Black Nova Designs share their 12 top tips for optimising your website before Christmas.
“OUR TOP 12 TIPS FOR OPTIMISING YOUR WEBSITE FOR CHRISTMAS
For most business owners, retail employees and website managers… Christmas seems to come around earlier and earlier every year, with most of discussing preparations for the big day as early as August!
For eCommerce websites in particular, Christmas is a fiercely contested and very important time of the year, as consumers look for gifts, shoppers out for a bargain and for retailers desperate to sell out in time for 2020 product lines… whatever your motive, having your website up-to-date, optimised and running as smoothly as possible is a sure way to capitalise on the biggest online-spending months of the year!
So, if you haven’t already made a start on your SEO plans for Christmas 2019, follow these 12 tips of Christmas SEO and make sure your holiday season is a jolly one!
- YOUR WEBSITE NEEDS A HEALTH CHECK!
As exciting as it is to get started with your Christmas SEO strategy, you need to ensure you’re starting off on the right foot, so a general health check of your website now, is a must.
We absolutely love Neil Patel’s FREE tool – SEO Analyser. It’s not fool proof (which we don’t expect for free!), but it will point you in the right direction for basic SEO errors, most of which are simple to fix; such as duplicate meta descriptions, missing headings and more!
Run your own audit and if you have any questions on how to understand or fix the errors, get in touch.
- SSL SECURITY – PARTICULARLY FOR ECOMMERCE WEBSITES.
We’ve been warned by the search engine giants for years and now they’ve had enough… make sure your website is encrypted and secure, or your search rankings will suffer and so will public trust!
An SSL certificate (the little padlock next to your website address, normally starting with https://) is a type of digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted connection, in other words, it provides security for your visitors and your business.
If you take any form of visitor data, payments and such like, an SSL certificate is a must.
If you use WordPress, there are a number of useful plugins that can fix mixed content errors, such as SSL Insecure Content Fixer. Find out if you have any mixed content errors with a free scan of your website here.
For more info on SSL certificates you can visit Tara Punter PR here.
- PLAN YOUR CONTENT
One of the most important aspects of your SEO, whether it be seasonal or in general, is your planning of content, distribution and purpose.
Your plan should include key dates to release/post your content (think Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc) and you should also plan the keywords and search terms to use with your content and imagery.
Your content should be relevant at all times (don’t base your content on products or services you can’t offer), base your content on topics or products you sell and make use of the latest trends and find a way to link those trends directly or indirectly to your products and services.
- AUDIT YOUR GOOGLE ANALYTICS FROM CHRISTMAS 2018
There might be no need to try and re-invent the wheel… look at your analytics data from last year and see what products sold well, how people found those landing pages, the types of search terms people used and how well your landing pages converted in to sales.
If available, this type of insight can greatly shape how you plan your SEO for Christmas 2019.
- REUSE OLD CONTENT
Google and other search engines love fresh content, but they also appreciate updated content and the value of fresh information. If you have blog content from Christmas 2018, why not read through it and see if it’s still relevant and whether anything has changed that would warrant an update. Again, look at what articles were most popular last Christmas and use that to shape the content for this year.
Internal linking is also a key SEO strategy, so it may be that a new piece of content you write, also plays some relevance to another article, i.e. this article could easily link to a number or articles which explain topics in more detail, such as “how to use Google Analytics”.
- PAGE LOAD SPEEDS
Creating all this fantastic new content is great, but it can easily be wasted if your website isn’t loading at a reasonable speed.
Having a poor loading time, results in poor user experience, which can impact negatively on the number of people who decide to buy. Christmas is an impatient time of year, so do yourself a favour and run a few tests, with the aim to getting your loading speeds at 2 seconds or faster.
- CREATE SPECIFIC LANDING PAGES FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS CAMPAIGN
There is nothing more frustrating for a visitor, than to click on a link and find a whole mix of information or products, which aren’t relevant to their search query or the ad they may have clicked on.
Not only will specific pages aid your sales conversions, it will give you greater insight into what is or isn’t working.
Also, pay attention to your load speeds, creating specific pages may help you reduce server loads and enhance mobile speeds.
- RE-EVALUATE YOUR SHOPPING CART PROCESSES
Have you tested your online shopping experience lately? No, then please do as soon as you can. As mentioned previously, Christmas is an impatient time of year, so you need to make it as easy and as quick as possible for someone to buy your products.
TIP: Consider switching on a guest checkout option. Less forms and registrations = less fuss and barriers to completing the purchase.
- PREPARE FOR SUCCESS AND TRAFFIC!
Let’s assume that you hit the jackpot and you gain a huge spike in online traffic, or perhaps you’re planning to run an online marketing campaign to further boost sales opportunities… one thing you must do is ensure your web hosting is up to the job.
There are endless online tales of websites crashing during big seasonal events and sales, purely because their servers couldn’t handle the additional influx of visitors. Not cool.
Be optimistic and plan ahead, speak to your web hosting company and see if you can take on a temporary boost in server capabilities, as nobody can buy from a website that keeps crashing!
Black Nova Customers are lucky in this instance as there servers are ready prepared for any influx however if you need further info check out Tara Punters blog or as above check with your current host.
- LINK BUILDING
We touched on it earlier, internal link building is a fantastic way of reinforcing important landing pages on your website, by directing visitors down a path that is relevant and could lead to a purchase.
Look through your website and find opportunities to link relevant content, for example, a blog post with “top tips on choosing the best Christmas jumper for work”, should then have a link to the Christmas Jumper category page of your shop.
External link building is also a big part of your SEO plan. External link building is a popularity contest, you want larger, but relevant websites to host content about your brand or products and provide a link back to your website. This could be in the form of a product review or as part of a “top 10 Christmas gifts” feature.
If the quality of the external website is good and its content is relevant, this can significantly increase your search engine visibility and traffic.
- MAILING LISTS AND ON-SITE PROMOTIONS
On the run up to Christmas, nearly everyone is expecting and looking for promotions to either save money or simply buy more to spoil their loved ones. The hard work doesn’t stop when you get someone to your website, you must work even harder to keep them there and entice them to buy.
Make use of discrete mailing list options, promotional banners and limited time offers, the chances are that there are another 20+ websites the visitor can buy a similar product from, so whilst you have the upper hand, do everything you can to convert them.
For decades, business owners have made the mistake of thinking that if you build it, they will come! As lovely as it would be, this simply isn’t the case, and you should consider ways of promoting your business, products or services to make the most of the holiday season.
For high internet traffic, we would recommend if budget allowed to create a seasonal Google Ad. A good search campaign can dovetail in with your organic efforts and ensure that your brand is appearing for those relevant searches online. For more information contact Lee, he is a specialist in Google Ad’s https://www.linkedin.com/in/leemaidment
For a more image-based solution, a professionally created social media campaign can put your products and promotions in front of the exact audience you would like to see them.
Even after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook and Instagram continues to be the biggest and most comprehensive way of defining a specific audience and growing your brand presence.
Finally, consider Remarketing – particularly Facebook Remarketing.
Generally speaking, if I’m in the market for a product I’ve yet to buy, my purchase will often go to the company who have made the effort to catch my attention after I’ve visited their website, and Facebook remarketing is the perfect way to do this.
It works across multiple devices (I can view a website on my laptop and later see their advert on my smartphone) and can aid purchase conversions by as much as 30%.
In review, there are plenty of things you should or shouldn’t do to bolster your SEO during the Christmas season. Make sure you don’t overwrite your existing content. If you don’t have to, instead focus on new content that is relevant to your audience and your products. Optimise your images and your pages, focusing on loading speeds and have a slick, simple checkout process in place to reduce cart abandonments.
Whatever you decide to do, measure it.
Doing something without the ability to monitor progress is just crazy. Decide what metrics you want to assess and then continue to make small tweaks to improve them. Remember, just as last year will help you shape this year’s online performance. Everything you do this year, will help set you up for Christmas 2020! Good luck”.