It pays to think ahead, and Christmas is right around the corner. It may not feel like it, but you are running out of time to optimise your Christmas SEO strategy.
Although Search is not a channel to drive awareness, if your want the benefits from the holiday shopping frenzy, the time to optimise is now.
1. The best time to start your Christmas SEO strategy was last year
Although Christmas often feels like it a year away, by the time you determine your ideal keywords list with the optimal CPC to maximise sales for your target ROI, it’s Boxing Day.
That’s why retailers should be prepared to optimise against a moving target as user searches fluctuate in the lead-up to Christmas, while most of your competitors are making constant budget and CPC changes.
The best preparation for any Christmas user search behaviour and competitor bid changes is to look at last year’s performance in the lead-up. If you have two or more years of seasonal data, even better.
Overlay as many years of data as possible, consider both numbers of days to Christmas and day-of-the-week and build a model for expected traffic, CPC, revenue and ROI to inform your campaign optimisation, budget and revenue run-rate for this year’s festive season.
2. The best Christmas SEO campaigns are your “always on”, long tail campaigns
The Christmas SEO campaign is the Super Bowl of SEO. If you haven’t been playing in the season and collected learnings from it, how can you expect to win the Super Bowl?
Your “always on” search campaign throughout the year gives you all the data you need to make the best decisions on where to spend your extra Christmas SEO budget for the best ROI.
You learn the categories that work well, keywords with high ROI, and keyword variations that are broadly related but don’t convert into sales.
And the more long tail keywords you actively target (key phrases of four or more words where users search for something very specific), the better informed you are on actual user search behaviour and your site’s performance for all the different variations of keywords that describe your products.
3. Target the “Christmas long tail”
There are indeed some very Christmas-specific keywords that you can make work for or against you.
But the common pitfall is spending a lot of money bidding on Christmas keywords and then sending a user to a generic landing page. Or worse, your homepage!
You can make these seasonal keywords work for you if you land the users on tailored landing pages with exact match content. All your vegan hampers, all your gift ideas for him/ her/ mum/ dad that look more expensive.
But before you go investing in landing pages, consult Google Ads Keyword Planner for actual search volumes for the individual keywords, and check last year’s search term report to see volumes and past performance.
4. Use your Christmas shipping information as an “urgency message”
One of the few marketing “tricks” that are proven to be effective on search landing pages is the urgency message.
A straightforward and credible way of creating urgency is by showing the expected delivery date–Amazon is a genius in this.
In a Christmas context, it’s valuable and effective to tell your customers when they can last order to receive their products in time before Christmas.
You can further tailor this by user location and different shipping speeds by state, metro vs. regional and shipping options (standard, express or courier).
Of course, this does not only work for Christmas but all year round.
5. Christmas SEO––Don’t reinvent the wheel
If you have built Christmas-specific landing pages that rank for SEO, don’t build a new one every year.
Keep the URL and update the content. Data history like backlinks, traffic and usability stats for a specific URL is highly important for SEO ranking. By creating new URLs each year, you lose all history and the pages’ past performance credit with Google.
If you have pages that refer to the current year, like “Top Christmas gifts 2019”, you obviously need a new URL every year. In that case, make sure to add a 301 redirect from your 2018 version (and older versions) to the most recent one. While 301 redirects don’t pass on all “link juice”, “SEO history” for Google, they do pass on around ~90% of it, and nobody will miss the page or content for “Best Christmas gifts 2009”.
Make this Christmas count for your business, and remember that the ultimate goal in search is the same as in-store: customer experience.
If a user asks for “Christmas gifts for dad under $50”, take them by the hand and lead them to the relevant product section, don’t just point them in the general direction.
How can Longtail UX help with your Christmas SEO strategy?
If your business is looking for a massive uplift in non-brand SEO (40%+) and conversion rates (30%+), click here to see what the LUX Smart Pages look like plugged into your site.