Holiday Season SEO Guide: Get Black Friday Traffic

Lauren Stark
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The holiday season is always a peak time for sales in our gift-giving culture, but this year it is especially geared toward online sales. In this article, we will discuss the shift in consumer trends this holiday season and our best SEO tips to succeed in driving traffic to your online store during the holiday season.

Why is this year special for holiday e-commerce?

Common sense tells us that 2020 will bring different trends due to the pandemic but the research on this still has valuable insights on the recent shifts in consumer behavior. Even though the times are tough this year, the holidays are still a season of peak demand and a critical time for businesses to connect with customers.

The best source of online consumer trends is Google’s newly released holiday guide. Let’s take a look at the major trends. 

Holiday Online Search Trends

  • Searches for “best affordable” have grown globally by over 60% year-over-year.
  • Searches for “fashion online shopping” are up 600% year-over-year.
  • Searches for “available near me” have grown over 100% globally year-over-year.
  • Searches for “curbside pickup” have grown over 3,000% globally year-over-year.
  • Searches for “support local businesses” grew by over 20,000% since last year.

Holiday Buying Trends

  • 77% of US holiday shoppers said they would look for gift ideas online before in-store.
  • 66% of US consumers who plan to shop this holiday season said they will shop more at local small businesses.62% of US shoppers will start holiday shopping earlier to avoid shortages.
  • 46% of online US shoppers expect sellers to offer discounts.

New Behaviors in 2020 

  • 69% of US shoppers plan to shop online for the holidays more than in previous years 
  • More than 50% of surveyed US shoppers tried a new shopping service for the first time this year.
  • More than one in ten surveyed US shoppers tried a new shopping app for the first time this year.
  • 70% of US shoppers said they were open to buying from new retailers.

A major theme that appears throughout the data is a shift in customer intent toward buying locally. Customers are aware of the hardships local businesses are going through during the pandemic and want to support them in hard times. This means local SEO is very important for holiday sales this year.

Despite this shoppers are clearly also shopping online more due to the risks of shopping in person. In addition, consumers are more price-conscious this year than last year. If you want to read more in-depth insights on the 2020 holiday shopping season, see Google’s guide here.

How do you optimize your website for the holiday season?

Last year alone, American shoppers set the record for Cyber Monday sales with over $7.9 billion in spending, and as we saw this year is gearing up to be even more heavy in online sales due to concerns over in-person shopping.

To make the most of these shopping holidays, it’s crucial to have an SEO strategy established ahead of time to drive the most traffic to your site and capture the most sales.

We created a holiday SEO checklist stock full of tips to help you drive traffic to your site this holiday season. Get it here:

Here are the holiday SEO tips in our checklist to help you take advantage of this incredibly popular shopping season and maximize your organic traffic.

Check Your SEO Basics First

Don’t forget to review your SEO basics, and optimize your website pages accordingly. Review your technical SEO foundation which includes:

  • Resolving the 404 error (page not found) for you deleted or broken pages.
  • Fixing the 301 redirects on lost landing pages and broken links. 301 redirects pass 90-99% of link equity to redirected pages. 
  • Optimizing page speed.
  • Making sure that the servers can handle the high load traffic.
  • Making sure your website is mobile-friendly

With these basics in place, you will have a strong foundation to focus on holiday SEO.

Identify Relevant Keywords for the Holidays

There are a number of tools that can help you create a list of relevant Black Friday- and Cyber Monday-related keywords to target.

For instance, Google’s Keyword Planner allows you to segment keywords by month, which can be useful for identifying high-volume keywords during the holiday season.

It’s just as important to target relevant keywords during the holiday season as it is during the rest of the year; however, with the increased traffic that comes along with the holidays, one could argue that it’s more important during this time.

Here are some tools that can be useful during your keyword research:

Create a Holiday Landing Page

A holiday landing page provides a home for all festive specific keywords and is a great place to put a festive Call To Action (CTA). This landing page will serve as a funnel for all holiday traffic and lead to more sales.

In addition, it is a great way to show all offers and product announcements in one place, since consumers are expecting holiday discounts when they buy.

Overall, a holiday landing page is a great way to get targeted traffic.

Have a Festive URL for Holiday Landing Pages

URLs are very important signals of information to search engines and consumers, so when you are developing a holiday landing page, it is important to create an optimized URL.

Things you need to keep in mind while building URLs:

  • Remove stopping keywords [e.g., you, with, for, etc.]
  • Use relevant holiday-specific keywords.
  • The URLs should be readable [e.g. use abc.com/festive/increase-holiday-season-sale-2019 instead of abc.com/?%1234]
  • Don’t forget to use hyphens [-] instead of underscores [ _ ]
  • Match your URLs and titles with other sites.

Create Holiday-Themed Content

Content is king, especially during the holiday season.

So, leverage creative content during the festive season. You can write how your online store can help in making the festivals more special, or you can share customer celebration stories, provide gift ideas or donate for the well-being of others and encourage your readers for it on festive days. 

Generate content about the holidays that is memorable and fits your brand voice. Find out the trending content that best suits your industry this year by looking up at the seasonal keywords on Google Trends and turning to Buzzsumo.

Things you need to keep in your mind for a good content marketing strategy:

  • The keyword density of the focused keyphrase should be 3-5%.
  • Create long-form engaging festive content for your audience.
  • Add videos, infographics, slides, GIFs to your content to make it memorable for your audience.

Optimize Existing Content for Holidays

You might already have well-performing blog posts or well-ranking landing pages from the previous year’s festive season. 

Well! Why not update the existing content, and make it fresh for the coming festive sales instead of creating brand new content?

Updating or optimizing existing content helps in two major ways. Firstly this content that is already online has built up some domain authority making it easier to rank highly on search from the get-go. Secondly, updating content is easier and quicker to implement than writing new content, which will save you time in preparing for the holiday influx.

Focus on Link-Building for Holiday Pages

Link building or backlinking is a strategic way of bringing traffic to your website and it is very important for improving SEO before the holidays since holiday keywords are very competitive.

The anchor text you use when building backlinks is important to your success, you should aim to have anchor text that is specific to the holidays and your identified keywords, such as, Black Friday dealsChristmas best giftsCyber Monday best offers.

Try the following to get started holiday link building:

  • Guest Post using holiday keywords
  • Publish Press Release (PR) for new product releases during the holiday season. 

Take-Aways

With this year’s unprecedented amount of online spending, it’s best to start preparing ahead of time for holiday sales. It’s never too early to begin preparing and every little bit helps.

To review, here’s a checklist of things you can do now to prepare your site for the holidays.

  1. Check your SEO Basics First
  2. Identify relevant holiday season keywords
  3. Create a holiday landing page
  4. Have an Optimized URL for you Holiday Landing Page
  5. Create Holiday-Themed Content
  6. Optimize Existing Content for the Holidays
  7. Focus on link building for Holiday Pages

There are many steps you can take to improve your site’s organic rankings during the holiday season. We hope these holiday SEO tips have given you some ideas on how you can make the most of this high-spending period. With the right strategy, the holiday season can be the most successful time of year for all types of businesses!

Lauren Stark
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