Begin your search engine optimization today by registering for SEO.com’s free upcoming webinar and learn how to optimize your website in time for the holidays. We will teach you how to increase your website’s visibility so it ranks high in the search engines when potential customers shop at Christmastime.
This webinar will focus on:
- Holiday-related keyword research
- Building well-optimized holiday pages
- Link building in time for Christmas
- Increasing your influence in social media
- Creating relevant holiday content and promotions
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Pat: Greetings, everyone. Thank you for joining us for the SEO.com webinar today. I’m here with Rick Hardman, who is an SEO manager. We have a great presentation about Christmas in July. We’re already talking about Christmas, folks, yes. In the SEO world, talking about Christmas in July is critical, in fact. You want to make certain that your website is ranking where it needs to be ranking when the holiday shopping rush begins. Rick has some great advice and tips today on how to prepare now to get your website up in the rankings. How are you doing today, Rick? Thanks for joining us.
Rick: Thanks, Pat. I’m doing very good. It’s kind of weird to be talking about Christmas in July, but that’s part of what we have to do. For those of you who saw that screen that was up to begin with, that was a picture of me in both cases—I do play Santa. Maybe that’s why they had me do this one.
Pat: Excellent. Yeah, I’ve chatted a lot with Rick about this topic, and I’m excited for this presentation. He has really prepared a lot of great information today. Thanks for joining us for the webinar. We have a crowd gathering, and we’re going to be taking questions all throughout the webinar today, so please don’t hesitate to turn in your questions, and we’ll get to those as soon as we can. So where do we start, Rick? What’s the best way to begin this discussion?
Rick: Essentially, I think the biggest, most important piece of this is that they need to start now. Search engine optimization takes time, so if you wait much beyond now to get going on this, it’s just going to be too late to be ranking where you need to be unless you’re already close. That’s the biggest thing, and this slide emphasizes that: there are 149 days left until Christmas…
Pat: Time’s running out.
Rick: …in case anyone wanted to know—108 business days and 21 weeks. It sneaks up fast; time moves quickly. The important thing is that you need to be thinking about this now and get moving now if you want to get into the right place.
Pat: It sounds like keyword research is critical for this: holiday-specific keyword research, if you will.
Rick: Yes. Essentially, for any SEO campaign any time of the year, keyword research is crucial. That’s the foundation and the crux of everything; that has to happen. When we’re talking about keyword research, we’re talking about your product-specific keyword research. The whole purpose and point of keyword research is to find keywords relevant to your industry that are specific to what you sell and do that are also going to be good converting keywords.
On top of that, for some industries, you may be able to benefit from some holiday-specific keywords. For example, a gift basket company might be able to cash in on Christmas gift baskets—adding a little holiday term there—something that they wouldn’t target all year around, but something that they can put themselves in place to cash in on for the holiday season.
Pat: Interesting. So it sounds like a little of both, meaning there are going to be some very holiday-specific keywords as far as Christmas products, potentially. However, you probably also want to aggressively pursue the product keywords that you normally do.
Rick: Absolutely. There are some businesses out there with a website that haven’t really pushed for top rankings or anything—they may not know how. This is going to be the same for them. The only difference for the holidays is, if you can, cash in on some holiday-specific terms.
Pat: And probably many of us know, but the keyword is the word you’re targeting that people are searching for in the search engines, correct?
Rick: Absolutely. When somebody goes to Google or Bing or whatever, they type a keyword into the search engine, and you want to be found when they’re typing something in that’s relevant for you and your business. Now, the first step in this keyword research is to use a tool. I use the Google Adwords keyword tool, which is free—there’s nothing better than free. That will tell you how many times that particular term is searched in a month.
There are a couple of factors that you’re going to look at here. You’re going to look at the search volume. Initially, some people might think, “I just want the biggest search volume terms that are relevant to my industry.” That may or may not be the right place to go. For example, let’s take computers. Somebody types the word “computer” into the search engine. They may or may not be somebody who’s looking to buy a computer. They may just want to research something. Maybe they’re looking up how to fix their computer, and if we don’t do that, then it’s not going to be helpful to bring traffic to our site. If somebody’s searching “Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop,” there’s a lot better chance that they’re looking to purchase that laptop. You want to find people in the right point of the funnel.
Pat: Your keywords shouldn’t be too broad, it sounds like.
Rick: Right. You want to get specific. Obviously, you want terms that have as much volume as possible, but they do need to be specific.
Pat: Volume meaning people searching for them.
Rick: Right. How many times is it typed into the search engine.
- Adwords will tell you how much competition there is for the keyword you choose. If the competition is really low, there probably isn’t any money there because people aren’t searching for that keyword. Go for medium- or even high-competition keywords.
- SEO is very demanding time-wise, so it is often cheaper to hire an outside firm to do it for you efficiently and effectively.
- Build specific pages for specific keywords and make sure those keywords are in URL’s.
- The title needs to flow well for readers, so keep it to about 70 characters and use more than just keywords. Titles need to lead to conversion. Users probably won’t click on jagged titles.
- <h1> tags and “alt tags” help with optimization when they contain keywords. You want to take special care with alt tags to make sure they relate to the image they are tagged to but also contain relevant keywords.
- Make certain that the keywords seem to be natural parts of the sentences they appear in.
- Social media pages will help to build links as well. If people “like” or share or comment on you, it will help to generate the organic links you need. Also, social media pages are beginning to affect rankings directly, and that trend will continue in the future.
- Start building your holiday pages months ahead of time and use similar non-holiday pages to test it live. Your holiday-themed pages will employ all the same keyword techniques as regular pages, but with holiday keywords added. This way, you can simply switch to the holiday-themed pages when the holidays begin.