It may seem crazy to even mention preparing your shop for holiday sales in the middle of the summer, but if you want your product-based business to have a fat bankroll come New Year’s Eve, now is the time to start thinking about how to boost your holiday sales. A bit of hard work now will pay off big time this December. Here are 5 SEO tips to get your e-commerce shop in shipshape for the holidays.
Update your product listings with gift-related long tail keywords.
You may have heard that including keywords in your product titles and descriptions is important for SEO. And oh boy, is it. When you begin thinking of relevant keywords to include on your product pages, be sure to also brainstorm gift-related long tail keywords.
“Long tail keywords” are short phrases, usually made up of 3-5 words, that people use when searching to find very specific things. When people use long tail keywords in searches, they often intend to buy the thing they are looking for.
“Head” search terms aka “short tail keywords” might be something like “Christmas gifts,” whereas more specific long tail keywords might include things like “gifts for my geeky husband” or “funny gifts for coworkers.”
If you want shoppers to find your product pages when they search for specific types of gift ideas, be sure to include those specific phrases on your product listings.
Optimize your Pinterest for gift-related searches.
For many e-commerce companies, Pinterest is a top source of traffic. This aesthetically pleasing time-suck is more than just a place to bookmark your favorite recipes and craft tutorials. It’s also a search engine.
Now that you’ve narrowed down relevant long tail keywords for your products, be sure to also include those phrases throughout your pin descriptions where applicable.
If you haven’t already done so, I also highly recommend building out Pinterest boards that function as gift guides. If you sell handcrafted cufflinks or fancy one-of-a-kind bowties, create a Pinterest board featuring all of your favorite gifts for men. Be sure to give the board a keyword-rich title and include your long tail keywords in the board’s description as well as in the individual pin descriptions.
In June, Pinterest rolled out their much-anticipated “Buy it” button. While most of the stores participating in the initial launch are major retailers, indie brands who use Shopify have the chance to be among the first Pinterest merchants.
Do you have Rich Pins enabled for your site? If not, now is the time to make it happen. Need to give your most important product-related pins a jumpstart? Promoted Pins are a great way to give new pins a big boost.
Create gift-themed blog content.
Want to drive organic search traffic to your e-commerce site all holiday season long? Create amazing gift-themed blog posts that help your potential customers save time finding the perfect gift.
People often do their gift shopping by searching for gifts for particular types of recipients: think about creating gift guides featuring unique gifts for grandparents or what to give to the co-worker who has everything.
After you’ve rounded up plenty of amazing content for your holiday gift guide blog post, make sure to include a Pin-worthy cover image. In order to create gift guide images worthy of going viral, I usually use Pixelmator, an image editing program for Mac, but Canva offers a great free alternative.
Create a holiday PR plan for getting in gift guides.
Now is the time to start thinking about getting your products featured in gift guides put together by magazines and bloggers. Most magazines plan out their content months in advance, so if you want to have any chance at a feature during the holidays, now is the time to pitch yourself.
Don’t forget to think local either… while getting a feature in a national magazine’s gift guide may seem next to impossible, hometown newspapers and magazines are often looking to feature locally made products during the holidays. Develop a strategy for yourself and decide what local publications might be a good fit for your work. Create a spreadsheet detailing which magazines you want to pitch your products to, along with any contact information you find for their editors. Begin engaging with the publication on social media now, in a natural, non-spammy way, and if possible, find the individual editors on Twitter or other social channels. Building authentic relationships with local journalists and pitching myself when the time is right has been one of the main ways I’ve gotten press for my biz over the years.
While it’s always great to get free press mentions, there are also plenty of affordable gift advertising opportunities for indie business owners as well. When I was running my e-commerce store, I regularly participated in co-op advertising sites and sponsored gift guides put together by my favorite bloggers.
Plan your holiday social media and e-mail strategy.
During the holidays, you’ll undoubtedly have a lot on your plate, but you can’t let your social media marketing or e-mail list suffer. Create a plan for yourself NOW.
Make an outline of any holiday sales and products that you plan to promote, along with important dates, such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You might even go so far as drafting out social media posts using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer. You’ll want to set a reminder for yourself to double check everything in November or December, in case any of the details have changed, but the more you can plan ahead now, the better you’ll feel during the holiday rush.
What are YOU doing this summer to prepare your online store for holiday sales?
Let me know in the comments below!
Mallory Whitfield began her journey as a creative entrepreneur in 2004, selling her handmade creations at local craft shows. In 2006, she started blogging at MissMalaprop.com. Through trial and error, and a whole lot of Google searches, she taught herself all about blogging, HTML, WordPress, social media marketing, SEO, affiliate marketing, and so much more. To save you some of the trouble, she’s created a free online course, the 30 Day SEO Boot Camp for Bloggers & Badass Creatives. Mallory is also part of the organizational team for Pursuit Creative Conference, a new conference for creative entrepreneurs in New Orleans, which takes place on October 3, 2015.