As we approach the height of the holiday shopping season, businesses everywhere are looking for ways to attract new customers and capitalize on this profitable period. Your eCommerce website plays a crucial role in your success this season. Is your site up to par? From content refreshes to product and category page re-works, maximizing search visibility and providing an efficient and user-friendly experience should be your top priorities.
Here are some last-minute SEO tips to help optimize your eCommerce site so you can attract more customers and improve on last year’s sales numbers.
In April 2020, Google opened its Shopping search results to free product listings, with Bing following suit in August. The change was later made permanent amid concerns about the coronavirus and a greater urgency for additional eCommerce strategies. This ultimately fell in line with Google’s grander vision for the company’s role in digital commerce, especially regarding the impact the pandemic had on brick-and-mortar retailers.
As such, eCommerce businesses should take full advantage of this free exposure. Featuring your products in these results can help place your brand in front of millions of shoppers who continue to use Google and Bing around the holidays.
All you need to do is upload your product feeds into Google and Microsoft Merchant Center. If you operate a physical store, keep in mind there’s a separate program in Google Merchant Center (GMC) called Local Services Across Google. Uploading your product feeds helps show product availability across Google Search, Google Shopping, Google Images, Google Maps, and Google Lens.
Additionally, Bing introduced new shopping tabs on November 1, 2021. These are designed to help customers find what they need (and a few things they might not know they need), just in time for the holiday season. Shoppers can browse Bing’s Departments listings with over 1,000 categories, including Electronics, Home Furnishings, Toys, and more. These pages highlight the trends, price drops, and coupons available in each department. Likewise, other tabs include Stores, Deals, Editor’s Picks, Trending Products, and Price Drops.
Important Note: Be sure to keep track of the performance of your campaigns. Doing so helps you make more strategic decisions moving forward. Bing offers basic metrics (clicks and impressions), while the Performance report in Google Merchant Center will show clicks from Surfaces across Google. Clicks from free Shopping listings are categorized as “google/organic” traffic.
Structured data-powered features like the Popular Products carousel and product Knowledge Panels are just some of the new Shopping features Google has introduced directly into search results. Because your organic site ranking position may not be high enough to drive traffic, submitting your products for these features is especially important.
For example, let’s say you have two listings for the newest video game title: one for physical copies and another listing for digital versions of the game. Whereas the physical listing is standard, you use structured data for the digital listing, making the title’s star rating, review information, and pricing information visible to consumers in search results. This product schema markup provides prospective consumers with even more relevant information to help them make a purchasing decision. Because of this, the game retailer might notice improved click-through rates as consumers don’t need to hunt down information about the game’s reviews or current market price—that information is right in front of them already.
Likewise, mobile users are already likely familiar with Google’s Popular Products carousel, especially if they’re searching for fashion or apparel products. As a mobile-only showcase, it’s a handy tool for eCommerce retailers, giving their apparel and fashion digital marketing efforts a welcome boost during the profitable holiday shopping season. Users can filter through different product categories, view various colors, read reviews, and compare prices, all without having to click through to a retailer’s website. In fact, they only need to click on a store link when they decide to complete the purchase. To get your products into this carousel, mark them up with product schema or submit a product feed to Google Merchant Center.
Evergreen content can be a valuable resource for prospective customers. This content is search-optimized and continually relevant. However, as timeless as this content is, it helps to keep things “fresh” for readers, serving different business goals year after year. Go above and beyond and create evergreen content you can refresh and link to internally throughout the year. You should also feature this content more prominently during the holiday shopping season.
When it comes down to it, your main goal should be to accommodate the holiday shopper. Segmenting your queries and repositioning your evergreen content can help you accomplish that goal. Doing this helps you to ask the right questions about who is making the buying decisions from season to season. Let’s look at the earlier video game example. For much of the year, the primary buyer will be the player. However, statistics reveal that a shift occurs during the holiday season, as video games remain a consistent and popular gift.
Based on this data, the logical choice would be to adjust any content currently targeting phrases related to “top games.” Although the content typically targets video game players, now you should adjust the content to answer the questions of gift purchasers (i.e., parents, friends, and relatives). Doing so can help you leverage existing rankings while appealing to a larger audience currently in the buying mood. While video game enthusiasts might focus on the game’s consumer ratings, replayability, or features, gift purchasers will likely focus on different aspects. For example, they might care more about the game’s ESRP rating, aka its age-appropriateness. Similarly, they might be interested in why it received that rating or how other parents feel about the game.
In addition to this content refresh, marketers should revise their headlines, page titles, and descriptions. For example, a holiday shopping blog or article titled “A Parent’s Guide to the Top Games of 2021” is likely to attract more clicks than one titled “The Best Video Games of 2021” during the holiday shopping season. By accommodating the mindset of the holiday shopper, you might notice increased traffic and conversions.
Speaking of holiday-specific content, extend your holiday-focused optimizations toward your category and shopping pages. Because shoppers are likely searching for specific deals, you should create high-value category pages to reflect how those shoppers are searching.
You can accomplish this by updating category title tags, meta descriptions, and page content to include keywords and products related to each holiday. For instance, “Black Friday deals on TVs” or “Black Friday TV deals” will remain consistent and popular search terms throughout the holidays, as will similar, relevant search terms related to toys, video games, cameras, kitchenware, etc.
Additionally, the most successful eCommerce retailers incorporate promotional materials for the other holidays celebrated around the winter season. For example, Diwali is a gift-giving holiday for over 1% of Americans, which is over 3 million people. Creating promotions for this audience automatically opens up your store to an additional 3 million shoppers and gift-givers. Best of all, this show of recognition and respect for their faith can likely win new customers and loyalty down the road.
Important Note: Be sure to collaborate with your PR and social teams when creating new product/category pages. After all, you’ll want to do whatever you can to help drive more backlinks to those pages. For instance, if your team creates virtual flyers, ensure the links to those flyers are accessible, as third-party sites often pick these up. As a great source of backlinks, they help to create excitement for users to browse your deals.
In addition to SEO optimizations this holiday shopping season, it’s crucial to audit your site to ensure everything works correctly. Here are some of the more essential auditing tips to consider:
All in all, the holiday season offers many opportunities to optimize your eCommerce site for maximum visibility, better user experience, and increased revenue. With the holiday shopping season already in motion, now is the time to invest in a winning holiday SEO strategy for your business.
Whether you need to update your content, improve your ad campaigns, or your website requires conversion-focused audits, the digital marketing experts at VELOX Media can help. By optimizing your SEO strategy, you can stand out from your competitors, capture new customers, and make the most out of this profitable season. Contact VELOX Media to learn how we can help improve and optimize your holiday shopping SEO strategy.