9 SEO Tips for Holiday Ecommerce

We hope everyone had a safe Thanksgiving and profitable Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Today’s post is another installment in our occasional The Marketing Experts series straight from Hotlanta.  (Quick aside – was in Atlanta recently and saw a Falcons game.  Outside the stadium a big sign reads “Welcome to the Georgia Dome”.  I couldn’t look at it without imagining Chuck D. rapping that.  Just me?  Yes?  Oh.)  Enjoy these ecommerce SEO tips from Atlanta’s own Jason Capshaw and good luck this season!  – Justin

There are many SEO opportunities during the holidays. Taking advantage of them not only increases holiday traffic and sales, but can benefit an ecommerce store year round.

When you have a short time period, lets face it, Christmas is in less than a month, picking the correct SEO targets is essential to being successful…

#1 Use Google insight to find products trending upwards

Google Insight provides the search volume for any keyword that you enter. You can filter the results by type of search, location, time period or even a category. I recommend that you compare multiple keywords at once.  Google Insight provides a projection for how many searches Google expects over the next few months if there is enough search data. Focus your holiday SEO efforts on those keywords that tend to trend upwards at the end of the year or are trending upwards steadily over time. Popular searches related to a specific product indicate that traffic should convert well.

#2 Find low hanging fruit

How many pages do you have on the second or third page of Google? It may be more than you think. I recently found 1,200 search terms for which a small website was ranking on the second or third page. By restructuring some of the site’s navigation and some simple link building, their traffic doubled within a month.

You can start digging by using a service like SEMrush to see what pages they have identified on the second or third pages of Google.

To get an extensive list, export all the keyword phrases that sent you traffic over the last 12 months. Once you have the list, run ranking reports on those keywords. Compile the data into a spreadsheet and filter out all keywords except for those that rank between 11 and 30.

#3 Get some quick links

Once you have a list of keywords on the second page of Google, its time to focus your SEO on those pages. One way to do that is to get some quick links from a couple of places that allow you to link to pages deep inside of your site.

Aboutus.org is a free authoritative site that simply wants you to put together a nice looking page about your website. With 299,000 inbound links, it carries some major authority.

Once you have your page fixed up, go here and ask them to remove the nofollow attribute from the links. If they do not approve your submission they are very helpful and will walk you through their standards. Make sure you link to your top five or ten products sitting on the second page of the SERPS.

Directory journal and ally web directory both allow deep links and seem to pass good link authority. Both are reasonably priced.

#4 Get your products reviewed

Find bloggers in your niche and send them a free product in hopes that they will give it a favorable review. This works best if you do not ask for many specifics, such as a link, just let the blogger do what he or she does naturally.

Blogs with strong RSS readership, big twitter accounts or a solid reputation at Digg are best because even if the main blogger gives you a nofollow link, you should get traffic and links from his or her readers. When someone popular mentions your site, your site will get mentioned again.

#5 Give something away

People love free stuff. A cool little gift for all orders over $30 should inspire conversions as well as garner inbound links. You can list your site at thefreesite.com with a link detailing your offer.

Having a holiday contest or giveaway is also a great way to buld link authority. Perhaps, give away a prize worth $100 for the best “Christmas morning photo” or “most extreme Christmas decorations”.

The bigger the prize the more attention and links you will garner. Make sure to link to some product pages from your holiday contest page to pass on the link authority built.

#6 Create holiday coupon codes

Can you offer your customers a 15% discount? If you can, contact several coupon websites and offer them unique 10% coupons. If one of the 10% discount coupons are used, share 5% of the sale with the coupon site.

If you can’t afford a 15% site wide discount, think about coupon codes for specific items. Even though you might not make money on that sale, you can present related products to make a profit.

I bought a printer on black Friday below retail, I then spent an insane amount of money on USB cords and a print server. The store still made their profit. But even if you don’t, the links themselves would be worth it.

#7 Sale holiday gift certificates

This works much like the coupons, except you contact online stores that sale gift certificates. Work out a deal to compensate them for their sales. Keep in mind, even if they never sale a gift certificate to your store, they will be linking to you and passing link authority.

You could also approach other store owners who sale products related to your site, but are not in direct competition. Ask them to sale your gift certificates and link to your site.

#8 Update your meta description

I pay attention to radio ads, television commercials and other forms of advertising to see how big manufacturers or retailers are advertising a specific product. I then rewrite the meta description tag to reflect this point of view. It creates familiarity and can increase click through rates.

#9 Create home page lists

The home page is usually the most authoritative page of the site. Research has shown that the further away a page is from the home page, the less domain authority and trust is given that page. Linking to product pages from the home page increases their authority, trust and PageRank. Here a few ideas for product lists on the home page:

  • The best gifts under $30
  • Our best holiday sellers
  • His or her gift wish lists

About Jason Capshaw

Jason Capshaw is an Atlanta-based SEO consultant and the owner of MyWebTronics.  His primary focus centers around ecommerce SEO.

About The Marketing Experts Series

The above post is part of an occasional series of guest posts by various marketing experts.  Through it we hope to expand our community’s understanding of a variety of marketing techniques and strategies to improve their own online (and offline) marketing efforts.  If you are interested in writing for The Marketing Experts series, let us know.

Justin Seibert

About The Author

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, Advertising Age, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

View Justin's full bio.
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