The holiday season might not quite be upon us, but the holiday marketing season definitely is.
Business owners have to start planning for holiday shoppers sooner rather than later. When your target audience goes looking for gifts for their loved ones over the next couple of months, you want them to find you.
SEO is a long game, which means that it’s a tactic you want to approach with a long-term strategy in mind. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth looking for ways to improve your SEO for holiday shoppers.
10 Holiday SEO Quick Wins That Take 15 Minutes or Less
In addition to the ongoing SEO strategy you employ throughout the year, here are a few tactics you can try to boost your SEO during the most important season for small businesses.
Good news: they all take 15 minutes or less!
1. Submit your sitemap.
For pages on your website to show up in Google searches, the search engine’s crawlers have to find them first. You can speed up the process by submitting your sitemap through the Google Search Console. It’s a simple step that makes sure Google has all your webpages in its index, including any new ones you’ve added to the site for the holiday season.
2. Optimize your title tags for new holiday pages.
If you already know your SEO basics, you’ve probably already done this for your existing pages (if not, our ebook on the subject will bring you up to speed). Now you want make sure you do it for any pages you create for holiday specific products and promotions.
For every page or piece of content you add to your site for the holidays, do keyword research to find the best holiday-related keyword to optimize for and strategically add it to the title tag on the page.
Also consider pages you can create specifically to make your website more findable for holiday shoppers. Pages that collect gift products under $10 or pages that highlight gift options for specific audiences give you the chance to optimize for various gift-related keywords your customers may be searching for.
3. Optimize all holiday images for SEO.
Every image you add to your website is an SEO opportunity. And the holidays usually mean new images that add seasonal cheer to your site.
Optimize every new image you add to your website for the holidays by:
- Customizing the filename to include target holiday keywords
- Filling in your image alt tags with your target keywords
- Adding the images to the sitemap you submitted in step 1
- Choosing the right quality-to-size ratio to make sure your image looks good, but doesn’t slow down the site’s loading time.
All of these should just take a few minutes per image, but can make a difference in how your site shows up in search.
4. Sponsor local charity events.
This is one of those tips that allows you to do something good during the holiday season, earns you goodwill with your customers, and helps with SEO all at the same time.
Look into the local charity drives and events happening in your area or in your industry to identify at least one to put your company’s weight behind with a sponsorship. Many nonprofit sponsorship opportunities come with a link back to your website as a perk, so this is a good tactic to build some extra link love around the holidays.
If possible, try to find a cause that’s in line with your brand and/or your audience’s values. If you sell pet products, then see what events nearby animal shelters or rescue groups are promoting for the holidays. If moms are in your target audience, then a cause that helps kids is likely a good fit.
5. Add some seasonal topics into your content strategy.
Unfortunately, creating the content will take more than 15 minutes, but if you’re doing content marketing, then you’ll already be spending that time on content creation in the next couple of months.
What you can probably accomplish in 15 minutes is coming up with a number of good holiday content ideas to add to your strategy.
If you’re a local store, make some of your holiday content local. You can highlight holiday events in your area, great local nonprofits to support, or some of the best local businesses to consider for holiday shopping. That way you can optimize for local variations of your holiday keywords, which will be less competitive.
6. Create relevant holiday blog categories.
If you’re creating enough holiday content, then you can make it go a little further in search by creating relevant categories or tags on your blog using your primary target keywords.
This signals to Google that your blog includes a lot of content around the terms you’re trying to rank for, so a blog that has 10 blog posts and a devoted category for “Miami holiday gift ideas” is going to look more relevant for that search term than one that doesn’t. And creating a category means you have a whole other page on your website optimized for the term.
7. Re-promote last year’s holiday content.
If this isn’t your first year doing content marketing, then you can make the content you created in past years for the holiday season keep working for you by promoting it anew this year. Share it on your social networks, send it to your email list, and if you’re really proud of it, consider promoting it with paid search or social ads.
As long as your old content is still relevant this holiday season, there’s no reason not to drive more traffic to it this year and boost its ranking power in the process.
8. Add links to new holiday content to your most popular old holiday content.
Your old holiday content will now have more authority than anything new you create. You’ll have built up links, traffic, and keyword rankings to it.
Figure out which of your pieces from past years were the most popular and have the most backlinks from other websites. Then look for natural opportunities to add links to your new holiday content within the piece. This is a relatively quick and easy way to give your new pieces some immediate authority by building off of what your old pieces have already earned.
9. Upgrade your web hosting for holiday traffic.
A slow website can be the death of holiday sales. If you’re expecting an uptick in traffic during the holiday season, then you need a strong enough web hosting plan to support holiday traffic surges.
Check with your web hosting provider to see if they feel that your current plan will support an increase in visitors. If not, consider if it’s time to upgrade to a new plan or a different provider.
10. Find and fix broken links.
Broken links make you look bad and increase bounce rates, which hurts your SEO.
With a free broken link tool like Broken Link Check, you can identify all the broken links on your website within seconds. Go through and remove or replace them all to create a better experience for your visitors and improve your SEO authority.
Your Holiday SEO Checklist
Good SEO takes time and none of these SEO quick wins should be seen as a replacement for a long-term SEO strategy. But if you want to find some quick and easy ways to give your larger SEO efforts a little boost for the holiday season, adding all of these steps to your holiday marketing list can help.
For longer-term help with your SEO, contact HostGator’s SEO experts.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.