By Sue Chapman

Last week, we talked about planning your mobile and omni-channel holiday strategy, highlighting the importance of making the shopping process as easy as possible for your customers, regardless of where, when or how they may choose to shop.

Today, we take a look at getting a head start on your holiday SEO.

Believe it or not, it’s not too early to start getting your customers excited about the great products and sales they’ll be able to take advantage of during the holiday season. In fact, search volume for holiday keywords starts to rise as early as September! And according to a Google Consumer study, 30% of shoppers start their shopping before Halloween, and ICSC research stated 62% will finish before December 16.

With that in mind, you want to be sure you craft a holiday SEO strategy early enough to give the search engines time to index and rank your site relevancy.

So here are your top 3 tips to get a head start on your holiday SEO.

  • Publish sale and site content early—Publishing your sale and site content early is a great way to capture early bird shoppers. Leveraging keyword rich content – both in the page meta data and on the page copy – can build awareness of new collections and give you a head start on indexing holiday specific queries. Remember, SEO results take time; search engines don’t instantly reward optimization, even if it is beautifully executed. For best results and ranking, Google looks for long-term consistency.
  • Consider Sneak Peek or Coming Soon pages—If you are waiting on web design and/or merchandising to put the products up on the site, consider creating a “Coming Soon!” page to generate curiosity. A great example of this is what Pier 1 Imports is doing around its “Christmas Sneak Peak” landing page. The retailer links out to great content around new collections for the holidays with strong keywords to get them indexed and ranked early.
  • Merchandise Preview—The combination of the previous two items leads to the final tip: merchandising previews. In addition to the long-form romantic copy included in the page copy, work with your buying and allocation teams to get holiday merchandise online early with a preview message. For example, if a product won’t be available until 8/21, put it online weeks ahead of time to give you an advantage in terms of shelf life on seasonal SKUs. Putting the assortment online also introduces the opportunity to make the editorial content shoppable, expediting the path to product.

If you’ve tried one of these strategies before, what was your experience like? Any other tips I may have missed?

Stay tuned for our next tip: Planning record-breaking holiday promotions.