Best SEO Tips For Your Business in 2016
It’s Christmas time for bricks & mortar and online retailers. Literally and figuratively. The 2015 holiday season is already in full force, which means holiday season shopping is ready to jump into high gear. So just for you, here are some secrets and other holiday SEO tips for beginners and SEO pros.
Is your business store front business and/or e-commerce website ready for this shopping season?
Strategically implementing these SEO and digital marketing tactics may make your 2015 holiday season that much more merrier, not to mention your 2016 business year. Imagine being able to attract highly qualified customers all year long!
Regardless of where your business is located, your customers and prospects are getting heavily motivated for holiday shopping – in-stores or online. Savvy business owners already understand that it’s game on!, and have started to plan their digital strategy.
5 Essential SEO Tips For Beginners
Let’s focus on search engine optimization as the main digital marketing tactic for this article as well as for your, or your client’s business, this holiday season. Why? Because it’s such a super important tactic to implement to drive traffic to your company website, especially at this time of year.
1. Extensive Focus on Local SEO and Local Shopping
One thing that both traditional bricks and mortar retailers and e-commerce retailers need to accept is that people enjoy both – for different reasons. A recent study by eyeview digital found that found that 52% of shoppers will research their purchases online, before going to stores or before wanting to speak with a sales rep.
That’s more than half! This is why it’s vitally important to your 2015 holiday shopping season produce and publish relevant, useful, high-quality information (i.e. content), that consumers are searching and researching for.
This is how successful retailers drive qualified customers to your website and in to your front door. But buying the product and actually getting the to your home can be challenging.
There is a solution! Smart webmasters can do the following to help push their future customers through the sales funnel:
- Keep updates inventory on your website that shows product price, availability, and sizes if applicable.
- Offer site-to-store shipping or home delivery.
- Post updated hours of business. Holiday season comes with abnormal changes to retail shopping hours.
- Make sure your phone number, directions, and hours are clearly available and accessible on your home page.
A quick point about “Delivery” every business owner should remember is that as Christmas gets closer, your “guaranteed by Christmas” shipping promises become very important to your customers.
If you manage a client’s website or if your business uses a local internet marketing company, be sure that you have real time updates, with useful information posted on your website as soon as possible in order to catch any SEO benefit for this holiday shopping season.
2. Think Relevant Holiday Themed Content – and Optimize it Well
There’s nothing wrong with making a few esthetic updates to your website because if the holidays, especially if your business relies on that massive but short seasonal business.
I say pfft – whatever. Total waste of time.
Particularly from a strategic digital marketing and SEO perspective. I mean isn’t that the reason you should be updating your website for the holidays anyway? To drive sales and/or generate leads?
A beautiful design change looks great, but how are you going to get the right traffic to the right place on your website, at the right time?
What’s the right time you ask? When you customers are at the bottom of the sales funnel and they are ready to buy your product or service.
From an SEO perspective, during this time of year people are searching for different kinds of information day to day than they would be searching at other times in the year. You need to structure and strategize your holiday content marketing strategy now and execute a plan to produce high-quality, Local SEO friendly content.
Your holiday themed content should help you move your prospects through your sales funnel and convert them into paying customers for the holiday season, and returning customers for your new year. Let’s look at an example to illustrate this point.
Peter Roesler says that local businesses should focus on “writing SEO friendly content that provides that kind of information will lead to more traffic to the site.”
He offers the following example: “a golf supplies retailer would be better served by blog posts about the perfect gift for golfers, than they would be by more mundane posts about golf topics.
People won’t be searching for ‘perfect golf gift’ in greater numbers than usual until mid November and early December.”
But in order for a post to rank highly when those searches do happen, then it’s best to start publishing the posts now so search algorithms can crawl the pages.”
Exactly! At this time of year, with holiday shopping already underway, businesses should be focusing their ∫ “The best gift for Christmas” line will be used many times, buy many smart marketers.
But you need to start now. As Roesler says, you need to get your SEO juice for those keywords, or more specifically, for those topics flowing much sooner than later, in order to get the high Page 1 rankings you’ll need this season.
Here’s an example of well optimized content, two years old, that is still ranking on Page 1! This is from a search for “things to do in niagara falls in the winter”, in an incognito/private browsing tab, not signed in to Google, on an iMac, in Google Chrome:
3. Ask Your Happy Customers For Reviews
Online reviews are a secret to every keen, crafty, and sly SEO consultants and companies. If it’s not, it should be now, going forward.
Positive reviews of your business on your own company Google My Business Page, or any other third-party reviews site like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Amazon, Yahoo!, and even on social media platforms, will help you with Page 1 rankings.
If you’re looking to get an edge over your competition this holiday season, encouraging your customers to post online reviews of your business should become a regular part of your your Local SEO strategy at Christmas and year round.
Here’s an example of how reviews can help your business. This is from a search for a local restaurant, and client, “weinkeller”, in an incognito/private browsing tab, not signed in to Google, on an iMac, in Google Chrome:
From an SEO optimization perspective, your content writers should be writing high quality content using words like “best gift for moms”, “best gifts for dads”, “the perfect gift for…”, and other related queries that your target personas would be using to find your product or service.
By doing this, the chances of your product or service pages showing up in search for these terms is much more likely than if you didn’t optimize your content this way.
4. The Secret Weapon for Holiday Season SEO
In my experience, using relevant, high-quality images in all my content always offers a super duper SEO opportunity. I wish I had a dollar for every website I’ve done an SEO Audit on that has missed so many Local SEO opportunities because of not using images on many of their webpages.
Your digital marketing team should be producing large and engaging holiday themed graphics and imagery, that’s a given. For our in-house team, it doesn’t stop there. One thing we preach heavy at VPDM is image optimization.
It doesn’t start and end with our SEO team though. It starts with our social marketing coordinators doing keyword and topic research, before creating the content and continues through our creative team. This is steps before the image even gets posted on a client website.
5. Image Optimization Tips for The Holidays
- Always upload images to the exact specifications (i.e. image dimensions) to your website. Don’t rely on WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Squarespace, or any other content management system, (CMS) to resize the file for you.
- For your website, always upload the highest quality, highest resolution image you’re able to produce.
- Only upload images to your website that are between 150KB-200KB maximum. Your images for social media platforms can be larger and up to 2MB.
- Have your designer name the final file something relevant to the time of year and add a geotag. So for the holiday season you’d want to name your files something like “present”, “gifts”, “holidays”, “Christmas”, etc.
- For geo-tags, I say include one or more of these in your file name: your city name, your neighborhood name, street name.
- You can also use this method when adding your image alt and title attributes. Sometimes I even include keywords in the image captions. So for example your alt and or title attribute for a gift idea for your wife would be “best gift for my wife”, or “best holiday present for wives”.
The reason I say images and image optimization is the secret to good SEO is because the tactics listed above are a crafty “white-hat” approach to getting your top keywords onto your site. Proof is in the image above which was written in 2013 and is still ranking in 2015.
What better way to reach those eager, holiday shopping obsessed consumers that through producing and publishing extremely relevant and high-quality, SEO optimized content that answers consumers questions and provide solutions to their gifting needs?
People use Google everyday to find answers, solutions, etc. Your potential customers are likely searching for gift ideas for their wife/husband/child/niece/nephew/sister/brother/or office secret santa, right now.
Potential and returning customers are also most certainly in their social media news feeds, on their smartphones, engaging with friends, family, and some of their favourite brands and companies.
If you need more convincing read Google’s Mobile Marketing Trends for 2016.
Take advantage of this holiday season and build your quality marketing collateral, and SEO juice, for upcoming holiday seasons.
* Featured Image Source