Start Thinking SEO for the Winter Holidays Now!

It’s time to get started with SEO strategies to help your organic search rankings before the holidays come. Why? Google can take awhile to notice changes.

Last Minute Holiday SEO Tips

As you may know, SEO takes some time to show improvement. Turnaround is not as quick as a Pay Per Click campaign in which one strategy change, such as raising bids or changing ad copy, can have immediate results. With SEO, some changes may have faster results than others, but it can take days or even months to see a stable outcome.

For example, with basic SEO best practices, such as optimizing title tags, results can be seen within a couple of days on Google.  Sometimes they’re even quicker to show up on Bing. This also depends on how often your site is crawled by search engines, but on average, optimization of title tags gives quick, positive changes on the main pages of your site, which are usually crawled more often.

For an example, let’s consider our site, Volusion.com. Before we deployed our site redesign, a lot of our deeper pages weren’t effectively optimized with targeted keywords. Because of this lack of optimization, many of these deeper pages couldn’t be found within the first 100 search results in Google for targeted keywords. After the redesign, these pages were updated to target long tail keywords, which are less competitive and have less search volume.

 

But why target keywords with low search volume?

These terms are still good traffic drivers and usually have higher conversion rates than more general keywords. The launch date for our site redesign was on a Friday. The marketing team made sure to have title tags and content optimized for the new pages; we made sure to get everything in order for the new site to get crawled and indexed effectively; we implemented the XML and HTML sitemaps, set Google Webmaster Tools, etc.  I checked rankings that Friday before the launch, let the weekend go by, and by Monday morning, I had the site ranking for 30 new targeted keywords within the Google Search Results. The positions weren’t great for some of the keywords, but at least our pages were somewhere to be found within the top 50 search results. Clearly, changing our keyword targeting strategy paid off.

This also applies to links within and to your site.  There are some links that may take months to add value to your site’s SEO, depending on the value (to the search engine) and relevance of the page linking back to you, and also the competitiveness of the keyword that you may have used as anchor text within the link. One important thing that I pay attention to when making changes is stability. After any type of change, you may see a huge jump or drop for a couple of days, but then it stabilizes. That’s why it’s very important to keep track of your rankings, especially after a big change, like in my case, a redesign.

 

Effective Optimization, Fresh Content and Link Building

To see significant results by the winter holidays, I recommend getting started during the summer. This is the perfect time to start thinking about your landing pages, targeted keywords, content, and your internal link strategies (such as articles, blogs or important pages where you want to be mentioned or linked back to).

Also, pay attention to Google trends when searching for keywords.  There are keywords with higher demand over the holidays, so watch out when using regular keyword tools, since some may give you search volume according to a specific period of time. Remember that during holidays there are big companies such as Wal-Mart that have huge budget to spend on PPC campaigns, so bidding might be more expensive to stay on top. Therefore, your organic visibility from SEO will be crucial to remain part of the competitive set and help you stay profitable.

As a final thought, link building is very important for you to show at the top of the search results. You can start link building by finding various websites where you want to be mentioned, like online catalogues, product review sites, industry related blogs, articles written by you regarding your products or industry, etc. There are tons of opportunities out there, but you need to start sooner than later. Remember that Google tends to like aged links as well.  The longer the link is live, the more reliability it has.

..
Happy selling!
-Oscar Pico, SEO Manager, Volusion

About 

Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

5 Responses to “Start Thinking SEO for the Winter Holidays Now!”

  1. Oscar Pico

    Hi Mike. If you do have redirects, make sure you include in the sitemap the URL of the final destination, not the one redirecting. Also, this may happen when you have a URL with a “/” at the end, and you may be missing that in the sitemap. This may look obvious to you, but Google wants to know the exact URL of the final destination without any redirects at all.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Reply
  2. Mike

    Great article. Oscar how could we go about getting help with sitemap submission to google. We always receive errors back that such a low % of our submissions go through. This is a common Goole warning: URLs not followed
    When we tested a sample of URLs from your Sitemap, we found that some URLs redirect to other locations. We recommend that your Sitemap contain URLs that point to the final destination (the redirect target) instead of redirecting to another URL.

    Any suggestions?

    Reply
  3. Oscar Pico

    Hi Connie Ozdil,

    I took a quick look at your site and the good thing so far is that 92 pages of your site have been crawled and indexed by Google. Now, for your rankings to improve and your overall SEO visibility to increase, I do recommend some on page optimization as well as link building strategies. Optimize your Title tags and content, starting with your homepage and your main pages. Take a look at some of the previous blog posts that Matt Winn wrote with some basic SEO tips for your site. Check them out and hopefully they will help you out choosing your keywords and optimize your site.

    //www.volusion.com/ecommerce-blog/articles/learn-seo-how-search-engines-rank-pages

    //www.volusion.com/ecommerce-blog/articles/learn-seo-one-step-at-a-time-%E2%80%93-an-introduction-to-keywords

    //www.volusion.com/ecommerce-blog/articles/learn-seo-keyword-research

    //www.volusion.com/ecommerce-blog/articles/learn-seo-building-a-seo-friendly-site

    //www.volusion.com/ecommerce-blog/articles/learn-seo-link-building-basics

    Thank you again,

    Oscar Pico

    Reply
  4. connie ozdil

    hello Oscar:
    and thank you for your useful tips.
    i feel very frustrated sometimes since I launched my website last June 2010 for not even showing up on the organic search.
    But it was comforting to read from your post that it takes time to build and learn SEO and that far ahead in advance. Pls look at my beautiful site designed by Volusion and give me your feedback

    Thank you

    Reply

Leave a Reply