Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are behind us, and it might seem like any holiday-related campaigns that weren’t put in motion by now would be wasted effort, especially when it comes to SEO, whose results often take months to manifest.
So, is it too late to lay any SEO groundwork for the holidays?
Not at all. In fact, there are several last minute changes you can make right now that could have a benefit on your holiday traffic within just a few days, or that will heavily benefit your holiday traffic next year in ways that wouldn’t be possible if you waited until next year to get started.
Let’s talk about what holiday SEO opportunities are still possible this late into the season.
One simple quick fix you can make for the holidays is to identify keywords that trend for your business, and others like it, during the holiday season, and update your pages to incorporate those keywords in vital areas.
If your site’s internal link structure is halfway decent, Google will most likely notice any changes to your page’s title tags and content within a few days, and the impact should be felt shortly after.
The best place to start is with your own data, assuming you have data from the previous holiday season.
In Google Analytics, identify any pages that saw a boost in search engine traffic relative to the others during the holiday season. If possible, enter those pages into SEMrush or a similar tool to identify what keywords they were ranking well for during the time period. You can then incorporate these keywords into the title tag.
Additionally, you can encourage the search engines to surface these pages more often and higher in the results by updating your homepage to include links to these pages, especially if they are buried deeper in your site’s navigation and don’t have many direct links. These changes can help boost authority to the pages, even on a relatively short timeline.
You can also take a look at your competitors to see which pages are getting a boost during the holidays, and for what keywords, and consider incorporating these keywords into the title tags and content on the relevant homepages.
Creating a dedicated “holiday deals” page with the associated keywords is also very likely to result in a boost during the holiday season, even this late into it.
A seasonal campaign that encourages user activity beneficial for SEO is still possible even this late into the season. While the impact on your search engine authority likely won’t have much of an impact on traffic before the holidays are over, the impact on the long term authority of your site is an investment that is well worth the effort, and any improvements it makes to rankings for holiday related search queries will come back to benefit you again next year.
A seasonal campaign can include any incentive for users to take part in an activity that generates holiday related content you can post to your site or that is likely to generate links – as long as you aren’t directly remunerating users for links back to your site.
The gold standard here would be a photo contest, such as asking your followers to post holiday related images with your hashtag to social media, with a prize for the winner. Similar ideas could include requesting holiday recipes, innovative holiday uses of your products, asking your audience to create videos that incorporate your product, and so on.
In the process, it should be natural for your users to link to the page where the contest is being run. This page can then be updated and populated with the user-generated content.
Again, while such an effort is unlikely to have enough of a direct impact on your SEO authority this year to help holiday sales, it will build your authority for the future. If you make the contest a yearly tradition, running it on the same URL, you can continue to build more and more authority to your holiday contest page each year, adding new content and attracting more and more attention.
As the authority snowballs, it will help inflate your entire site’s SEO authority, as well as improve the reach of the contest each year.
Recovering previous holiday SEO efforts
If you have made any holiday efforts in previous years, there is a good chance you can capitalize on those efforts and benefit from them again this year, especially if you put in the effort to re-optimize the existing content.
We have already mentioned the possibility of creating a yearly tradition out of a holiday contest and leveraging the authority generated the previous year every new year to expand the reach of the contest.
It’s also not uncommon for a site to run a successful holiday campaign but then remove the page after the holidays end. This seems natural, since the holiday season is over and the deals are no longer in effect. However, removing the page means removing a page that may have already earned some holiday-related SEO authority.
Thankfully, you can recover a fair amount of this authority by putting the page back up at the same URL, reusing the previous content, and updating it for the new season. Any links from external sites that still point to the page will once again send SEO authority to the revamped page, and any data Google had on the page suggesting that it was a good fit will still be in use by the search engine.
If you have no record of the content that was on these previously existing pages, you can paste the URLs into the Wayback Machine, which may have retained a copy of the page – allowing you to copy and reproduce the content.
You can also help resurface the content by posting links to it from your homepage and otherwise making it easy to navigate to the page.
In the future, rather than deleting the page after the holidays are over, it is better for your long-term SEO authority to simply remove links to the page from your navigation once the promotion ends, and update the page to say that the deals will not be available again until the next holiday season.
Even this late into the season, it’s not too late to invest in SEO for the holidays. Updating the keywords on your pages with seasonal phrases can still help boost traffic in the short term, while launching holiday related contests can help you build long-term brand authority.
Even capitalizing on previous holiday efforts that have been abandoned can help you recoup existing authority and take advantage of it right now. So, what are you waiting for?
Learn how to do incredible SEO all year round with Econsultancy’s SEO Best Practice Guide.