12 Days of Christmas: SEO Best Practices for Ecommerce

1. Seasonal Landing Pages

Creating landing pages specifically for huge seasonal events like Christmas and Black Friday is super important if you want to be able 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.

The creation of this landing page should only be a one time thing - if it is simply deleted after the seasonal period then all the SEO value and link equity the page has gained during that period will simply be lost - the best thing you can do is remove the page from the navigation and keep it live all year round. This same principle should be followed for all seasonal pages i.e. Mother’s Day, Easter etc.

 

2. Gifting

Gifting is a large part of Christmas and the search volume attached to gifting related searches reflect that, especially over the Christmas period. 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.

3. Christmas Parties 

If you’re a clothing, shoes, bags or jewellery retailer, we also see large volumes attached to party-related keywords over this period, so applying the same methodology as stated above this is another area you can have an impact.

4. Trends Analysis

As well as conducting keyword research it is important to add another layer of analysis around trending to your preparation. For example, the Christmas party outfit example above probably won’t have driven the huge amounts of conversions in 2020 as it did in previous years. We also see fads which peak for a year then are never seen again. Increasing trends such as personalisation has been steadily growing throughout the last 5 years and shows no signs of slowing just yet, and new emerging trends such as “letterbox gifts” which has unsurprisingly picked up during lockdown or “sustainable gifts” and “experience gifts” which we have also seen growing over recent years, are all opportunities.

 

 

5. Taxonomy

The taxonomic structure of your website should be clear and make logical sense in order 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 with your search engine rankings for said keywords.

 

6. Content

Use your blog area to build out a content hub that focuses on the many Christmas themed informational or question based searches, such as “christmas gift ideas” or “christmas gift ideas 2021”. The opportunity is endless in this area so keep your focus tight and really hone in on what’s relevant to your business.

7. Social Media Leverage

The use of social posts to share content is not only great PR, but every link and social share serves as a “like” signal to search engines and will give the article (and therefore website) a small boost in authority, slowly pushing the article up the ranks in the SERP (search engine results page).

 

8. Structured Data

Structured data or schema markup allows search engines to not only crawl your website, but also 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:

  • Reviews and star ratings
  • Prices and offers
  • Blog articles

The implementation of structured data can have a direct impact on 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 see a sitewide boost in rankings.

 

9. Google My Business

Ensure store opening hours are updated to reflect any changes over the festive season to avoid disappointed customers and negative reviews.

 

10. Mobile Optimisation

In 2019 one third of all shopping in the UK was through mobile devices, with data suggesting that mobile commerce revenues will continue soaring in the coming years. With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that in 2020 Google introduced mobile-first indexing - This basically means that Google will use the mobile version of a web page for indexing and ranking, and therefore 2021 is likely to see more mobile traffic than ever before.

 

11. Site Speed

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 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 be losing to bad site speed over the Christmas period? 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 have a negative impact on your keyword rankings.

 

12. Power of the 503

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 it is important that your website is 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. If you’d like to discuss further how to prepare for Christmas with a fool proof SEO plan, please get in touch and one of our ecommerce SEO experts will be happy to help.

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MEET THE AUTHOR.

AIALA ICAZA

Aiala develops and delivers strategies to help our clients reach SEO excellence, and improve their bottom line. She loves diving deep into the organisations and brands she supports and working collaboratively with their teams so they can reach their full potential.

She also manages a team of SEO experts and is passionate about coaching them to help them become better-rounded SEOs.

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