When preparing your eCommerce business for Christmas, it’s very easy to forget the pivotal role SEO can play in driving customers to the website. SEO is a long-term game with sustainable rewards, meaning it needs to be engaged from the get-go and must never be an afterthought.
Luckily we’re here to help and have compiled a list of 12 key considerations for your Christmas planning.
Creating landing pages specifically for huge seasonal events like Christmas and Black Friday is super important if you want to compete for Christmas and Black Friday-related keywords. Even if you’re a smaller business and ranking for those terms isn’t realistic, you want a landing page for customers searching specifically for your brand name + Black Friday, for example.
Rather than creating a new landing page each year, i.e., Luxury Christmas Gifts for Her - 2022 instead, create one landing page that can be added and removed from the navigation based on the time of year. This will ensure you retain SEO value and your prevents any SEO and link equity loss. You should follow this same principle for all seasonal pages, i.e. Mother’s Day, Easter etc.
Gifting is a large part of Christmas, and the search volume attached to gifting-related searches reflects that, especially over Christmas. Conduct diligent keyword research and choose keywords that accurately reflect your product offering and business size. As attractive as the large search volumes may be, remember, if you’re a small eCommerce business, you’re unlikely to be able to compete with the likes of John Lewis and Not on the High Street for competitive terms like “gifts for her” or “personalised gifts”. You should aim for something more specific and tailored to your product offering, like “jewellery gifts for her” and ”personalised jewellery for her” if you sell jewellery. This way, you’ll capture customers further down the funnel and are more likely to compete in the organic search space.
If you’re a clothing, shoes, bags or jewellery retailer. In that case, we also see large volumes attached to party-related keywords over this period, so applying the same methodology as stated above is another area you can impact.
As well as conducting keyword research, adding another layer of analysis around trending to your preparation is important. For example, the Christmas party outfit example above probably won’t have driven the huge conversions in 2020 as it did in previous years. Similarly, “letterbox gifts” emerged during the Covid/lockdown period. As you can see from the snapshot below, this trend has been massively “curbed” since the lockdown was lifted, demonstrating the current climate's power on users’ search and buying behaviour.
With the rising cost of living, it will be interesting to see what impact this has on gifting behaviour this year. For example, we could expect to see more people searching using terms such as “cheap”, “budget”, and “under £X”.
Increasing trends such as personalisation have been steadily growing throughout the last five years and show no signs of slowing. Similarly, “sustainable gifts” and “experience gifts” have also seen growth over recent years and are all opportunities.
The taxonomic structure of your website should be clear and make logical sense to make it easy for customers to find what they want on the website. With a chaotic or unclear site structure, customers are likely to get frustrated and leave the website, which is a red signal to search engines and can result in them downgrading your keyword rankings.
Aside from this, search engines will use the taxonomic structure of the site to find and understand the hierarchy of your website and index all relevant information about a product or topic. Don’t forget to use the keyword research and trends insights to drive customer-friendly naming conventions and categorisation, as this will help your search engine rankings for said keywords.
Use your blog to build a content hub that focuses on the many Christmas-themed informational or question-based searches, such as “Christmas gift ideas” or “Christmas gift ideas 2022”. The opportunity is endless in this area, so keep your focus tight and hone in on what’s relevant to your business.
The use of social posts to share content is great PR; every link and social share serves as a “like” signal to search engines. It will give the article (and, therefore, website) a small boost in authority. Ultimately pushing the article up the ranks in the SERP (search engine results page).
Structured data or schema markup allows search engines to crawl your website and understand it. Search engines use the structured data within a page to generate rich snippets, which are small pieces of information that appear in search results.
Some of the more powerful schema markups for eCommerce are:
The implementation of structured data can directly impact your CTR (click-through rate) from the SERP as well as a more attractive listing and more control over what terms your products might appear for. Studies also suggest websites with structured data generally boost rankings sitewide.
Ensure store opening hours are updated to reflect changes over the festive season to avoid disappointed customers and negative reviews.
According to forecasts, retail sales from m-commerce is expected to surpass the £1bn mark by 2024. That said, data suggests mobile usage is better related to browsing as opposed to purchasing. With desktop traffic appearing more lucrative.
In 2020, Google introduced mobile-first indexing - This means that Google will use the mobile version of a web page for indexing and ranking. As has been the recommendation for a few years now, ensure your website is mobile-friendly to cater for users browsing and purchasing via m-commerce.
Site speed is for life, not just for Christmas. But if there’s ever a time to optimise your website for speed, it’s ahead of a large influx of potential customers visiting your website.
For example, pages that take longer load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that load in five seconds see their bounce rates skyrocket to 38%. Imagine how many visitors you could lose to bad site speed over Christmas. On top of this, a one-second delay will reduce customer satisfaction by 16%.
And if you still aren’t sold on the importance of having a fast website, site speed is also a Google ranking factor, so a slow website can harm your keyword rankings.
Whilst site downtime is exactly what any eCommerce site doesn’t want over the peak period - and hopefully, you’ll have already put resources into ensuring your website is crash-proof - sometimes it’s unavoidable. Think of all the big retailers like John Lewis, Game etc., that have been hit with site outages over the Black Friday period.
Well, when this happens, your website must be set up to return a 503 response code. This will tell search engines that the site is temporarily down and to come back later so they don't try and crawl the website while it is down, which could ultimately result in huge ranking drops. Also, consider creative designs for your 503 response so customers remember you.
In summary, the Christmas period is the most important time of year for most eCommerce businesses, and SEO shouldn't be taken lightly. Failing to prepare properly could see you losing large amounts of traffic and revenue.
Hannah’s aim is always to deliver higher levels of relevant traffic to her clients’ websites. Proficient with data and analytics, she utilises these to formulate and deliver effective SEO strategies.
On a day-to-day basis, Hannah influences the structure and content of websites to improve ranking for important keywords, as well as to the benefit of the user. She never forgets the ultimate goal and works to ensure this new traffic converts to leads and new customers.More about Hannah