday season is well and truly upon us. Everyone and their uncle is searching for gifts, festive homewares, restaurants – the list goes on. There’s no doubt that we’re in the middle of a spending frenzy. So everyone seems to be asking the same question: are you using SEO to make the most the biggest ecommerce opportunity of the year? Thankfully, it’s not too late to get in on some last-minute holiday SEO action.

When should you start holiday SEO?

At this time of year there are so many articles on this subject. It won’t take much research for you to discover that the earlier you start your holiday SEO efforts, the better. We’re not disagreeing with that per se, but we are here to argue that all is not lost for 2018. Besides, the more you do now, the more you’ll benefit in years to come, so it’s certainly not time to give up yet.

We’ve pulled together five things you can do now to help you cash-in on the festive season. There will be a prize at the end for anyone who spots our main take-away before the end of the post.*

*There won’t actually be a prize, but you can be particularly proud of yourself and your SEO knowledge, so that’s something.

Seasonal keywords

Oh we do love a good keyword in the SEO industry. They seem to be the root of all of our activities, and for good reason. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our first piece of advice is to research seasonal keywords and optimise for them.

Get onto your favourite keyword planning tool, as you normally would, but also use Google Trends to see what’s a hit this festive season. You might be surprised what trends are associated with the holidays each year, so don’t be fooled into just using what seems obvious. It will also pay for you to look at your Google Analytics data for last year’s festive season; what worked? What didn’t? Why? Learn from your efforts in the past and build on them.

Reuse, repurpose, recycle

Specifically, we’re talking about re-optimising the content you’ve used in previous years. It doesn’t matter what state it’s in. Even if it was thin content, and even if the page has been taken down, you can still get some benefits from re-publishing it at the same URL and then updating it.

Once you’ve done the legwork this year, it’s worth keeping the seasonally-relevant pages live. When the season is over just remove internal links and navigation to that content so that it’s ready and waiting for when the time rolls around again next year.

Smash your content

As with any niche, your content is the signpost to users that you are relevant to the thing they’re looking for. So it should come as no surprise that having focused and relevant content is essential. You’ve got your keywords, go forth and build landing pages!

If you’re short on time or resources, user-generated content is great for this. People love a holiday-related contest, so invite your customers to share stories, pictures or ideas, and soon you’ll have a ton of content for your site. This will build authority beautifully and provide a URL that can be reused in years to come, with very little effort.

All that being said, you’ve got to remember your brand identity and tone of voice. Authenticity is for life, not just for Christmas. Tie your festive content into your overarching messaging so that it feels comfortable to your users. By all means create separate pages and sections for your seasonal content, just make sure it’s in-keeping with your product, brand and image.

Is anyone spotting a pattern yet? Do these tips sound a little familiar?

Build Links

Surprise, surprise, links to your seasonal content are a vital part of your holiday SEO campaign. Have fun with this, go hard on cross-promotions, and make content that will hit the spot on social. The more your content strikes a chord with your customers, the more shareable it is. If you can make it work with your brand, families, babies and animals always seem to capture people’s emotions.

People shop on mobile

I mean, this is obvious to anyone in the industry. Duh, of course people are using their mobiles to browse, research and buy presents. But at this time in the cycle, it’s more important than ever. When a customer is out for festive drinks and they suddenly realise they forgot Auntie Mabel’s present, you want to be the site they land on. So, optimise for speed and mobile, and you’ll be as thrilled as Auntie Mabel come Christmas day.

The main take-away

So who spotted it? That’s right, the same principles of general SEO apply to holiday SEO. Who’da thunk it? A holiday SEO campaign is really no different to any other SEO campaign, but the beauty of it is that it will be useful year in, year out. The work that you do now is groundwork for many years to come. All that’s left is to measure the success of what you do and improve on it next year, and the year after, and the year after that… you get the picture.

Happy holidays, everyone!