eCommerce SEO Tips For The Holidays
With holiday preparations in full swing for many eCommerce merchants, it’s time to start thinking about search engine optimization (SEO) for the holiday season.
Before diving into the Holidays, if you’re curious about more general SEO Strategies, be sure to check out our advice on SEO for eCommerce Merchants. Now, let’s talk about what you should do for SEO around the holiday season as an online merchant.
Why is SEO Important For Merchants During the Holiday Season?Why does SEO matter for business during the holiday shopping season? There are numerous reasons, but let’s begin with the basics. For starters, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. In the digital age, consumers very often start their shopping journey by first doing some good, old-fashioned detective research on the internet. When they’re doing that, you want to make sure your brand is front and center.
Furthermore, as shoppers search for the perfect gift, they’re probably going to be leaning on their good friend, Google, for recommendations. In fact, nearly 93% of global traffic comes from Google Search, Google Images, and Google Maps.
But, you may ask, are these web surfers actually likely to pull the trigger and make a purchase? Well, the data indicates that yes, these inbound leads (or users that came from searching online) tend to be highly qualified. According to HubSpot, 60% of marketers say that inbound (SEO, blog content, etc.) is their highest quality source of leads. Even better, SEO leads have a whopping 14.6% conversion rate. This is not a lead source your business can ignore.
What Happened in 2020 Can Inform SEO in 2021With more people shopping online during the COVID-19 pandemic and the holidays, last year we saw a high amount of flux in SEO rankings.
Some of the causes? Marketing ads were turned off during the initial pandemic days when businesses shut down and unemployment increased. For many brands, this meant a lower ad budget and thus an increased emphasis on organic efforts such as strong SEO presence.
During 2020 there was also a large increase in eCommerce websites being made to allow for online purchases of brands that previously only sold in-store. With more noise in the space, it created (and continues to create) a need for direct-to-consumer brands to find new ways to stand out. As a result, in 2021 we’re seeing higher spends in marketing for eCommerce.
Predictions For SEO During The 2021 HolidaysThe holidays are just around the corner but the internet has already started preparing. We have already seen a Google core update that is targeting core web vitals of a website where we need to focus on site speed for ranking (LCP especially).
When it comes to how Google ranks your website for search, high-quality content and link building are the two most important signals the search engine looks at. To add some context as to why this is so important, Google has already received 360 billion searches this year (and counting), which makes organic essential for rankings. Google wants brands to focus on user and search intent.
This holiday season (and continuing into the future) data science and analytics will become very important for rankings and retaining customers. By leveraging data analysis tools, you will be able to better understand customers and create more targeted messaging. More importantly, it will allow you to identify your weak points and how to improve them.
Mobile SEO and website optimization on mobile platforms will be essential for eCommerce this holiday season. In recent years, optimizing all of your online experiences for mobile has become an essential part of growing your eCommerce business. In the case of SEO specifically, eCommerce merchants need to prepare for users who are searching via their phones.
SEO Best Practices For The HolidaysWhat are the best practices for SEO during the Holidays? The first rule of thumb is to stick to the SEO best practices. Covering all the basics and ensuring you’re meeting the bare minimum is especially important for taking advantage of the holiday shopping rush.
Another thing to note is that A.I. is becoming a powerful tool. Your business should be leveraging a tool like SEMRush to properly optimize your site and view your SEO rankings. It’s important to optimize your site because, in a lot of cases, your competitors are not. Having good SEO is one way to ensure you’re beating other merchants within your vertical.
That said, look to what other websites in your industry are doing right and build upon that. For example, if your competitors are producing top-notch blog articles or offering lifestyle content on their website, this can be good inspiration for things your brand can implement.
When it comes to SEO, content is still key. Ensuring that your content is not only keyword rich, but also providing value is important for both Google Rankings and your customer experience. This means your product and category pages should include content ranging from product benefits, how to use, shipping information, warranty information and more. We also recommend creating content like a Holiday Gift Guide for your brand to help rank for a variety of different keywords and educate visitors on your brand.
Another important aspect of SEO best practices is UX Design. User Experience (UX) is very important for rankings. Making sure to clean up your site to improve site speed and user experience will help with rankings.
Next, merchants should understand that keyword research is more important than ever before because Google is getting better with semantic search and understanding search intent. In response, there are numerous tools available to help you improve your keyword research abilities. Keyword intent is more important than search volume especially if you have low DA or are trying to compete for competitive keywords.
For merchants on the Shopify platform, the Shopify App store offers a variety of apps used to facilitate SEO best practices. Here are a few to check out: Image Alt Text Optimizer, Page Speed Optimizer, AVADA SEO Image Optimizer; and there are still much more!
Keyword intent is more important than search volume especially if you have low DA or are trying to compete for competitive keywords.
BVA's Approach To SEO During The HolidaysWorking with some of the most disruptive and innovative eCommerce brands, BVA has been able to drive SEO results for direct-to-consumer merchants in a variety of verticals. When it comes to the strategies we implement for all our clients as they prepare for the holidays, here are BVA’s key recommendations for SEO:
1) Start optimizing early. SEO takes time especially on new sites or new pages that do not have high domain authority or have just been posted. Google takes time to index the page so if you want to rank for holiday related keywords, you need to start now.
2) Add quality content to your product pages, collections pages and blogs. Especially in over-saturated and competitive markets, you need high-funnel content that acts as educational resources for your consumers to push them down the funnel and influence a purchase. One study found that 92% of consumers visiting a website for the first time aren’t there to buy anything. Unlike in-store shoppers, online shoppers are considerably less likely to make impulse purchases— they’re much more likely to read reviews and compare prices or features before buying. They’ll likely visit your site multiple times— as many as nine times— before making their purchase. So, you need the best content on your site to convince your visitors they should buy from you.
3) Optimize your pages with SEO best practices. Here are several things you should be doing:
- Add specific and targeted schema
- Add multiple pages with different content and make sure to add internal linking to similar resources
- Start building backlinks to these pages
- Integrated approach with developers to improve speed and core web vitals
- Integrated approach to keyword strategy between other media channels like PPC and Amazon to ensure consistency and visibility
4) Repurpose existing seasonal content Instead of deleting and redirecting seasonal content (like holiday promotion landing pages) each year, keep seasonal content hidden within your sitemap. In the off season, add a form to sign up for your holiday email promotions. When you have your holiday promotions decided, you can repurpose the content each year to reflect new deals.This not only provides SEO value, but will also make life easier for your marketing team!