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Stuart Brandwood

SEO-HO-HO: Christmas advice and best practice

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….Time to start uploading Christmas product on to your website!

As our Christmas campaigns begin to take shape we are entering a vital time for retail clients. In the rush to get everything online and working ahead of the Christmas shopping period, it is extremely easy for clients to approach tasks in isolation, focusing solely on the current list of tasks needed to get products on site and selling fast.

Avoid the Clean Slate Approach

From our experience, many retailers will make the mistake of taking a ‘Year Zero’ approach to seasonal campaigns - Starting afresh with a blank set of new, content-free pages with no residual issues or existing link profiles. For example, by creating a fresh set of category pages there is no need to remove out-of-date products or copy. This ‘Year Zero’ approach often ignores all the good work undertaken in previous years. At Hitsearch we always stress the need to think of your previous seasonal campaigns as the platform on which to launch your next one. Put simply go evergreen, sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves!

This might involve more housekeeping and spring-cleaning in the initial set up stage, but using the previous footprint from your last campaign can bring tremendous benefits and give you a huge head-start when entering into the hyper-competitive Christmas market place.

Review your Previous Campaigns

If you understand what you did last year and what worked then use it as a building block for your new campaign. Simply review your URL structure from previous years and ensure you stick to it as much as possible when shaping your current Christmas pages. This will mean that any residual ranking strength from previous years will be reactivated and Google will find strong, pre-categorised URLs appearing on the site at a time when hundreds of millions of sites are updating their offering. Instead of brand new URLs these will be pre-optimised and ready to rank. Your previous year’s blogs and digital PR will be pointing at the front line, live Christmas URLs and any backlinks you gained last year, ready to boost your seasonal pages. We always advise clients to freshen their Christmas page content but wherever possible build on what was there in previous seasons and optimise rather than starting new.

Continuity is Key

Another recommendation we make to clients is to keep Christmas pages live all year round, whilst they don’t have to be prominent on the site they can be discretely linked via on-site blog posts (such as relevant gifting guides) and their content replaced with a holding message. These blogs could additionally be used to gather email addresses promising sneak previews and early discounts when we approach the next festive rush.

Learn from your Customers

Finally, we always advocate reviewing any processes that weren’t successful in the previous year. The easiest way to do this is to look for what visitors couldn’t find so easily last year. You will have had a suite of pages bringing your visitors to the products but was it as intuitive as it could have been? Reviewing things like the site search will tell you what products users could not locate on the site, it might have been a category that wasn’t prominent enough or your visitors had a different keyword in mind when searching. Campaigns thrive on continuity but if we review and learn from previous errors we can ensure that new campaigns are as successful as possible.

If you have any questions about how to prepare your website for the upcoming Christmas shopping period get in touch.

If you have a business in the financial sector and would like to up your marketing game or receive some expert information about digital marketing for financial services, then get in touch with a member of our team!

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