Ultimate Holiday SEO Checklist: E-Commerce SEO for the Holidays


Welcome to the final post in this E-Commerce SEO for the Holidays blog series!

2012 Black Friday Sales Data So Far

Online sales for Black Friday 2012 passed the $1B mark for the first time this year, as in-store sales numbers for Black Friday dropped slightly according to ShopperTrak,.  ShopperTrack estimated 2012 in-store Black Friday sales at $11.2 billion, down 1.8 percent from the same day last year.

ComScore reported 2012 online Black Friday sales were $1.042 billion; up 26% from the $816 million spent on Black Friday 2011.  Not surprisingly, mobile devices are playing a big part in this year’s results.  According to International Business Machines, which analyzes online traffic and transactions from 500 U.S. retailers, mobile devices accounted for 26% of visits to retail websites and 16% of purchases this past Black Friday; up from 18.1% and 10.3%, respectively over last year’s figures.

This is all great news if you followed the steps in this Holiday SEO series and have optimized your website for the big online shopping rush!

Did You Miss The Rush?

In a recent Reuters report Mia Shernoff, executive vice president for Chase Paymentech, a payment-processing unit of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., was quoted as saying, “Cyber Monday will be a big day, but not as much of a big day as it has been in the past.  Faster broadband Internet connections in the office used to drive this. But now many consumers have faster connections at home and smart phones and tablets – they don’t have to wait.”

Remember, past holiday numbers prove that the online shopping season has been lasting a little longer every year!  Keep that in mind as you send out emails and post on your social media profiles.  Shoppers love deals, and gift cards are always a great last-minute gift idea.  In fact, last year Giftango reported that one in four digital gift cards (26.7%) were sold between Dec. 21st and Dec. 24th!

The Ultimate Holiday SEO To-Do Checklist

I know you’re busy, and clicking through 5 different blog posts to find the information that you are looking for can be tedious.  SO – to help make your life easier, I’ve compiled a The Ultimate Holiday SEO To-Do Checklist from the 5 previous posts in this series.

Preliminary Phase:

  1. Leave a comment on your favorite Holiday SEO blog post from this series telling me what you liked the most / found the most helpful.  No, I am not above shameless self-promotion.

Discovery Phase:

1. Identify Your Priority Gift Items

  • Create new bundles of related items for gift sets.
  • Create unique landing pages to target “gift” related keyphrases.
  • Don’t forget the Gift Cards!

2. Choose Your Holiday Keyphrases

  • Brainstorm a list the best you can.
  • Use the Google Keyword Tool for research.
  • Use Google Trends (formerly Google Insights) to identify search trends.
  • Choose keyphrases most relevant to your products with the highest search volume.
  • Make a wireframe plan of your new holiday pages & how they will fit into your existing site structure.

3. Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes

  • Would a first-time visitor have an easier time finding and buying an item elsewhere?
  • Visit your website from different desktop browsers and mobile devices.
  • Minimize the amount of clicks does it take to get to your holiday product pages from the home page?
  • Is your Holiday Special easy to locate using the site’s navigation menus?
  • Do you have a prominent and functioning site search box?
  • Can visitors purchase directly on the site, or do you redirect to a 3rd party provider?
  • At what point do you require visitors to enter an email address?

4. Check Out the Competition

  • Visit your known competitors’ sites; observe using the “Customers’ Shoes” criteria.
  • Check to see what websites are showing in the top SERPs for your target keyphrases, too.
  • Observe the meta titles, descriptions, URLs, and on-page content to get keyphrase and content ideas.
  • Visit the sites from desktop & mobile devices to get a feel for their UX.
  • Sign up for the newsletters and/or blog RSS feeds of closest competitors to stay up to date.

Action Phase:

5. Optimize Your Product Pages

  • Use the holiday keyphrases you decided to target in step #2.
  • Coordinate with your web design / development teams to make any necessary user experience updates needed based on your research during steps #3 & #4.
  • Use our handy Product Page Optimization Infographic & Product Page Optimization Checklist from part 3 of this blog post series for help, too!

6. Linking Strategies

  • Create / claim your Google + Business Page.
  • Submit your site to reliable local directories.
  • Share product images on Pinterest.
  • Update your internal links.
  • Request a link from and/or partner with sites in the top SER for your target keyphrases.
  • Blogger Outreach (a more time-consuming effort, but well worth it! Get started now for upcoming holidays like Mother’s Day & Father’s Day.)

7. Integration with Email Marketing

  • Highlight special offers, deals, and deadlines in your email subject lines.
  • Use the optimization best practices you learned in this blog series to optimize your email messages.
  • Be sure to test your emails on desktop, web-based, and mobile email applications to ensure you are happy with the message all your customers will be receiving.

8. Integration with Social Media

  • Share links to your product pages daily on all your social media profiles.
  • Engage your audience with interesting images of your products, poll questions, client testimonials, announcements of special offers, etc.
  • Incentivize employees, friends, and family to help you promote / social share your company updates, too!

9. Integration with PPC Marketing

  • Make sure your PPC and SEO efforts are in sync.
  • Create campaigns and ad groups that align with:
  • Various consumer profiles (i.e.: your typical target consumer vs. a gift-giver).
  • Various stages within the purchase funnel (i.e. looking for your brand by name vs. using non-branded keywords).
  • Where a potential consumer might be (location-based).
  • Various devices they will be viewing the ads on (desktop vs. mobile).

Final Thoughts

If you haven’t started implementing SEO tips provided throughout this blog series – it’s never too late to start working on improving your SEO. You can also use these tips to help you with your every-day SEO as well as other holidays like Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, or Mother’s Day.

Did you see unexpected sales activity on your site over the weekend? How did your Cyber Monday sales turn out?  Tell us about it in the comments below!


This content originally appeared on the CatalystSearchMarketing.com blog. This was the final post of a six part blog series I wrote for the company about eCommerce SEO for the Holidays.