How to Optimize Blog Posts for Holiday Traffic

It may feel like the winter holidays are a long way off, but in marketing terms, they’re almost here. If you want more visitors to stop by your blog this holiday season, it’s time to get your place ready.

Here are five things to do now for more traffic to your blog during the holidays. 

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1. Define Your Goals Before You Start

Before you work on boosting your traffic, know your benchmarks. What’s your average daily/weekly/monthly traffic now? What’s your holiday traffic history? Find these numbers now so you’ll know if your traffic-boosting efforts are working. 

Next, decide what you want your new visitors to do. Do you want them to sign up for your email list? Are you hoping they’ll buy your products? Figure out your primary goal now, so you can create calls to action for holiday visitors.Fix up the place

2. Fix Up the Place

Next, make your blog space feel welcoming to visitors. It’s a lot like sprucing up your home before a big holiday party. Check your blog’s

  • Mobile-friendliness and page-load speed. About 40% of visitors will bounce if your pages take more than three seconds to load, according to Think with Google research. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and PageSpeed Insights tool get usability and load-time scores for your homepage, landing pages and most popular holiday posts. Then make improvements if you need to, based on the recommendations Google generates for you.
  • Hosting plan. Can your plan accommodate seasonal spikes in site traffic to your blog? If your plan doesn’t let you scale up automatically or host the kind of traffic you expect, it’s time to upgrade
  • Post tags and categories. Categories and tags help visitors find what they want. They also encourage new visitors to delve deeper into your content, like when a visitor lands on your post about sugar cookies and clicks the “holiday desserts” category to see what else you’ve got. We’ve got you covered if you want to make sure you’re getting the most use from your blog tags and categories
  • Holiday “décor.” Just like wreaths and bows can get a little stale-looking in the attic, your seasonal graphics and landing page designs from last year may feel a little dated this time around. Now’s the time to dust them off and update or replace them.

3. Update Your Old Holiday Posts

Traditions make the holidays special. If you have popular holiday posts from seasons past, don’t be shy about bring them back out for another year. Freshening up old content is a good move for SEO, and revisiting old posts gives you a chance to update and improve the keywords you include—another way to boost your search results ranking.

Here’s an example: Last year, your most popular holiday post was your Sugar Cookies for Christmas recipe. Pull it up, make sure it’s got the right categories and tags, and then reread it. Has any of the information changed? Maybe the brand of flour you recommended is discontinued, or you’ve tweaked the baking temperature based on reader feedback. Make those changes in the copy.

Next, see if there are keywords you can add for more search traffic. Lately I’ve been using the free Keywords Everywhere extension for Firefox and Chrome. With it, you can do a Google search and get the most relevant keyword phrases on the results page. You can export them as a CSV file, too. Here’s what our “sugar cookies for Christmas” search delivered:

use keywords everywhere extension to research holiday keyword ideas

You don’t need to include all these keywords into your post. (Keyword stuffing is an SEO no-no.) Pick one that you can work into the first paragraph naturally, like “this is the perfect sugar cookie recipe for easy holiday baking.” Or replace the “Decorate” subheading in your post with “Decorating sugar cookies for Christmas.” 

4. Plan Your New Holiday Content and Promotions

New holiday-related content will draw visitors if it gives them what they’re looking for. During the holiday season that’s usually either treats, holiday tips or a look at the year to come. Here are a few types of content to consider:

Giveaways. Free stuff is always a draw. If you have product samples or coupon codes from your sponsors, copies of your new book or a new downloadable guide to having an awesome holiday on a budget, start writing those promo posts now, complete with a landing page or opt-in box to collect email addresses for your list. 

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Tutorials. Last year’s sugar cookie recipe was a hit? Follow it up this year with a new holiday dessert recipe. Did your tech blog get a ton of shares from your post on creating an animatronic holiday yard display with? Maybe this year you write a how-to on creating a “forest” of LED Christmas trees on your lawn.

Looking ahead. A lot of us start thinking about the year ahead during time between Christmas and New Year’s. Now’s the time to put on your prognosticator hat and plan a post on the top home automation trends for 2020, resolutions to be a better baker in 2020 or something else that draws on your expertise to help your audience.

Start writing your holiday blog content now and your own holidays will be less hectic.

5. Extend and Track Your Blog’s Reach

As the holidays get closer, let your readers and potential new fans know about your awesome seasonal content. Promote your holiday posts on social media. Create a holiday-themed email campaign to let the people on your list know what’s in store for them. You’re investing a lot of time and effort in your holiday content. Make sure people know it’s there.

During the holidays–and especially after the season wraps up–take a look at your traffic. Compare this year’s numbers to your benchmarks to see which content did best, which social media posts or emails generated the most click-throughs and how much your holiday traffic changes this year. This information will help you plan for next year’s holiday season, which will be here sooner than you think.

Ready to start getting your blog ready for the holidays? Talk to the SEO experts at HostGator about optimizing your site for faster loading and more traffic.