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by Andy Williams on 14th November 2011
Christmas is the time of year that a majority of online stores expect to see a spike in trade especially with more and more people now looking to carry out most of their festive shopping online. However, if your site isn’t ready for Christmas you could completely miss the boat.
Too many businesses think it’s enough to upload their products and the Christmas custom will come flooding in. But just like the high street you need to be seen and if you haven’t carried out the needed work on your site, this just isn’t going to happen.
Christmas is the most competitive time of the year, especially if you are a smaller business, so getting it right online can help you get some of the action.
Keywords / SEO
So let’s start with one of the most important elements: optimising your site.
Simply having your Christmas products online isn’t enough. When adding your Christmas products you need to carry out a review of the keywords you are working with and give them a bit of a revamp.
Carrying out research with tools such as the Google Keyword Tool will give you a steer as to what truly gets searched for and the type of variations you should be working with.
Obviously many products are what they are, trying to optimise for any term that comes away from the actual product isn’t going to be effective. However there may be more generic terms you can include associated to the category.
All the usual on page elements need to be looked into as well. Some basics to think about:
As with any SEO campaign, gaining relevant links is hugely important.
Start using relevant Christmas anchor text when linking to your Christmas pages. SEO doesn’t change because it’s Christmas and if you want top rankings you are going to have to use all the usual tactics you would any other time of the year.
Search around to find new linking opportunities. Submit to Christmas related directories. See if local authority sites are running any type of Christmas guide, possibly a “where to shop during Christmas” style page. See if you can get yourself added to these lists.
Get your products mentioned on Wish List sites. These sites really become active during this time of year.
The current financial climate means that not only are people going to shop around more but the best deal is more than likely to win. So you need to promote. If you have the best deal out there or you are extremely competitive then you have to shout about it.
Make sure all deals, discounts and offers are clearly displayed on your site.
We are all used to seeing shop windows displaying Christmas themes. Stores like Harrods and Hamleys are famous for their displays to the point that people make special trips to see them as part of their Christmas routine. Not only do these displays help create a Christmas feel amongst shoppers but most importantly they also entice people in.
Well it shouldn’t be any different for your site.
Make it festive; the more engaging it is the better your results will be.
If you have a Twitter account, Facebook profile page or a Google Plus page then make sure you are promoting your Christmas products or services.
Give potential customers an incentive to come to your site by running special discounts. “5% off if you use this Twitter code” etc.
These are excellent platforms ideal for such promotions. They also have the potential to reach brand new customers. The more appealing the deal the more chance you have of it being re-tweeted.
If your site has a blog then it’s time to start talking about Christmas.
Hopefully you have been using your blog to its full capacity, you have a decent reader base and your content now receives a lot of exposure.
Start writing about products you have and special deals that you may be running.
An obvious angle is of course “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Promote a new product each day, maybe for that day only there is a discount?A series like this can gain a lot of exposure. Others may talk about it, especially if there is a bargain to be had be creative and of course don’t forget to link directly to the product pages.
If you have left things all a little late then the chances of your SEO working kicking in quick enough to make a difference.
In that case PPC may be the best option.
However research into keyterms will again be needed. But it does give you the chance to appear in the SERPS simply by bidding on the relevant terms.
If you are looking to carry out a PPC campaign alongside your SEO work then your PPC campaign may be better suited on focusing on products you feel will be in the highest demand.
Something Else To Think About
Christmas pages are of course only truly relevant during the festive period. But a mistake a lot of businesses make is deleting these pages once we come out of the Christmas period.
Gaining rankings during such a competitive time of year is hard enough as it is, the last thing you want to do is start from scratch each time.
You’re obviously not going to want to promote these pages come January but you should keep them live and you should try and keep all the internal links you have created. The longevity of these pages will prove to be beneficial come this time next year.