With the latest pandemic wave throwing a wrench in another holiday shopping season, anticipating consumer challenges and optimizing your brand’s website accordingly will be crucial.

Brands relying on significant holiday sales have even more reason to ensure that all digital marketing efforts work in tandem and are based on a strong website foundation. Below are 10 SEO projects you can start now for a more successful holiday season!

Technical Optimization

Consider the top technical site optimizations to keep in mind when heading into the holiday season.

1. Improve Site Speed and Page Experience

A fast and functional site is crucial – not only to meet Google’s page experience criteria but also to handle the influx of holiday traffic. Sites poorly positioned for a traffic increase can end up slow or unresponsive, driving shoppers to purchase elsewhere during a crucial buying period.

Additionally, with page experience becoming an official Google ranking factor as of June 2021, there is added incentive to improve your Core Web Vitals performance.

2. Incorporate Structured Data

Structured data (sometimes referred to as schema markup) helps search engines understand on-page content. When implemented correctly, structured data can improve organic click-through rates with the potential of earning rich results.

Product and review schema can be particularly valuable during the holiday rush by highlighting product details and improving rapport with first-time purchasers.

3. Consolidate Page Equity

Nothing frustrates users and search engines quite like a dead end. Yes, we’re referring to the dreaded “404 – Page Not Found.” Mitigate the negative impact of 404 errors by consolidating page equity through 301 redirects. Replacing broken 404 links across the site can help users and search engines navigate seamlessly through all pages on your site.

Another frustrating customer experience, especially during the frenetic Cyber Week, is landing on an out-of-stock product page. If a product will be out-of-stock for the remainder of the holiday period, implement a 301 redirect to the next most relevant product or have product suggestions to keep users on your site.

4. Handle Seasonal Sale Pages With Care

Have you amassed multiple versions of a holiday page over the years? Fear not – this is a common practice many brands fall victim to and, fortunately, a straightforward solution exists.

Implementing a 301 redirect from prior years’ holiday pages to one evergreen holiday URL is the best way to ensure SEO value is maximized.

Content Optimization

Let’s not forget to look at on-site SEO optimizations from a content perspective. There’s still time to optimize copy for Google to re-crawl during the holiday season, with the goal to improve organic keyword rankings.

5. Optimize Your Seasonal Pages

Seasonal pages for sales, promotions, or special events should have optimized title tags, meta descriptions, and on-page copy to inform both users and search engines of a page’s main purpose. Copy can be updated to reflect an upcoming sale, the details of the promotion, and detailed expiration dates which can help generate a sense of excitement and urgency.

After the holidays, custom landing pages that were once used in newsletters or email campaigns should be updated with a “noindex,nofollow” meta robots tag to prevent them from being indexed and competing with an evergreen seasonal page.

6. Incorporate Internal Links

If your on-page copy lacks relevant internal links, consider including textual links to holiday sale pages, relevant categories, or informational content like gift guides.

Internal links can improve user navigation and help search engines understand page relevance and importance.

These links can be particularly beneficial for pages that are not included within the main navigation to ensure they are not orphaned.

7. Use Text Overlay on Images

Your site might look snazzy and spruced up for the holiday season, but can search engines process your relevant content?

If text is incorporated into a banner or image, chances are the information displayed is important for customers and search engines alike. Because search engines can’t decipher image content, it’s best to integrate text as an image overlay rather than part of the image file itself.

If a page contains no textual content besides an image, search engines could determine the page has thin content and might not be useful to searchers. If you do choose to use text within image files, make sure you include keyword-rich copy elsewhere on the page as well as an image alt tag.

8. Create a Gift Guide

With over 18,000 searches per month, gift guides are a popular tactic to inspire searchers and improve awareness during the giving season. Gift guides can be used across a variety of channels, including email, organic, and paid search.

On that note, be sure to coordinate your digital marketing efforts across channels, as a cohesive strategy can boost brand awareness and improve site performance during the peak holiday season.

Additional Ecommerce Website Optimizations

Looking for other SEO tips ahead of the holidays?

9. Update Your Local SEO Listings

If you offer in-store options, Google My Business can be vital to getting customers through the physical door. Seasonal details such as pickup and delivery options, extended holiday hours, or pandemic restrictions can all be updated through a Google My Business profile.

Additionally, an accurate company description, bright photos, videos, and positive reviews can all play a role in brand image. It’s important to have one home for this information and make sure all of your citations are up to date.

10. Avoid Large Site Changes

Considering a replatform, redesign, retheme, or new site launch?

The holiday season is not the time to be making large changes to your website.

Troubleshooting during replatforms requires immense resources, and resolving key issues can take months if implementation goes askew. Additionally, rushed deployments don’t just impact the organic channel but can also create problems for paid ads and overall user experience.

It’s best to leave site alterations to launch after the holiday season when traffic to the site has calmed down and when there aren’t time-sensitive restrictions.

Ready to evaluate your organic presence and uncover key opportunities? If you’re interested in seeing what an experienced SEO team can do for you, get in touch with us today.