Many companies are putting a large focus on preparing for increased traffic and abandoned shopping carts this holiday season, but SEO is also something that deserves a little bit of extra attention. Now is the perfect time to start focusing on holiday keywords and getting the word out there for your sales and products that are available during the holiday season only. According to a Google Consumer study and ICSC research, 30 percent of shoppers start their shopping before Halloween, and 62 percent will finish before December 16.

Fortunately, creating a holiday SEO strategy has a lot to do with onsite optimization, and the offsite optimization is pretty straightforward. Put in a little bit of time and make this a priority, and you’ll find that the holidays will be more profitable and run smoothly for your company.

Tips to Improving Your SEO for the Holidays

As you may find in the list below, a lot of the SEO tips for the holidays focus around content, and the sooner you can get publishing the better. A few tips include:

  • Publish your holiday content sooner rather than later.

This step goes right along with the next step about actually creating holiday content. It’s no secret that content is the key to SEO success, so if you’re going to succeed in SEO this holiday season you’re going to want to have relevant holiday content. This will help you when it comes to linking and ranking for relevant terms (more on this in the next few points).

It’s important to publish this content right away. Even though the holidays may seem far away, you should start publishing your content immediately. Some companies say September is a good rule of thumb, but even if you’re starting to publish in November you have a good amount of time to really build up some great SEO. Publish on your blog, create new category pages, and even contribute holiday-related content to other websites. In the short, the takeaway here: Start publishing right now.

  • Use a Coming Soon or Preview page for holiday deals.

Creating these types of pages can help you rank for relevant holiday queries and give you a good place to start building links and building SEO. These are also great pages to include on your website because they allow you to build suspense and bring people back, and it gives you a reason to publish as soon as possible. Below is an example of a preview page from Pier 1 Imports that I found here that works quite well:

review-page Improving Your SEO for This Holiday Season

  • Create a Holiday Gift Ideas section for your website.

Creating an entirely new section or category on your website also gives you a place to improve your SEO. You can make this a subcategory of one of your already existing categories or creating something new altogether. This is an excellent place to publish your holiday-related content and include your Preview pages or any special promotions you might be having.

This will not only give you a place to publish holiday content and a place to send visitors to hopefully convert, but it’s a great way get your product detail pages closer to your homepage. This is important for SEO because the SEO bots can then crawl and index the content faster than they would if they were buried deep in your website.

  • Perform keyword research for holiday-specific terms.

Of course this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning keyword research. Holiday-specific search terms, such as unique holiday gifts, Christmas presents for mom, etc. may be difficult to rank for, so what you want to do is try to dig deeper into different category terms. Google Trends and Google AdWords Keyword Research Tools do a great job of helping you see what’s trending and what to target for the most success. Learn more here.

Once you do have a list of keyword to target, use these keywords in all of your holiday content and on the right landing pages. You’re not doing anything new here that you haven’t done in the past when it comes to keywords and SEO; you’re just putting a holiday spin on things.

  • Find your top landing pages and run holiday specials/ links on those pages.

You probably already know some of your top landing pages (and if you don’t, visit your Google Analytics Landing Page Report), so be sure to go back to these landing pages and include special holiday promotions if possible. If nothing else, include links to your holiday pages to help give visitors another avenue to find your holiday deals. You already know people are clicking these pages, so use that information to your advantage this season.

  • Add your products to Amazon and Ebay for the holiday season.

This was an idea I saw here from Marketing SEO Manager at Volusion Nathan Joynt. It sounds easy enough, but adding your products to these different channels can help improve your SEO on those particular search engines, which as many know are very popular during the holidays. You may not want to manage these listings during the rest of the year, but even just for the holidays can help give your products increased visibility.

  • Double-check the health of your website.

You should constantly be checking the health of your website through Google Webmaster Tools, but this is even more important during the holidays. This will help you catch any SEO glitches that might be occurring, and because you’re going to have increased traffic around the holidays, double-checking certain common issues is crucial. A few things to check: Crawl errors, 404 errors, indexing issues, page speed load time, broken links, etc.

Extra Tips and Resources

It’s also incredibly important to use your data from last year to help you determine what your SEO needs. This data will help you see what landing pages worked and which did not, which should help you determine where to put your focus this year.

Of course, all of the tips above are specific to SEO efforts. When it comes to preparing for the holidays in online marketing, there are a lot of other things to take into consideration. I highly recommend checking out this article from our Managing Partner Adam Heiztman on Inc. Magazine for more tips for Ecommerce sites, this article if you’re more interested in holiday PPC campaigns, or this infographic for tips on social media during the holidays.