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In today’s highly competitive landscape, the holiday shopping season arrives earlier every year. So, to boost your rankings in the SERPs and grab a larger share of traffic this year, you need to whip your SEO strategy into shape on time.

Oh, wait! It’s already December and the holiday shopping season has already started, meaning that you’ve missed the opportunity to boost your sales for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

However, this shouldn’t discourage you. Even though this is probably a perfect time to plan for your 2018 SEO campaign, we will focus on a few quick-win SEO strategies right now. Maybe they won’t help you jump to the top of page one, but they will improve your transparency significantly.

Let’s check them out.

Target and Optimize for the Right Keywords

During the holiday shopping season, people’s search patterns change. They’re now looking for the inspiration online, as well as searching for the best deals on the market. Of course, this is an opportunity for retailers of all shapes and sizes to boost their revenue by optimizing their sites for better user experience. Consequently, search results are forced to change according to the increased online activity.

Typically, the most popular phrases during this season include words like "best," “gift,” “deals,” “sales,” “Black Friday,” and “cheap.” To make the most of such keywords, you should use keyword research tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, Moz’s Keyword Explorer or SEMrush. Once you target the right phrases, you need to optimize your landing pages for them.

Write Organic Title Tags

To create a perfectly optimized title tag, you first need to make it short (up to 60 characters). Second, as it represents your first level of communication with your customers, it needs to be original and organic. Finally, insert your primary keywords to boost your click-through rate. Add them to the front of the title tag, sort them in the descending order, and avoid keyword stuffing.

Optimize your Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are brief descriptions that show up below your page’s title. Precisely because of this, it’s important to make sure that the descriptions make sense to your visitors. Every well-optimized meta description is about providing multiple details about a page within 160 characters. You should also include the abovementioned focus keywords, as well as a compelling call-to-action to improve your click through rate (CTR).

Have Readable URLs

Make your URLs user-friendly and easily readable by using lowercase letters and hyphens. On the other hand, you should avoid underscores, spaces, and similar characters. Given the fact that Google penalizes keyword-stuffed exact match domains, you should implement the proven "businessname.com/topic-topic" structure.

Create Holiday-Themed Content

The majority of online customers start their holiday shopping without having anything particular in mind. Of course, their search journey doesn’t end when they click on your website. On the contrary, you need to guide them through all stages of a sales funnel and convince them that your products are exactly what they are looking for.

This is exactly when your content strategy shines. You need to understand your users’ expectations and match them up with the overall appeal of your site to deliver a unique user experience. For example, you can employ nostalgia marketing and create highly engaging holiday-inspired infographics, videos and articles. Another equally awesome option is gift guides. For example, Walmart has a plethora of such guides that are organized and filtered in several ways, depending on a recipient and the product category.

Boost your Page Load Speed

In the world of retail, time is literally money. Studies show that 40% of users would leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, while every second of delay in page response means 7% lower conversion rates. This is something you need to prevent on time. Here are a few practices that will help you improve your site’s speed.

  • Enable compression.

  • Reduce JavaScript, CSS, and HTML.

  • Cut redirects.

  • Resize images.

  • Boost server response time.

  • Use browser caching.

Optimize for Mobile Searches

Did you know that 90% of retail customers use their phones while shopping to compare prices and search for product reviews? Moreover, the Black Friday 2017 analysis show that 64% of users made purchases online via mobile. So, what do these figures tell us? As mobile purchases have finally surpassed desktop ones, you need to provide your customers with an outstanding mobile shopping experience.

You could start by implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages markup. Namely, Google has removed all elements that make regular web pages load slowly, such as cookies or third-party JavaScript. As a result, they’ve got AMPs, lightweight landing pages that are designed to deliver unbelievably fast user experience.

Alternatively, you should take your UX design to the next level, by:

  • Simplifying your site’s interface

  • Offering simple navigation

  • Using legible fonts

  • Designing easy-to-spot CTAs

  • Creating mobile-friendly contact forms

  • Making product images easy to expand

To Wrap it Up

Like I’ve already said, none of these practices alone will help you rank high on Google’s page one. They will simply help you fix what you can right now, putting an emphasis on your conversion rates. Even though the next few weeks will be chaotic, you need to keep in mind that the real work starts in January. So, once the holiday season is over, we will discuss how to improve and sustain your rankings.

What SEO tactics do you use to boost your rankings during the holiday season?