SEO Tune-Up: Things Every Retailer Should Do to Optimize Their Holiday eCommerce
Written by Priscilla Cornwell, SEO Manager & AJ Leale, Sr. Director eCommerce
If SEO is among your top priorities and you religiously maintain your website, congratulations — a great deal of work is already done!
Nevertheless, holiday eCommerce goes through noticeable changes during these times of the year. Different marketing tactics affect the way you should optimize the website, so let’s go step by step and see what needs to be tweaked in order to attract holiday shoppers like bees to honey!
Audit Your Site SEO Page Capabilities for the Upcoming Holiday eCommerce Season
First things first — conduct a thorough SEO analysis and see how you currently rank. This way, you will know what needs to be improved for the upcoming holiday season.
Getting your canonical tags in order will direct Google to index the page you want if you have similar content under different URLs.
For example, this is exceptionally important for holiday eCommerce stores that have different colors and models of the same product on their website. Google doesn’t like duplicates, and this might affect your crawl budget or fail to crawl important content.
Meta descriptions are an important part of your holiday keyword strategy. The way they show on SERP can skyrocket your CTR since they provide the first look at your offer.
They should be up to 160 characters long, natural, and crafted in a way that sparks curiosity so people want to click and learn more.
A clear and simple text structure is more readable for visitors, while headings give you a chance to use keywords. Use them to indicate what the specific part of the text is about, and keep in mind: the better the UX, the better the SEO!
Short, simple, relevant, and compelling: it’s an ideal formula for URLs liked by search engines and users alike!
Use lowercase letters, words instead of number codes, and hyphens to separate the words when needed.
Holiday eCommerce Power Words
Power words will trigger an emotional response and get more people to engage and buy your products or services. You should use them everywhere you can — in headlines, product names, CTA buttons, etc.
These will work well:
- heartwarming, inspiring, captivating, unforgettable
- indulgent, glamorous, intense, remarkable
- unexpected, latest, hack, effortless, unstoppable
Your lines have to have a holiday kick to them. Try some of these:
- To create a sense of urgency: now, only, last (chance), today
- To indicate exclusivity: special, holiday, Black Friday, Christmas, Easter, gift
- To show it’s a good deal: free, off, sale, save, up to, shipping, win
Prepare for Increased Traffic
Hopefully, you’ll need to make some space for more visitors in the upcoming weeks!
Faster websites rank higher on Google and provide top-notch user experience, along with light, responsive pages.
Learn how to increase page speed and remove unnecessary elements that slow you down.
There are few things more irritating than a huge image that takes ages to load — many people won’t even wait for it. That’s how the dreaded bounce rate grows.
In order to prevent this, make sure your images are as light as possible while retaining good quality. You can compress the images with TinyPNG, Photoshop, or similar programs.
By using CSS sprites you can create a template for images that repeat on your website, so they all load at once.
Work with front-end developers to minify the website code. Remove the unnecessary characters and spaces, formatting, code comments, and unused pieces of the code.
- To shorten HTML, use HTMLMinifier
- To minify CSS, opt for CSSNano or csso
Leverage Browser Caching
If you enable browser caching, visitors won’t have to wait for the entire page to load again when they come back.
PWAs have amazing caching powers that improve the customer experience a lot — and work on every platform as well!
Decrease the Number of HTTP Requests and Redirects
Fewer HTTP requests = saving load time.
Every additional redirect makes your pages load more slowly, so try and reduce them before the holiday eCommerce season starts. The CSS sprites we mentioned also work to minimize the number of HTTP requests.
Optimization for Mobile Users
Since more and more people do almost all of their holiday shopping via smartphones, it is essential to provide a fast and intuitive mobile experience for online shoppers.
Once you increase the website speed by applying the advice above, you will see the benefits for mobile phones as well.
There are several ways in which you can adjust your holiday eCommerce to better fit mobile users:
- Enable AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). The pages with AMP coding load more quickly, while Google may rank them better than the rest.
- Remember you have less screen space. Use concise titles and descriptions.
- Buttons. Think of the size, placement, and path dynamics on a touchscreen.
- Don’t use Flash and pop-ups.
- Don’t block CSS, JS, or images.
You can opt for a parallel site for mobile users, or tweak the existing site — just don’t forget about the smartphone crowd.
Holiday Season: the Aftermath
Carefully note everything you did during the holiday season, and check out what served you well. This way, you can avoid repeating the same mistakes and wasting time on ineffective strategies. Most importantly, you can invest in the best holiday eCommerce optimization practice in time for the next season!