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SEO 10 min read

Three Powerful SEO Tips for Boosting Holiday Traffic and Sales

Ayesha Renyard photo

Written by Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 15 Dec 2020

It’s (finally) December. All that occurred in 2020 has left us wondering if we can control anything anymore. But when it comes to launching your holiday SEO strategy, we have something to tell you: it’s very controllable.

And it doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your website or content. Our experts have pulled together three easy yet powerful tips for growing organic traffic and sales this holiday season.

  1. Evaluate website performance and ensure it’s optimized for mobile use
  2. Conduct keyword research to identify holiday-specific target keywords
  3. Optimize existing content and build holiday-specific landing pages

There’s no time to waste! Jump back into the driver seat, put your hands firmly on the wheel, press these three buttons—and watch your holiday SEO take off. 

1. Evaluate website performance and ensure it’s optimized for mobile use 

Website performance is essential for a positive user experience; and therefore, vital for your SEO. To rank favorably, gain traffic, and score conversions, your website needs to be in tip-top shape. This year, with more shoppers online and searching for the perfect gift, now’s the time to give your website some extra love. 

We know why you’ve been putting it off. Figuring out how to improve your website performance can sometimes feel like this:

A man attempting to close window shades animated gif Source: GIPHY

So, below we’ve identified some common performance issues that could be affecting your SERP rankings (and more importantly, tools for fixing them).

Want to know how your page speed stacks up against the rest? Check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

  • Broken URLs: Broken links are harmful to your SEO for two reasons. They spoil the user experience (Nobody likes landing on a 404 page instead of a landing page for 50% off their next food delivery order.), and they can devalue your link-building efforts. 

To find broken links, you can use free tools such as Google Analytics and Xenu Link Sleuth.

  • Too many redirect URLs: 301 redirects are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, they are quite necessary if you’re deleting an old post, changing your URL structure, or moving your site to a new domain. Instead of landing on those dreaded 404 pages, your visitor would be redirected to this new page. But having too many, or creating redirect chains, slows load time and may send website crawlers on a bit of a wild goose chase. (And they don’t like that.)

Curious if you have any redirect chains? Run a full site crawl using Screaming Frog to see if you have any.

  • Duplicate content: Although duplicate content is a complicated subject, we know that website crawlers aren’t fans of content or URLs that are identical or very similar. It’s hard for them to sift through to differentiate your content. It also dilutes your ranking abilities. 

Try out canonicalization (“cano-what?”). A canonical tag (aka “rel canonical”) tells search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in search results, which prevents problems caused by duplicate content appearing on multiple URLs. You can read more canonicalization here

Highlighted rel=canonical tag in inspect element.

Source: Moz

When you were assessing your website performance, did you consider your mobile version? 

Since Google’s search engine algorithm update in 2018, mobile page speed has become incredibly important for SERPs. If your site doesn’t load quickly on mobile devices, your ranking may be penalized. Since many users are researching gifts on their mobile phones, mobile load times are just as important as desktop load times.

Also, don’t forget to consider mobile use when crafting content. You may need to adjust design, copy, and even ads to ensure that everything can be seen and read on that itsy bitsy screen!

Is your website mobile-friendly? Google’s got answers for you when you use their Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

2. Conduct keyword research to identify holiday-specific keywords

If you follow our blog, you probably know a thing or two about keyword research by now. 

Let’s say you’re a marketer for a Portland brewery. You now know the difference between short-tail and long-tail keywords (and that long-tail keywords typically perform better). You know your way around a keyword research tool, such as Moz, Ahrefs, or Semrush, and the metrics important to SERPs. And being the vet you are, you also know that “best craft beer in [city name]” probably ranks well in any other city except Portland. (With 75 breweries in Portland, the competition is fierce.) 

But then the holiday season comes along, and you’re feeling a bit perplexed. As a brewery, how the heck do you make your target keywords festive? 

  1. Start by acknowledging your new target audience: gift-givers. It’s important to understand that your target audience grows during the holidays. In addition to targeting your beer-loving customers, you should also target your beer-loving customers’ friends and families. 

  2. With gift-givers in mind, type some queries into Google’s search engine, such as: “gifts for beer lovers in Portland.” Here’s what you should look out for on the results page: 

  • Google autocomplete suggestions 
  • “People also ask” section
  • Searches related to section (pictured below)

We get a lot of supplementary information just from one search query! A look at popular related searches demonstrates that your target audience is researching beer delivery and shipping, gift baskets, and subscription options. Compare this information with the keywords that the top-ranking websites are targeting, and you’re well on your way to identifying your target keywords.

Searches results related to gifts for beer lovers.

  1. If you’re still a bit stumped, take a look at Google Trends. Here, you can see search volume trends, related keywords, “breakout” keywords (fast-growing keyword trends that haven’t gone mainstream yet), related topics, and local search trends—for scoping out those local gift-givers! 

  2. Plug some keywords into a keyword research tool to evaluate search volume and keyword difficulty. Those with low keyword difficulty are worth targeting.

  3. Now decorate your content with gift-oriented keywords! And remember, you can always adjust your target keywords. Keep an eye on your analytics to know which ones are performing and which ones aren’t. 

3. Optimize existing content and build holiday-specific landing pages

You’ve got some gift-oriented keywords with some major potential. But telling you to create a library of new seasonal content is a big ask. So, here’s two ways to spruce up your content for the holidays—without a ton of extra work.

  1. Optimize existing content: Do you have existing content from previous holidays that performed well? Updating and repurposing these posts could be the most time and cost-efficient way to earn search visibility. 

How do you update your content? 

  • Use this year’s gift-oriented keywords: If your target keywords are slightly different this year, adjust your header tags and meta description accordingly, so searchers (and website crawlers) can see these keywords front and center. But make sure these keywords still reflect the content.

  • Add more relevant content to the body: Adding bulleted lists—say of gift ideas—using your target keywords is another way to flag your content’s relevance to this year’s searchers. 

  • Change any dates: In addition to republishing the page to reflect a new date, make sure we’re talkin’ 2020 Gift Guides, not 2019. (Next year, I’ll be updating this section too.)

TIP:  If you do go this route, you may change the URL. And if you do, make sure all your internal links reroute to this new URL! (Remember those 301 redirects we discussed earlier…)

  1. Build holiday-specific landing pages: Landing pages are a fast, easy way to create seasonal content—and are especially effective if you’re also conducting holiday PPC campaigns. They reduce the steps visitors need to take to convert. During the holiday shopping season, that could mean a lot of conversions! 

What are landing pages? Landing pages are standalone web pages created specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign. It’s where a prospect “lands” after they click on an advertisement and should reflect the same conversion goal as the ad, such as sales or lead generation. 

Below, we can see that The Body Shop is targeting gift-oriented keywords throughout its ad copy. By clicking on the ad, the visitor expects to see a gift guide. (And don’t forget about that free shipping)

Bravo! As you can see below, The Body Shop’s landing page promotes gift ideas just like it said it would—and even highlights the free shipping. 

Body Shop’s landing page promoting gift ideas.

Looking for a user-friendly landing page builder? Try out Unbounce’s 14-day free trial. 

Keep it simple this holiday season

This year, let’s keep your SEO campaign simple. Let’s build off what you already have—and already know—to grow traffic organically and support more sales. 

In this article, we included a lot of tools for you to try out. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the options, reach out to us! We can point you in the direction of those that are best suited for your holiday SEO goals.

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Ayesha Renyard photo

Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed